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Is there a sensible way of ‘teaming’ two ADSL connections?

WARNING: I am NOT a networking professional (obviously, see below) but I am a programmer and have a decent understanding of how the bits get moved.

Is it possible to increase my actual/perceived bandwidth by combining two incoming DSL connections (from the same provider) and either balancing them on a dual connection modem(?) or a router that will accomplish the same?

Bonus: What hardware (consumer hopefully) is required?

Is this possible?

marked as duplicate by MadHatter, voretaq7 Nov 14 '12 at 16:34

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  • 2
    Punch "dual WAN router" into your favorite search engine. – David Schwartz Nov 14 '12 at 14:06
  • @DavidSchwartz you are amazing --- how could I be so blinded by the obvious ("blinded by the light, wrapped up like [trailing off]"). Is this a good example: newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833124160 – kingdango Nov 14 '12 at 14:08
  • Do I have a bottleneck with a single DSL provider? My guess is no, since they claim they can give me the same 1.6mbps connection on both lines, but wanted to confirm. Also, is it safe to assume that most routers will balance EVERY REQUEST vs. some sort of "sticky" session scheme. In other words, I'm the primary user on this network and I want my perceived bandwidth to increase... I'm not looking to balance several users, I want my single user performance boosted. – kingdango Nov 14 '12 at 14:15
  • Get a Sonicwall... does this easy peasy for an affordable price. – SpacemanSpiff Nov 14 '12 at 14:44

I'm a strong advocate of link-balancer devices in these scenario. I prefer the products by Elfiq, but Barracuda, Peplink, Fortigate and other offerings exist.

In the Elfiq case, bandwidth from multiple ISP's can be aggregated and distributed using several load balancing algorithms. E.g. round-robin, least traffic, weighted, etc.

The inbound traffic can also be balanced using some DNS trickery.

In both cases, loss of a connection means graceful failover to the other lines. It's transparent to users.

As far as perceived bandwidth, each line is used on a per-session basis. So, if the links are saturated, this helps distribute the load... But the better approach would be to get a higher-bandwidth link if single user/session bandwidth is the problem.

Also see: Multi-WAN bonding across different media


Yes this is possible. A lot of companies do it for 2 reasons;

Increased bandwidth. Also failover. I would get 2 different DSL connections from 2 different ISP’s. That way if an ISP has an issue there is less likely hood of downtime*.

  • caveat; DSL uses copper wires and if you have 2 connections into a building these generally connect near each other in the exchange. Usually on the same DSLAM. So if there is a problem at the exchange your just as bad off. But you could always mix fibre and copper 
  • Yes thanks, I've seen this done for failover but didn't realize, despite it being obvious, that an appliance could also load balance. It's about load balancing (or actually bandwidth doubling) for me so I don't care about the SPoF but I am curious of how typical load balancing is done -- PER REQUEST or PER USER/SESSION. In other words, I don't want all of my requests going to line 1 and another user all going to line 2. I want all my requests split across line 1 and line 2 so my perceived performance is boosted. – kingdango Nov 14 '12 at 14:21
  • @kingdango it depends on the device. Most let you set it up :) – Zapto Nov 14 '12 at 14:26

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