Best Dual WAN Failover Router for Industrial IoT: A Comprehensive Guide

Introduction

A dual WAN failover router is a network router that has two wide area network (WAN) interfaces that can provide failover redundancy in case one of the WAN links goes down. For industrial IoT environments, having a reliable and robust network is crucial for maintaining continuous machine-to-machine data communications and monitoring. A failure in the network can lead to downtime and disruption in manufacturing operations and business processes. This makes a dual WAN failover router an important component of the network infrastructure.

Some key benefits of using a dual WAN failover router for industrial IoT include:

  • High availability – If one WAN link fails, traffic is automatically routed to the secondary link with minimal downtime, ensuring continuous connectivity.
  • Redundancy – The duplicate WAN links provide redundancy in case of any network component failure.
  • Increased bandwidth – The total bandwidth capacity is increased by combining two WAN links. This aids in supporting bandwidth-intensive industrial IoT applications.
  • Load balancing – Traffic can be load balanced across both WAN links for optimal utilization of bandwidth.

When selecting a dual WAN failover router for industrial IoT, some important factors to consider include:

  • Reliability – Look for hardware designed for 24/7 reliable operation in harsh industrial conditions.
  • Wireless WAN support – Cellular LTE connectivity is essential for industrial IoT failover.
  • Security – Advanced threat protection, VPN, firewall and authentication helps secure critical infrastructure.
  • Network management – Robust monitoring, alerting and troubleshooting capabilities.
  • Industrial protocol support – Must integrate easily with industrial automation systems and devices.

Types of Dual WAN Failover Routers

There are a few different types of dual WAN failover routers available depending on the WAN interfaces:

Dual-Ethernet WAN Routers

These routers have two wired Ethernet WAN ports to connect to two different ISPs or ethernet-based WAN networks. Some examples:

  • Dual Gigabit Ethernet WAN ports
  • Dual 10G fiber optic Ethernet WAN ports

Dual-Cellular WAN Routers

These routers have two cellular wireless WAN interfaces to provide dual SIM failover using:

  • 4G LTE – Uses two SIM card slots with LTE connectivity.
  • 5G – Next generation cellular wireless with very high speeds.

Dual-WAN Routers with Ethernet + Cellular WAN

These hybrid routers provide the flexibility to use both wired and wireless WAN links:

  • Gigabit Ethernet + 4G LTE cellular
  • 10G Fiber Ethernet + 5G cellular

The combo routers provide the best redundancy by using disparate types of WAN links.

Features to Look for in a Dual WAN Failover Router

Rugged Design

Since industrial IoT deployments are often in harsh environments like factories and processing plants, the router should have a rugged form factor and be rated for:

  • Wide temperature range – Ability to operate in extreme temperatures.
  • Shock/vibration resistance – Withstand shocks, bumps and high vibration.
  • Dust/water resistance – Protect against ingress of dust and moisture.
  • Industrial enclosures – Optional DIN rail or panel mounting provisions.

High Availability

To maximize uptime, the router needs built-in high availability capabilities:

  • Redundant power – Dual AC/DC power supply units.
  • Real-time failover – Sub-second failover between WAN links.
  • Link monitoring – Automatic health check of WAN interfaces.
  • Auto-reconnection – Detect and restore failed link.

Advanced Security

For securing critical industrial systems, look for these security features:

  • Firewall – Segmentation and access control between network zones.
  • VPN – Site-to-site and remote access VPN tunnels.
  • Threat protection – IPS, anti-malware, antivirus capabilities.
  • Authentication – 802.1X, RADIUS, TACACS+ and LDAP integration.
  • Access control – Granular per-user and device access policies.

Easy to Configure and Manage

Centralized management and automation capabilities:

  • Cloud management – Manage routers remotely from a cloud portal.
  • Automation – REST APIs for automated provisioning and control.
  • Monitoring – Real-time and historical performance monitoring.
  • Alerting – Event-driven email, SMS and SNMP trap alerts.
  • Troubleshooting – Tools like ping, traceroute, packet capture.

Best Dual WAN Failover Routers for Industrial IoT

Based on the above criteria, here are some of the best dual WAN failover routers suitable for industrial IoT environments:

DrayTek Vigor2962Lac

The DrayTek Vigor2962Lac is a rugged industrial dual-WAN router with Gigabit Ethernet and 4G LTE interfaces.

Key features:

  • Dual-SIM slots with auto-failover
  • SD-WAN load balancing and link monitoring
  • IPsec/SSL VPN, firewall, threat prevention
  • Central cloud management
  • Industrial operating temperature
  • Panel and DIN rail mounting options

NetComm NL19 MESH Enhanced Hybrid 4G Failover LTE Gateway

The NetComm NL19 MESH router has Ethernet WAN and 4G LTE failover with 802.11ac dual-band WiFi mesh.

Key features:

  • Automatic 4G LTE failover if primary WAN fails
  • Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11ac Wave-2 WiFi radios
  • Seamless WiFi meshing, remote monitoring
  • Rugged compact form factor
  • Cloud management and provisioning

Alotcer AR7000 Industrial 4G Failover Router

AR7000 Dual SIM Card Industrial Cellular Router 5 LAN

The Alotcer AR7000H router provides 4G LTE primary and failover WAN links along with 5-port Gigabit Ethernet LAN.

