Replace limiting, expensive MPLS networks

For decades MPLS was the technology for secure, private business networks. MPLS is expensive, and it requires new lines connected at every satellite location. There is significant cost saving available when replacing an MPLS system with SD-WAN, and thousands of businesses have done exactly that. Beyond the cost savings, however, SD-WAN is far more agile and fits better with innovative companies.

MPLS, although expensive, made sense when everyone worked in the same building, or a limited number of specific office locations. There was a perceived degree of security in having a closed, hard-wired system, which may have been true 20 years ago. Now, even a “closed” office network requires frequent access to the Internet, and once that door is opened, the security advantage of a dedicated line is negated.

MPLS is also incompatible with the way businesses operate today. The complication of installing new lines for every satellite location was a rare nuisance when there were only a few remote offices. As businesses expand to multiple locations with remote workers and international offices, MPLS becomes a major hurdle.

Peplink SD-WAN can offer significant savings over MPLS, real network security, and significant flexibility. Peplink’s SpeedFusion technology doesn’t rely on a closed system for security. Rather, SpeedFusion secures every transmission with packet-level encryption. That means that a single company vehicle with an inexpensive Peplink cellular router can connect to a main or satellite office and still have the same level of security as someone hardwired in the next room.

Peplink SD-WAN can use any existing commodity connections available at each location. The main office can be served by an Xfinity cable connection while a branch office is connected with AT&T DSL. Remote and mobile locations can use any of several cellular providers to connect. All of the various links are connected and secured by Peplink software. Typical MPLS connections can cost anywhere from $300 or more per Mbps per month. They often include fees for international service and other connections beyond the network. A typical cable connection will cost business customers less than $15 per Mbps per month. The per-line connection savings alone are dramatic.

Harrington Industrial Plastics, a Peplink customer—with 43 satellite offices—realized a $100,000 savings in the first year. Where the 768kb MPLS deployed previously had cost them $192,000 a year for all 43 sites, the company’s Peplink solution is now only costing them $92,000. Their total bandwidth has been increased from 36 Mbps to 138 Mbps.

Clinton National Bank in Iowa was able to convert its nine locations from T1 MPLS to Peplink SD-WAN resulting in increased bandwidth and cost savings. Kevin Ross, Information Technology Officer for Clinton reported, “We have been able to increase our bandwidth from 1.5M to approximately 20M at our branches that were previously costing us a very high rate. Our ROI will be very short, increasing profitably at some locations where profits were being taken up substantially in Telco costs alone. We anticipate savings of approximately $2,500 per month.”

Any business still paying for, and being limited by, MPLS technology should at least explore the savings and agility of a Peplink SD-WAN system.


Anywhere Internet

Builder constructing a home

Worksites have changed. Along with muddy boots and heavy equipment a typical remote site also has technology. The sort of connectivity required depends on the work, but from exploration to construction remote crews require on-site Internet. Even when commodity Internet connections like cable or DSL are available at the site, scheduling, installing, and cost are all significant roadblocks. At many worksites like new developments, remote utility work, or resource exploration the crews will arrive well ahead of wired technology. The remedy for all of these connectivity headaches is powerful cellular Internet.

More than Smartphones

Enterprise cellular connectivity is far more robust and reliable than the one carrier 4GLTE in a phone. Even the smallest Pepwave routers have redundant SIM cards for multiple carriers. With built-in failover, the units can dynamically switch from one carrier to another to assure the strongest signal. Using Peplink’s SpeedFusion technology, Pepwave multi-cellular routers can bond cellular links into one reliable and faster pipeline. More importantly, Pepwave connectivity solutions can be deployed instantly from a self-contained briefcase.

A Solution for Every Worksite

Pepwave routers are available for every situation. A small mobile construction crew could establish a network connection in a different location every day with a Transit Duo. The Duo has two Cat-12 LTEA Modems served by four Mini-SIM slots. The unit can automatically switch between four different carriers to maintain a robust connection and prioritize the order of carrier access based on user defined criteria. The unit can broadcast dual-band W-Fi to the worksite with its built-in 802.11ac/a/b/g/n access point. It operates on 5V USB power or any 12-48V DC supply. All of this technology is in a metal case that’s just 4x7x1.5 inches.

