Windows 7 hotspot hacker turns to software bonding
Wi-Fi, 4G, wired, whatever you've got – borged into one powerful stream
The company responsible for hacking a Wi-Fi hotspot into Windows 7 is turning its hand to software bonding, promising tens of megabits over the slowest of cellular connections.
The company has prototype Windows code which can bond multiple IP connections into a single stream, merging multiple Wi-Fi, cellular or physical connections to provide one IP address with serious connectivity, assuming one has the USB ports to spare:
Bonding IP connections together is nothing new, Be will happily glue together multiple ADSL lines for the home user who wants a little more poke, while SharedBand does the same thing across multiple ISPs for those who want reliability as well as speed. But those offerings require special routers and cloud-based aggregators, while Connectify's solution runs on a single PC.
Connectify reckons the software is ideal for bonding the coffee-shop Wi-Fi with a personal (4G?) Hotspot, or multiplying up several slow Wi-Fi connections, though to do that you'll have to have multiple Wi-Fi interface cards obviously. Anyone sitting in an office equipped with both Wi-Fi and wired access will see the utility in being able to load both at the same time, though with 100Mb/sec Ethernet now commonplace one has to question if the addition of Wi-Fi will make a significant difference.
Connectify certainly knows their Windows 7 IP stack, having stumbled across, and successfully exploited, the Wi-Fi hotspot code hidden within the Microsoft OS. That hack is now embodied in the eponymous Connectify Hotspot product, which comes with limited support for Vista and XP and costs $21 for the Pro version (there's a free version too).
Connectify Dispatch, as the company is calling its software bonding product, is currently selling for $40, bundled with Hotspot – despite being little more than a prototype at the moment. The company is hoping that pre-orders, and a Kickstarter page, will raise the money it needs to turn Dispatch into a real product, though a more compelling use case may also be needed to turn it mainstream. ®
What you linked is interface bonding. That's the easy way to do it when you have multiple physical interfaces on the same network. What you have to do in a case of aggregating multiple connections locally is equal-cost-multipath routing that round-robins your requests across multiple interfaces.
This isn't too useful for ordinary browsing, but it is useful for things like torrenting because that opens many connections to many different servers, so relatively decent load balancing is achieved.
This feature, too, has been in Linux kernel for well over a decade.
It will only work for multiple-connection usage
Proper connection bonding requires some aggregation at the other end of the link as well, which is the service referred to in the article. That costs money.
I have set up similar things in the past for some special purposes. This technique has always been possible, but it will make little if any difference to single-user web browsing, streaming or downloading from a server.
The only noticeable advantage would be with something like a torrent download which connects to multiple sources. Or by segregating different types of traffic. This becomes more relevant when considering a multi-user or corporate network's connection, strangely such a case isn't mentioned by Connectify.
"with 100Mb/sec Ethernet now commonplace one has to question if the addition of Wi-Fi will make a significant difference"
The 100Mb/sec Ethernet at my desk does not give me 100Mb/sec internet. Far from it