Key features:

  • Dual SIM slots with auto failover
  • Optional serial port, digital I/O and WiFi
  • Hardened rugged industrial-grade enclosure
  • Modbus TCP gateway support
  • Redundant power inputs
  • Wide operating temperature range

Cisco RV345 Dual WAN VPN Router

The Cisco RV345 is a secure industrial VPN router with dual Gigabit Ethernet ports for WAN failover.

Key features:

  • Auto failover/failback between Ethernet WANs
  • Site-to-site VPN, ACLs, NAT, QoS
  • Multicast routing support
  • Easy-to-use web UI and CLI access
  • Rugged metal enclosure
  • Flexible mounting options

Pepwave MAX BR2 Mini 5G/4G LTE Router

The Peplink MAX BR2 Mini is a compact cellular WAN router with 5G and 4G LTE support.

Key features:

  • Dual SIM slots for 4G LTE and 5G failover
  • Auto least-cost routing
  • SD-WAN bandwidth bonding
  • AES 256-bit VPN encryption
  • Cloud-based remote monitoring
  • Rugged IP55-rated enclosure

Case Studies

Here are some examples that highlight the benefits of using a dual WAN failover router for industrial IoT deployments:

Improving Reliability for a Manufacturing Plant’s IoT Network

A auto manufacturing plant deployed industrial IoT devices to collect sensor data from assembly line machines. The devices sent data over a wired WAN link to a cloud platform. However, any disruption in the wired link would lead to data gaps.

By implementing the Alotcer AR7000 industrial dual WAN router with 4G LTE failover, the plant was able to achieve high network availability. If the wired WAN failed, the router would instantly switch to the 4G network, ensuring uninterrupted flow of sensor data to the cloud.

This enabled the plant to leverage real-time IoT data for predictive maintenance and efficiency improvements of the manufacturing line.

Reducing Downtime for a Transportation Company’s Vehicle Fleet

A transport company outfitted their delivery trucks with GPS tracking and telematics devices to monitor vehicle usage patterns, driver behavior and engine diagnostics. The IoT data was transmitted from the trucks to the HQ over commercial 4G LTE.

Occasional cellular network outages would lead to trucks “disappearing” from the real-time tracking maps, making it difficult to efficiently schedule trips and ensure security.

Implementing the AR7000 dual-SIM routers with cellular failover capability allowed the HQ to maintain continuous connectivity with all trucks, reducing downtime and improving operational efficiency.

Enabling Uninterrupted Care for a Healthcare Provider

A hospital group deployed patient monitoring devices that continuously transmitted vital health telemetry to caregivers’ mobile devices over a 4G network. Network disruptions would cut-off the real-time patient data, delaying urgent medical interventions.

The hospital deployed Alotcer AR7000 industrial dual WAN routers in each care facility. The routers were configured with 4G LTE primary and 3G cellular backup links. This ensured the network quickly fails over to the secondary cellular network if the primary 4G link became unavailable.

The dual WAN capability provided uninterrupted connectivity between patients and doctors, improving the hospital’s ability to provide quality care.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a dual WAN failover router and a load balancing router?

A failover router uses one WAN link as the primary active link while the second WAN is on standby to take over if the primary fails. This provides redundancy.

A load balancing router utilizes both WAN links simultaneously, distributing and sharing traffic between the two links. This provides increased bandwidth.

How does a dual WAN failover router work?

The router monitors the primary WAN link using probes. If the link goes down, the router seamlessly directs all traffic to the secondary WAN without requiring manual intervention. When the primary link comes back online, traffic can be set to automatically failback or require manual switchover.

What are the different types of WAN failover technologies?

Below are some common WAN failover technologies:

  • Ethernet link failover
  • Cable modem/DSL failover
  • 4G LTE cellular failover
  • 5G cellular failover
  • SD-WAN failover

How do I set up a dual WAN failover router?

Typical steps include:

  1. Connect WAN1 primary and WAN2 secondary links to router
  2. Configure WAN IP settings, firewall policies, routing
  3. Enable health checks and failover mechanism
  4. Define failback mode – automatic or manual
  5. Connect LAN devices to router
  6. Test failover by bringing down primary WAN link

What are some best practices when using dual WAN routers for industrial IoT?

Some best practices include:

  • Use different ISP or cellular carriers for diversity
  • Implement monitoring and alerts for both WAN links
  • Allow only secured industrial IoT traffic over WAN links
  • Configure VPN tunnels for remote sites to HQ connectivity
  • Employ MAC address filtering to restrict devices
  • Perform periodic firmware upgrades of routers

Conclusion

Using a reliable dual WAN failover router is critical for ensuring 24/7 connectivity for industrial IoT networks. A router with Ethernet and cellular interfaces provides the versatility to handle various failure scenarios.

When selecting a suitable dual WAN router, key aspects to evaluate include high availability features, rugged enclosure, advanced security capabilities, and centralized cloud-based management. Leading router vendors like Cisco, Peplink, NetComm, DrayTek and others offer robust solutions optimized for industrial environments.

A properly implemented dual WAN router reduces downtime risks and keeps vital industrial IoT data flowing continuously between field devices, control systems and cloud platforms. As industrial facilities adopt more IoT IIoT applications, the dual WAN router will continue to be an indispensable network infrastructure component.