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Is there a dual sim 4g router with channel bonding / bandwidth aggregation?

cbdeakin

Regular Member
So, in theory, this type of router would combine the bandwidth of 2 seperate 4G Internet / WAN connections.

I get around 50mbps (downstream) on my FTTC / VDSL2 connection. So, with 2 4G connections combined, I would get a substational improvement on this, probably 150mbps or more.

In terms of the cost, it would be £40 p/m, if using 2 unlimited Smarty 4G sims.

Alternately, is it possible to combine 2 seperate 4G routers into a single connection?

I know it's possible to combine Internet connections with Speedify, but I'm not sure the connection would maintain a high speed / reliability.
 

daleski

Pro Member
Smarty do not use 800mhz (Band 20) as I tried them before and I could only get a max of 10-25mbps whereas on 3 I get up to 55mbit in the same location.


So this may have a deciding factor for you if B20 is definitely needed.
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
I'm not sure this would work - unless you used two different network providers - if you used 2x smarty connections you'd be using the same frequencies and so one of the connections would be taking away throughput from the other.

In this highly unlikely, but simplistic example scenario: if you were the only one connected to a basic B3 only Three/smarty mast (15Mhz in the 1800Mhz band, 2x2, 64QAM = max throughput of 112.5Mbps) and you had 2 connections to the same cell each would 'get' 56.5Mbps (x2 = 112.5) or one connection would 'get' the full 112.5Mbps - you're not really winning anything.

Only by using different providers, connecting to different cells, would there be any improvement, since the data-paths to you are different.

Though back to your original question - I don't know if multiple 4G modem routers exist - I assume they do for commercial use in busses/trains to provide resiliant on-board WiFi.
From a consumer perspective, some routers can aggregate 2 WAN links - my Asus can aggregate (or provide fail-over) between the WAN (ethernet) and a USB (3G/4G modem). For 2x 4G connections then it'd need a 4G modem/router connected to the ethernet WAN and a (usually low spec) USB modem connected to its USB port.
 

kommando828

ULTIMATE Member
I do it differently, I have a Draytek 2925 dual wan as the hub router, that connects to a B525 with antenna pointing at a Three mast and a Mikrotik LHG LTE pointing at a Vodafone mast. The Draytek does the aggregation and also the fall over to single connection if one of the Wan's connection drops. The Three mast went down for 3 to 4 days a few weeks ago and if you did not monitor the draytek dashboard you would have noticed nothing other than downloads taking longer, streaming was unaffected.
 

cbdeakin

Regular Member
Gavin, couldn't you solve the bandwidth problem by simply increasing the distance between the 2 4G routers?

When I tested my download speed on Three, I got upto 95mbps, connected via the 1800Mhz frequency. So, I'd guess you would get a similar result with Smarty, assuming the same frequency. Or, I could use Three sims, they are £18 now for an unlimited connection, if you take a 12month contract.

Also, if the bandwidth in a small area is shared between connections, does this mean 2 people with 4G mobiles on the same network + frequencies standing next to each other would both receive half the available bandwidth? If so, do ISPs have any ways to mitigate this problem? What about the type of QAM?

By the way, what is the model number of the Asus Dual WAN router you mentioned? Was it the RT-AX88U?
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
Gavin, couldn't you solve the bandwidth problem by simply increasing the distance between the 2 4G routers?
Technically yes, but practically probably not... The distance between the two 4G routers would have to be enough so that one connects to one mast antenna (cell) and the other to another mast antenna (cell) - that is likely to be multiple hundreds of meters or more!

When I tested my download speed on Three, I got upto 95mbps, connected via the 1800Mhz frequency. So, I'd guess you would get a similar result with Smarty, assuming the same frequency. Or, I could use Three sims, they are £18 now for an unlimited connection, if you take a 12month contract.
You would expect the same speed through Smarty as with Three, providing there is no prioritisation occurring which favours Three traffic over Smarty (like its reported O2 have over their MVNO GiffGaff).

Also, if the bandwidth in a small area is shared between connections, does this mean 2 people with 4G mobiles on the same network + frequencies standing next to each other would both receive half the available bandwidth? If so, do ISPs have any ways to mitigate this problem? What about the type of QAM?
Correct. The spectrum is a finite resource. The more people there are connected to a given mast the smaller share of the throughput they get (assuming they all send/receive traffic at the same time).
Its why you generally get more masts in urban environments where there are more people - more capacity is needed there.
If this wasn't the case then you'd see no complaints from anyone about poor mobile network speeds - everyone would be getting the maximum!

There are various ways networks might mitigate this:
  • re-farm their existing spectrum (from 3G to 4G, generally just needs new radios, or maybe even just re-configuration of an existing radio)
  • invest in more advanced technologies/hardware (e.g. greater QAM - 256 vs 64 or new antennas and radios that enable higher MIMO)
  • split a mast into more sectors (6 sectors vs 3 sectors).
  • build new masts
  • buy spectrum (from Ofcom auctions) and deploy it (new radios/antennas potentially needed)
I think its also important to remember mobile providers are not ISPs, even though both provide a data service.

