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Summary:

An Irish company thinks the world is ready to start aggregating their broadband subscriptions to provide faster access and redundancy. So it’s launched an Indiegogo campaign for the Multipath router.

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An Irish startup has launched an Indiegogo campaign that wants to help people make the most of their existing bandwidth by combining all of their connections together. This means your 6 Mbps DSL line and your 5 Mbps LTE connection could work together to give you 11 Mbps.

Justin Collery, the CEO and founder of Multipath Networks, offers a few other variations and benefits, such as getting a boost from sharing a connection with your neighbor, or getting around network disputes like what happened when CBS blocked Time Warner Cable customers from watching its content during a retransmission fight.

Multipath has built a router that retails for about $200 and can combine up to four connections to boost both the connection speed and the reliability of the resulting network. There’s also a $5 per month subscription fee after a free trial period that covers the cloud-based intelligence that makes the product work.

Justin Collery and the Multipath router.

Justin Collery and the Multipath router.

This type of technology isn’t new — I wrote about three companies doing that back in 2009 — but a few things have changed. First is the wireless networks are so much faster now. Back in 2009, 3G was the norm on the cellular side, and home broadband connections were mainly DSL with few cable providers having upgraded to DOCSIS 3.0.

And the underlying technology that Multipath uses is actually fairly new. It’s using Multipath TCP, which coincidentally is coming to great prominence because Apple is also using the same tech inside the iPhone to let Siri combine 4G and Wi-Fi networks. Collery might be a bit miffed at claims that Apple is the first to use this tech, but the validation and market education Apple can offer will undoubtedly be good for his product.

Today that product is the router. Unlike previous bonding efforts, this router doesn’t actually send packets in order to see how fast your connection is, possibly eating up a large chunk of your data in the process. Instead it measures the difference in time between a request for a packet and the receipt and gauges the connection characteristics from that (that’s the cloud stuff you’re paying the subscription for). The router also runs software that can allow you to fill up the cheapest pipe first, so your wireless gigabytes don’t get out of hand.

However, Collery is aware that few people might get excited enough about redundancy or faster connections to actually shell out for a $200 (or more) router. The goal is actually to build out a service where Multipath buys the connections from providers and resells them as a service. Imagine buying a Mi-Fi or home modem from Multipath as opposed to one from a single provider. The benefit would be that several carrier networks and local broadband providers would be supported.

That’s a bit further down the road. For now the company, which already has customers in the first responder community, hopes to get consumers to contribute to the campaign and support the growth of a consumer-grade router that aggregates their bandwidth. I like the idea. Of course, I also like fast broadband and redundancy in my network.

  1. Well I pay for home cable broadband and 4G LTE, not being able to use them as one is kind of ridiculous. That’s what we get from making a vital infrastructure private. Every high bandwidth country with low costs has public networks.

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  2. Does the Draytek Vigor 2860n not also offer the same kind of thing (WAN aggregation)?
    http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/wireless-routers/1301824/draytek-vigor-2860n

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    1. @guest and @Kevin below

      This is not load balancing (like the Draytek and others), it is true bonding. So, say a single Netflix stream will go over all your available connections.

      To do this the router connects to a server in the cloud, and server and router manage what data goes where.

      The clever part is that the links can be any speed, they don’t have to be the same, so you can bond any combination of links.

      Thanks,
      Justin Collery (Multipath)

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  3. First off, I don’t see why the ping time comparison should be a feature
    that people should pay for. Shouldn’t it be included in the router
    feature set?

    Next, this won’t really speed downloads unless the router has some
    way to tell the sending site to break the file into parts that can be
    sent over separate connections. Other manufacturers/software companies
    have tried this before, and it hasn’t taken off as very few web sites
    allow this. Remember the Windows PC software “Download Accelerator”?

    Like most of what’s already out there, this will speed up http requests
    more than anything else. A web page’s various components can be
    sent over different connections and reassembled on the client PC. the
    effectiveness is greatest for those who open multiple browsers and multiple
    tabs within each browser.

    Many companies have been involved with channel bonding since
    the days of dial-up. So shop around before committing to this
    technology. The capability is not limited to routers, firewalls
    that support multiple WAN interfaces can also do this.

    I will believe this when there are convincing reviews and benchmarks
    that show why this company’s offering is superior to what’s already
    out there.

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    1. I didn’t go into it, but breaking up the file over multiple connections is exactly what the software does and what your subscription fee is paying for.

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  4. Kevin,

    Don’t be a douche. That was the author legitimately responding to a comment. Your suggestion about waiting until you see convincing reviews is valid…leave it there.

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  5. It’s awesome technology!

    I could really use this for my international skype calls… maybe with 2 different providers I’ll finally get connections that stay connected!

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  6. Can you describe how you’d create a VPN connection between 2 sites using this router? VPN being point-to-point, would it accept your ‘bonded’ connection as a single point despite being made up of heterogeneous links?

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  7. This web site, and many othes, should add a “Report Spam”
    button for comments like the above. I am sick and tired of
    seeing spam like the above.

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