For a much larger deployments, the MAX HD4 MBX is a DC powered control center. Like a one unit mobile headquarters, The MBX has four LTEA modems, eight SIM card slots, an eight port GBE router, Wireless 11AC Wi-Fi, and a host of other features. It can support an entire worksite security system, maintain fast robust Wi-Fi Internet and serve as an onsite network hub. All of this is still in 2 x 12 x 7 inch package, small enough to carry in any briefcase. These are just two of the more than 20 Pepwave routers. There is Pepwave for every sized worksite and every project. And all the units share essential technology.

Easy Remote Management

All Peplink and Pepwave units are managed with InControl2, a powerful software interface. IC2 is web-based, so it can be accessed securely from any browser anywhere in the world. IC2 starts with the unified device dashboard. At a glance you can see all connected routers and access points in one place with current information. From the IC2 dashboard each device can be selected for detailed information including complete connection and bandwidth history, current location and location history, device health, and others functions. The Entire remote set-up can be monitored from a main office, and IC2 can push out configurations and updates to all units in the field. All Pepwave devices also have built-in GPS. The InConrol2 interface can show each unit on a map, track movements of any Pepwave equipped vehicle or asset, and keeps 24-hour tracking history.

Good to Go

Installing fixed Internet service, even at a long-term job site, has cost and administrative complications. Most providers will charge installation fees and transient commercial sites usually pay the highest rates. In addition, each site could have a different provider and billing cycle. When works is completed contracts need to be terminated. With Peplink portable cellular connectivity, the accounts go with the device. Once cellular data accounts are created the portable hardware can be easily moved from one location to another. When work ends, the team can simply turn off the Peplink system and carry it to the next worksite. There are no account changes, no new contracts to negotiate, and no additional invoices. Several Peplink partner resellers have created self-contained waterproof cases with Peplink hardware, antennas, batteries and everything else required for a one box solution. Pepwave makes full broadband Internet available to your team wherever they work.

Construction, exploration, utilities, and engineering all have remote worksites that need connectivity. Peplink has a solution for each of them. Remote sites and field offices can have the same secure, fast, and reliable Internet as a main office in town. With Bonding and Failover, Peplink’s SpeedFusion can transform cellular data connections into fast broadband anywhere.

Contact Frontier today to have our experts design a solution for your mobile connectivity needs.

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Public Wi-Fi for Transportation

Passenger Using Mobile Device On Bus Journey

Thousands of Americans rely on public transportation every day. In several major cities, advocates are working to make public transportation the best option for residents. The American Public Transportation Authority reports that public transportation ridership has increased 31 percent since 1997, and the millennial generation consider public transportation as the best option for connecting with communities.

In addition to the growth in ridership, Americans have come to rely on having fast, stable, secure Internet available wherever they are and wherever they’re going. Although many cell phone plans include data, many users look for public Wi-Fi to save their paid data. Transportation providers can make public transit more attractive by having free public Wi-Fi available.

Pepwave: Built for Transportation

There are specific Pepwave MAX cellular routers tailored to fleet operators. The Pepwave MAX line can connect with multiple cellular WAN links to broadcast Wi-Fi internet to riders on public transportation, tour buses and motor coaches. Hot failover between multiple cellular links ensures that if one carrier is out of range, a second or third carrier is connected seamlessly and without interruption of service. The Pepwave MAX BR1 outperformed competitors in a five-month public-transportation trial in Poland and was the only device found to provide 100 percent connectivity.

All Peplink and Pepwave devices are managed with InControl2, a powerful web-based application with strong fleet management tools built in. An entire fleet can be monitored remotely from anywhere in the world. Using the GPS built in to the Pepwave routers, InControl2 can show the exact location of every asset geographically in real time. Fleet operators can locate every asset at every second and easily identify a unit that’s behind schedule or going off-route. Additionally, tracking data is saved for 24 hours, so operators can retroactively monitor a driver’s travel path.

Built for Rough Service

Pepwave routers are built for the harsh environments and rough roads urban fleets encounter. In addition to operating from -40° to 149°F, they are certified for shock and vibration resistance, electromagnetic compatibility, and use in railway applications. Some models are also IP67 certified for dust and moisture resistance. Transportation providers can rely on Pepwave’s suite of robust communication products to give them years of service and provide their customers the convenience and safety they expect.

Contact Frontier today to have our experts design a solution for your mobile connectivity needs.

