An Internet Load Balancer is a hardware device which includes network ports for Internet connections to be aggregated and used for Load Balancing and Bonded Internet solutions (Bonded ADSL and Bonded VPN). It is possible to use different types of Internet connections such ADSL, Cable, Leased Lines, SDSL and ISDN to connect into the Load Balancer.
Installing a Load Balancer (with multiple Internet connections) into your organisation’s IT network infrastructure gives users access to more bandwidth than is available with a single Internet connection. By combining multiple Internet connections, an organisation can increase their bandwidth capacity to receive the benefit of higher Internet speeds.
In addition to increased Internet speed, a Load Balancer can also provide a more reliable Internet connection. The basic functionality of failover ensures that if an Internet connection fails, the Load Balancer shall instantly stop sending Internet traffic down the affected connection and automatically transfer it down another live connection. Any traffic that was sent down the affected Internet connection shall also be re-distributed. This avoids any Internet session being interrupted and thus reduces time delays for the end user.
Why do I need a Load Balancer?
- If you experience an unreliable Internet service
- If you experience slow Internet speeds due to insufficient Bandwidth
- If your end users productivity is restricted or affected by poor Internet performance
- If you experience affected quality when using VoIP, Video-Conferencing and Audio/Video Streaming
- If you cannot afford to have e-commerce website down
- If you have a requirement for additional Internet connections
Unfortunately as many organisations have realised, depending on one single Internet connection is not delivering the required benefits and meeting their needs. Furthermore organisations are not receiving the service package that they have paid for and deserve. This can be costly for organisations and create various problems. The most causes for the reduction or slowness of Internet speed and loss of connection.
Load Balancers allow organisations to have more than one connection between your computers and the Internet to meet your bandwidth and reliability needs and are usually more cost effective than leased lines.
Table of Contents
Load Balancing Explained
Today, a fast and reliable Internet service has become a basic yet crucial requirement for organisations and businesses. Organisations that operate with a single Internet connection run the risk of business discontinuity should the connection slow down or if the service is completely lost. Load Balancing is a solution for such organisations that either experience and/or want to avoid such disastrous situations/problems.
What is Outbound Load Balancing?
Outbound Load Balancing (also known as ISP Load Balancing) is a technique which involves connecting a minimum of 2 (or more) individual Internet connections to a Load Balancer device in order to increase speed through additional bandwidth created from the extra connections and also improve Internet connection reliability through having extra back up connection(s) if the primary connection fails.
How does Outbound Load Balancing work?
The Load Balancer hardware device is installed in the organisations network and positioned between the firewall and the individual Internet connections.
Once configured, the Load Balancer will use as many of the connections necessary (depending on how much the Internet is being used and how many users there are at the time) to increase the total available bandwidth from each Internet connection. The Load Balancer also detects Internet connection saturation and failures in real time to redirect Internet traffic through another connection if necessary so that the end users’ work is uninterrupted and service continues smoothly.
Outbound Load Balancing gives users and systems behind the firewall simultaneous access to multiple WAN Internet links. With real time Load Balancing, the Load Balancer has the intelligence to search for the best available Internet connection to fulfil bandwidth requests for any activity/individual user session. This helps end users in an organisation to get the quickest response for their online activity.
Combined with Bandwidth Management, Outbound Load Balancing can offer a much more features to efficiently manage, control and monitor the flow of Internet traffic around your organisation network.
Overview of Inbound Load Balancing
An Inbound Load Balancing solution is mainly useful for organisation’s which use their IT networks to operate as primary information centres for services such as:
- Web hosting
- E-Mail Servers
- FTP servers
- Online web stores
- Or any networking application that serves numerous incoming requests to a network
Inbound Load Balancing works by managing the data from remote or external users that are requesting information from the organisation’s network. This is achieved by distributing the traffic flow from both directions over multiple Internet connections instead of one.
What is Inbound Load Balancing?
Inbound Load Balancing improves the traffic flow of data that is being sent back and forth between a remote or end user and the organisation’s hosted servers. With a single Internet connection these incoming requests can become congested especially if numerous requests come in together. Like Outbound Load Balancing, Inbound Load Balancing also uses multiple Internet connections to share and distribute traffic for faster traffic flow.
How does Inbound Load Balancing work?
Through installing a Load Balancer, multiple Internet connections (more than 1) can be used together, and the combined bandwidth available can accommodate when users are requesting and retrieving information simultaneously. Therefore all the incoming requests are handled efficiently so users are not affected by delays or inconvenience.
Despite the fact that hosting services such as Email and web servers internally can be more cost effective than outsourcing to ISPs or host companies, the disadvantage is that it also means that they lack the back up connection that is available in the ISP infrastructure if outsourced.
With a Load Balancer installed should an Internet connection fail, the Load Balancer will hold off from directing clients down this connection until it becomes fully functional. The Load Balancer will instantly redirect traffic down another available connection thus ensuring high availability.
Combined with Bandwidth Management, Load Balancing can offer a much more features to efficiently manage, control and monitor the flow of Internet traffic around your organisation network.