So I thought I would take a closer look at Internet bandwidth aggregation and in particular the Truffle Broadband Bonding Network Appliance by Mushroom Networks.

The Truffle combines multiple Internet connections, into a single aggregated internet pipe.  The aggregation over the internet connections is provided even for a single session (with packet level granularity), providing the full link aggregate speed.  The Truffle by default supports aggregation of up to 4 internet connections (with the ability to add an additional 4 or 8 ports with an upgrade) and an additional 2 USB cellular modems.  Each Internet connection can be via a DSL, ADSL, VDSL, or cable modem or a MPLS, satellite, or fibre based connection.

Scenario

A business has reached the limits of their current VDSL delivered internet connectivity and user experience is impacted along with remote access back into the business.  They also still have 1-2 years wait before UFB is delivered to their site.  A corporate delivered fibre based connection from a major ISP requires a prohibitive build cost which is outside their current budget.

Solution

Purchase 3 x new VDSL connections from 3 competing ISP’s providing a high level of resilency from a single ISP failure. Add two 4G prepay USB modems (Vodafone and Spark) for further failover capability in standby mode only.  Truffle is installed in bridge mode to the existing link with no changes to the current network. Truffle solution provides average internet performance that is 4 x faster than current solution with high 9s network reliability and automatic failover

truffle

Performance

Average speeds for VDSL links quoted by Truenet[1] are 22Mbps download and 8.5Mbps upload.  4 x VDSL connections would therefore provide the below average bandwidth capability:

  • 88Mbps Download
  • 34Mbps Upload.

Peak aggregated bandwidth would  typically be some what higher as slowdowns tend to be network and time specific and bandwidth performance overlaps to assist this.

Cost                       

A typical VDSL connection has a rough cost of around $110/month and can provide unlimited data between the various carriers.

With 4 connections at $440/month and a Truffle appliance having an RRP of approximately $10,000 (including 3 years maintenance) the TCO over 36 months for the Truffle comes in at approx. $25,840.

Compare this to 100Mbps Fibre delivered internet connection estimated from a major ISP [2] at $700/month provides a comparitive TCO of $25,200.

TCO calculations (ignores cost of finance and any datacentre related costs)

  per month 36 months Truffle incl Maint. Total TCO
4 x VDSL/month $440 $15,840 $10,000 $25,840
Fibre/month $700 $25,200 $25,200

Summary

It can be seen that the TCO is reasonable cost neutral over 3 years and profitable in the 4th when compared to a fibre based service. Where however the Truffle comes into its own is where fibre based services are not available and your only option is copper, or build costs for fibre to a site are prohibitive, or you want to add carrier diversity and resiliency to an existing connection.

What would be really interesting would to take two ISP’s 100Mbps fibre delivered services and aggregate these to get bandwidth above and beyond 100Mbps.  Gigabit fibre connections for internet are around $2200/month and still only via a single carrier.

[1] https://www.truenet.co.nz/articles/february-2015-broadband-report

[2] Internet Cost based on Auckland Metro connection with existing fibre to building. Actual cost could be much higher (or lower) dependent on location, availability SLA and ISP.