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Specialist - Circuit Bonding Technology

The process of aggregating multiple slow circuits to give the appearance of one fast one is generally referred to as Bonding or even Broadband Bonding. In fact true Bonding is a hardware function and often what is on offer is a proprietary software solution or MLPPP. At best the technology will multiply the circuit speed by the number of circuits less a 5-10% system overhead so aggregating three ADSL Max Premium circuits will give a speed similar to a single ADSL2+ Annex M circuit. The downside is by the time you have costed in the additional PSTN circuits, ADSL services and aggregation service the overall cost can be up to 10 times that of a single circuit service.

Generally the market falls into two segments.

Single ISP

The single ISP solution is aggregating 2-16 (although seldom more than 4) similar speed circuits and is wholly managed by the ISP. The CPE may be a Comtrend or Cisco Router, third party products such as Xrio UBM or a proprietary solution such as Smart Connect. The services will run at a multiple of the slowest circuit so all circuits should be provisioned using the same technology.

ISP Agnostic

The ISP agnostic solutions allow you to keep your existing circuits and to add others at the same or different speeds, using the same or different technologies (ADSL, SDSL, 3G etc.). The Bonding equipment will typically sit between the DSL Routers and the corporate Firewall although SharedBand have an innovative solution that uses upgraded ADSL Routers in a VRRP cluster. For inbound services the aggregation provider will supply one or more fixed IP addresses through which the services will be presented to your Firewall. The actual DSL / 3G circuits will simply need one fixed IP address each.

Regardless of the Bonding technology used it only addresses routing and aggregation. There is no Firewall, or WiFi provided as part of these solutions and possibly no NAT either so you need to cost in provisioning a suitable Firewall between the Bonding equipment and your network. Reusing that old ADSL WiFi Router isn’t generally an option.

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