Our client, the café operator at Bedgebury Café in Goudhurst, had a requirement for a minimum of 10Mbps downward bandwidth to operate their tills. Whilst both ADSL & FTTC were available, neither were able to provide speeds in excess of 6Mbps to this site. Whilst it’s in a beautiful location, unfortunately, rural broadband is one of the challenges these types of business face. We investigated leased line options and were faced with Excess Construction Charges (ECCs) in excess of £100k.
To provide the necessary bandwidth, we worked with Sharedband, a VPN-based provider of bonded lines. This technology is a multi-path tunnel, where an onsite VPN router builds multiple tunnels to a remote server, which then packages them back together out to the Internet. Sharedband is fairly technology agnostic (as long as there’s an IP connection), so can work over dialup, 4G, Satellite, Leased line, ADSL, FTTC or even the coffee shop WiFi. It’s a bit different from MLPPP, where connections are bonded together by the ISP at both ends – both have pros and cons depending on the requirements. In this case, we took 2 ADSL lines and brought them together, achieving around 90% of the available speed (Sharedband has a 5%-10% overhead).
Although we have the necessary bandwidth, both lines come from the same exchange. To isolate the equipment in the exchange as a single point of failure, we provisioned one line as ADSL and one as FTTC. In this case, whilst the FTTC cabinet and Exchange are very close together and provide similar speeds, this allowed a limited amount of redundancy by ensuring the broadband circuit comes from two different places.
Whilst there were several lines on this site, due to the number of operators, line capacity was stretched to the limit on the incoming lines into the site. As well as this, a legacy technology in the form of Digital Access Carrier System (DACS) was in place on several of these lines. This technology provided ‘2’ separate analogue lines over a single pair (like BT Highway) but is not compatible with ADSL or FTTC services. By migrating the café’s existing incoming lines to Voice Over IP and removing DACS on these lines, we were able to free up 2 lines to provide to be able to provide enough capacity for 2 ADSL lines.