Can You Load Balance 4G LTE, 5G or Is Bonding 4G, 5G the Only Way?

If you are OK with old load balancing technologies that limit the aggregate speed to only one of your WAN links, you can probably live with a load-balancing router if you are load-balancing DSL. Although you still have to suffer the loss of the session / application anytime there is a link failure on your wired WAN links. However, if you are trying to load balance 3G 4G 5G based wireless WAN connections, can you get away with simple load-balancing or do you need intelligent 3G 4G 5G bonding technologies such as Broadband Bonding? The short answer is an astounding you MUST have bonding as load-balancing will not cut it for any serious applications.

The reason is simple: cellular links are prone to fluctuations of the RF (Radio Frequency) characteristics because of fast and slow fading phenomena that is created by the inherent nature of the channel, in this case, the ether, as all types of unpredictable obstacles, such as trees, building, hills and valleys will cause interference. Because of these wild, unavoidable RF fluctuations, the cellular WAN links will always have a built-in large range of variation which will swing from peak rates to slow rates over very short time periods, usually within seconds or smaller. If one tries to load balance, i.e. assign a single session (say a file transfer) to only one of the available 3G 4G 5G links via a load-balancing device, there is a good chance that session can get stuck on a 3G/4G/5G card that will not have good channel characteristics at that very moment – you are at best shooting in the dark. So with load-balancing you may even end-up hurting the performance compared to a single card.

The only viable approach for bonding 3G 4G 5G wireless cellular links (as opposed to load balancing 3G 4G 5G) is to utilize “Network Calculus”, a theory that was introduced by our team decades ago. This groundbreaking research enabled the modeling and prediction of highly varying channels via broadband bonding. By leveraging Network Calculus, a Broadband Bonding algorithm can bond 3G 4G 5G data cards in such a way that the wild fluctuations can be shielded from any of the specific IP traffic. This results in a much more predictable, reliable, and fast connectivity as a direct result of intelligent aggregation of the wireless cards and therefore provides a much better end-user experience. This technology is so powerful that it even enables live video streaming over the bonded cellular 3G 4G 5G cards in very challenging mobile environments.

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.


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