For beginners, I will just like clear confusion between link bonding or link aggregation and load balancing. Both the methods use more than one connection and join them together. Load balancing devices distributes the data load between the multiples link with certain priority criteria. It helps to achieve redundancy in case of certain link failure. If one link fails, other links share the load. The load balancing device maintain connections between user and internet link for each session. The communication for each session goes through same data link. For example, you want to download some file, so the user session for this download will be connected through same particular link till end of the session. If other user also start file download and load balancing device allots him link-2 , then he will continue with same link till his session remains alive. The load balancing devices have several configuration parameters which allows to maintain priority among different links, manage link failure situations etc.
In case of Broadband bonding, true bandwidth bonding is achieved. Ideally you get the sum of each link. The Broadband bonding device creates a virtual link by combining all the links. In this method, software algorithm collects incoming data and divides them between different links. The received data packets are repacketized after inserting this repacketization information. The reverse process of this repacketization is required at the other end of system to collects original data packets. Link bonding is much more complicated than just load balancing.
There are multiple hardware and software solutions available for Broadband bonding but most of them are costly. Different proprietary software for Link aggregation are developed by companies with their patent algorithm but most of them are quite costly.
After going through details of different products and solutions, I will like to mention two software cum hardware based solutions. First is Speedify and other is Zifilink ( Earlier name Watchy).
Speedify is purely a software solution from the user point of view. Speedify is available free for usage upto 1 GB/month of Data transfer. Paid versions provide unlimited data transfer limit. You can download speedify application and install on your PC or laptop. It detects all available network connection including Wi-Fi, Ethernet and tethered devices. You can use only one connection through one adapter, means you can only use one Wi-Fi out of all Wi-Fi detected from a particular Wi-Fi network adapter.
The software application bonds all different network connections and sends data to Speedify servers which perform the reverse process of bonding. The solution depends upon the performance of speedify servers. Servers may limit the data transfer which ultimately affects the purpose of bonding. You are advised to test performance of speedify in your area with free data limit. If you achieve good result then you can buy paid limits otherwise drop the idea of Speedify. Performance tested for Speedify was below our expectation in India.
Zifilink is a hardware cum software solution. It’s hardware unit comes in two model i.e 3x or 8x. Difference is only number of bonding ports. 8x has limit of connecting 8 USB dongle while 3x has limit of only 3 connection bonding.
Broadband bonding process is performed at this hardware bonding router while reverse process is performed at cloud server. At present Zifilink has probably hired cloud servers from amazon. Zifilink is good low cost solution for Broadband bonding.
Zifilink hardware supports only USB dongle but no Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection. It has Ethernet port for device monitoring but not for link bonding. There is another issue that it has limited support for dongle drivers. So You need to use dongles which are supported by Zifilink router. Overall Broadband bonding performance of Zifilink is very Good.