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The Frontier Peplink Sales Advantage

At Frontier, we have found that once our Partners begin offering Peplink as part of their connectivity portfolio, they become Peplink evangelists. In fairly short order they are using Peplink in most of their installations. There are a few key reasons why Peplink makes these quick conversions. For the integrator, Peplink is a straight forward install, with easy fast set-up. For the customer, Peplink is reliable and delivers outstanding connectivity, usually at a cost-savings over previous alternatives. From a business perspective, Peplink offers such a wide range of devices and capabilities that there is always a solution appropriate for every application and every budget. It’s never a question of can a Peplink device meet the project requirements, but which one. Regardless of the Peplink unit deployed, they all share the same software ecosystem, installation protocols, and management tools.

No Fuss Installation

All Peplink devices share the same management and control console. Peplink’s InControl2 web based management platform can be used to configure a basic single cellular BR1-Mini or an Enterprise level Balance 2500 for 4,000 VPN peers. InControl2 configuration protocols can be saved for immediate set-up of future devices. Because management is web-based, Firmware updates, trouble shooting and management can be executed remotely from anywhere. Installation is so easy that Partners can have Frontier pre-configure and blind ship units to end users. If the end users can hook up power and data cables to the unit, our partners can set-up, test and monitor the units without ever leaving their offices.


A few years ago Peplink ran a contest to have users report how long their unit had been running. All of the contenders had unbroken uptimes in excess of one thousand days. Peplink hardware is built to the highest tolerances, and their MAX cellular routers are certified for resistance to vibration and electro-magnetic interference. They have the demonstrated performance for harsh environments like inside Police vehicles and in ships at sea. Peplink’s proprietary SpeedFusion software can build connections that will stay up even when a main link goes down. With bandwidth bonding or hot failover, SpeedFusion can combine low cost commodity connections, like cable, with cellular or other technologies to provide clients with always-on Internet.

A Solution for Every Customer

The Peplink ecosystem can be tailored to any sized project and every type of client. The Peplink product line includes the enterprise level Balance series with units for a small business with 10 users to Routers for 20,000 users to power a college campus. The MAX line combines all the technology in the Balance routers with up to four discrete cellular connection. Peplink’s new Flex Module units can combine the best of all worlds and grow and evolve as your customers’ needs change. The routers can be customized and updated with interchangeable modules for cellular, Ethernet, and SFP+ connections. When technology or needs change, the low-cost modules can be swapped out, maintaining the value of the original investment.

Become a Peplink Reseller

While there are significant benefits and opportunities, it is not difficult to become a Frontier Peplink partner. Both Frontier Computer Corp, and Peplink will help prospective partners earn certifications and gain understanding of the Peplink Product lines and how to deploy them. All the appropriate learning materials are available free for download, and Peplink also offers frequent free certification webinars.

Frontier has partner focused sales and technical teams with US-based support. Our experienced technical team are available for service and diagnostics, but they can also help you create proof-of-concept implementations before a sale. Frontier stands beside you throughout the sales, installation and support process. Frontier makes adding Peplink to your product line easy. You’ll get presale assistance, certification support, configuration help and same-day shipping. We will be with you from your first sale through years of support for your customers. Join the Frontier Peplink Channel today.

Frontier Computer Corp. is the largest distributor of Peplink products in the world and carries the full Peplink line. In addition to Peplink, the Frontier channel represents Poynting Antennas, Wilson Amplifiers, Yealink and Grandstream VoIP phones, and other connectivity solutions. Resellers and integrators are welcome to apply for participation in the Frontier Channel.

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Peplink Adds CAT 12 Modems

Peplink Cat 12 Routers

Peplink has upgraded to CAT 12 modems in certain Pepwave cellular products. These Modems, also called LTEA Pro, will allow significantly higher data speeds and improve reliability. The FirstNet routers will be the initial units to include CAT 12 hardware.

Pepwave MAX CAT 12 Routers

Single CAT 12 Modem
BR1-Enterprise – one CAT 12 modem
Transit – one CAT 12 modem
HD2 – one CAT 12 modem and one LTEA modem
HD4 – one CAT 12 modem and three LTEA modems
HD2 IP67 – one CAT 12 modem and one LTEA modem
HD2 Dome – one CAT 12 modem and one LTEA modem

Multiple CAT 12 Modems
MAX Transit Duo – two CAT 12 Modems
HD4-MBX – four CAT 12 modems
EXM Flex Module (for EPX and SDX) three CAT 12 modems

In short, these CAT 12 units will support download speeds 4 to 6 times faster than previous CAT 3 and CAT 4 LTEA modems. CAT 12 also allows 4×4 MIMO connections.

