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Author Topic: Bonded line help  (Read 663 times)

Pony1982

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Bonded line help
« on: November 21, 2020, 09:29:56 PM »

Hi there,
Iím a new customer to AA. Got a line ordered and looking at ordering a second line to bond the two connections together for increased VDSL speeds. My current setup is Virgin Media with a USG and Unifi Access Points.

Iíd like to keep my Unifi setup, only because Iíve spent a very long time getting it to work how I want. So, the questions are

- Do I absolutely need a firebrick, or can I save some money (key is increasing bandwidth)
- Is bonding at all possible with unifi kit?

I did have a look at the link around Ďsimple bondingí. Couldnt tell if that would double my speeds or simply act as a load balancer.

THanks
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Weaver

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Re: Bonded line help
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2020, 09:50:52 PM »

I have a Firebrick with four bonded lines. It really quadruples your speed, single downloads going four times faster.

I have to say, Firebricks are absolutely stunning; the quality and ease of use is spectacular. I bought my Firebrick from AA because of my desire for bonding and the free support.

I donít know if you can do this with Unifi Iím afraid, might be a good idea to ask Unifi or ask on the AA IRC.

Welcome to the forum too!
« Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 09:54:55 PM by Weaver »
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Bonded line help
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2020, 10:56:41 PM »

It depends what you intend to download and do you need it for upload.

Simple load balancing will speed up downloads to game consoles and PC gaming.  I noticed Geforce Experience also gets this benefit for driver updates, vs web browsers that only run single-threaded downloads.

Full bonding does have huge advantages though, as it speeds up everything and should be more consistent as it doesn't depend on luck causing equal threads across both WANs.  It also works for upload which load balancing cannot really.  (well, unless you run two uploads at the same time)
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Weaver

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Re: Bonded line help
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2020, 11:34:08 PM »

I doubt you would be satisfied with a half-way measure, after all, you are spending money with the cost of extra bandwidth so might as well get the full value from it no?

And Firebrick ownership has huge benefits aside from bonding. Itís just a superb router. One of the things I love most of all is the readable config in XML, which I keep on my iPad, can back up multiple versions edit them with a text editor, diff them and easily upload them with http in an automated fashion. I have written a program for the iPad which edits config files and injects the correct current values for upstream egress rates so that the upstream load split is correct from day to day as sync rates vary, which does happen occasionally. It then uploads the correctly customised config file.

Enough frothing at the mouth over the Firebrick, but I would have bought one anyway had I known about their quality, even without bonding. And the support you get is out of this world too. I donít know if Ubiquiti will help you with complex configurations or give you a new unit free if yours gets damaged by lightning.
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Pony1982

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Re: Bonded line help
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2020, 02:30:35 AM »

Thanks for the replies. I agree about not wanting a half way measure - I would want 2x the speed or as close to it as possible. My plan (if getting the firebrick) was to connect it to the Ubiquiti and therefore be able to use my pre configured network. If the firebrick is the best way to do this, then so be it  :)
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Weaver

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Re: Bonded line help
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2020, 04:53:37 AM »

For some reason, Iím not getting the full speed I expect from the upstream side. I have one line that is very slow upstream, but that shouldnít make a difference. I got 1.5 Mbps upstream according to speedtesters some while back and now Iím only getting 1.1.5 according to the AA speedtest2.aa.net.uk and the sync rates havenít changed; other speedtester testmy.net reports 1.4 Mbps upstream though so this is very weird. Iíve asked AA if they have any ideas and they have sanity checked me and are thinking about it. This is discussed in a recent thread.

The combined downstream rate is superb 10.1 Mbps from speedtest2.aa.net.uk from my four slow lines and very close to the theoretical maximum allowing for overheads, and with sync rates downstream of 2.9-3.0 Mbps total 11.8 itís very efficient indeed, close to 88% which is the theoretical IP limit. The speed tester figure presumable include a reduction for TCP protocol overhead and so it isnít directly comparable with the IP rates, and may be exaggerated. Four lines is really pushing your luck too far for TCP, and with three or fewer lines efficiency will be better. Donít know why the upstream efficiency I see as reported by some speedtesters varies a lot from month to month; long-standing mystery.

One thing; when you order your Firebrick, tell AA you want to do bonding as they need to give you the more expensive Ďfully loadedí software load. Theyíll configure it for you and I can give you my config file if you wish, as an example, which is very complex and very heavily commented.

