“Internet bonding”, unlike physical-layer or MAC-layer carrier bonding, refers to the aggregation of ISP links with an OTT (Over The Top) overlay tunnel. With Internet bonding (also known as Broadband Bonding) an organization can combine any type of IP connectivity from any service provider to create a faster and more reliable Internet connection. In generic Internet bonding, the algorithms work towards getting the most performance out of the ISP lines that are to be aggregated. In recent years however, Internet bonding technologies got a lot more sophisticated and added the ability to optimize the overlay tunnel with respect to the parameters of the application at hand. At Mushroom Networks we call this application centric SD-WAN and this is the cutting edge technology powering modern Internet bonding going forward.
Why should Internet bonding algorithms be application centric, isn’t a generic Internet bonding overlay tunnel good enough? This is a fair question raise and the answer depends on your use case. For some of the use cases, where the profile of the Internet traffic is fairly generic and there aren’t that many real-time or chatty applications, a generic bonding tunnel that is optimized for middle of the road will work great. However, if you are using VOIP (Voice Over IP), video conferencing, interactive chatty applications such as RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) or any of the other applications that requires low-latency, low-jitter and low packet loss, there are additional improvements that a specialized bonding tunnel (e.g. VOIP Armor) can provide.
Let’s look at that example a little deeper. Say your organization is using a cloud based PBX and the VOIP / SIP packets are going over your bonded Internet connections that can implement a voice centric bonding tunnel. In this case, the tunnel will be able steer packets of on-going calls onto the path that optimizes the flow for MOS (Mean Opinion Score) and that is a calculated metric that optimizes the voice quality and reliability from the user’s perspective. So unlike a generic bonding tunnel, with a voice centric Internet bonding tunnel, latency, jitter and packet loss is optimized, perhaps in expense of a small hit in total throughput. This is clearly a very intelligent tradeoff that enhances the application experience that heavily rely on the network quality that VOIP/SIP traffic experiences.
The application centric Internet bonding experience should be provided seamlessly to the end user. In other words, there should only minimal configuration needed by the IT manager. The “set it and forget it” approach will translate any type of ISP related emergency support issue to a scheduled non-urgent ticket since the network problems can be circumvented by the application-centric approach and will avoid creating any interruptions to the business operations.
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.