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What is Channel Bonding?

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  • Written By: K.C. Bruning
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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Channel bonding is the process of combining two or more computer networking systems. This process can improve network performance by consolidating redundant functions while increasing the available channels of communication. Channel bonding can be used with a wide array of network types, including direct service line (DSL), ethernet, and dial-up. It can also improve the performance of Wi-Fi.

In the process of channel bonding one channel serves as the control or primary source. This channel typically functions exactly as it would if it were not connected to another channel. The secondary channel or channels, also known as the extensions, use all of the functions of the primary channel, while receiving and sending their own sets of data.

Channel bonding increases the megahertz (MHz) of each channel by the combined amount of each individual channel. For example, two combined 20MHz channels would add up to 40MHz. This process can be especially helpful for increasing the speed of a phone line Internet connection. By using two modems and two phone lines to create one channel, the speed can be increased to that on a level with an integrated services digital network (ISDN).

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The technology behind channel bonding has continually developed so that increasingly more channels can be connected. As many as eight or even more channels have been bonded, though many consumers do not get these speeds until the process has been refined by relevant vendors. By continually increasing the possibilities and span of channel bonding, future systems will have better ability to expand and grow, in addition to moving data more quickly.

One of the strongest benefits of channel bonding is that it can increase data delivery speeds with existing copper wire. This saves the time and resources necessary to add new underground fibers for data transfer. By using an existing framework to increase efficiency, the process of improving systems becomes faster, less expensive, and easier to implement.

Inverse multiplexing, also known as IMUX, and link aggregation use a process similar to channel bonding to increase the speed of data transfer. IMUX uses several circuits or lines in order to utilize the resources of each to bolster speed and efficiency. If they are arranged correctly, a network will typically view all of these lines as one entity, thus further increasing the speed of data transfer. Link aggregation increases network speed by combining multiple network ports or cables.

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