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Bonding 4G and DSL?

Beddo

Member
We have FTTC at our home, but since we are about 2 miles from the cabinet, only receive around 15mb connection with BT. We currently use their WiFi discs and find them to work pretty well - however - I work from home full time, and whilst I am connected via ethernet, the connection isnt always the strongest.
Speaking with BT, they offered their Hybrid system because we live in a particularly good 4G area - the reading Ive done states that the 4G only kicks in if the DSL completely drops out, which happens very rarely, so I dont really see this as a great benefit.

What I did wonder though, is can I use 4G and DSL and combine them at the router to provide a better connection?

Finally, BT said they could offer us a 2nd line foc - just need another account for the 2nd line - so could I bond 2 poor DSL connections in to one decent one?

If at all possible, I want to maintain the BT mesh system - or install something that is equally as good I guess.

So many questions, so little knowledge :(
 

kommando828

ULTIMATE Member
True bonding needs to be done at ISP level and then 2 FTTC lines could be bonded, not seen an ISP offering true bonded FTTC and 4G but it probably exists. I use line balancing where a Dual Wan Draytek 2925 can take multiple wans from different sources and do line balancing, its not true Bonding but gets close, any single threaded source will only use one WAN unlike true bonding but as these are becoming rarer line balancing is not far off true bonding.

I have line balanced on this router.

ADSL and 4G
ADSL and Wifi
Wifi and 4G
and currently 4G and 4G from Three and EE on different masts.

As Three can get congested and slow surfing down I have a routing rule that directs port 80 and 443 traffic to EE. So any single threaded downloads such as speed test sites can only use one Wan, fast.com is one, speedtest.net does show the line balanced speed of the 2 Wan's as its multi threaded and uses ports other than 80 and 443.

If one 4G single fails then it falls over to the remaining 4G.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
There are aggregation solutions around, but it usually involves going through a third-party server. You could also do this via an SD-WAN approach, but you really need to know what you're doing to get it right. Personally, the closest I get is by using a failover feature in the router to swap to 4G if my fixed line goes down, but that's not the same thing.
 

dabigm

Top Member
Have a look at speedify. Although these solutions are never good really. I would be more tempted to have something like WiFi traffic go over one link and streaming traffic go over another, of course this is a nightmare to maintain.
 

Meatball

Top Member
BT only currently provide a 4G backup not hybrid and the unlimited SIM is meant for use only if there is a failure of the DSL. It also costs per month and is dependant on having a Smart Hub 2.

The BT Whole Home mesh (white discs) can be used with any provider . If it is these and it meets your need now there is no reason why it will not for years to come. However if its the BT Complete (black discs) these are specific to using the Smart Hub 2 that has no bonding or balancing functionality. If the Smart Hub 2 is removed the Black Discs will cease to work and are the property of BT.

If speed is the issue and you have a good 4G signal do the usual test of each provider using PAYG SIMs or borrow friends/family.

Bonding can cost money. If you can get reasonable speeds (4G) you have basically 4 choices:
  1. Use your phone via tethering for specific tasks.
  2. Move to a 4G mobile broadband router (would lose any landline)
  3. Keep the DSL line in addition to the 4G by splitting the house load between them.
  4. Get a Load Balancing Router that can support both DSL and 4G or one that can support DSL and a 4G Router than you can put into Bridge mode.
1 and 3 allow the continued use of BT kit.

If you can get reasonable speeds on 4G search this forum as there are many suggestions regarding 4G Routers and Load Balancing as highlighted by kommando828 above.

Check the broadband availability of your adjacent neighbours. Is your speed significantly poor against them?. Could indicate a line issue rather than just distance.

As always it depends on what your budget is. Test any proposal on this forum before any purchase.
 

sheephouse

Top Member
I used to load-balance ADSL and 4G. It does work, but there are issues with the quite different latency - particularly with some applications, so you may need to route certain traffic down one or the other. Unlike bonding, load-balancing doesn't need any external service - but gives no improvement on single thread traffic. I gave up ADSL when my local 4G was upgraded and became fast enough on its own.
 
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