Brit Startup Bonds Broadband
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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