EVDOinfo Tip Of The Week #46: Using Load Balancing on CTR500/MBR1000/MBR1200

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Wednesday, 24 March 2010

tip of the week by has long been your source for tips, tricks, hacks and suggestions for getting the most out of your EVDO service, and each week we will be highlighting a particularly interesting or popular topic in the "Tip of the Week" feature. To suggest future Tips of the Week, contact us at or post your suggestions in the EVDO Forums.


Using Load Balancing on CTR500/MBR1000/MBR1200

This week we are going to show you how to setup load balancing on your Cradlepoint CTR500, MBR1000 or MBR1200 router. Load balancing allows you to use multiple cellular modems in one router and balance the bandwidth burden carried by any one of them. This is a great solution for people doing heavy downloading (you can use two [or more!] modems and let them share the work, reducing your risk of exceeding your 5GB limit) or folks wanting to use multiple modems from different carriers to maximize your chances of having the best possible performance (for example, one Sprint modem and one Verizon modem).

The official release notes from Cradlepoint provide this explanation about the Load Balancing feature:

If two or three modems are attached, the router will use multiple connections to transfer data. If only one data connection is being used by an application (for example, a network performance test or a single video download), then only one modem will be used. But if multiple connections are being accessed (for example, a Bittorrent with multiple seeds, different simultaneous video downloads, or a simultaneous web update and email download), the traffic will be balanced among the modems.

Load balancing works well with multiple modems that have approximately the same performance. The controlling algorithm assigns new connections to modems in a round-robin fashion. If a modem is attached that is significantly slower than other attached modems, the overall performance will be limited by the slowest modem.

That last part means that if one device is much faster than another (for instance, a Verizon V740 Rev-A ExpressCard running on a Rev-A network, and an ATT 881U USB modem running on the EDGE network), then performance may not be as expected since the router does not evaluate the speed of any live connection - it simply uses a "round robin" method to decide when to switch connections while balancing loads. In other words, load balancing works best when the modems you're balancing between operate on the same (or similar) networks - i.e. two 3G modems

NOTE: Load balancing between two 4G modems cannot be done due to the way the WiMAX connection is handled. However; one 3G & one 4G connection could be load balanced, or even one wired wan connection and a 4G connection.

The CTR500, MBR1000 and MBR1200 routers all support load balancing. The CTR500 can load balance between one USB modem and one ExpressCard, the MBR1000 can load balance between two USB modems and one Expresscard, and the MBR1000 can load balance between up to five modems (3 USB, one ExpressCard, one PCMCIA). Load balancing is easy to set up on your CTR500/MBR1000/MBR1200 via your web admin - check out this brief video demonstrating how to enable this feature (or jump ahead to read the instructions):

1. To enable load balancing, first you will need to connect to your Cradlepoint router, and then login to the administration page at

2. Once you are logged in, click on the "Advanced" tab at the top of the page, then select "Failover/Load Balance" from the menu on the left side of the page.

3. Under the "WAN Load Balancing" section, change the "Load Balance Mode" to "Enable Load Balance with any WAN interface":

4. Once you have enabled Load Balancing, scroll back to the top of the page and click "Save Settings". Once the router reboots, Load Balancing will be enabled! You'll be able to see all of your connected modems on the "status" page in the web admin. Below is a screenshot of a CTR500 with two modems connected:

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 16 September 2010 )
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