By the way, what is the model number of the Asus Dual WAN router you mentioned? Was it the RT-AX88U?
My current router is the RT-AC86U, but I'm pretty sure my older RT-AC68U has the dual-wan function too.
 

cbdeakin

Regular Member
Thats plently of detail, cheers :)

I'm starting to wonder if its worth it, (Dual) WAN aggregation routers don't come cheap.

Maybe worth a test with Speedify at somepoint if I can get hold of a couple of 4G phones on Three (or 2 different networks).

What's strange about Speedify (VPN) is that it reduced my packet loss to 0, when I tested it with the Geforce Now game streaming service. Apparently, using a VPN can change the route / hops data takes on the Internet, which could help to avoid congestion, or possibly traffic shaping (my ISP is Talktalk).

Out of curiosity, can the Draytek 2925 aggregate any connections together, e.g. 4G and VDSL (FTTC)? Would both modems connect to the WAN ports in this case?
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
I would think its not worth aggregating - just wait for the network providers to continue to rollout upgrades to their masts - which should come, given 5G is rolling out - though obviously more urban areas are likely to be first.

Kommando828's example for fail-over is probably the best reason to look at dual wan.
 

kommando828

ULTIMATE Member
My Draytek 2925 is in reality Triple Wan, at one time I aggregated an ADSL line through an ADSL router in bridge mode, a WiFi link from a farmhouse across a valley and also used its ability to share a phone hotspot all at the same time. The 2 Wans are RJ45 sockets, plug a network cable in and you get a choice of PPPoE, Static or Dynamic IP, PPTP/L2TP or IPv6 for connecting. Its really a business router but as it discontinued you can get them cheap. Wan3 can be from a 3G/4G dongle in a USB port or a WiFi hotspot on a phone.

I now only use the 2 WAN's as the total speeds I get are 90mb down and 40mb up. I have the 2 connections as we do have regular power cuts and lose the masts for several days. Using 2 masts which are 3km apart means I get coverage even if one goes down. If both go down then the powercut would be large enough to have other concerns beyond an internet connection ;) .

The aggregation on the Draytek is way superior to the Asus routers, I have 2 gathering dust waiting for use as Wifi bridges.
 

sheephouse

Top Member
It is worth noting that using multiple WANs (whether 4G or xDSL) provides load-balancing - a single thread will only have the max speed of the fastest connection, not the sum of them.
Most use cases that need a high bandwidth will probably have plenty of threads to make use of both connections.
I can also vouch for Draytek - I use a 2860n+ which until recently load balanced ADSL with 4G very well.
 

Rolandrat

Casual Member
Another +1 for a Draytek, ive had various models over the years more recently 3220 and now a 3910, currently with 3 4G sims feeding 3 WAN's and they do a splendid job of combining the connections on multi session activity - its not bonding, but really very close. Will be feeding a BT FTTP & a Cityfibre with a 4G backup soons as this virus stuff goes away.
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
It is worth noting that using multiple WANs (whether 4G or xDSL) provides load-balancing - a single thread will only have the max speed of the fastest connection, not the sum of them.
This is a good point to note, and this is the same on Asus routers too.
 

kommando828

ULTIMATE Member
It's very rare to see single threaded sources nowadays so the Draytek acts like it bonds, the Asus even with the same sources was hit and miss and got worse the longer it was from the last reboot.
 

cbdeakin

Regular Member
Has anyone else tried Speedify to channel bond 2 4G connections together?

Did you get anything like double the bandwidth of a single 4G connecrion?
 

Balb0wa

Regular Member
Could you not get the Three B535 deal twice? £2x£17 a month, and flog 2 B535's on ebay, then purchase another router?
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
From what I understand of Speedify it too is a (software) load-balancer - for a single stream download it would likely use/choose one of the connections to download through (and not combine two connections).
However, if you were then to start another single stream download of something else then the total combined throughput would be higher than either single connection could provide as I believe Speedifiy would then its other connection for that download, as it 'knows' the first connection was in use - but neither download individually would have a speed greater than any of the single connections.
This would be different for multiple stream downloads, as those probably would be balanced between connections (in either Speedify or a router than supports load-balancing of WANs) and different parts could come down through the different connections.

This is just what I understand/assume - don't take my word for it!
 
We have similar connectivity issues. Live rural and only option is a slow BT broadband connection so we have two 4g routers (one EE and one from Three). Currently each has its own router. We have external antennae.
would the draytek devices allow me to combine these three connections ? Fed up of having multiple ssid networks in the property and want one seamless solution. Was hoping the draytek would accept my adsl line, plus two SIM cards for my 4g lines.
 

kommando828

ULTIMATE Member
Yes but you need to go for a later version, on the 2925 I have you can get Wan3 to connect to a 4G router Wi-Fi but it has to be used as standby in case wan1 or wan2 fail. What you need is where all 3 wans are load balanced and the 2 4g router Wi-Fi can be turned off, this does not come until later Drayteks.
 
Yes but you need to go for a later version, on the 2925 I have you can get Wan3 to connect to a 4G router Wi-Fi but it has to be used as standby in case wan1 or wan2 fail. What you need is where all 3 wans are load balanced and the 2 4g router Wi-Fi can be turned off, this does not come until later Drayteks.
Thank you. I understand that the draytek routers still will not actually bond the wans, just provide backup connections. Only speedify can do that I think.
 
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