Modem Type Download Speed Upload Speed MIMO Layers
CAT 3 100 Mbps 51 Mbps 2
CAT 4 150 Mbps 51 Mbps 2
CAT 12 603 Mbps 102 Mbps 2 or 4

Of course, the speeds and throughput are dependent on the cellular provider networks. Unlike 5G which is only available in very limited locations, CAT 12 LTEA Pro modems can handle the speed improvements attainable now in thousands of cellular markets. While the current cellular networks will not all achieve the full 600 Mbps possible with the CAT 12 modems, as speeds increase this new hardware will be ready to keep up. The technology in CAT 12 modems is part of the transition to 5G.

What is CAT?

The designation of CAT on a modem should not be confused with CAT designation used on Ethernet cables. Generally CAT is shorthand for Equipment Category. The CAT of Ethernet cables was created by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and is based on wire thickness, shielding and data integrity, with higher numbers more appropriate for longer cable runs. These cable designations like CAT4, CAT5e, or CAT6a are not the same CAT of wireless modems. Rather the CAT we talk about for modems are the Equipment Categories established by 3GPP, the unifying Mobile Broadband Standard organization.

The 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) unites seven previous telecommunications standard development organizations (ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TSDSI, TTA, TTC). These “organizational Partners” work in cooperation to set the rules for protocols and standards in order for all of us to have a unified set of connection technologies and goals. It started with 3G, then 4G, and now 5G. These are not the invention of one person or company, but the result of the collective international intelligence and agreements from hardware, software, and network leaders and engineers working together. This consortium creates the standards and protocols that allow developers to create hardware that will work with the entire range of networks and networks that can host varied hardware.

The consortium issues releases that each build on the technology of the previous release. In these releases the 3GPP has already defined several “User Equipment Categories,” from CAT 0 to CAT 19. Industry adoption of these standards is not necessarily linear, and different modems from different standards can work side by side. CAT 3, CAT 4, and CAT 6 are all variously used. Peplink has chosen CAT 12 from 3GPP Release 11 with 600 Mbps speeds.

The nine Pepwave CAT 12 models are in stock at Frontier. Contact your Peplink reseller to order or for more details.

Frontier Computer Corp. is the largest distributor of Peplink products in the world and carries the full Peplink line. In addition to Peplink, the Frontier channel represents Poynting Antennas, Wilson Amplifiers, Yealink and Grandstream VoIP phones, and other connectivity solutions. Resellers and integrators are welcome to apply for participation in the Frontier Channel.

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Peplink Announces FirstNet Router Lineup

Peplink FirstNet Routers

July 18, 2019

Peplink has announced their full portfolio of FirstNet ready products allowing Public Safety and all other First Responding agencies to deploy reliable and cost-effective wireless networks. Peplink has been a leader in wireless networks for Public Safety, Fire Departments, EMS and other emergency organizations. Now the reliability and power is extended to the FirstNet system.

Built for Emergency Professionals

Because of the easy deployment, robust 256-bit EAS security, integrity of torture-tested hardware, and high value per dollar Peplink Networks have proven to be the long term solution for anytime, anywhere communications. Peplink networks are not bound to one connection strategy or carrier, but exploit all available channels to create a system that works anywhere without any adjustment or input from the end users. But until now, First responders shared all those available channels with all other users.

The Power of FirstNet

The government authorized FirstNet Authority established cellular Band 14 as a reserved space for Emergency Responder traffic. In emergencies and at large events, heavy public use can lead to overloading of commercial wireless communications networks. When that happens, public safety users were treated the same as any other user, and communications could be limited or even unavailable. With the FirstNet Network, responders get a dedicated “fast lane” that provides highly secure communications every day, anytime, and for every emergency.

Peplink’s Pepwave FirstNet models bring the multi-network connectivity of all leading commercial providers, and integrate them with Band 14 as well. With SpeedFusion technology, the multi-cellular models can combine the coverage and speed of several mobile carriers for mobile Command Centers and Incident Response Teams to rapidly deploy a communications headquarters anywhere. This efficient fast connectivity will saves lives.

The full suite of Pepwave FirstNet routers includes:

Pepwave Single Cellular Modem Units
• MAX Transit
• MAX Transit Mini

Pepwave Dual Cellular Modem Units
• MAX Transit Duo
• MAX HD2 IP67
• MAX HD2 Dome

Pepwave Quad Cellular Modem Units

All the devices are available at Frontier Computer Corp. Contact your certified Peplink Partner to find pricing information and place an order.

