Using Multiple Internet Connections
Many mobile RVers, boaters and nomads travel with multiple internet options to keep reliably connected. Because each location can have its best combination of solutions. What if you could utilize multiple upstream internet connections at once - potentially increasing both your overall speeds and reliability?
But while it seems simple in concept - in practice combining multiple connections with vastly different performance traits can be challenging.
Without careful configuration and an understanding of the potential gotchas lurking, trying to use multiple upstream connections at once can easily prove to be more trouble than it is worth.
But with a bit of understanding - it is indeed possible to set up a mobile router that combines and flows between multiple different carriers with minimal needs for manual intervention.
Imagine - combining AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Starlink, public Wi-Fi, and more - all at once!
In this guide, we'll go over the advanced networking topics of bonding and load balancing - as well as the simpler concept of failover.
And most importantly - we will explain when these solutions make sense, and when they might cause unexpected issues!
Many of these features are relatively rarely found on most mobile routers. Make sure to seek out compatible hardware options if exploring failover, bonding or load balancing is something that you are interested in.
For more on researching routers with these features:
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Why Combine Sources?
One of the primary benefits of using a router as the heart of a mobile internet setup is that you can configure all your local devices to connect to the router over a private Wi-Fi network, or even via a wired ethernet network. And then you just need to configure the router to select the ideal upstream connection at each new stop - and without any additional configuration work at all, every device on your network will communicate via that chosen path.
But what if it could be even simpler - and you didn't have to manually select an upstream connection at all?
What if your router could automatically decide between the options available - picking the fastest or the cheapest connection automatically?
And why stop with just one connection - what if the router could actually connect to multiple upstream networks at once, and somehow combine them?
Imagine automatically being able to take advantage of Wi-Fi when you dock at a marina or pull into a campground, and cellular when away. And if your cellular signal gets slow and weak - maybe two combined might still be reliable enough, particularly if you have plans on diverse carriers to tap into. Or perhaps you're traveling with Starlink, but noticing occasional drop outs because of obstructions like nearby trees or buildings - combining the connection with cellular could help smooth out your overall experience.
For those hosting critical video broadcasts and conferencing, such as a Telehealth session, remote teaching or a sales presentation - a dropout in your connection could mean losing your job, or upsetting a patient. Creating as reliable of a connection for these sorts of tasks becomes not just nice to have, but critical.
Achieving this level of "it just works" automatic simplicity across multiple connections is the dream - and if you have the right hardware and a basic understanding of networking fundamentals it is a worthwhile goal to strive for.
But always remember... automation is not a panacea, and there WILL be times that manual interventions will still be called for.
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Check out the Topics Covered in the Member Section:
Failover & Hot Standby
Explore the differences between having a solution that can failover to one active connection to an inactive one, versus setting up a system that has multiple active connections at once such as a multi-modem configuration.
Bonding & Load Balancing Explained
Diving into these two methods of combining connections - how they are similar, and what makes them different. And the options out there.
Bonding Options - SpeedFusion & Speedify
How do solutions like Peplink SpeedFusion Cloud and Speedify compare? What is the right tool for you.
While there are a lot of benefits to be had with combining your connections, there are some serious considerations to make around some unintended consequences like location services and video streaming.
In this section we dive into WAN Smoothing, FEC and Static IP addresses.
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