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Old 06-16-11, 01:30 AM   #1
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Load Balancing on WinXP

AFAIK, in order to "load balance" a windows box you needed a fancy router capable of doing it, paired with some fancy software install @ the box (usually provided by the router manufacturer).

However, I've been told that some tools can be installed at the PC and they will "mingle" with the networking, sending some packets through one interface and some packets through another interface.

I've also been told this approach can sometimes be counter-productive because some PCs can't handle the extra overhead fast enough to get any benefit. But on some instances (like when downloading large files split into multiple parts) the user can see a substantial benefit in increased bandwidth.

I've google'd for such a tool to no avail. It either doesn't exist or my google-fo is weak. Anybody can shed some light on this?
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Old 06-16-11, 09:42 AM   #2
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Server 2003 which is based on the xp kernel has network load balancing capability built in, IIRC. You may be able to find something similar hidden in XP, or as a compatible add-on to XP.

Why would you need to load balance ancient XP boxes in the first place?
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Old 06-16-11, 09:49 AM   #3
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Server 2003 which is based on the xp kernel has network load balancing capability built in, IIRC. You may be able to find something similar hidden in XP, or as a compatible add-on to XP.

Why would you need to load balance ancient XP boxes in the first place?
They are probably gettting unbalanced in the spin cycle and shutting down then Ruben does not have any clean underwear. I know that is what happens when my machine at home gets unbalanced, but it is a Maytag running TideXP.
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Old 06-16-11, 10:38 AM   #4
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Spin cycle for the win!
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Old 06-16-11, 10:53 AM   #5
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Ruben, are you high on drugs?
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Old 06-16-11, 02:10 PM   #6
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what sort of internet connection and computers are you trying to balance here? where is the bottleneck?
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Old 06-16-11, 02:16 PM   #7
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Other than my previous comment, I remembered that the Broadcom dual-GbE cards in a bunch of my servers have Windows drivers that support trunking over both interfaces. But that's for WS2k3, not sure about XP and whatever hardware you have.
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Old 06-16-11, 02:19 PM   #8
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You may be able to bond the nics, if supported by the nic, for more bandwidth if that's what you mean. In that case you can get an older used Cisco switch and turn on port bonding. This combines the speed of both nics but still looks like one to the client.

To really load balance you need two computers to load balance between. This can be accomplished with open source tools on a spare PC, with 2 or more nics, that round robin the requests between two computers. Windows 2003 and up also support load balancing out of the box. On a grand scale there is dedicated hardware for this task.
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Old 06-16-11, 02:21 PM   #9
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I think Ruben needs some BigIP hardware in his house.
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Old 06-16-11, 02:22 PM   #10
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"Load balancing" generally refers to distributing incoming client connections across multiple servers.

What the OP is looking is usually called "bonding" of multiple ISP connections, (although the term LB is occasionally used). Bonding requires gear and configuration at both ends of the links.

An option not using bonding, (or the ISP bonding gear/config), would be to have the multiple ISP connections fed into a router with static routes for part of the Internet to one ISP, and routes to the remainder of the Internet to the other ISP.

Bottom line: Unless the OP has multiple ISP connections, he is wasting his time.
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Old 06-16-11, 02:58 PM   #11
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Bottom line: Unless the OP has multiple ISP connections, he is wasting his time.
this is what I was thinking. Complex balancing of client requests isn't necessary for "downloading large files split into multiple parts."

Wait a minute, RubenX, are you leaching WiFi from multiple neighbors and want to bridge the connections to download porn faster?
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Old 06-16-11, 03:04 PM   #12
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this is what I was thinking. Complex balancing of client requests isn't necessary for "downloading large files split into multiple parts."

Wait a minute, RubenX, are you leaching WiFi from multiple neighbors and want to bridge the connections to download porn faster?
He has a bank of 56k modems on his coffee table, all dialing up to the same ISP.
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Old 06-16-11, 08:15 PM   #13
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OK... there are many type of loads that could be balanced, confusing, granted.

What I want is 2 wifi links to the same wifi router. Sorta like MLPPP (RFC 1717) back in the day:



...but with multiple Wifi links.
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Old 06-16-11, 08:31 PM   #14
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Sounds like you just need 802.11n gear capable of 2 or more MIMO streams:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11n-2009

i.e. a pair of high end AP's each capable of running 2 or more streams, set up as bridges.
How much throughput do you need?
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Old 06-16-11, 10:30 PM   #15
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OK ok... from your sugestions I've google'd and it seems the correct modern WinXP lingo is to "bridge" multiple connections. Seems fairly easy and requires no 3rd party software.

