VPN bonding is a popular technology that is used to design WANs for multi-office enterprises. The obvious challenge facing businesses with multiple offices is to create and maintain a high level of performance and reliability across all locations even though the available ISP services can be wildly varying, especially for multi-national organizations. VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are the life-blood of the pipes that connect the branch offices back to the head-quarter office (or data centers). VPN bonding provides a unique and valuable approach that enables IT directors to take full control of their networks, provide high level of SLAs and save cost in doing so.
VPN bonding only became technically possible with the invention of Broadband Bonding, the technology that enables routers equipped with the bonding technology to stripe an individual IP session across multiple WAN transports. In essence a single IP session can be transmitted over various pipes and at the receiving end, the Broadband Bonding router will forward the packet flow in its original form to the destination. The technology requires cutting edge techniques to optimize around throughput and latency, to provide a bonded IP tunnel that is as fast as the sum of the WAN links being bonded. VPN bonding also provides application continuity against any WAN link failures. The picture below presents a simple two office setup:
When a branch office is connected to a head office network via VPN bonding, the VPN tunnel connecting the two offices, will shield any outages or any other negative performance effects of the individual WAN links from the application layer. The intelligence layer, also sometimes referred to as WAN Virtualization, makes it possible for a the branch offices to leverage various cost-effect broadband lines, such as DSLs or cable modems to leverage WAN and ISP diversity. However, the diversity goes beyond a legacy type fail-over approach since the fail-over in the VPN bonding scenario is built into the architecture and will be achieved without dropping any of the applications that are running through the bonded pipe including the VPN application.
Businesses in most cases can save 50% to 75% on their monthly bandwidth expenses which can be major component of their IT budgets. Check out this case study, for a real VPN bonding deployment in presence of MPLS, VOIP and other business critical applications.
Cahit Akin, CEO, Mushroom Networks, Inc.
Mushroom Networks is the provider of SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) and NFV solutions capable of Broadband Bonding that enables self-healing WAN networks that route around network problems such as latency, jitter and packet loss.