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    RobBaxter's Avatar
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    Bonded BT Infinity Project

    Hi All,

    So, here at school we have been having a little brain storm over how best to "get with the times" when it comes to internet speed. For the most part with the introduction of many "cloud" services, such as Google Apps in education or maybe even Office Live (not that i use this), the internet connection you have at school is becoming one of your most vital assets.

    After my boss/bursar bought a new School Information Database and wanted to have staff access this web portal from home I began the quite reasonable "thats not gonna work boss" issues. At the moment we have 1 single ADSL line which services the whole school, it's not really been an issue for us, but especially now that i'm implementing so many new things I had to look at alternate solutions.

    WELL, bloody hell its expensive. Most companies want to charge in the region of £4500 + VAT for "bonded ADSL" solutions and don't even get me started on lease lines. But i think i found the solution. We have just ordered ourselfs a brand new BT Line with Infinity on it, the price is £60 (inc VAT) for 1 month (which includes your line rental and unlimited Bandwidth).

    I should get 33.6mbit down / 5.8mbit up (with my Infinity Line) which is awsome to start with!! But i'm not stopping there!! Once the 1st line is installed and is tested of 3 months for stability / reliability purposes, i will then place an order for another 3 BT Infinity lines. Of course these are £60 each. So thats a £240/month Price tag or £2880 a year.

    That figure for us is about 1/4 of the cost of a lease line per annum. AND what is the beauty of this imo is it's completely internally managed. If this goes the way I think it will, i should get 134mbit/s down and 23.2mbit/s up using 4 "Bonded" BT Infinity internet connections. I think this "for schools at least" this is the answer to getting the most "Bang for our very limited buck" so to speak in regards to "internet connectivity". I have 2 IT Suites and 40 students using the internet at the same time over 1 single ADSL connetion is laughable really. Google Earth would make you crindge and laugh at the same time.

    Now bonding is not new, but what I want to test "for all of us" is if BT Infinity Bonding is really a answer once it's available in your area. Because if it really does work the way i think it should, it really is a cracking choice.

    I will be documenting the whole process from begining to end along with testing metrics and stats. My plan here is to do the "leap of faith" on the behalf of our band of edugeekers. By the end of this "year" at school, I hope to be able to say one way or another with reasonably proofs and infos if this a suitable solution!!

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    Definitely an interesting idea, will be good to hear how it works in practice. Best of luck!

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    I hate to rain on your parade, but I know ADSL bonding required specialist equipment at the BT end of things in the exchange as well as gear in our switching cab; I don't know either way, but I suspect aggregating 4 Infinity lines will be more complicated than just plugging them all in.

    Is it consumer class Infinity you're looking at as well? i.e. rubbish contention ratios, no guaranteed speeds, no SLA? Obviously the saving is immense so if you're aware of the caveats of consumer connections then its your call, but if you're going to start relying on a connection it might end in tears...

    (additional thought: with consumer contention ratios and 4 of your own lines, would you be contending with yourself and no better/only mildly better off?)

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    tom_newton's Avatar
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    Depends how "bondy" you want to get. Without the ISP being complicit, you can at least loadbalance outgoing traffic and use different lines for different inbound traffic.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Can I suggest you look at this thread? http://www.edugeek.net/forums/networ...rsus-home.html

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    Bonding is certainly complicated, but as Tom says, load balancing is just a case of having the right router on premises. If your goal is to provide decent speed to many users (rather than top-notch speed to a single user), it should work pretty well, though contention may be an issue during peaks times, as sonofsanta suggested.

    Worth remembering that the linespeed available on BT Infinity is due to go up anyway in the next year or so.

  7. Thanks to AngryTechnician from:

    tom_newton (9th February 2012)

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    Domino's Avatar
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    What about bandwidth caps?
    QOS?
    fixed IPs?
    SLAs for potential issues?

    If this is the home inifinity package you'll likely fall foul of all these issues. Not to mention contention once more people move to it.

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    Good piont - make sure you have a business provision. We use Zen Internet who resell the FTTC product that BT call 'BT Infinity'. That has business level SLAs and usage allowances, along with a fixed IP. Many other companies can provide the same.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Form what i understand simply by putting the lines together wont give you 134mbs. You will still get 33mbs. But it will give you more bandwidth.

    Its like a road. You have one lane and the speed limit is 50mph. The council turn up and at another lane (in the case another connection), the speed limit doesn't go upto 100mph but more traffic can go down the road at the same time.

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    RobBaxter's Avatar
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    Hi all, nice to see activity here.

    Your all right let me clear up a few "bits". First off, not i'm not really "bonding" them i'm load balancing across them. Again your right, its only a "total speed of" rather than a "i can download at" speed. I have the business unlimited packages (of which we unless doing really well, won't even get to their "fair use policy".

    Again I agree, lease lines are far far superior, but if your like me, where getting a lease line to school is somewhat "out of the question" then this seems like a good alternate solution.

    I am undecided as to which "router" to use for the "shall we say connection balancing". UBM 1500 ADSL Channel Bonding Router is one i'm looking at. If you have a link to "bonding / load balancing" routers then please post them . Failing a suitable appliance i can always setup a Linux box to do this with 6 or so network cards

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Can you not load balance on a Smoothie using the advanced firewall?

    Which would also sort your filtering requirements.

    Tom will know more but i'm pretty sure a local school is using that here on adsl lines from multiple suppliers because they can only get 2mb on each
    Last edited by glennda; 10th February 2012 at 10:24 AM.

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    tom_newton's Avatar
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    The xrio boxes are supposed to be OK - if a bit tough to configure in places. They're only up the road from us, have met a few of their folks.

    Given the right presentation (static ethernet all round preferably) you can do simple load balancing with a Smoothwall UTM.

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    RobBaxter's Avatar
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    Fantastic idea, I can also kill 2 birds with one stone here always wanted a smooth wall to replace my tiny watch guard pos!!! My bursar wont let me have one until the watch guard breaks or wont do the job.

    Insolently, concidering the number of schools with smooth wall, makes this "case study" of sorts even better

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    nicholab's Avatar
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    Andrew and Arnold are the best ISP for doing line bonding. They bond both ends of the connection so it can be a single link.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FN-GM View Post
    Form what i understand simply by putting the lines together wont give you 134mbs. You will still get 33mbs. But it will give you more bandwidth.

    Its like a road. You have one lane and the speed limit is 50mph. The council turn up and at another lane (in the case another connection), the speed limit doesn't go upto 100mph but more traffic can go down the road at the same time.
    Not strictly true I don't think. All traffic on the internet is traveling at the same speed,
    e.g. when you download a file your request isn't sent to server any quicker than someone on a dial up connection instead you can fit more data through your pipe leading to a quicker download of that 100MB file. A dial up user is still getting the file at the same speed as you they are just not getting as much of it concurrently, makeing it take longer to download.



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