Tiernan's Comms Closet

Geek, Programmer, Photographer, network egineer…

Currently Viewing Posts in Double Speed Internet

double speed Internet Part 9 – Going Back

[NOTE] This part 9 in a series of posts. The rest can be found here

Well, the double internet experiment is about ready to be finished… After 9 posts, 4 months, lots of sweating, many painful nights trying to figure out why something stopped using, shouting when Netflix did not work, wondering why my internet connection was so slow, and many, many other problems, i have decided to wind down the project. in the last 9 posts, i have learned a lot, and i hope i have helped someone figure out some stuff on their end. Even though this is a wind up of the project, there are still new things i have to share.

  • I found another project that has potential for speeding up the internet: VTrunkd. after some testing, i does seem to manage to speed up the connection, but either limits on hardware i have in house, or limits of hardware in the cloud, or even the software, stopped me in my tracks… i did see 400mb/s out of it at one stage, using 200mb/s from each modem… its close, but its not the full 720…
  • messing with Quagga/Zebra as mentioned in the previous post has been, well, interesting… I did manage to get all OVH traffic sent though their server, Digital Ocean traffic sent over that box, and everything else over Hetzner. I added an Azure box to the mix for a while, aswell as a Vultr box, but it got very messey, very quickly. if i had something automated, it would be better.
  • the idea of having a /29 IP range in Hetzner and forwarding it though the tunnels back to the house did work. My Meraki MX64 had one IP address, i had a mail server on a second, everything else on a third, and was planning on using more… but its just, well, again, messy. So, i will be going back to the idea of 2 IP addresses, and hoping whatever i put infront of the network can figure stuff out…

So, what am i moving to? well, thats a question… Currently, i have the Meraki MX64 plugged directly into the modems, and protecting my LAN. So far, so good, but due to hardware limits, it maxes out at around 260mb/s. So, thats out of the question for the main network! I did at one stage have Sophos UTM Home edition running. Sophos also have their XG firewall available for home use, so i might try that… There is also PFSense which i used before also… And there may be more… Maybe there will be a new series reviewing these home firewalls? we will see…

double speed Internet Part 8 – Routing Around

[NOTE] This part 8 in a series of posts. The rest can be found here.

At the end of my last post I asked the question about routing traffic to different servers based on thier distances, etc… Well, after a bit of messing, i can say it kind of works! here is a quick over view:

  • server in the house has now got multiple OpenVPN connections (2 to Hetzner, 1 to OVH (with a plan to double), 1 to Digital Ocean (again, to be doubled) and i am planning 2 to Azure as well).
  • Quagga/Zebra has static routes (currently static, planing on dynamic soon… more eventually) to different servers depending on where they are. for example, all traffic to the hetzner network (including their Storage Boxes) go though the hetzner link. Hubic traffic goes though OVH, Azure (currently) and AWS traffic, aswell as some CDNs go direct over either WAN1 or WAN2 in the house, and some other stuff (CrashPlan currently) goes though Digital Ocean. Everything that has no static route goes though Hetzner…
  • Ideally, the static side of things should be removed, and a more dynamic setup done. How that works, i have no idea… Spotify have 2 posts about their SDN Internet Router (part 1 and part 2) which is an interesting idea… More digging and research is required.

So, there you have it. Everything currently seems to be working, mostly, and tweaks can be made easily… I have a couple posts i have in my head, including something to do with automating bringing up new machines (probably with Ansible or something like it), more monitoring, and some other stuff too… Any questions, leave a comment, and i will get back.

[UPDATE] I wrote a quick and dirty app called WhoIsToZebraConfig which takes an AS Number, looks up the info in the Merit RADb (with the help of some code from Coder Buddy) and outputs what you need to put into your Zebra Config… should save me some time, and it might save you time too… shout if you have questions!

double speed Internet Part 7 – ECMP (kind of)

[NOTE] This part 7 in a series of posts. The rest can be found here.