There are a couple of other kitz members who have Firebricks too and half a dozen AA users.

Youíre used to your ubiquiti and so sticking with it is a good thing. You can download the Fb2900 manual at https://www.firebrick.co.uk/support/manuals/ so that might help you decide by showing you what itís capable of.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2020, 04:58:16 AM by Weaver »
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Weaver

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Re: Bonded line help
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2020, 06:38:03 AM »

I have two Firebricks: an FB2900 and an older model the FB2500 which is the same apart from not being as fast, not having USB or SFP ports and maybe a few other things that I canít recall just now. The FB2500 is still in use, as a backup router in case of lightning strike.
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Bonded line help
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2020, 07:00:44 PM »

I'm still trying to figure out if the Firebricks use any sort of standard for bonding or is it an entirely proprietary hack to get around the UK DSL network not supporting MLPPP?  I can understand how it might be the latter considering this seems to be part of the reason the Firebrick exists in the first place.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2020, 07:46:37 PM by Alex Atkin UK »
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Pony1982

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Re: Bonded line help
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2020, 07:39:28 PM »

I think I'm struggling with this as well. Is there really no other router that will bond two connections into one?
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burakkucat

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Re: Bonded line help
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2020, 07:45:39 PM »

Is there really no other router that will bond two connections into one?

There are many. Two manufacturers come to mind -- Cisco and Juniper. But lookout for the cost.  ::)
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Bonded line help
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2020, 07:49:34 PM »

There are many. Two manufacturers come to mind -- Cisco and Juniper. But lookout for the cost.  ::)

But do they work on the UK network?  AAISP specifically helped create the Firebrick for this purpose, thus why it requires a Firebrick at the ISP too.
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Pony1982

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Re: Bonded line help
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2020, 07:52:51 PM »

Aah, think that makes sense now. Had read something about the unifi edge router doing this, but couldn't find more info.

As an ok techie, but no networking expert, slightly worried about how much overhead a firebrick might put on me
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DaveC

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Re: Bonded line help
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2020, 10:28:06 PM »

Hi,

Don't forget that it's not just bonding that the AAISP/Firebrick combination is useful for - it also gives a variety of failover/backup options (e.g. routing your AAISP IP addresses over a third-party 4G connection).

If you're happy with your USG, you could just put a firebrick between your VDSL modems and the USG, and use it to handle the bonding/failover - providing the USG with a simple WAN connection.  AAISP would give you enough public IP addresses so there would be no need for double-NAT.

It's also worth looking on ebay for used firebricks - an FB2700 can often be picked up for well under £200.  But be aware that the FB2700 comes in two varieties - normal and a more expensive "fully loaded".  Only the "fully loaded" version has bonding enabled.  Most FB2700s I've seen on ebay are fully-loaded, but it's worth checking with the seller.  If they don't know, then ask the seller for the firebrick's serial number (it's printed on the bottom of the case), and then ask AAISP - they should be able to tell you.

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Weaver

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Re: Bonded line help
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2020, 02:25:34 AM »

Thatís a good tip from DaveC. Alex has got this wrong :) ; afaik, thereís no need for a Ďstandardí, as bonding here isnít done with a protocol; it just distributes the IP packets between lines and thatís all there is to it, so there doesnít have to be a Firebrick at both ends. Any competent router will do at either end. At their end, AAís 6000 series routers have some clever technique for getting dynamic line rate info from eg BT or TTB and rate-limiting each line accordingly to get the speeds correct and the traffic-split right between lines. Like BT, AA rate-limits downstream traffic before BT does, so that AA is not sending a ton of high-speed stuff from the internet into BTís network only for all of it to later get dropped by BT because itís too much for a miserable lowly DSL line.

RevK claimed that MLPPP is not good when rates of lines are dissimilar; I donít know why this might be, perhaps out-of-orderness problems? I believe there is also a low level standard for bonded DSL at the actual DSL level itself, below PPP. I think itís mentioned in the second volume of Golden, Dedieuís and Jacobsenís DSL tomes, but I havenít read that chapter.
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Pony1982

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Re: Bonded line help
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2020, 04:36:13 AM »

thanks. Dave's idea of getting the 2700 on eBay sounds like a cost-effective way of achieving this.Do we know if these routers will support 5g dongles or is it definitely restricted to 4g?

I also hadn't appreciated that AA can provide more than one internet IP. Does this mean I can route the external IP straight to the Unifi and 'con' it into thinking it's connected directly to the internet? All very exciting
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