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Internet load balancing

When it comes to your Internet connectivity at the office, there are 3 primary factors you should take into account:

1) Reliability

2) Performance

3) Cost

For the best reliability and performance with the lowest possible cost, an ideal approach is to “build” your own WAN (Wide Area Network) Internet connection, instead of getting an expensive single Internet service from a single ISP (Internet Service Provider). Here is how you can approach this mini project:

Choose a few ISP services in your area, ideally a DSL based service (VDSL, ADSLADSL2, or ADSL2+) and a cable based provider. You can also consider adding in 3G or 4G wireless for the utmost reliability. You can get a few of each and throw them into a link load balancer (load balancing firewall). This is not to be confused with a server load balancer, as link load balancers are simple networking devices that can spread your traffic into multiple WAN connections (in this case your DSL and cable Internet lines). The most advanced load balancing technology is the auto adapting Broadband Bonding. Legacy load balancers are limited in terms of their granularity of splitting the traffic as they aggregate the traffic at a transport session level, which means your Internet will not be faster with a session load balancer. However with the modern Broadband Bonding firewalls, the load balancing algorithms will work at a granularity of packet (even sometimes smaller than packets) and will auto adjust to your WAN links for aggregating even a single transport session. This means your bonded Internet will be fast, i.e. as fast as the sum of all your Internet lines.

With the Broadband Bonding approach, i.e. packet level Internet load balancing, the WAN Internet connectivity will be down only if all of your ISP services are down simultaneously. This provides a very high 9s availability for your office network. You now become your own meta-ISP with diversifying even between ISPs. Since your Internet speed is now equal to the aggregate speed of your various ISP links. The performance / cost metric is the highest you can achieve compared to a single Internet service from a single provider.

The modern packet level load balancers can return your investment in less than a few months and will provide an on-going cost savings.



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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