In the last post I mentioned I am now using Hetzner for hosting a dedicated box. Thats still live, and going well. I have a /29 IP range (6 usable) and also 2 other IPs. So far, so good… But because i was using a Socks Server, I was not fully able to use the /29 ips… I use something like as follows:

essentially, for each public IP i have that i want to map to an internal IP, i have a POST and PRE ROUTING rule, plus the required forward rules… But, if socks are used, then that goes out the Window, since TCP traffic will look like its coming from the socks server… So, i killed the socks server, removed the IPTables rule, and then realized that while outgoing traffic was being balanced somewhat (2 default rules on the internal box pointing at the OpenVPN IPs from the Hetzner box) incoming was a problem. Hetzner knew how to get to my internal network, but only though one ip… enter Quagga and Zebra…

Quagga is a routing software suite, which can do protocols like OSPF, BGP and RIP, and Zebra is the component that does static routing. using their documentation on static routes, I created a static route to my internal network with 2 next hops, the OVPN IPs from the internal box… and, after restarting Quagga, all works! happy days! now i can forward ips from outside the network to inside the network correctly, and they look like they are the public ip!

So, whats next then? well, I now have a server in Germany (Hetzner) and one in France (OVH), and can spin one up in the UK or the US (Digital Ocean). Given that i have Quagga running on the box, i am now thinking of trying to see if its possible to route traffic depending on distance or something similar… If i am trying to hit a server in Hetzner’s DC, i should go though Germany. If its in Digital Ocean, go though either US or UK servers, same with OVH. Then figure out who has the fastest links to, say, Amazon, Azure, Netflix, BBC, Dropbox, etc, and add either static or dynamic links to the router… essentially, thats the theory… lets see how that works…

double speed Internet Part 6 – Hetzner Edition

[NOTE] This part 6 in a series of posts. The rest can be found here.

Its been a while, since I posted, and there are some, well, pretty major changes since the last time… Lets start are the beginning.

Last time I was using Digital Ocean for my hosting provider. I was using their $20 a month server (2 cores, 2GB RAM, 40GB SSD, 3TB transfer), and it was all good… But I noticed that every now and again I would need to reboot the box. I also noticed that when transferring large files or using higher bandwidth (400mb/s+) the 100% of both cores were being used. So, I wanted to move to something with more power…

I also was limited to IP addresses. Yes, Digital Ocean do offer IPv6, but I could only get 1 IPv4 address… and I wanted more…

So, I went back to some old friends of mine, Hetzner, and bought a dedicated server with a Quad Core Xeon E3, 32GB RAM, 4*3 TB HDDs, 1Gbit/s network connection with 30TB transfer per month and a KVMoIP plugged in. I also got 2 extra standard IPs and a /29 (8 IPs, 6 usable). I will explain that next. I installed Debian 8.4 on the first disk, and I am planning on using the other 3 for storage of some sort. I then installed the MPTCP kernel, OpenVPN, Squid and a Socks server (same as the Digital Ocean box) and reconfigured the home machine… All good! Now when browsing the web, everywhere thinks I am in Germany, but so far, so good… Speed tests are about the same, but I have my theory about ECMP to try this weekend.

Because of the extra IPs, I am working on doing full IP forwarding, not just port forwarding. One of my IPs in pointing directly at my Meraki MX64 in house (a post on the Meraki stuff is coming, eventually…) and another at the Proliant box, and I plan on pointing other IPs at machines in the DMZ or a firewall of some sort. the /29 is routed though the IP pointing at the Proliant, so that makes life easier. The original IP is only used for SSH and OVPN from the house. it should not do much else. All network traffic in house is coming from other of the other IPs.

Again, so far, so good. Hopefully the ECMP stuff works correctly, so I will do an updated post soon.

(Mad) Max Speed – The Road Warrior (Internet connection) (double speed internet Part 5)

[NOTE] This part 5 in a series of posts. The rest can be found here.

This post is going to be an update and theoretical post. probably very little “new” stuff going on here, mostly updates, and what I am planning on doing later on.

This week, I have been OOF sick, so I have not done much work, but I have been surfing the web, watching videos, downloading stuff, etc., so I have an idea of how things are going. First, as mentioned in the previous post I have MPTCP, Squid, Socks Servers, OpenVPN and IPTables doing their magic. 2 OpenVPN tunnels between the house and Digital Ocean. All TCP Traffic (bar port 80) is sent over socks to the box in the cloud using RedSocks. All UDP traffic is sent direct over OpenVPN. Since MPTCP is in the mix, all socks traffic is actually split over the 2 connections. All port 80 traffic, and 443 (if the client is using local Squid as their proxy) is sent round-robin between the 2 upstream IPs to Squid (2 OpenVPN end points).

