Feature Article

October 03, 2013

The 65 Mbps LTE Pipe: Bonding Comes to 3G and 4G

Mushroom Networks is borrowing an idea that had a big payoff in the landline market. The company is bonding multiple 3G and 4G wireless connections into a single higher-bandwidth connection. The idea was originally used to bond multiple copper phone lines together to support higher-speed DSL and Ethernet service.

Mushroom Networks’ technology can bond between two and eight separate wireless connections together. Bandwidth will vary but can be as high as 65 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream, explained Mushroom Networks CEO Cahit Akin in an interview.

To use the product, users install cards from wireless carriers. The cards can use virtually any 3G or 4G technology and can operate in any cellular frequency band. In the future, it will support LTE-Advanced for potentially even greater bandwidth.

Akin estimates that the average customer uses between four and five wireless connections. And unlike with what we see on the landline side, the different connections can be from different service providers – an option that provides some unique advantages.

“Every individual card may have ups and downs but when you combine up to eight of them . . . it acts as a canceling factor,” explained Akin. “You end up with a smooth, reliable and somewhat predictable IP tunnel. . . It’s not just about speeds and performance but there is a reliability aspect.”

The Mushroom Networks product is sometimes used by people who have no landline broadband alternative offering equivalent speeds, Akin said. Others use it to enhance reliability.

Akin declined to reveal pricing but said the return on investment typically measures in the range of a couple of months. Marketing, he said, has been primarily by word of mouth.

Mushroom’s offering seems like the sort of product wireless operators might want to offer to their customers. When I asked Akin about that, he said, “We’re working with carriers in terms of projects. We have a lot of common clients. They’re not just bringing clients. They help us solve clients’ issues.”

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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