What is a Bonded Cellular Connection?
Bonded cellular Internet is the result of cellular bonding - the process of combining two or more cellular Internet connections simultaneously using specific algorithms. A particular case of link aggregation, the resulting "super-pipe" provides:
- the combined bandwidth of the individual mobile connections.
- a more stable connection, with failover protection.
A bonded cellular Internet connection can use any combination of cellular service providers. For best results, especially on the stability side, it is recommended you combine cellular connections from different carriers. If there are any issues with one of the carriers' network, traffic will be moved automatically to the others, to optimize usage and application performance.
Under the hood, modern bonded cellular Internet solutions monitor in real time each connection's parameters - available bandwidth, latency, jitter, packet loss. Error correction algorithms are also used to minimize losses which are inherent to wireless connections.
Reasons to Use a Bonded Internet Connection
There are three major advantages of cellular bonding:
- extra bandwidth.
- protection against disconnects / bad connections.
Basically, you can get the fastest, most stable Internet connectivity anywhere if you're combining two or more cellular Internet connections. This enables you to live stream and work remotely from virtually anywhere.
Bonded Cellular Internet in 2021: Market Landscape
There are two major types of cellular bonding solutions: those that include dedicated hardware devices and those that are software-only, bonding directly on your own device.
Hardware cellular bonding solutions are provided by vendors such as Teradek, Peplink, Mushroom Networks and LiveU. A central hardware bonding device allows you to add SIM cards or external USB cellular dongles and combine them. Some of them even claim to be "set it and forget it" type of solutions.
Software-only cellular bonding solutions are represented by vendors like Speedify. Instead of using dedicated bonding hardware, it combines the connections directly on the device it's running on: computer, Raspberry Pi, mobile device, etc.
Which one is better - hardware or software-only bonded cellular Internet? Given that both types of solutions deliver the same result, here are three items you should take into consideration:
- Flexibility: You want your cellular bonding solution to always be up to date with the latest protocols and innovations. Speedify’s bonded cellular Internet technology is the winner. It's software-centric and uses fast cloud servers which act as a middleman between you and the rest of the Internet. No more outdated cellular bonding hardware that need to be replaced every few years.
- Value for money: how much you get for what you pay. Software-only cellular bonding solutions like Speedify are definitely more affordable than their hardware equivalents.
- Security and online privacy: As a software-only cellular bonding solution, Speedify brings encryption to the table and securely combines multiple Internet streams. You can be sure no one can eavesdrop on the bonded online traffic. All the private browsing data is safe.
Learn more about dedicated hardware vs. software-only bonding in this article.
What's the Maximum Speed of a Bonded Cellular Internet Connection?
It really depends on the connections you're combining - 4G / LTE, 5G, even 3G or 2G at times, especially in remote areas.
You should not expect the resulting bonded connection to have the summed bandwidth of the individual connections. Any cellular bonding solution has a specific overhead it adds, which makes it more or less efficient.
The bonding efficiency also depends on the cellular bonding solution you're using. Each of them uses different algorithms and is optimized for specific purposes - e.g. streaming, file transfers, etc.
Will a Bonded Cellular Internet Connection Protect Against Internet Disconnects?
That's actually the beauty of a bonded cellular Internet connection. If one of the cellular connections you're combining has any issues, like you getting into a poor coverage area, the cellular bonding hardware or software will automatically shift traffic away from that cellular modem onto the other working one(s).
You should not notice anything while using the bonded Internet connection when this happens. Once the affected connection is back functioning within quality parameters, the mobile bonding solution will start using it again.
How Much Does Bonded Cellular Internet Cost?
When calculating this, you should first factor in the cost of the cellular connections themselves - how much you pay for cellular data to your network carrier. Depending on how much data you need, you can pay anywhere from a few to hundreds of dollars per month per carrier.
Then - there's the actual cellular bonding solution. Hardware cellular bonding solutions cost anywhere from $1,000 and higher. For some of those solutions, you also need to get a subscription for their services, which is sold separately form the hardware bonding device.
When it comes to software-only cellular bonding, the cost is just a fraction of its hardware equivalent. Speedify starts at just under $10 per month, and if you add a dedicated server to that, you'll still pay just a little over $100 per month.
Field Live Streaming and Broadcasts and On-the-Go Remote Work Requires Bonded Cellular Internet
A bonded cellular Internet enables users to have mobility while providing fast and reliable Internet. So where does it make most sense to use this?
Live streaming / broadcasting - whether it's IRL streaming, events, sports or reporting from the field, a bonded cellular Internet connection saves the day. That's because you can never be 100% sure of the reliability of a single Internet connection, plus you can go online from anywhere as long as you have cellular coverage from at least two providers.
Remote work - apart from those doing the live streaming and broadcasting, some remote workers need a stable Internet connection to be productive. Think of people who spend most of their time in Zoom video calls, like teachers, trainers or people in management. Also - day traders depend on fast and stable connectivity.
Bonded Cellular Internet - Do It Yourself!
You can use your computer or a device like a Raspberry Pi to create your own bonded cellular Internet powered by Speedify:
- Here's a guide on how to build your own Raspberry Pi bonding router
- You can also use a Windows laptop to share a bonded cellular connection via Wi-Fi.
- You can also create a cellular bonding device on a Linux laptop using Speedify.
As long as your device (computer, smartphone, tablet, Raspberry Pi, etc.) runs Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS or Android, you can use it to get a bonded cellular Internet connection with Speedify.