ECMP load balancing with masquerade

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Spanish version of this article: Balanceo de carga mejorado persistente

Introduction

This example is improved (different) version of round-robin load balancing example. It adds persistent user sessions, i.e. a particular user would use the same source IP address for all outgoing connections. Consider the following network layout:

LoadBalancing.jpg

Quick Start for Impatient

Configuration export from the gateway router:

'''/ ip address''' 
add address=192.168.0.1/24 network=192.168.0.0 broadcast=192.168.0.255 interface=Local 
add address=10.111.0.2/24 network=10.111.0.0 broadcast=10.111.0.255 interface=wlan2
add address=10.112.0.2/24 network=10.112.0.0 broadcast=10.112.0.255 interface=wlan1

'''/ ip route''' 
add dst-address=0.0.0.0/0 gateway=10.111.0.1,10.112.0.1 check-gateway=ping 

'''/ ip firewall nat''' 
add chain=srcnat out-interface=wlan1 action=masquerade
add chain=srcnat out-interface=wlan2 action=masquerade

Explanation

First we give a code snippet and then explain what it actually does.

IP Addresses

/ ip address 
add address=192.168.0.1/24 network=192.168.0.0 broadcast=192.168.0.255 interface=Local
add address=10.111.0.2/24 network=10.111.0.0 broadcast=10.111.0.255 interface=wlan2 
add address=10.112.0.2/24 network=10.112.0.0 broadcast=10.112.0.255 interface=wlan1 

The router has two upstream (WAN) interfaces with the addresses of 10.111.0.2/24 and 10.112.0.2/24. The LAN interface has the name "Local" and IP address of 192.168.0.1/24.


NAT

/ ip firewall nat 
add chain=srcnat out-interface=wlan1 action=masquerade
add chain=srcnat out-interface=wlan2 action=masquerade

As routing decision is already made we just need rules that will fix src-addresses for all outgoing packets. if this packet will leave via wlan1 it will be NATed to 10.112.0.2/24, if via wlan2 then NATed to 10.111.0.2/24


Routing

/ ip route 
add dst-address=0.0.0.0/0 gateway=10.111.0.1,10.112.0.1 check-gateway=ping 

This is typical ECMP (Equal Cost Multi-Path) gateway with check-gateway. ECMP is "persistent per-connection load balancing" or "per-src-dst-address combination load balancing". As soon as one of the gateway will not be reachable, check-gateway will remove it from gateway list. And you will have a "failover" effect.


You can use asymmetric bandwidth links also - for example one link is 2Mbps other 10Mbps. Just use this command to make load balancing 1:5

/ ip route 
add dst-address=0.0.0.0/0 gateway=10.111.0.1,10.112.0.1,10.112.0.1,10.112.0.1,10.112.0.1,10.112.0.1 check-gateway=ping