Thursday, June 04, 2009

High Bandwidth Dissimilar Line Bonding From Mushroom Networks

How would you like to build your own fiber optic bandwidth broadband service without paying through the nose for SONET OC3 or higher level service? Can you do it by kludging together whatever you can find in the way of DSL, Cable broadband, T1 lines, DS3 bandwidth, or wireless Internet service? Not very well, and you know it. But what if there was an appliance available where you simply plug-in five or six of your favorite high speed connections of any type and it smoothly merges them into one screaming high bandwidth service?

"Impossible," you say. "We tried that with our routers and it didn't work at all."

Well, what you need is not another router. You need the new and improved Truffles from Mushroom Networks.

Last year, we thought the Truffle BBNA6401 was just the nuts (or fungi) for both WAN reliability and bandwidth expansion up to 50 Mbps. The "BBNA" stands for Broadband Bonding Networking Appliance. It could also mean Broad Band Network Aggregation, which is how the device works. It bonds broadband services to aggregate or combine their bandwidth into the equivalent of one faster line.

T1 line bonding is commonly available from competitive carriers. For every line to bond-in, you get an additional 1.5 Mbps of bandwidth. There are a couple of restrictions. It's usually only practical up to 10 or 12 Mbps and all the lines have to be identical and from a single supplier. The carrier supplies you with premises equipment that is similar to the equipment at their central office. That's what runs all those T1 lines in parallel so that you experience the equivalent of a single higher bandwidth line service.

The Truffle looks at that approach as keeping companies in the dark and feeding them fertilizer. Instead, they manage the bandwidth of the lines rather than the lines themselves. By keeping track of what requests go out which lines and what responses are received, the Truffle can mix and match any broadband service into a common bandwidth pool. It doesn't really matter what the characteristics of individual lines are. A DSL and T1 line can be paired, then aggregated with a cable modem signal, a satellite receiver and a wireless cellular aircard. Your composite bandwidth is the sum of the speed that each line transmits and receives.

You can see the advantage of this approach for growing bandwidth incrementally. You start with whatever you can get. Then add services as they become available or you can afford them. In addition to speeding up your WAN connection, you also get a boost in reliability. That DSL line may be moderately fast but flaky. The cable modem is cheap and screams with speed, but drops the connection a couple of times a day and some days goes down for hours. T1 lines are rock solid but the cost per Mbps is way more than with the shared "consumer" grade services. DS3 is fast and reliable but lease prices are in the 4 digits per month. Since it is unlikely that you'll lose every service at the same time, broadband bonding can give you solid connectivity all the time with high bandwidth most of the time.

In addition to the latest speed upgrade, Mushroom Networks now offers several flavors of Truffles for various size businesses and applications. The Porcini BBNA is intended for SMB and enterprise clients, apartments, hotels, hospitals and multi-tenant buildings that want to aggregate several types of Internet connection into one high reliability broadband service. The PortaBella BBNA is for portable or mobile applications. It aggregates the bandwidth of up to 5 USB wireless modem aircards. There's even an optional service offered that makes this solution suitable for high quality video streaming.

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