Link aggregation at the network layer

Link aggregation is a computer networking term which refers to the combining (aggregation) of multiple network connections into a single high throughput connection, in order to increase throughput beyond the bandwidth limit of a single connection and provide redundancy in case one or part of the available connections fail.This term is most commonly seen at physical layer (OSI layer 1) or data link layer (OSI layer 2) implementations. For example, the link aggregation at the physical layer is a common feature on higher LTE networks categories such as LTE CAT6 and LTE CAT12 where multiple frequency bands are combined to increase the connection’s throughput, while the link aggregation at the data link layer most of the times refers to aggregating ethernet connections where aggregation typically occurs across multiple switch ports.

Link aggregation at higher OSI layers

Link aggregation at higher OSI layers (network layer and above) is a relatively new approach that attracts a lot of attention in computer networking lately and is most commonly referred to as channel bonding. Channel bonding is differentiated from load balancing in that load balancing divides traffic between network interfaces on per network socket (layer 4) basis, while channel bonding implies a division of traffic between physical interfaces at a lower level, either per packet (layer 3) or a data link (layer 2) basis.

Broadband bonding is a type of channel bonding that refers to aggregation of multiple broadband connections on a per packet basis. Channels bonded can be wired links such as a T-1 or DSL line or wireless links such as multiple cellular links for an aggregated wireless bonded link, or even a mix of wired and wireless links enabling a hybrid Internet access solution.

All link aggregation methodologies residing at lower OSI layers, require coordination with telecommunications companies for implementation. Broadband bonding on the other hand, is implemented at higher layers and works without this coordination and offers a powerful tool to get independent from a single ISP and have better control of your business connectivity.

ComBOX Networks offer a proprietary broadband bonding technology as a fully managed service, allowing the end-users take advantage of this powerful technology to increase their Internet throughput and availability. This approach allows end-users combine the emerging Internet access technologies such as 5G and Starlink with traditional connectivity solutions to create ultra resilient and cost effective hybrid last mile links while reducing their overall connectivity costs.

To learn more about how comBOX networks can help your business increase the performance and availability of your business Internet, please feel free to reach out to us and book your risk free demo.

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