Failover: Keeping the Connection

by Topher Lautner

Failover is the SD-WAN term for automated switching from a primary WAN source to a secondary or back-up WAN. The Internet connection on any network comes in through a WAN (Wide Area Network). A WAN connection can originate from any of several sources: cable, DSL, fiber, satellite, or even cellular. Failover technology is built into a router, but not all routers are failover capable, and different routers have different levels of failover. Every router takes an incoming WAN connection and distributes it to connected users on the LAN (Local Area Network). A failover router can manage two or more incoming WAN sources and dynamically switch between them.

Failover 101

For our examples we will consider a Pepwave MAX-HD4-LTEA-W-T which is a powerhouse multi-WAN router with up to five wired WANs and four embedded LTEA cellular modems for potentially four more WAN sources. While the HD4 is much more router than we will need for these examples, it has all possible capabilities making it flexible enough for any possible deployment.

For the first example we will consider a mobile only deployment such as a maritime application or a remote worksite where wired connections have yet to be established. The example HD4 has active SIM cards for each modem as follows:
Modem 1 – Verizon
Modem 2 – AT&T
Modem 3 – T-Mobile
Modem 4 – Sprint
(In this example we are using all four networks. Failover can be established with only two WAN connections.)

The SIMs are installed in order based on a preference factor like cost or billing. The failover technology allows setting up a priority rule where the device will treat the Verizon connection as the primary WAN. If the Verizon connection becomes unavailable, the router will begin passing traffic over the AT&T connected modem. If both Verizon and AT&T networks become unavailable, the connection will be sent through the T-Mobile modem. If all three of those carriers are unavailable, the router will begin sending sessions through the Sprint connected modem. The switching requires no user input after the initial set up, however the unused connections most often remain connected, they are just not actively used.

When You Need Session Persistence

With this standard failover set-up any active sessions will have to be reestablished when there is a switch from one modem to the other. For example a stalled webpage may have to be reloaded. While establishing a failover connection is fast, there is a brief interval of disconnection during the handoff. Standard failover does not offer session persistence and any sessions that are active at the time a WAN source switches will be reestablished over the new WAN source. For session persistence, you’ll want to look at SpeedFusion Hot Failover.

Our example HD4 is SpeedFusion capable. To establish hot failover, The HD4 must create a SpeedFusion tunnel with a second Peplink or Pepwave device. The two SpeedFusion enabled devices constantly monitor each other’s WAN health. In the standard failover example above the failover connections are only activated once a primary connection failure is detected. With hot failover, at least one secondary connection is kept open by the router and the health of the SpeedFusion tunnel is constantly monitored. Session packets that fail on the primary WAN are kept active by the second connected device and rerouted to the failover connection with minimal packet loss.

In our example above, the remote HD4 maintains a SpeedFusion tunnel with a Peplink Balance 380 at the main office, which is connected to a cable Internet WAN. The remote HD4 uses the Verizon cellular WAN for both SpeedFusion activity and all user traffic. At the same time the HD4 keeps the AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint modems connected, although traffic to those connections is limited to minimal data for health checks. If at any time the SpeedFusion network senses a failure on any of the active HD4 connections, it will automatically begin routing sessions over the next available channel. If the Verizon network disconnects, the HD4 will switch the main traffic to the AT&T connection that is already active. Because SpeedFusion is constantly monitoring each connection it will know if the AT&T modem is unavailable and route traffic to the T-Mobile or Sprint connection as the pre-established priority dictates. SpeedFusion hot failover keeps an alternative, secondary WAN connection open and available for instant failover with minimal or no packet loss, maintaining session persistence. To the user on the HD4 LAN, the WAN switching is undetected; the user will not experience a break in the connection.

Hot Failover will use minimally more cellular data than a standard failover set-up, both to establish the SpeedFusion tunnel and to ping the idle connections. The minimally higher data consumption is a worthwhile trade-off in critical applications that require session persistence. SpeedFusion hot failover creates an unbreakable connection.

One Technology, Many Applications

In our example we used only cellular WAN connections, but failover can be created with any type of WAN connections. In open sea maritime applications a VSAT WAN may be added for failover. Many Frontier partners use failover for Point of Purchase sales terminals. The terminal will normally process all traffic through a wired cable WAN, but in the rare case that the cable WAN fails, they will failover to a cellular WAN connection to keep processing bank cards, and keep the businesses open. There are countless other application where failover is important, some of them situations where session persistence is critical, as in law enforcement or emergency services. In those applications, SpeedFusion Hot Failover is the best solution.

Topher Lautner is a Frontier Technical Support Specialist.

