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Our Link Management solution is one of the best examples of how existing Free Software tools and simple techniques can be combined to solve important problems and offer tremendous value-add to customers. Outlined below are the fundamental concepts and technical details of this solution.
The most common and conventional way to connect to the Internet is to have a single connection to the Internet. The connection could be a high bandwidth leased line or a ADSL connection.
The problem with such a setup is that it could be limited to one ISP or there might be technical limits on how fast the connection can be. In either case the connection (and the ISP) becomes a single point of failure for the organisation's Internet access. Having a single connection from a single ISP means that failure of this connection will cut the organisation off from the Internet completely.
Absolute technical limits on the type of connectivity mean that after a certain limit it is not possible to grow Internet speeds or the bandwidth available to users in your network.
Having multiple connections to the Internet takes care of both of these issues. Multiple connections ensure that failure of one link (or ISP) does not cause complete disconnection from the Internet. It also enables one to greatly increase the total bandwidth available.
Aggregating the bandwidth of multiple Internet connections allows you to provide faster Internet access. The individual bandwidth of the various Internet links available gets aggregated to give users a much faster Internet experience.
The way bandwidth aggregation works is by distributing the Internet requests from users in a round-robin fashion to the Internet links available. This ensures that, on an average, requests are evenly distributed among the available Internet links.
Further follow-up traffic to that Internet request will then be transacted on the same link. This implies that while a single individual download will still be limited to maximum bandwidth constraints of a single Internet link, multiple users will now be able to do such downloads at the same time without eating into each other's bandwidth usage.
This round-robin load distribution can also be weighted in favour of a particular link - especially in cases where there is a difference in the respective capacities of the individual links. This will send traffic in the specified ratio.
While its good to have multiple links and aggregate their bandwith, its equally important to detect and handle link failure. A failed link has to be dropped from bandwidth aggregation policies so that traffic does not get routed over it.
All links that are part of a bandwidth aggregation group are actively monitored to detect their availability and failed links are immediately removed from the bandwidth aggregation group. Failed links are also consistently monitored and as soon as a link become available again it is added to the link aggregation group.
We help you build and integrate this solution through the following steps:
This is where you actually get to see the complete solution in operation and we try to ensure its water tight enough to take care of all your requirements.
While, theoritically, there is no absolute upper limit to this, we have had good success with up to four links at present.
This is not required. If the links are not of the same speed or bandwidth, we can tweak the the load distribution configuration to distribute load in whatever ratio it is required.
If you test this out using a simple software tool to do just one download at one time, then your results might not be very different from when you were using a single link. The correct way to validate this is to start multiple parallel downloads from multiple websites and check the total Internet speed that you are able to sink. This is because once you start a download from a website on a specific link, all traffic that is a part of that download will be downloaded fomr the same link.