Things I have noticed:

  • Every now and again, RedSocks crashes… just full on dies. It’s just a matter of starting again, but it’s a pain…
  • I have had to restart squid a couple of times… not too often though
  • there was a power outage in the house a few days back… so, when everything came back online, it was a bit of a pain bringing all connections back to life. I do have to figure out a better plan

I still have to read more on this ECMP stuff. Hopefully it will do what I am hoping.

Now for the theoretical stuff. I started thinking, could this work outside the house? Could you build this into something smaller, like a Raspberry Pi, and stick 2 or more USB Modems in, connect it back to a server in the cloud, setup P2P OpenVPN connections and then get more than a single modem speed download? The problems I can see are around MPTCP. I am not sure if it has been ported to ARM to run on a Raspberry Pi. Second, the max you could ever get out of it is 100Mbit/s, given the 10/100mb network port on board… and you may need extra power for the USB dongles. Also, getting P2P connections may be complicated, given the non-static IPs on the modems, though, in theory, non-P2P OpenVPN could work… Again, it’s a theory. I had the though and that’s where the title came from… anyway, throwing it out there…

2 Cable Modems = Double Speed? Part 4

[NOTE] This part 4 in a series of posts. The rest can be found here.

So, this week I went in a completely different direction that I have been thinking recently…

So, the basic theory is as follows:

  • I am still using MPTCP kernels on both upstream and local machine
  • now have 2 P2P UDP OpenVPN tunnels between house and cloud. Example config is here
  • all TCP traffic (bar port 80) that hits the router in house is redirected to RedSocks
  • RedSocks uses a socks server, Dante, as an upstream server on the cloud box
  • since the socks traffic is over TCP (inside the UDP OpenVPN tunnel) it uses MPTCP
  • having socks running, gives me quite the download speed, turning it off does not, hence the following tweet

  • I am also noticing that I am starting to hit the limits of my upstream VM. If downloading or uploading at speed, the processor cores (2 in the case of the box I am currently running) are pegged at pretty much 100% full… Well, 80ish, but that because the other 20% is being used by Dante. I am noticing I can hit a full 72Mbit/s up, but the max currently downloading is about 400, maybe 450… Need a faster box now…
  • I mentioned port 80 not being set over socks. That’s because its redirected to Squid. Squid (in house) then uses Squid (in cloud) as a parent. There are 2 round-robin parents for squid, one on each OpenVPN connection IP address.
  • all other traffic (UDP, ICMP, etc.) are sent over the OpenVPN connection… currently only one is picked, but I have a cunning plan…

The cunning plan? Well, if I am reading the internet correctly, and I would like to think I am, I think ECMP, or Equal Cost Multi-Path Routing, could help… Again, it’s a fledgling idea currently, and I am still reading the documentation, but if it works… Well… I not sure… let’s see…

2 Cable modems = Double speed? Part 3

[NOTE] This part 3 in a series of posts. The rest can be found here.

In Part 1 of this series I explained the why and what I wanted to do for this “project”. In Part 2 I did some basic testing of both MPTCP and MLVPN. I also mentioned trying MMPPP using vtund but it has been a while since I did that testing, and it had not been on bare metal. So, this post is a follow up, where I am using bare metal.

So, first, the setup:

  • ProLiant box is running Debian 8.3 x64, and has both vtund and ppp installed
  • Digtial Ocean box also has Debian 8.3, vtund and ppp installed
  • walked though the guide from John Lewis and made some changes to the configs. the main ones are mentioned below

Once done, i installed both iperf and iftop on both boxes, and ran

iperf -s

on the Digital Ocean box and

iperf -c -d

on the local box. And, well, the results where not as expected. Pretty poor actually:

First, using Squid installed on the DO box, i tried using WGET to download a file using it. If I did this on the DO box itself, i was getting 100MBytes/s… When I ran it over the MLPPP box, well, under 7 was achieved.

