High availability broadband network via a wireless mesh

This week I started playing with sveasoft.com‘s talisman wireless mesh firmware at home.  What this firmware does is allow you to re-flash your wireless routers and enable many other features in your router. The firmware I opted for allows me to take multiple broadband routers and create a wireless mesh network out of them. What a wireless mesh is basically is a wireless network that gives each router multiple paths to the uplink connection so that if one router fails the entire network still works and can still get to the uplink.  At home I have both DSL & Cable and the big problem has been how do I fail over easily from one to the other. An option has been to replace my router with a router that has this functionality built in, but then where’s the fun in that.

My setup is composed of two routers, one connects to DSL downstairs and the other to Cable modem upstairs. They both have an uplink and if one uplink fails the routers realize this and begin routing traffic over the other uplink transparently.  Pretty awesome right.  Not only do I have a high availability network at home now with multiple uplink connections but I’ve also gained better wireless coverage throughout the entire house.

The downside I’m finding is that it takes the routers about 1-2 minutes to realize a connection is down and then another 1-2 minutes to update DNS and I’ve experienced this myself. It took about 2 minutes for my router to realize the uplink was no longer connected and to allow pings out the other router (but it did work) and then another 2 minutes for it to start doing DNS queries and resolving URLs.  Total time according to the developers is a max of 4 minutes with the norm generally being around 2-3 minutes.  They’re working to get this down to the 1 minute range if all goes well which would be ideal. Now the routers that do this all for you in one box I’m told do it within seconds so they have an edge at the moment but the tradeoff for that is you wouldn’t have the improved wireless coverage which was an issue in my house before this setup.

I’m just now starting to play with this but will post more once I have it all setup and fully tested but if you’re like me and love to tinker with this type of stuff and are the type of person that has to open something up to see how it works, I highly recommend this one, it’s easy to setup and opens up a wealth of coolness.

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