In today’s digital age, having a reliable and high-performing network is essential for both home and business users. Load balancing is a powerful technique that can help you achieve optimal network performance by distributing network traffic across multiple connections. OpenWRT, an open-source firmware for routers, offers load balancing capabilities that can significantly improve your network’s speed, reliability, and resilience. In this article, we’ll explore load balancing with OpenWRT and how to set it up effectively.

Disclaimer: Modifying router settings can potentially disrupt your network. Make sure to follow these instructions carefully and back up your router’s configuration before making any changes.

Understanding Load Balancing

Load balancing is the process of distributing network traffic across multiple connections or paths to ensure efficient utilization of resources and prevent network congestion. It can be beneficial in scenarios such as:

  • Combining multiple internet connections to increase overall bandwidth.
  • Ensuring uninterrupted internet access by automatically switching to a backup connection when one fails.
  • Load balancing between different types of internet connections, like DSL and LTE, for improved performance.

Load Balancing Methods in OpenWRT

OpenWRT provides several load balancing methods, including:

  1. Policy-Based Routing: Allows you to specify rules for directing traffic over different WAN connections based on criteria like source IP, destination IP, or port.
  2. Round Robin: Distributes traffic evenly across multiple WAN connections in a circular fashion.
  3. Failover: Automatically switches to a backup connection if the primary connection fails.
  4. Interface Grouping: Aggregates multiple WAN interfaces into a single logical interface for load balancing.

Setting Up Load Balancing in OpenWRT

Here’s a simplified guide to setting up load balancing with OpenWRT:

  1. Install OpenWRT: Ensure your router is running OpenWRT firmware. Refer to the OpenWRT documentation for installation instructions.
  2. Multiple WAN Connections: Connect multiple internet sources to your router. This could be multiple DSL, cable, or cellular connections.
  3. Configuration via LuCI: Log in to the LuCI web interface (the web-based management tool for OpenWRT).
  4. Network > Interfaces: Create a new interface for each WAN connection. Make sure to configure them properly with the correct settings (DHCP, static IP, etc.).
  5. Network > Load Balancing: Install and configure load balancing packages such as mwan3 or luci-app-mwan3 through the LuCI interface.
  6. Set Load Balancing Policy: Define the load balancing policy based on your requirements. You can choose from the methods mentioned earlier (Policy-Based Routing, Round Robin, Failover, Interface Grouping).
  7. Monitoring and Testing: Regularly monitor your network’s performance and test failover scenarios to ensure everything works as expected.
  8. Security and Firewall Rules: Adjust firewall rules to allow traffic on the new interfaces and implement any necessary security measures.
  9. Load Balancing Metrics: Configure load balancing metrics, such as the weight of each connection, to fine-tune the distribution of traffic.
  10. Testing: Finally, thoroughly test your load balancing setup to ensure it meets your network’s needs. Be prepared to make adjustments as necessary.


Load balancing with OpenWRT can be a game-changer for those looking to optimize their network’s performance and reliability. By intelligently distributing network traffic across multiple connections, you can achieve faster speeds, seamless failover, and a more robust network infrastructure. However, setting up load balancing can be complex, so it’s essential to carefully follow instructions, monitor your network, and be prepared to troubleshoot any issues that may arise. With the right configuration, OpenWRT can help you unlock the full potential of your network.

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