Then i though it might have been Squid. So, since the file had been downloaded to DO, i SFTPed into the box over the MLPPP link, and tried again… Again, pretty poor result. I think i seen it hit about 7MB a sec at one stage.

Here is what is showing on the DO box when running the SFTP download. You can see 2 connections from the 2 WAN links at home hitting the box, and they are balanced. Its just nowhere near the speed they are capable of.

I did not get a screen shot of this, but when I tried with iperf, thinking it might have been overhead of SFTP or Squid, I was getting results matching what I was seeing with SFTP. Downloads in the 55-60mbit/s range for download and 40ish for upload. 40 is still faster than 1 link, mind you…

I mentioned that I had made some minor tweaks to the configs from what John had written. Well, mostly it was config changes to how routing was done. In Johns case, he is bonding a DSL and a HSDPA connection, so he had setup to do for logging into his PPP modem and connecting. Also, when he setup the interfaces, he routing tables in there. I have mine setup in a single config file, like as follows:

I have changed the names from adsl1 and 2 to WAN1 and 2, and the IPs are changed from internal IPs to my public IPs. I manually run this when setting up my connection.

Nothing else on his config files have changed. I did not do any of the masquerading stuff, mainly cause this was testing. I just want a tunnel to start with. When reading the vtund.conf file, you can see that encryption and compression are both turned off, and and the same in the ppp configuration. I also don’t think the issue is to do with the CPU performance, since these are the screenshots of top running on both boxes:

in both cases, CPU usage is sub 6% for VTUN and SSH seems to be using less than 10%. So, now, I’m baffled as to why this is not performing as expected… More testing required!

[update 4/4/2016] – fixing images so they are clickable…

MPTCP, SSH, Squid, OpenVPN (and 2 Cable modems) = Double Speed? Not quite… Part 2

[NOTE] This part 2 in a series of posts. The rest can be found here.

In my previous post I explained what i was trying to do… This post explains what i have been working on recently, and performance results…
So, first, what have i tried… There are 3 different things i have tried, and here are some of their details. Some will need to be updated (other parts of this series), and others i will try get back to eventually.

Hardware and servers used

To test this, i am using my HP Proliant ML110 G5 running either Ubuntu or Debian Linux, with 2 GigE connections directly to the cable modems, and 1 connection to the LAN (for SSH and testing). The LAN has no gateway set, and the 2 WAN connections have DHCP enabled. They get fully public IP addresses. Upstream, I am using either Digital Ocean or ScaleWay VPS boxes.

Digital Ocean has the advantage of allowing different Kernels, so i have been using them for testing MPTCP. As for ScaleWay, well, their BareMetal C2S/M/L boxes have between 4 and 8 cores (4 for the S, 8 for the M and L) and between 8 and 32Gb RAM (S=8, M=16, L=32GB). The L model also comes with 256GB SSD (plus the boot disk, which seems to be a network disk of some sort) and they all come with lots of bandwidth (i use the L because its got about 800MBit/s to the internet).

Ping wise, Digital Ocean is about 20-30ms away from the house (I picked London to host the servers) and Scaleway is a little further at about 50ms (They are based in France).

MPTCP (MultiPath TCP)

MPTCP (their site is a bit wonky as of writing, so bare with me…) is a Linux Kernel patch that allows TCP connections to use multiple paths… Essentially, if you have Wifi and 4G in a phone, and MPTCP is enabled, it should allow you to use both connections for TCP traffic, as long as the server upstream supports it. It also allows for easy fail over if, say, you lose your wifi connection. There is an example video of it on YouTube which should show the fail over parts and this video shows how they managed to get 50Gbit/s out of a 6 10Gb Ethernet connections.

When i was using MPTCP, I had a copy of Squid on both boxes, and told Squid locally to use Squid on the upstream box (over a SSH tunnel, which was over the MPTCP link) as a parent cache. Using this method, i could see (using iftop) that both connections were being used. When trying proper performace testing, I setup a RAM disk on both machines and copied a Linux ISO to the Digtial Ocean Box. Then, using wget and Axel I downloaded the files using Nginx on the server, and checked the results. I can max out 1 single connection, plus use about 60-80mbit/s from the second. about 420-440mbit/s total. Disk was not the bottleneck, since I was writing to RAM, so more tests are required.