Frontier is the largest distributor of Peplink products in the world and carries the full Peplink line. In addition to Peplink, the Frontier channel represents Poynting Antennas, Wilson Amplifiers, Yealink and Grandstream VoIP phones, and other connectivity solutions. Resellers and integrators are welcome to apply for membership in the Frontier Channel.

Learn more about the Frontier Channel

SD-WAN Connections Explained

By Topher Lautner

Our support callers often ask which SD-WAN strategy is best. It isn’t always clear because the terms themselves sound so similar. However, carrier aggregation, load balancing, failover, and bonding are all different technologies with different applications.

Carrier Aggregation is the technology that turns LTE into LTEA. It is cellular connection technology available in any LTEA modem, and not a function of router technology. An LTEA modem can use a single SIM to connect to multiple cellular bands simultaneously, but only when the carrier is using aggregation at their tower. For example, a single modem LTEA device, such as a MAX-BR1-MINI-LTEA-W-T, with a Verizon SIM card would be able to connect to band 2 and band 4 using bandwidth from both, giving you better total cellular throughput. It is not exactly double the bandwidth, but the cellular connection is more reliable and throughput will increase.

SD-WAN Router Based Technologies

The Internet connection on any network comes in through a WAN (Wide Area Network). The WAN connection can originate from any of several sources: cable, DSL, fiber, satellite, or even cellular. The router brings Internet in through the WAN connection and distributes it to all connected users. Each of the following technologies act in different ways on WAN connections and Internet bandwidth distribution. Bandwidth Bonding and Hot Failover are Peplink technologies that require SpeedFusion.

Failover is a router’s ability to switch between one WAN connection and a secondary or backup connection without input from the user. If the Internet feed from the main WAN fails, failover reconnects to another available WAN connection. There are two types of failover, basic failover and hot failover. The driving factor of which one to choose is session persistence. With basic failover, when the primary WAN connection fails, any sessions using it needs to be reestablished over the secondary WAN connection, by reloading a stalled web page, for example. Failover establishes a session over only one WAN connection at a time, and speeds and bandwidth are limited by those connections individually.

Peplink SpeedFusion DiagramWhen there is a WAN failure, Hot Failover maintains each active session. This session persistence is critical for certain connection applications, like VoIP calls, which will drop when a session is broken or interrupted. Hot Failover requires Peplink’s SpeedFusion and two connected Peplink devices. The two SpeedFusion enabled devices constantly monitor each other’s WAN health. When a failure is detected by either device the connection is instantly switched to the healthy WAN link. With SpeedFusion hot failover session persistence is always maintained.

Load Balancing: While failover uses two WAN connections, one at a time, load balancing can use multiple WAN connections simultaneously. Load Balancing is the responsibility of the router to use multiple WAN connections in defined ways based on different criteria.  Each WAN is has a usage priority established by the administrator and executed by the router. Under load balancing, WANs can be set up in a priority, weighted balance, or overflow sequence to name a few. With load balancing each single session will only use a single WAN connection, but the many sessions can be distributed over various WAN connections in many ways. Load balancing and bonding are often confused; unlike bonding, load balancing has no bandwidth penalty and usually optimizes bandwidth usage.

Bandwidth Bonding is a popular buzzword, but often misunderstood. Like hot failover, bonding requires two Peplink devices with a VPN established between them. Bonding is used to create higher reliability and integrity in a connection. With bonding, a single session shares multiple or all WAN connections. The session is encrypted and broken into packets by the first router. The packets are sent through the VPN tunnel via multiple WAN links. The router at the receiving end decodes and reassembled the packets. The encryption creates a high level of data security, and data integrity. A bonded connection can have higher bandwidth than a single channel, but it will have a bandwidth cost of up to 20%. For example two 100 Mbps WAN connections bonded together may yield only 160 Mbps.  It is important to know when bonding is truly needed and when load balancing is a better option.

  • Carrier Aggregation is a cellular technology available with LTEA modems and towers.
  • Failover automatically switches the WAN connection from one to another if the primary WAN fails.
  • Hot Failover instantly switches the WAN connection from one to another and maintains session persistence if the primary WAN fails.
  • Load Balancing uses two or more WAN connections simultaneously intelligently routing traffic among the available channels.
  • Bonding creates a more secure, wider single path from two or more WAN Connections.

Knowing the basic difference between the connection technologies can help you decide which strategy you want to implement based on your connection types and use needs. In future articles we will explore failover, load balancing and bonding.

Topher Lautner is a Frontier Technical Support Specialist.