Adding a 3rd WAN

RumorConsumer
Head in the Cloud

Adding a 3rd WAN

Hello! I have a client who lives rurally and has a MR64 on a satellite internet plan with 5 hardwired APs. Its actually not so bad as mostly its just her up there but she is on tons of zoom calls and watches a lot of movies. 

 

So we got her 2 satellite plans. Each has a limit of 100gb until it throttles. She has been eating that up so we got her a third satellite. The only issue is that her MX64 only has 2 WAN ports so when I need to remotely switch her over to the third satellite I dont have a way to do that. Reading around, the best option sounds like getting another router, turning off all its security settings, and just using it for its own ability to switch between WANs. So that device would connect to WAN2 on the MX64, and it would handle a second switch between 2 WANs. Like a daisy chain. 

 

Another issue - I am not on property and I need an easy convenient way to switch the WAN on this theoretical second router. 


My thought is to get another MX64 used on eBay for like $90, get a standard license, create "another network" which would really only be this MX64 connected to the existing MX64, and just dumb down the config and use it to switch between the 2nd and 3rd satellite accounts.

 

I need a dashboard. I need easy. Money isn't an issue. Any better solutions that dont involve more pain than this solution? 

Networking geek since high school where I got half of a CCNA. Played Marathon II and Infinity over localtalk.
Made many a network over the years, now de facto admin of a retreat center with some of this fine Meraki hardware.
Fortune 100 Tech veteran/refugee.
12 REPLIES 12
cmr
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

@RumorConsumer If you plug the second and third WAN into a dumb switch and put that in WAN2 you can have the IP setup for WAN2 and then when the plan runs out, change the IP to WAN3.  When you need to, change it back again.

 

If the WAN ports need to be DHCP then if you get a basic managed switch you can have the port for WAN2 enabled and when it runs out disable that port and enable WAN3.

 

Or if you can get a USB modem for one of the services, you could connect that as a cellular WAN.

RumorConsumer
Head in the Cloud

@cmr 

 

thanks! I would totally use cellular but we're in a place with zero reception (have even tried one of those $1k 100db cellular boosters and it doesn't work).

 

They only with with DHCP. 

 

The only issue with the switch route is, again, Im not on property so I need an easy remote way to do this and since its beyond the firewall that seems very challenging, no? Automation also very challenging. It would need to know the billing month as well as the data limit. And I want manual control not just some rule. 

Networking geek since high school where I got half of a CCNA. Played Marathon II and Infinity over localtalk.
Made many a network over the years, now de facto admin of a retreat center with some of this fine Meraki hardware.
Fortune 100 Tech veteran/refugee.

I think Im gonna use a Meraki managed switch and just activate/deactivate ports on it and connect it to the WAN2 port. 

Networking geek since high school where I got half of a CCNA. Played Marathon II and Infinity over localtalk.
Made many a network over the years, now de facto admin of a retreat center with some of this fine Meraki hardware.
Fortune 100 Tech veteran/refugee.
cmr
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

@RumorConsumer I'd think that's a good option for the situation you have.

Aaron_Wilson
A model citizen

Perfect candidate for Starlink!

Precisely. Know anybody who can get us on the beta? 

Networking geek since high school where I got half of a CCNA. Played Marathon II and Infinity over localtalk.
Made many a network over the years, now de facto admin of a retreat center with some of this fine Meraki hardware.
Fortune 100 Tech veteran/refugee.
PhilipDAth
Kind of a big deal

You can also daisy chain the WAN port of one MX into the LAN of another, giving you a total of 3 WAN ports.

@PhilipDAth 

right - that would give me an easy software control to toggle on MX #2 but id still need MX#2 and MX license for #2, no? Other advantages to that route that you see? 

Networking geek since high school where I got half of a CCNA. Played Marathon II and Infinity over localtalk.
Made many a network over the years, now de facto admin of a retreat center with some of this fine Meraki hardware.
Fortune 100 Tech veteran/refugee.

OK I have the switch ready to go. Got a beater MS220-8P but man that thing is cool. Never used the switch before, just APs and MXs.

 

Only two ports configured to Enables at once - the port going into the WAN1 on the MX and then 4 other ports are labelled to accept uplinks from each satellite.

 

Question is now, when a satellite maxes out, what should the procedure be to switch over to another jack? If I disable one, it will kill my internet access and then I wont be able to access the switch to enable the next satellite connection. Should I enable the second one first, then disable the first one and expect that the DHCP server in the satellite modem will take over properly? Its like that scene in Apollo 13 where they figure out the right start up sequence...

Networking geek since high school where I got half of a CCNA. Played Marathon II and Infinity over localtalk.
Made many a network over the years, now de facto admin of a retreat center with some of this fine Meraki hardware.
Fortune 100 Tech veteran/refugee.
cmr
Kind of a big deal
Kind of a big deal

@RumorConsumer you could use port schedules.  Set one port to a schedule that ends at 6pm on Wednesday and a set a second schedule that starts at 6pm on Wednesday.

 

What I'm not sure about is whether it will let you schedule the port it thinks is the uplink off...  Time to test 🙂

 

An alternative to manually switching over, if the DHCP picks up properly on switch-over, is to schedule the three connections to change over every couple of days.  You might also need to bounce the port going to the MX to get it to pick up a new address?

RumorConsumer
Head in the Cloud

I checked out the schedule interface. That probably wont work. Its a case where the different satellite accounts renew at different times, get used intermittently, sometimes fast sometimes slow, and we need manual control. This thing wants to have me set up a weekly schedule and thats just not the nature of the beast. Its more like ok fuel tank one is low switch to fuel tank 2. 

 

We tried the manual way - with one account enabled (and presumably depleted for this billing cycle) enable the second one and then disable the first one. It all takes about 45 to 90 seconds to stabilize but so far its worked. So that might be our procedure unless there are other ideas. 

Networking geek since high school where I got half of a CCNA. Played Marathon II and Infinity over localtalk.
Made many a network over the years, now de facto admin of a retreat center with some of this fine Meraki hardware.
Fortune 100 Tech veteran/refugee.
RumorConsumer
Head in the Cloud

@cmr 

 

Ok here is what we figured out.

 

The switch can configure VLANs on each of its ports. The modem and the WAN1 uplink on the MX both seem to expect and appreciate VLAN 1.

 

The WAN port on the MX will acquire a IP address from the first device it can locate. So basically you just tell the port with the satellite on it that its on VLAN1, and you tell the other ports with the non-active satellites to be on different other random VLANs. When you want to use a new satellite, you first move that port over to VLAN1, then you remove the current satellite thats providing the IP to the WAN on the MX. The WAN on the MX says oh I need a new IP, and what do you know there is a new DHCP server there ready to lease. It works. We've switched them around a bunch of times and its about 50% faster than the approach of enabling and disabling ports which we also tried. Yay!

Networking geek since high school where I got half of a CCNA. Played Marathon II and Infinity over localtalk.
Made many a network over the years, now de facto admin of a retreat center with some of this fine Meraki hardware.
Fortune 100 Tech veteran/refugee.
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