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Gigabit

Mushroom Networks Bonds With DSL, Cable

Mushroom Networks Inc. has entered the business-class broadband market in a sharing mood.

It claims its flagship product, the Truffle BBNA6401, can bond together six broadband connections and create a virtual pipe capable of delivering downstream speeds of up to 65 Mbit/s to small- and mid-sized customers, as well as multiple-tenant buildings. Agnostic on access, it says it can fuse together a mix of DSL, cable modem, and T1 circuit connections. In an ADSL-only scenario, the system can download at up to 36 Mbit/s.

But in a mixed mode, Mushroom says its system is smart enough to adapt to a link failure and automatically spread traffic to the lines that are still up and running.

The primary deployment scenario would see the rackmountable Truffle device hooked in between the office firewall and the modems, according to Mushroom's CEO, Dr. Cahit Akin.

But, with a list price of $2,995, the box isn’t exactly cheap.

Initially, Mushroom will target Truffle to business service providers and, in particular, ISPs and carriers that service customers that are suffering from pain points caused by tapped-out T1s or are seeking a capacity upgrade to help them move around massive digital files. It also plans to hawk its wares through value-added resale partners, IT consultants, and other SMB equipment distributors.

Although the cable MSOs have clearly identified business services as a growth engine in 2008, Mushroom has not yet reached out to that industry. (See Cable Means Business .)

And what about customers for this new device? There are none the company can disclose yet, but Akin says it has trials underway with fewer than 10 local exchange carriers worldwide, with about 40 Truffle units supporting those efforts.

Mushroom, which launched in 2004 and has about 25 employees today, plans to announce some other products later this year that use its broadband bonding techniques. The San Diego-based company has raised seed and A rounds of funding but declines to disclose those amounts.

It's also not alone in the market.

Sharedband Ltd. , in the U.K., also bonds together multiple DSL and cable connections (up to four) in support of broadband aggregation services. It opened a U.S. office in Seattle last summer, and has already begun to offer services there. Closer to the Sharedband mother ship, it has secured a reseller deal with BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA). (See BT Teams With Sharedband.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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