Elfiq Looks to Virtualize Bandwidth

Elfiq's enhanced SitePathMTPX offers new link bonding technology that monitors, aggregates and virtualizes network capacity so that network traffic can move down the best available path.

With workers becoming increasing mobile, enterprises are relying more on virtual private networks and other point-to-point technologies to give employees access to their networks.

VPNs (virtual private networks) offer solid security, but speed and reliability can be problems. The issue is that the connections are only as reliable and fast as their slowest links.

Elfiq Networks is looking to change that. The company is rolling out the latest version of its SitePathMTPX, which offers what Elfiq officials call a link-bonding technology that ramps up the throughput on the connection to make them faster and more reliable.

The bonding technology will be available starting in mid-August in the bulk of the company's product line.

"Using a popular phrase, we want to virtualize bandwith [in the point-to-point technologies] to increase throughput," said Jean Pascal Hebert, vice president of business development at the company.

Interfering with the speed of a VPN can be anything from server performance and bandwidth sharing to overall Internet traffic, Hebert said. Reliability issues come in because VPNs are used in a link-to-link method, and if one link goes down, the VPN goes down, Hebert said.

Elfiq's link-bonding technology enables enterprises to merge traffic from multiple links-such as cable modems or DSL lines-and then to simultaneously use all paths between the headquarters and branch offices. This combined with the company's load balancers enables businesses to use the fastest path possible, rather than being tied to a single predetermined path, Hebert said.

That capability comes through the introduction of new algorithms that will be added into firmware that monitor all the available paths and aggregate-essentially virtualize-the capacity of those paths. Through this method, only the best paths are chosen for particular traffic, improving both the speeds of the network and the reliability.

"With multiple links...as a link goes down, the VPN tunnel doesn't go down," Hebert said.

The technology should improve the capacity of each link by 1.5 to 1.8 times, he said. It will be available in most of its products starting with the LB 1100E. The only one it won't show up in is the low-end LB-550E.

Hebert said he only knows of one other company that has this multi-path capability. The key difference between what Elfiq offers and what FatPipe Network sells is that Elfiq uses the Layer-2 approach to link balancing rather than Layer 4. Unlike with Layer 4, businesses don't need to reconfigure their existing equipment-such as routers and firewalls-to implement Level-2 methods, he said.