MLVPN is a pretty interesting project that caught my eye. The idea is quite simple: you configure the local box and server, as mentioned in their example guide and run the MLVPN program on the server, then the client. It creates 2 VPN tunnels between the 2 boxes, and bonds them… In my case, i was given an IP of on my box in house and on the server. Any traffic over that tunnel is bonded… Problem is, it seems to be quite processor intensive: my Digital Ocean box was showing one cpu core (out of 2) maxing out at around 80% and my Proliant in house maxing around the 70% mark… all while transferring data at around 100mbit/s. I tried iperf and got the following:

getting 50mbit/s upload is good, in reality, since in theory my max speed would be 72, without overhead. but 116mb/s down is less than a third the max speed of a single connection. So, I tried just uploads and downloads…

Upload Only (from local machine to server)

Download Only (from server to local machine)

As you can see, the download speed has increased a little, to 176Mbit/s, but the upload speed is now at over 60MBit/s!

Still.. download is as important as upload, and given I haven’t managed to get it to max out one connection, never mind 2, even more testing is required…

MLPPP (using VTUN)

This is one i need to come back to… Used the guide from John Lewis but was only managing to get about 100Mbit/s… I was originally using a VM (so disk may have been the issue) and also had the connection behind my EdgeRouter, so it might have been firewall rules causing a slow down. But I do need to come back to this soon… Watch this space.


Well, at the moment, all I can conclude is that there is more testing required. Upload wise, i can somewhat use most of my bandwidth with MLVPN, and I did see promising results with MPTCP. I gave up a bit too early with MLPPP, so more testing is required with that. Also, all tests are using just iperf between boxes. I did use squid with the MPTCP box for a while, but not for proper performance testing. So, even once this is all sorted out, i will need to turn this into a proper “router” too… So, conclusion? this was originally meant to be a 2 parter… now it looks like I will require a lot more parts… Watch this space…

2 Cable modems = Double Internet Speed? Well… not really… Part 1

[NOTE] This part 1 in a series of posts. The rest can be found here.

First, a bit of background, and then I will explain what I am currently running in Part 2

For the last 15 or so years, I have had at least 2 internet connections in to the house… 2 of them have always been Cable Modems from NTL, which became UPC, and now is Virgin Media. When I started, i think the modems where 150/50kbit/s and 600/150kb/s, and have steadily increased in speed, currently at 360/36Mbit/s each… But they have always been somewhat separate, and single thread downloads have always been limited to 1 of the connections… I have been looking for ways around this for years…

It started with a Linksys RV042 router which allowed me to load balance my connections… At the time, and i cant even remember when this was, my total bandwidth would not exceed the router. The RV042 has 2 10/100mbit WAN links and 4 100mb/s LAN links…So, when the connection bandwidth increased, I moved to a new router…

The next router vendor i tried was Mikrotik. I tried a few different options, including an RB1100 and running their RouterOS on x86 hardware… Both worked, well, ok, and the Load balancing with nth stuff did do what i needed, along with other stuff, like routing traffic destined for some sites (like BBC iPlayer) to go over a VPN. But in the end, hardware issues and performance problems with the x86 machine (Mikrotik at the time was limited to 2GB of RAM on x86 hardware) I ended up at PfSense.

PfSense was installed on the same hardware, a HP ProLiant ML110 G5 with 8GB RAM, a Core2Quad processor and 12 GigE Network cards… And, on PfSense, things were good… Performance was stable, load balancing worked as expected, I could set some traffic to go over certain links, etc. all was good… But I lacked IPv6… Plus, the HP used a LOT of power…

The current instalment of my network uses a Ubiquiti Networks Edge Router POE. To show the difference in power, check out the graphs from my Ubnt MPower device. ProLiant first, EdgeRouter second:

Plus, the EdgeRouter does not produce as much heat, and its a LOT smaller that the PowerEdge! It does all the same things I could get PfSense to do, in a lot smaller package (I could, in theory, get a smaller box for PfSense).

So, where does that leave us? Well, I now have 720Mbit/s down and 72Mbit/s up, if I can do multiple threads for uploading… But what if I don’t? What’s next? Well, in the second post, I will explain what I have been trying to do in resent weeks, and what I can do now…