Seeking Model Selection Advice for Home Network

I’m adding a second ISP service to my home and I’m looking to buy a device to balance traffic between the two services. My current ISP is Xfinity Cable, 400/20Mbps. Second service will be AT&T VDSL, 50/10Mbps. I also have a data-only SIM with Google Fi which I would like to have as a standby connection if both other services go down, but only for limited traffic as there is a flat $10/Gb cost which adds up quite quickly. The decision to add a secondary ISP was two-told; I want redundancy to maintain connectivity, and I also want to distribute data between the providers as they both have a ~1TB data limit.

My current infrastructure consists of all Ubiquiti Unifi products: UDM-Pro, US-24-250W, US-8, UAP-AC-IW (x5). The UDM-Pro has two WAN ports but only offers failover between them. I still have a USG-Pro that the UDM-Pro replaced, which does have Weighted LB for the WAN ports, but it’s hardware limited to ~250Mbps throughput with IPS enabled. Also, my impression is that the Peplink devices have a much more sophisticated method for balancing traffic.

I’m hoping to get some guidance on what device would best suit my needs; I’m struggling to find the right balance between upfront cost and long-term compatibility. For future-proofing, I would ideally choose a device that could accommodate two 1Gbps connections as well as a permanent LTE connection. I’m also undecided on whether I’d be best installing a Peplink device before my UDM-Pro in Drop-In Mode, or if I should replace the UDM-Pro entirely, so I’m looking for some pros/cons of each setup (i.e. if I use Drop-In mode and therefore don’t need the Peplink device to act as a firewall can I utilize my full maximum 400Mbps throughput on something like the Balance 20?)

I’m currently leaning towards the Balance One - this doesn’t quite get me to my ideal 1Gbps throughput but it’s plenty for my current needs and less than half the price of the Balance Two. I would need to use the USB port for LTE modem hookup and I’m hoping my ZTE Z915 will work. The other device I’m considering is the Balance 30 LTE so that I don’t have to deal with a USB modem, but the 400Mbps throughput is right at my current needs and because LTE is only there “if all else fails” I feel it’s more likely that I would want the 600Mbps throughput of the Balance One than see the benefits of the built-in LTE modem; the Balance 30 LTE is also 50% more expensive than the Balance One. It would be awesome to get Inbound Load Balancing as I have a few internally hosted systems, but I really don’t think I could justify paying 5x the cost of the Balance One just for that, plus static IPs would require switching to business class internet for twice the price and half the speed. It seems like there should be ways around needing static IPs for inbound load balancing using DDNS, but I digress.

Any advice that could be shared about Drop-In Mode vs router (UDM-Pro) replacement, and about specific model suggestions, would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Well, there are a variety of approaches that make sense but I’d suggest considering the Balance 20X. This router has a single ethernet WAN interface but one can add an inexpensive USB-ethernet adapter/dongle for your lower-capacity WAN. Built-in Cat4 modem and a bay in which one can optionally insert a Cat 6, 12 or 18 modem.

Personally? I think the 20X represents a “sweet spot” in Peplink’s router line-up. The Two is an excellent choice and is super capable – but is more $$.

Awesome, that’s exactly the feedback I was looking for. I hadn’t even considered the Balance 20X because of the single WAN port but and it never occurred to me to use a USB-ethernet dongle. It seems like the 20X is superior to the Balance One in almost every way (except VLANs supported, but I don’t think I’ll ever get close to 16, let alone 128) at essentially the same price-point.

I don’t see the USB spec for the 20X, I’m assuming it’s 2.0? I’m curious what throughput speeds I would see for the WAN utilizing the USB interface. I do see there’s a FlexModule Mini for VDSL which I may be able to use for the AT&T service…if I can convince them to allow me to use my own modem (which hasn’t gone well so far).

Hi. That is a 2.0 port but we have never really tested it for throughput. I can say we’ve run a 100/10 connection through it with no problems, however.

I do not see an available VDSL module on the manufacturer’s spec sheet or on our distributor’s price list dated 02/17/21. You may have more information than do I. I know we’ve never sold one.

The 20X is a PrimeCare device – which means it will cost you a few bucks annually after the first year to keep all the extended features working. But all-in-all it’s a very good deal.

As long as it’s 2.0+ it should be plenty adequate for a 10/100 which is all I would need, and even if I got a 3.0 10/100/1000 adapter the port should be able to handle close to 500Mbps so that should be fairly future-proof.

The module I’m referring to is listed on the Balance 20X product page under Expansion Modules: VDSL Module (EXM-MINI-1VDSL) although a quick search makes me think that the module isn’t actually available because the only other information I’m seeing about it is here. That’s probably a moot point because I don’t think I’m going to have much luck getting AT&T to activate service with my hardware anyway.

Any thoughts on Drop-In Mode vs replacing my current router? At least from the Peplink side if you don’t have any experience with Unifi…are there any pros/cons to be aware of?

Actually, we do have some experience with Ubiquity. I sent you my phone number via PM. - Rick