Multi-WAN routers, as the name suggests, are routers that come with two or more WAN Internet ports so you can connect to multiple Internet ISPs. These routers are also called dual-WAN routers, especially when they have only two ports. Why should you go for these routers? Let’s take a deeper dive.
Benefits and uses of multi-WAN routers
There are a few important benefits that these routers offer over traditional ones.
Failover and backup
Multi-WAN routers are highly useful for those who need the Internet at all times and when even a few minutes of nonavailability can impact them in a big way. With multi-WAN routers, you don’t have to rely on a single Internet ISP only and this is a big advantage when you live in an area with a patchy Internet connection. These routers allow you to have an Internet connection from two different ISPs, so even if one fails, you still have access to the other.
You can even configure the first connection as the primary and the other as a backup connection so that the backup will switch over when the main Internet connection fails.
These routers also help with Internet load balancing so you can enjoy a reliable Internet service at all times. When you use many applications such as web browsers, VPNs, streaming services, and emails, you tend to use high amounts of bandwidth and the entire load is passed to a single ISP in a traditional router setup. But with multi-WAN routers, this load is spread across two or more ISPs, so the overall Internet speed tends to be faster.
Let’s understand this with a small example. Let’s say you have an Internet connection that gives 2.5 Mbit/second. Now, if you add another service that also offers 2.5 Mbit/second, you’ll have a total bandwidth of 5 Mbit/second and the load will also get split between the two ISPs. The same works in session balancing too, as the sessions are spread across many ISPs.
Such balancing ensures that you have access to high-speed Internet at all times, regardless of the load and size of applications that use it.
Many dual-WAN routers come with L2TP VPN to help employees to securely connect to your network. Also, it allows you to encrypt traffic over public networks, thereby reducing the possibility of hacking or unauthorized reading of transmitted content.
Some routers come with additional features that enhance their usability and performance. A few have a built-in DNS proxy, so users don’t have to define their own DNS providers while others have content-based and geo-based blocking services.
Overall, multi-WAN routers increase security, reliability, speed, and load balancing and through it all improves the performance of your router and gives you continuous access to the Internet at all times.
Now that you know what are multi-WAN routers, let’s take a look at some of the best ones, in no particular order.
Best Multi-WAN routers
Here are some of the best routers available today.
Cisco Systems Gigabit dual VPN 14 port router
Cisco Systems Gigabit dual VPN 14 port router is ideal for those who need a combination of performance and flexibility. It is also backed by the experience of Cisco Systems, one of the pioneers in this area.
Some of the important features of this router are:
- Comes with a built-in 14-port gigabit ethernet switch.
- Provides high security with its stateful packet inspection (SPI) firewall and hardware encryption.
- Offers high-performance high-capacity SSL and IPSec for powerful VPN capabilities.
- Scores high on usability with its setup wizards, browser-based device manager, and an intuitive user interface.
- Manages large files and concurrent users for high productivity.
- Deploys directly from the box and no additional setup is required.
- USB ports support 3G and 4G modems.
- Connects multiple locations and remote workers through a VPN.
Peplink Balance 20 dual-Wan router
This router makes it easy to connect with many Internet service providers to give you automatic failover and enhanced performance. It also gives you the option to independently manage your links and increase your bandwidth at any time.
The salient features of Peplink balance 20 dual-WAN router are:
- Lowers individual service costs by replacing them with managed circuits.
- Comes with built-in remote user VPN support.
- Uses L2TP with IPSec to connect remote clients to your private network.
- Gives you the option to control different aspects such as WAN connections, firewall, and PoE through configuration values.
- Creates up to five SF links from your router to the same remote location.
- Provides complete control over the way your traffic is routed and prioritized.
- Blocks specific subnets from accessing the network.
- Tracks all URLs visited by users and you can block certain Internet traffic as well.
TP-Link Gigabit Ethernet Safestream VPN Router
This router is designed to provide high-speed connections on both WAN and LAN ports. Besides, it comes loaded with many high-security VPN capabilities that are sure to come in handy for organizations of all sizes.
The features of this router are:
- Has one gigabit WAN port, one gigabit LAN port, and three gigabit WAN/LAN ports for high-speed Internet.
- Supports many VPN protocols such as IPSec, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP.
- At any time, it can handle up to 20 IPSec tunnels, 16 L2TP/IPSec tunnels, and 16 PPTP VPN tunnels.
- Comes with SPI firewall, IP-MAC binding, and DoS defense to protect from most forms of cyberattacks.
- Has a built-in mechanism to prevent electrical surges from impacting the interior parts of the electrical equipment.
- Offers one-click enable to set up unsupported applications such as FTP, TFTP, and RTSP.
Linksys Business Dual WAN Gigabit VPN Router
Linksys packs a ton of features into this router along with load balancing and failover to provide a highly reliable Internet connection for personal and organizational use. Its VPN capabilities make it easy for employees to connect to your network from any remote location.
Here are some of the top features of Linksys business dual-WAN Gigabit VPN router.
- Supports OpenVPN clients running on employees’ personal computers and mobile devices.
- Authenticates using two-factor authentication.
- Offers WAN failover.
- Aggregates the bandwidth of both the ISPs to provide a high bandwidth connection.
- Supports URL filtering and access rules to help administrators regulate traffic.
- Comes with an integrated firewall for added security.
- Provides superior IPSec throughput.
- Comes with EasyLink VPN for easy set up of VPN connections.
Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite ERLITE-3 Desktop Router
This is a simple and low-cost router that works well for homes and small businesses that need an uninterrupted Internet connection. Though it provides fewer connection points when compared to other routers, it makes up with a host of features aimed to provide high levels of usability and extensibility.
The important features of this router are:
- Transfers 1 million 64-byte data packets every second.
- Comes with 3-gigabit routing ports.
- Produces a noiseless and fanless working environment.
- The overall design is compact and sleek.
- Metal frame gives a layer of security to prevent any internal damage even when dropped accidentally.
- Has a durable metal casing to let out all the extra heat.
While this is not a comprehensive list of all dual-WAN routers, we hope it introduces you to some of the popular ones and their features.
Multi-WAN routers: For some, they are essential
Dual-WAN or multi-WAN routers give you reliable Internet at all times coupled with load balancing and security. They are most essential for those who are likely to get impacted even with short Internet outages and for those who want to combine the bandwidth of two or more providers.
Featured image: Pixabay
9 thoughts on “Multi-WAN routers: A comprehensive guide to five of the best”
Hi Jose, do you recommend MikroTik?
Given the WFH times of COVID what are the devices you will recommend for home office solutions in the same context of multi WAN routers with failover features ?
I HAVE 100 WORKERS NEED INTERNET BUT DONT HAVE BROAD BAND ISP ONLY LTE(SIM)CAN USE
we have many 4g sim routers in our website and we had unboxed in our youtube channel .
OpenWRT Routers were not included in this tech post.
I have a 100 engineers company with 3 ISP connection and required Open VPN support. Could you please suggest the best router
i have three ISP link and i want to assign all these links to my LAN users if one link goes down the an other one is link up or load balancing .
Could you please suggest the best router……
You can do it via any capable router, such as PFsense, Miktorik, BSD or Linux based system.
How do i do it with Mikrotik