A problem facing many businesses in outer metropolitan and regional areas is that the only affordable fixed-line broadband connection available is relatively slow ADSL, and private line services are much too expensive.
3G or 4G mobile data gets around the performance issue, but is prohibitively expensive for the amount of data many small businesses get through in a month. In addition, the service can be less reliable in areas of lower population density as an outage at a single tower can have a significant effect.
So Fusion Broadband offers a service that combines ADSL and 3G/4G data. The Fusion Hybrid Bonder includes a 3G/4G modem (just insert a SIM from the chosen carrier) and Ethernet ports for connecting to an ADSL modem and to a router.
"Fusion Hybrid combines the bandwidth of both technologies on a single TCP flow supporting all applications and all protocols - it ultimately solves the challenge uplink speeds for cloud based applications and remote applications, services like Microsoft 365, cloud based accounting, et cetera," said Fusion Broadband managing director Jason Maude.
"All these applications require much more uplink capacity than is available on ADSL based technologies. Fusion Hybrid provides an easy to deploy, cost effective solution for this."
"The bonding process, QoS, TCP acceleration and encryption processes are a two-sided networking process that exists on the Bonder and within our Aggregation networks. We license the bonding algorithm and are the exclusive holder of this in Australia," he added.
"In addition, we have then built the bonding network and aggregation environment and the customer bonding interface. A lot of time and R&D effort has been put into this, such that we have an incredibly robust solution that delivers a very compelling solution."
If either of the links fails, the Bonder simply uses the remaining one until normal service is restored.
"The added benefit is the built-in feature of redundancy due to the multiple streams. Just this week there was a major ADSL outage in WA yet every one of Fusion Broadband's customers that had multiple technology connections supporting them through bonding had zero downtime throughout the outage," said Maude.
IT consultancy and Fusion reseller LAN Creation managing director Rod Arthur told iTWire that one of its clients - Capability Resources - was locked into a lease for premises where the maximum upload speed achievable on ADSL was as low as 120Kbps or so. "Telstra is not interested in upgrading the service in this area ahead of the eventual NBN rollout, which could be another 18 to 24 months," he said.
Capability Resources' operation in Rutherford (NSW) is a branch office that requires good connectivity with its head office in Singleton, and with cloud services.
The company tried bonding three ADSL1 connections, but the expected performance boost was not achieved due to capacity limits of the local Telstra RIM outside the Rutherford premises. "The three ADSL connections all shared the same bandwidth," explained Arthur. "If we tried to load up one ADSL connection, it noticeably affected the capacity bandwidth available on the other two."
4G data on its own was not the answer because it is too unreliable, he said Arthur, even with an antenna mast on the building to improve reception. It was also too costly as a standalone solution.
But the Fusion bonded service provides the performance Capability Resources needed at an acceptable price and with greater reliability than either ADSL or 4G delivered individually.
4G data costs were kept down by using a SIM on the same shared plan as the company's mobile phone fleet - some staff use very little data on their phones, and the rest can be put to use on the office connection.
"Fusion's bonded broadband service has made an enormous difference to us," said Capability Resources general manager Nathan Thomson. "We now have reliable and usable connectivity with our head office in Singleton, and our staff can make full use of our VPN connection without being handicapped by the limited bandwidth we had with ADSL alone.
"Our internet speeds increased by well over 400% with bonded 4G and single ADSL1 connection compared to just using ADSL. That performance allowed us to operate out of Rutherford branch and was only 35% of the quoted Telstra costs to put in a relatively low speed Ethernet over Copper solution."
LAN Creation's clients are mostly small businesses and branch offices in diverse industries including cleaning, medical, mining support, resorts, retail, training and wineries.
"A lot of our clients are in fringe areas," said Arthur, "and the fixed line services they need are simply not available at affordable prices. Even if a high-speed private line connection is available at a particular location, the minimum contract length is often too inflexible.
"Fusion Broadband's solution definitely helps these organisations to keep up with their competitors in locations with better communications."