Barracuda Link Balancer 430 review

£7244
Price when reviewed

The internet is now ingrained deeply in the way companies do business, and yet when they lose their link many just run around in circles. If it’s that important it makes sense to implement some form of redundancy, and Barracuda’s latest Link Balancer does just that.

The Link Balancer 430 on review is the flagship of a family of three appliances, and supports throughputs up to 250MB/sec. It offers 10/100 Ethernet WAN ports, and can perform load balancing across them all. The 430 supports two deployment methods, where it can front your network and use its own SPI firewall or be placed behind an existing firewall.

For testing, we used a couple of WAN connections to the appliance and placed it in front of our test network on the LAN with its firewall activated. For management you can use the LAN port’s default IP address for initial access, otherwise you’ll need to attach a monitor and keyboard to the appliance to change it. Next, you move over to web browser management and the 430 provides an intuitive interface that’s easy to navigate.

If you’ve decided to use the appliance’s firewall you may want to set up some custom access rules for inbound and outbound traffic first; for WAN ports you choose between DHCP, PPPoE or static addressing. There isn’t much else to do here, apart from entering the upstream and downstream speeds for each WAN link, which are used as weightings for load balancing.

It’s possible even at this stage to leave the appliance to get on with its job, as it automatically load balances across all active WAN ports without further intervention. Connection persistence requires no configuration either, as the appliance automatically monitors source and destination addresses to ensure that sessions stay on the same link.

For QoS (quality of service) you have predefined services, including HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, POP3, SMTP and so on, and you can assign one of three priorities to each and apply this to all WAN ports or selected ones only. Custom services can be created by providing protocols and port ranges so you can easily define nuisance traffic such as P2P, and give it a low priority. If you want to block it completely then you can create a firewall rule.

For VPN failover the Link Balancer appliances can act as end points for site-to-site tunnels. During creation you designate the primary WAN port, and a secondary one that functions only as a backup if the main link fails.

The interface’s homepage provides a clear status rundown on all the action, using bar charts and summary graphs to show traffic loads, the health of the appliance itself, and more.

Considering the basic hardware spec and the lack of decent reporting tools, the Link Balancer 430 is comparatively expensive. However, its strengths lie in its ease of use, as we found it simple to deploy and capable of providing out of the box WAN failover.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos