DSL Bonding - Need ISP involvement?


#1

Hello. I am in a location where I can’t get high speed internet. Therefore, I am thinking of bonding two AT&T Uverse DSL Lines. It seems that either Balance 210 or Balance 310 (if I want to go to 3 DSL lines in the future) would be the right product for me. We are looking at an average of 35-40 users with peaks of 65-75 users. Mostly internet browsing and streaming audio applications. My questions are: 1) Do I think the ISP involved to bond DSL lines or is this something handled entirely by Balance?, and 2) Would Balance 210 or 310 be the right product for my needs?


#2

So there are two approaches to using multiple WAN links - load balancing and Bonding.

Load balancing - where user sessions are distributed across multiple WAN links is the most efficient way to use multiple WANs in that you only need one device to make it happen. The disadvantage of load balancing is that any single session - like a file download, or a video stream, is locked to a single WAN link.

Bonding (and specifically in Peplink’s case - SpeedFusion) is where multiple VPN tunnels are setup between two devices with tunnels created on each available WAN link and network traffic is distributed at a packet level (instead of a session level) across all available WANs.

The benefit of bonding is that the packets that make up a single session can all be distributed across multiple WAN links at the same time. This makes the session highly reliable (since if a WAN link fails packets are re routed over the other WANs and the session stays up), but includes a bandwidth overhead of the VPN.

Also you need two devices. So in your case with a remote location on poor internet connectivity, you need to host another Peplink appliance in a location with high speed internet access to act as the bonded link to the internet.

Peplink has a virtual appliance (FusionHub) that you can run in the cloud to do this, or you can buy a physical Balance device and host in a datacenter.

You don’t say what speeds your current WAN links are, but in my experience with low bandwidth links like DSL where maximum bandwidth is the desired result, load balancing is normally more effective - particularily when you mix in high bandwidth cellular or satellite connectivity and then set up rules to use those connections in the most effective way.