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Published on November 16th, 2015 | by Max Argent

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What are bonded routers and how can they benefit you?

What is bonding?

Bonded routing is the use of multiple WAN internet connections to aggregate as one despite the type in use e.g ADSL, SDSL, UMTS / HSPA+ / 3G, or LTE / 4G. The LAN will see the connection as a single line with the flexibility of the extra bandwidth of all of your connections combined. Bonded solutions often offer VPN bonding for secure business communication platforms. Cyber Threats are becoming all the more common to unwary users who become the victim of data theft. Often users are subjected to hacking without the knowledge of anyone’s presence as the hacker/opportunist leaves no trace of entry or exit.

The principle introduced can be achieved through wired and wireless networks. Bonding works by splitting data up at the packet level through an on-site bonding device, then distributes it over multiple internet connections. The advantage of bonding VPN networks is that it is recognised network traffic travelling across purpose built equipment, heavily reducing downtime, frustration and the need for technical support across varying application types. Such equipment provides a layered secure solution that will be impervious to even the most persistent individual. Trust in communications is maintained however through good practices which form solid relationships.

Why do I need it?

Standard internet connections over one type arguably integrate load balancing, and resiliency over your single connection through routing and switching standardised practices in the network architecture. There are instances however where entire network service providers services are halted as a result of technical failure, malicious attacks and acts of nature. Larger providers tend to lean on negative practices when resources are scarce.

So where opportunity for downtime appears from one ISP, bonding removes this opportunity as these solutions rely on completely different routing destinations, therefore exploit a variety of connectivity options in the priority process chain of command. So long as your equipment is connected locally you will always be guaranteed a service.

What this means is that rather than being forced to complain to your provider, if you are receiving low bandwidth, other connections will supplement your primary one to bring you up to the standard of service you were promised to begin with. Many technical faults and troubles are accepted over the internet, but downtime is not one of them.

Scenarios/Applications

Having introduced the concept of bonding there are various ways of achieving this through a variety of IP connected hardware. Viprinet, I-Mo and Peplink manufacture a wide portfolio of products to combat the VPN and internet bonding problem, killing two birds with one stone. Bonding is absolutely necessary for mission critical communications, such as emergency services who require essential information at the click of a button.

Currently Viprinet offer a system through a multi box setup. So for Non Cellular applications a Multichannel VPN Router (Modular) is used together with a Multichannel hub. For mobile use a Multichannel VPN Router for Mobile is used with a Multichannel hub. The system is license based and scalable to your needs through hot plug modules, licenses and accessories.

Secure Practices

We believe all companies should employ some of the following steps to help ensure the best chance of securing information.

  • Segmented access to vital information areas
  • Strong passwords using random characters and regular updates to increase entropy levels.
  • Layered access so that your information is not compromised if one pass goes missing.
  • Learn and be aware of collective techniques for which private information can be ascertained e.g Social Engineering (Impersonation) and Identity Theft.
  • Use encryption where information is sensitive – PGP is available through open source GNUPG downloadable packages.
  • Limit workstation privileges for media installation and employ traffic shaping to reduce unwanted traffic types.
  • Consider VPN use for all traffic in network so anonymity can be preserved where identification is not absolutely necessary.
  • That all off site information is saved in an encrypted form delaying possible access to any of its contents.

Conclusion

Bonded routing is a fairly new way of connecting to the internet and is being practiced as a result of some of the challenges faced by internet services providers across business to domestic use. Its failover and resilience characteristics impact the market by combatting downtime, which is one of the most feared phenomenon.

As more people move to hybrid cloud services, the space taken by the unit would be considered minimal when compared to the peace of mind a solution of such a kind can provide. Connectivity issues cost to businesses remains a hot topic along with privacy maintenance, meaning key decision makers are more free to plan growth and accelerate, without the fear of critical data landing in the wrong hands.

Bonded routing across its various applications looks like an interesting space that should continue to develop/evolve both at the hardware and software levels. We are excited to see what opportunities might arise as a result of this technological innovation.

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