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Connectify Switchboard: Channel Bonding for the Enterprise

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Connectify launched a new Switchboard solution for the enterprise this week, allowing companies to easily bond DSL, 3G, 4G, WiFi and other available networks to create a single, fast and dependable connection. This "channel bonding" is performed on Speed Servers located in the cloud, which will combine the connections before jumping onto the internet.

"Companies have been contacting us, wanting to use our channel bonding service to get their remote offices online with real broadband, but not wanting to use our cloud of shared servers," said Connectify CEO Alex Gizis. "So we're launching a new service for them."

Unlike the version of Switchboard that's offered to the public, organizations use private 100 Mbps Speed Servers that are deployed and maintained by the Connectify team. Using the desktop client, companies can add or remove Internet connections as they go, and Switchboard will intelligently adjust to keep them online at top speed. Switchboard failover protection seamlessly moves Internet traffic to working networks any time the primary connection goes down.

So how is Connectify Switchboard a business tool? Gizis gives us the scoop.

"A customer in Afghanistan has been able to combine up to twelve satellite and mobile connections each with very low bandwidth in order to support video conferencing with team members back in the US," Gizis told Tom's. "No single connection could support usable video streaming, but the combination allows for reliable and clear conferences without paying for higher bandwidth at exorbitant prices."

"Another user is a small office of a large American company in Paris, France," he added. "DSL has been the only Internet that they have been able to get into their office. They got a second DSL line, bonded them with Switchboard and they are delighted to be able to do video calls with Skype and Google Hangouts."

But how is the connection secured? There are a couple of options. With a Hosted Server, the user can opt to turn on the internal cryptographic engine for AES encryption. Alternatively, if the user requires to use his own specific VPN, it is possible to use that over the top of the bonded channel.

Security is just one of the options customers can configure on a hosted server. They can also determine whether or not clients can interact with each other, like a traditional LAN, or be kept separate, more like a public VPN server. The user also has the option to turn on encryption, compression and BitTorrent blocking for their clients.

"The Switchboard software itself is smart enough to figure out everything it needs to know about your Internet connections' speed and reliability, and what it needs to do to get through the NATs and firewalls to get connected," he said. "It's really very simple to use."

The server can be managed from a simple web-based interface. When companies sign up, Connectify's online onboarding session walks them through the setup and how to use the software. Switchboard Enterprise has a 99.9-percent up-time guarantee as well.

When asked about how Connectify would work for a remote office, Gizis said that Switchboard Enterprise can serve as a virtual gateway in the cloud.

"Multiple offices can connect to the Hosted server in order to build a channel-bonded LAN to allow remote offices to use multiple Internet connections when communicating on a corporate intranet as well as to the Internet at large," he said. "Each office could have its own mix of different Internet connections (DSL, T1, 4G, etc.) and bond those connections together when connecting with the Switchboard Hosted Server."

But how will this work if someone wanted to use it on a server or storage devices that runs Windows? It runs great, Gizis said. Users install the Switchboard client software on the Windows device, and it can then use all the Internet connections that are connected to it. Customers can even use Connectify Hotspot on a device to act as either a Wi-Fi hotspot or an Ethernet router.

So who is Connectify targeting? The SMB or the Enterprise? "It's not so much about the size of the business, as it is about the size of the team or facility," Gizis said. "Some very huge organizations are testing a server for each of their remote offices in other continents. And for small businesses this could be their single broadband Internet connection."

For more information about Switchboard Enterprise, visit Pricing includes $300 on a monthly basis, or $3,000 on a yearly basis.