Brit Startup Bonds Broadband

British startup Sharedband Ltd. claims to have developed a new technique to aggregate access line capacity that can provide small businesses and home office users with a broadband connection equivalent to, or better than, a leased line, at the fraction of the cost.

The technology has such potential to drive increased demand for broadband connections and business services (VOIP, videoconferencing, VPN) that BT Wholesale has agreed to provide Sharedband's technology to its British ISP customers. Those ISPs can then use the technology to sell bandwidth aggregation services and new broadband connections to their customers. (See BT Teams With Sharedband.)

BT's incentive is that any use of Sharedband's technology will likely generate extra demand for wholesale broadband connections and business services, as well as provide BT Wholesale with reseller commission revenues.

"Shareband's innovative technology allows ISPs to aggregate BT's high-speed rate-adaptive broadband services into a powerful proposition, enabling them to deliver more demanding bandwidth applications such as video and VOIP," said Guy Bradshaw, general manager of IPStream at BT Wholesale, in an email response to questions.

Broadband bonding at the IP layer
Sharedband has developed patented software that aggregates the downstream and upstream capacity of up to four broadband connections to create a virtual single connection of up to 16 Mbit/s that is aggregated at the IP layer. (Other broadband bonding technologies aggregate bandwidth at the physical layer.)

Key to Sharedband's proposition is that its software aggregates the capacity from any type of broadband connection -- DSL, cable, wireless -- from any number of service providers.

The main benefit to end users is that they get the equivalent of (or something better than) a leased line at the fraction of the cost and with built-in resilience, because the connection does not come with the risk of having a single point of failure.

So, if a small company has three broadband lines -- for instance, two DSL connections capable of 4 Mbit/s downstream and 500 kbit/s upstream, and a cable broadband connection capable of 8 Mbit/s downstream and 1 Mbit/s upstream -- the total capacity of those lines can be aggregated to give it a virtual single connection of 16 Mbit/s downstream and 2 Mbit/s upstream at a cost of up tot £120 (US$243) per month -- compared with at least four times that amount (but mostly a great deal more) for the cheapest synchronous 2-Mbit/s leased line (after setup costs).

In addition, by having multiple connections from different suppliers, the customer still has a working broadband connection should one of the lines lose service.

How it works
All this is achieved through the deployment of Sharedband software at the customer site and at the ISP's hosting site.

The ISP supplies the customer with the standard broadband end user products -- DSL modem, cable modem, WiFi router, but typically a Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR) DSL router -- that has Sharedband's software pre-loaded. The software modifies the routers' firmware and enables them to communicate and be aware of other Sharedband agents on a LAN. One of the routers acts as a default gateway, sending the IP packets traffic over the best available broadband connection.

Sharedband says it can port its software onto just about any broadband router on the market, and that it has a development partnership with Netgear, whose end-user DSL routers are widely deployed.

The ISP providing the service installs Sharedband aggregation software onto a standard server at its hosting center. This aggregates the upstream IP packets and sends them on to the relevant IP network, and also routes downstream traffic across the customer's multiple broadband connections.

For more technical details about how Sharedband's technology works, check out How Sharedband Works and Sharedband features.

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martin hill 12/5/2012 | 3:48:12 PM
re: Brit Startup Bonds Broadband we are currently searching for bonded adsl for 5 adsl lines and have come accross a piece of hardware from a company called xrio which does isp bonding for bonded adsl and vpn. for the price you pay it also lets you do load balancing and qos which seem a bit more cost efficient. currently trialling it at the moment and seems perfect so far.
Myself248 12/5/2012 | 2:57:42 PM
re: Brit Startup Bonds Broadband In one paragraph "it doesn't require any additional hardware", in the next paragraph "We ship the routers to our users, they plug them in. and away they go."
Myself248 12/5/2012 | 2:57:42 PM
re: Brit Startup Bonds Broadband In one paragraph "it doesn't require any additional hardware", in the next paragraph "We ship the routers to our users, they plug them in. and away they go."
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 2:57:42 PM
re: Brit Startup Bonds Broadband
Your comment about broadly available upgrades is not accurate....From the Sharedband website:

Sharedband software is suitable for working with most types of broadband connections. The current version of upgrade firmware is available for the following supported devices:

* Netgear ADSL modem router, DG834 v2 and v3
* Netgear wireless ADSL modem router DG834g v2 and v3
* Linksys wireless router WRT54GL

So, there are exactly 5 routers that can be used. I am sure more are coming, but it is not broadly available today.

larytet 12/5/2012 | 2:57:41 PM
re: Brit Startup Bonds Broadband Re software solution:
If IP bonding is required user can connect two absolutely standard DSL or cable modems and run a Linux box as a gateway - Linux NAT knows to do load balancing including support of advanced routing protocols. No changes in the ISP office is required. User can use services from different ISPs and so on.

Re software IP based solution:
what about traffic which is not tolerant to delay, like E1 ?

Re "lack of expensive hardware and upfront cost"
Actually "expensive" hardware can cost not much more than 8 Netgear routers and provide bonding of 8 DSL ports. Check http://www.megabridge.com/prod...

From the WEB site "IPSEC over L2TP is currently under development"
Does it mean that there is problems to terminate multiple L2TP/PPTP sessions on the servers which are busy "demuxing" the links ?

In the end customer uses a non-standard DSL modem. So why not allow the customer to use just a regular router, plug 10/100BT into a larger box (shared among customers) and enjoy up to 32Mbits/s link

trooperbill 12/5/2012 | 2:57:41 PM
re: Brit Startup Bonds Broadband www.Xrio.com have been providing load balancing for years now... I even believe those involved in this project were talking to Xrio prior to the formation of this company... a bit of espionage methinks lol.
Kreskin 12/5/2012 | 2:57:41 PM
re: Brit Startup Bonds Broadband
Throwing more money at copper facilities ... isn't it time for everyone to grow up?
digits 12/5/2012 | 2:57:41 PM
re: Brit Startup Bonds Broadband Fair point -- I didn't make that as clear as I could have.

It's a case of no extra hardware in addition to what's needed anyway for a standard broadband connection.

So if a customer already has a DSL line, then they either replace their DSL CPE with the one supplied by the ISP, with Sharedband software on it, or they get the software added to their existing DSL box.

Basically, the customer does not install any extra hardware in addition to the small units they get anyway to connect the LAN to the broadband line.

When Talk Internet ships routers to its customers, that's for either:
a) the new broadband lines ordered, and/or
b) to replace the existing DSL routers the customer already has.

Thanks for pointing that out.

digits 12/5/2012 | 2:57:40 PM
re: Brit Startup Bonds Broadband Weel, in terms of the U.K., you'd have to say, "Isn't it time everyone emigrated?"

For just about every small business in the U.K. copper access is all they can afford.

tieuthunhi 12/5/2012 | 2:57:39 PM
re: Brit Startup Bonds Broadband If the customer's internet links (DSL, T1, cable, etc.) are coming from different ISPs, then this will double the bandwidth usage at the bonding ISP so they must charge the customer based on bandwidth. That's the extra cost on top of all the Internet fees that the customer is paying. If the bonding ISP does not have a fast Internet connection, the customer will experience extra access lag.

As for the ISP, they also have to get new equipment to provide the bonding service or not?

If all the Internet links are provided by the same ISP, then would it be better to use industry standard Multilink PPP?
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