WAN traffic management specialist AscenVision has developed an aggregating device which it claims can take multiple broadband connections from different providers and bond them into a single logical connection which has the combined capacity of all the links.
It means you could chain together say a couple of ADSLs, a cable modem connection and maybe a WiMax link, and turn them into a single high-bandwidth connection capable of carrying a VPN between offices, said Dr Chinming Kuo, the Taiwanese company's CEO and co-founder. He added that using different suppliers gives resilience, as well as lower bandwidth costs from using nominally lower-grade connections.
Typically, you can only combine the capacity of several links either if they all come from the same telco (which means you can't use multiple telcos for resilience), if you use relatively expensive BGP lines and routers, or if you use an intermediary bonding service (such as Fluidata). Otherwise, you can have two or more WAN links, but each of your applications will be limited to the maximum bandwidth of one broadband line alone, or use more expensive static IP addresses.
So AscenVision has developed what it calls tunnel routing software. The first element of this is a kind of private dynamic-DNS service, which enables the routers to pass their dynamic IP addresses to each other. The second is algorithms that measure the latency and bandwidth of the links involved and adjust the flows to avoid packets arriving out of sequence because they travelled on different routes, as that hits performance by forcing re-transmits.
The technology needs an AscenLink router at each end and is primarily aimed at inter-site links such as VPNs, said Kuo.
He said that one of the first European customers is a Formula 1 racing team which uses it to send telemetry back from the circuit on test days to HQ in Europe, via a bundle of cheap broadband connections. The alternative would be satellite, which from somewhere like Saudi or Malaysia could be both expensive and limited in capacity.
"It isn't unique of itself, what's unique is we can use dynamic IPs, which is valuable because static IPs are expensive or unavailable in some parts of the world, and we can mix different types of link," he added.
Pricing varies from €800 (US$1,109) for a 20Mbit/s small office router, capable of bonding up to four links, to around €15,000 for a 400Mbit/s head office router able to handle 50 lines.
Kuo said that AscenVision is also planning a European launch for AscenFlow, its bandwidth manager which competes in China with the likes of Packeteer's Packetshaper.