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What is a Dual-WAN Router?

Saturday, May 03, 2008 by Dave Winer.

A picture named tpipe.jpgImagine that water pipes were a new thing, and therefore not reliable. They work for most people most of the time, but sometimes they go down, and then if you want to take a bath or wash the dishes or cook a meal, no luck.  Permalink to this paragraph

Then you learn that there are two types of water pipes, run by different companies, and it's very rare that both go down at the same time. So, if you can afford it, you get both water suppliers to pipe into your house, and when one goes down, you go to the street, lift a manhole cover, go down a ladder, and disconnect the one that doesn't work and hook up the one that does.  Permalink to this paragraph

It's a hassle for sure, but you always have water. Then someone invents a T-shaped pipe with two inputs and one output. You hook the two suppliers each to a branch and your house to the third. This way when one goes down, you don't even know it. The water keeps flowing, you're happy. Permalink to this paragraph

It works the same way with the Internet. Some days Comcast goes down, and others AT&T DSL, but they rarely go down at the same time. I have both because the Internet is still young and unreliable, and I've lived with its lack of reliability before and it's worth a hundred bucks a month to have the luxury of uninterrupted service when one or the other goes down. But until yesterday, if I needed to switch over, I'd have to rewire my network just to switch to the other vendor. But, it turns out they make T-pipes for the Internet, they're called Dual-WAN Routers. And I got onePermalink to this paragraph

It took a fair amount of fussing-with to get it working, but it has a nice fractional horsepower HTTP server to configure the router, a good help system, and I kind of intuitively get what it does.  Permalink to this paragraph

Comcast is going to like this, their service is so much faster than AT&T's that I set it up so that AT&T is the backup. I won't actually send any packets over their line unless Comcast goes down, or gets pissed at me (it happens) -- but they should note that turning me off will no longer get my attention. ;-> Permalink to this paragraph

And thanks to my parents for buying this lovely gift for me. How did they know I wanted one? Another innovation, Amazon Wishlists. This Dual-WAN Router thing isn't something I would likely buy for myself, too speculative, I wasn't at all sure it would be simple enough to set up, or that I really needed it. There is a recession going on after all. And they never would have had a clue that I was interested. But now I have one and I'm very happy to have it. Permalink to this paragraph

Why did I decide on Xincom? I read the reviews on Amazon and it seemed the most likely to work.  Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

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