How can I set up an ISA server, install load balancer, and connect a network printer?

Ali March 25, 2011
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In my office I have two Broadband lines, one is a dedicated Broadband line and one is DSL line. The DSL line is used whenever the dedicated Broadband line is down, so this line is wasted most of the time.

Someone told me to install ISA server, but I am no IT expert and I have an additional charge for IT department in my Office, so I have to do it on my own. Someone told me to install Load Balancer and it’s easy to install so any help in this regard will be appreciated. Also I have a network printer installed on dedicated broadband line. How will I install that printer after installing load balancer?

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  1. Tina
    March 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Ali,

    were you able to sort out your options and find a solution? Let us know what strategy worked for you or whether you ended up calling the IT Department. Thank you!

    • Ali
      March 28, 2011 at 6:35 am

      No i am not able to find any solution from the explanation given by Mike and I dont have any IT Department in my office so now there is only one option left for me hire some computer networking firm. But my office dont have enough budget for it so I guess its coming out of my pocket

      • Mike
        March 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm

        To make it simple - there are two options to run Load Balancing an Fall-Over:
        1. Hardware Appliance (like ZyWall, DrayTek Vigor)
        2. Hardware + Software Solution (like Microsoft ISA, m0n0wall, IPCop/IPFire)

        For 1) You need an complete overview and knowledge of your current networking structure (from the outlet to the WLAN/Wires where the computers connect). Simply plugging random cables into the Appliance and enabling Load Balancing with Fall-Over doesn't work - in the rare case it does something else probably won't.

        For 2) Again you need knowledge about your current structure. Depending on the structure you need a Hardware with 3 NICs (2 for WAN, 1 for LAN) or a combination of NICs and Modem Cards - in case of Microsoft ISA you also need a valid Microsoft Windows Licence.

        As for Microsoft ISA: The thing is, nothings get's any easier from installation all the way through configuration (sometimes you wait 10-20 Minutes until a Policy is in effect). It's not like installing Microsoft Office and setting up a POP or IMAP Account.

        Technet descriptions for Load Balancing in
        Microsoft ISA 2006
        http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb838849.aspx
        Microsoft ISA 2004
        http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc302580.aspx

        ISA Server Portal with lots of information and Tutorials.
        http://www.isaserver.org/

        This is stuff where IT Professionals attend 1-3 days of training courses for a lot of money and nothing you can explain in 100 Words, 5 Sentences...

  2. Mike
    March 26, 2011 at 3:52 am

    To be honest, neither installing and configuring ISA Server nor running Load Balancing across two lines is something you can easily explain and/or do.

    When your Broadband is down do you automatically switch to the DSL line or do you have to manually unplug and replug some cables?
    If this done automatically you already have some sort of balancing (or in this case failover) in place which could be reconfigured for your purpose.

    Load Balancing requires you to directly connect both lines to the machine where you configured it. Unless you have a full documentation of your IT Infrastructure I don't recommend unplugging or adding anything in between it or you might end up calling your IT Service Provider because everything is dead.

    As for your Printer: Unless it is somewhere outside your company e.g. a remote location there shouldn't be any installation required. If it's in your office it is a local network printer and shouldn't be effected by doing Load Balancing or any other change of your Internet Connection.

    • Ali
      March 26, 2011 at 4:45 am

      There is one wireless router for broadband connection and one for DSL connection, so if broadband is down we connect to DSL wireless router. There is no unpluging and repluging involved. Also the printer is installed on broadband wireless router and its a network printer and when broadband is down we cannot use printer. Any solution for this problem is highly apreciated

      • Mike
        March 26, 2011 at 7:38 am

        I'm not sure if I can give you sufficient advise, there are so much possibilities that have to be considered...

        ZyXel offers Gateways with dual WAN Ports for both, Load Balancing and automatic fall-over. For example ZyWALL 35/70/35 UTM/70 UTM all of them offer these features and all of them have an Extension Card Slot for a Wireless Modul.
        Of course you can also use one of the existing Routers instead of buying a Wireless Modul.

        The question is how the existing broadbands interconnect with the Routers. If they are Ethernet connections you will be able to replace both Routers with a ZyWall. If either of them has a built-in modem handling the connection you either have to replace it with a stand-alone modem or keep the Router and use a Ethernet cable to connect to the ZyWall WAN Port.

        You can also keep both Routers and go from there to the WAN Ports of the ZyWall. But then again, since you are using Wireless you either need the WLAN Modul or any other device behind the ZyWall to provide Wireless connection in order to have the Load Balancing/Fall-Over functionality for your Clients.

        Since the ZyWall is a fully featured Gateway with Firewall, Internet Filter, etc. it is also advisable to deactivate any of those things on any device between the WAN Port of it and the cable providing the Internet Connection.

        Another point is DHCP [unless you are using manual, static IPs].
        Having two Routers on different networks usually means each of them is providing DHCP as soon as you are combining your network you will want to eliminate one of them (because of possible IP conflicts). Or at least configure them not to interfere with one another.

        *****
        General speaking: You can replace ZyWall with any other solution including a dedicated Server with Microsoft ISA or whatever you end up using. The thought pattern and necessary considerations are the same.
        *****

        As for your printer the situation is quite simple:
        Your printer is on the network with the broadband connection. When the connection is down all of you connect to the second network with the DSL connection but the printer doesn't! (not automatically) Hence you are no longer able to print.

        If the printer is connected Wireless you will have to reconfigure every time before you switch network. If the printer is connected wired you simply plug the wire into the other Router (reconfiguration might be required).
        If the printer is connected via USB it depends on whether the other Router has a USB Port or not. Other options include using of those inexpensive Printservers.

        A unified network would definitely help with this problem...

        *****

        Personally I can come up with so many question and solutions depending on the answers. This is why I can think of so many scenarios where you will and up being walled [and probably call your IT Department]

        Maybe someone else here on MUO has an easy solution for your problem.
        I'm used to deisgn and administrate networks from 5 to 250 users so maybe I'm just thinking to complex.

        • Mike
          March 26, 2011 at 7:39 am

          wow... either me or Disqus messed up that bold tag :o

        • Aibek
          March 26, 2011 at 8:34 am

          It seems you forgot to add the the close tag for bold text. I fixed it for you.

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