Elfiq to improve bonding on its link load balancers

Virtual private networks offer great security, but the network’s speed is limited by the slowest link .

One solution is buying more bandwidth, but Montreal’s Elfiq Networks, which makes entry-level link load balancers, believes it has a better way by adding multiplex link bonding to its SitePathMTPX bonding technology next month in most of its products.

Essentially, it merges traffic from multiple cable or DSL modems between remote offices for increased speed by using all paths between sites at the same time.

“The full bonding is a kind of ‘Holy Grail’ type of technology where you’re going to bring a lot more throughput in a point-to-point architecture by not necessarily adding a lot of cost,” said Jean Pascal Hebert, the company’s vice-president of business development.

Many VPNs are set up in a direct, one-link to one-link manner, Hebert said, meaning if one goes down the VPN drops, or if an end-point is saturated the network becomes sluggish. Elfiq says that by using multiple links with its load balancers both problems can be mitigated because SitePathMTPX’s upgraded capabilities can take full advantage of the increased capacity. The company says the existing algorithms can only chose the best link or path between sites. The new multiplex algorithm monitors all paths within links and aggregates the capacity.

Technically, the improvements are two new algorithms that will be added in firmware early in July to all but the least expensive member of Elfiq’s product line, the LB-550E.

The top of the line LB-4000E can handle 320 links. There will be no change in model pricing.

Hebert couldn’t say how much of a throughput improvement of the new algorithms can create, saying it will depend on the quality of the link. Elfiq models that carry the improved algorithms range handle from 60 to 1.2Gbps.

Network managers can configure the mulitplex setting through the software’s command line. One is the full multiplex bonding, while the other is RTT, for boosting raw speed transfer.

“The reason for the new algorithms is no more and no less than speed,” Hebert said.

The company says that its balancers are handled at the MAC address level, none of the devices have IP addresses, which reduces the risks of Internet-based attacks on them.

Among the company’s competitors are Cisco Systems, which include link load balancing in some of its routers, Radware, Fatpipe Networks and F5.

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