At a small business with under 10 PCs they have 3 general purpose wifi routers with internet from different ISPs.

They want to have a single network so that if they have to switch the gateway the shared folders and printers would be accessible the same way.

As they use the wifi they have enabled the DHCP for all three routers but one of them gets to be the primary so those who do not set their addresses statically will get to be on that network.

They want to switch between networks manually and not to have alternative gateways to be set automatically if one ISP is failing or similar router or client side solutions. Sometimes they are having conferences on the best ISP's line and for that time everybody who is not in the conference has to use another IP's line. Any good idea how to get rid of this networking mess and still meet the requirements?

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    There are routers which support multiple WAN connections. Use one of those. – Ron Maupin Dec 16 '15 at 16:11
  • As far as I know then the router makes the switchings between the WAN connections. Here each user has to be able to switch to the IP line he wants. – obeliksz Dec 17 '15 at 19:34
  • There are multiple ways a single router could use multiple WAN links. For instance, you could have routing policies for different IP addresses or ranges which decide which WAN link to use, or you could set up some sort of flow balancing, or you could use them in a primary/backup fashion, etc. – Ron Maupin Dec 17 '15 at 19:36
  • I see, with routing policies that would be a solution to dedicate 3 IPs for every connected device and depending on which IP is set they get the ISP line... This could be a good answer. The solutions with flow balancing or primary/backup fashion, sorry I don't get it. – obeliksz Dec 17 '15 at 19:42
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    There is no reason for that. If the users care which ISP is used to get to the Internet, they really don't know how the Internet works. This is a case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. – Ron Maupin Dec 17 '15 at 19:49

You can certainly create a single network with wireless that will satisfy your needs. A single network switch, a few commercial grade access points (depending on how far apart the users are), and a router to connect to one or more providers is what you need. There should be no need to "switch gateways."

Depending on where you live, you should be able to find someone to design and install this for you. You should expect to pay more than the price for home networking gear.

  • Switching between IP lines is easy if you have separate routers, you just switch the gateways. If you have all the IP lines in the router how does a simple user without access to the router's control panel switch to another IP line, and of course without globally changing the IP line for everyone connected? – obeliksz Dec 17 '15 at 19:32
  • There are a lot of assumptions here. Why do you want to switch lines? – Ron Trunk Dec 17 '15 at 19:33
  • One example is when there is a conference as detailed in my question. Another would be for testing connections / transfers, and for using different ISPs when someone prefers larger bandwidth or less latency. – obeliksz Dec 17 '15 at 19:46
  • I don't understand why you are doing that. Why not have one Internet connection with sufficient bandwidth? If you really want to switch ISPs based on network performance, there are features on Cisco routers (called optimized edge routing) that can direct traffic based on which one has the better performance. But the simpler solution is to get one good connection. That would be cheaper than three bad ones. – Ron Trunk Dec 17 '15 at 19:50

This might be the point where you will need to invest in more robust network equipment. In general, two routers running a First Hop Routing Protocol (FHRP) like VRRP can connect to two ISPs while keeping everyone on the same network on the LAN or WLAN. VRRP will place one router/ISP on standby and the other active. When the active fails, the standby takes over. For better cost advantage, you can use Cisco's GLRP which will load balance between ISPs. Other router and switch makers might also have similar load balancing FHRP as well.

  • Methods in which the router determines which ISP line to use is not okey as users of the network will be unable to switch manually to whatever ISP they want actually to use. – obeliksz Dec 17 '15 at 19:36

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