1. Set Up your 2 Wifi Links.
2. Open Network Connections.
3. Right Click one connection and choose "Bridge Connections" from the menu.
4. Include all the Wifi connections into this bridge
5. ....
6. Profit.

Now, each connection I have here is 54Mbps. Theoretically (ignoring overhead, ect) the max combined bandwidth should be 108Mbps. However, the newly created Bridge is reporting a 130Mbps connection, meaning it thinks there is an extra 22Mbps that came out of thin air...weird. Actual transfers are ridiculously slower than when using just one wifi connection. This confuses and infuriates me.
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Old 06-16-11, 11:08 PM   #16
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... for pete's sake, go get some 802.11n hardware. Up to 300Mbps!!! Even I have N150 hardware!
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Old 06-19-11, 08:00 AM   #17
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OK ok... from your sugestions I've google'd and it seems the correct modern WinXP lingo is to "bridge" multiple connections. Seems fairly easy and requires no 3rd party software.

1. Set Up your 2 Wifi Links.
2. Open Network Connections.
3. Right Click one connection and choose "Bridge Connections" from the menu.
4. Include all the Wifi connections into this bridge
5. ....
6. Profit.

Now, each connection I have here is 54Mbps. Theoretically (ignoring overhead, ect) the max combined bandwidth should be 108Mbps. However, the newly created Bridge is reporting a 130Mbps connection, meaning it thinks there is an extra 22Mbps that came out of thin air...weird. Actual transfers are ridiculously slower than when using just one wifi connection. This confuses and infuriates me.
7. Beat your head against the desk because you forgot that it's Windows and will never be as easy as the instructions make it seem.

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Old 06-19-11, 10:58 AM   #18
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7. Beat your head against the desk because you forgot that it's Windows and will never be as easy as the instructions make it seem.

If you think it's hard in windows, try bridging NICs in mac or linux.
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Old 06-20-11, 05:36 PM   #19
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7. Beat your head against the desk because you forgot that it's Windows and will never be as easy as the instructions make it seem.

thruth
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Old 06-23-11, 01:48 AM   #20
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Ruben what is the problem? It seems like you are trying to load balance your connection from your PC to your router. This makes no sense since most routers function at 100mbps and 1Gbps, and most internet connections are around 10mbps. So to load balance in XP out 2 different interfaces (2 nic cards) isn't something that would give you a boost on the internet. Unless you manage a large organization...on XP.....you could make it so you have 2 NIC cards, one handling incoming traffic, and the other handle outgoing. So maybe understanding the problem you are experiencing may help us advise you.

My FOO answer to you is.... use a 56k modem and make sure you use gold plated phone cables, and you will surely never notice the difference between load balanced and non load balanced.
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Old 06-23-11, 01:58 AM   #21
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Nah... I've abandon this project. I did "bridged" 2 wifi adapters but the transfer speed was the same. I was mostly doing it for the sake of knowledge pursuit. But it seems I lack the wisdom to figure this out.

My hypothesis, the multiple wifi adapters are interfering/competing with each other at the radio frequency level.

I shall upgrade to "n" and keep it simple.
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Old 06-23-11, 09:51 AM   #22
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This makes no sense since most routers function at 100mbps and 1Gbps, and most internet connections are around 10mbps.
In the 90's I was working in the networking dept of a large company. At the time we had just 10Mb to the desktops, and some guy who fancied himself to be a power-user, kept ranting that he needed 100Mb to his desktop. Finally, he solved the problem himself, and proudly showed the solution to one of my peers: He bought a little 10/100Mb switch, plugged it in between the wall jack and his desktop, and his desktop interface was now running at 100Mb. And he noticed *dramatically* improved performance!
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Old 06-23-11, 10:25 AM   #23
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Nah... I've abandon this project. I did "bridged" 2 wifi adapters but the transfer speed was the same. I was mostly doing it for the sake of knowledge pursuit. But it seems I lack the wisdom to figure this out.

My hypothesis, the multiple wifi adapters are interfering/competing with each other at the radio frequency level.

I shall upgrade to "n" and keep it simple.
Very intelligent.
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