Francis D'saJan 14, 2013 12:26:40 IST
It has always been a geek’s dream to have the fastest Internet connection ever, and we bet you would desire the same too. Almost all those who are hooked on to the Internet to surf, download or entertain themselves would definitely be owning an broadband connection at home. It could be via a telecom service provider, your local cable guy or 4G wireless Internet providers. Some even own 3G USB Internet dongles for their work and entertainment while being outdoors. Most smartphone users today also opt for 3G Internet services on their phones and tablets. All these connections can be individually used on your PCs, laptops and handhelds efficiently.
Download, set up and activate the utility
Though you can connect them all together on a single PC and access the Internet, the Internet speed will be only drawn from the last connected network, leaving the others unused. For instance, you have four different Internet connection sources A, B, C and D. Your PC will access Internet from A when it is connected. The moment you initiate a connection from B, the PC will divert all network connections via B, leaving A unused. The same happens when C is initiated; A and B are unused and it applies the same to D. The operating system is not smart enough and does not know that there are multiple Internet networks. It needs help, but is unable to do so. In Linux, it is possible to do so by tweaking the kernel, adding some modules and running some scripts that will tell the operating system about the various active Internet connections and balance the network load accordingly. On Windows, it is not possible and a third-party utility is required.
Single connection speed
Clubbing all your available Internet connections into one single mammoth pipeline was not possible until Connectify, a well known software development company which developed Connectify hotspot, a virtual software router for Windows, stepped in. It kickstarted a campaign to help collect funds for the project and achieved it. It finally came up with Connectify Dispatch, a utility to connect to multiple Internet connections for combined speed and reliability. Using this utility, you can now connect all your available Internet connections – be it from a DSL modem, a wired cable connection, a wireless router, a tethered mobile phone or a USB Internet dongle – into a single mega broadband connection. Read ahead to know how you can do it in four simple steps.
All adapters active and associated with Dispatch
Step 1: Download Connectify Dispatch and install it. It is not a free utility and there are no demo versions available. The utility costs Rs 5,114 for a lifetime license, which includes the HotSpot Pro utility as a bundle. Optionally, you can opt for a one year license for Rs 4,023, but we recommend the lifetime offer, which is reasonably cheaper than this one. Once installed, activate the utility and you can see it running, but not active, in the system tray.
System tray showing adapters activated and deactivated
Speed using a single Internet connection only
All Internet connections combined as a single large bandwidth
Step 2: individually set up and test all your Internet connections on the PC. Install the USB dongles, tethered phone, wireless network, Ethernet cable Internet, or whatever sources you may have. Ensure they are working and all connected to the PC.
Using only three connections
Step 3: Double-click on the Connectify icon in the system tray to pull up the Dispatch user interface. Here you see the Dispatch utility, which is not started as yet. There is a graph available to know the bandwidth of all your available connection’s, and the overall bandwidth speed. Also, you will see the number of active adapters (Internet connections) in the lower half. Other icons available are Hotspot (to start the Wi-Fi hotspot) and Settings (to tweak a few changes).
Step 4: Connect, enable or start all your Internet connections. Once all are active, hit the ‘Start Dispatch’ button on the Dispatch window and you are ready to cruise the Internet highway by utilising all the Internet connections simultaneously. The Dispatch utility will automatically combine all the Internet connections together, analyse each one of them and route the Internet traffic accordingly whenever and wherever necessary. You can check the download speeds by downloading some large file, video or torrent. You will definitely notice a difference.
Assign individual applications to select particular Internet routes
How we tested
1. Internet connection A – Tikona Wireless 4G broadband via Ethernet – 2 Mbps speed.
2. Internet connection B – Tata Photon Plus 3G USB internet dongle – Speeds up to 3.1 Mbps.
3. Internet connection C – Tata Photon Plus 3G USB internet dongle – Speeds up to 3.1 Mbps.
4. Internet connection D – Tata Photon Plus 3G USB internet dongle – Speeds up to 3.1 Mbps.
Set bandwidth limitations for each Internet connection
The setup was done on a Lenovo laptop and was conducted inside a house in the suburbs of Mumbai. The testing was done at night around 1 AM when we could obtain maximum speeds and minimum interferences from any other networks in the surroundings. As we all know, the USB 3G Internet dongles claim maximum speeds of up to 3.1 Mbps, but this entirely depends from area to area. In our case, the maximum Internet speeds we acquired was between 800 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps at any given time. The Tikona connection was stable at around 2 Mbps. In all, estimating the USB dongles gave us around 1.2 Mbps speeds and the Tikona Wireless giving us around 2 Mbps speeds, clubbing them together, the speeds we acquired was a little more than 6 Mbps.
Override the default DNS
Testing and using the Connectify Dispatch for a few hours, we definitely state that the utility works and can benefit those who are looking for higher broadband speeds. BitTorrent is designed to make use of many network sockets simultaneously, which makes it a perfect application for Connectivity Dispatch.
Select adapters to act as Primary connections or stay as backups
Other options possible with Dispatch
You can further tweak the Dispatch utility to benefit your work. You can set up individual applications to use particular Internet connections to balance the load manually too. In this way, for example, you can download multiple files from Hotfile, Rapidshare, Mediafire and other similar file hosting websites that have IP-based time limitations to download the next file. It can also benefit those who want to download particular files faster than others, such as torrents can be on a faster bandwidth while smaller files can use the slower Internet connections.
Start Hotspot with a combined speed and share it to other devices
You can also use Dispatch to balance the load as per your will. You can set it to keep particular Internet connections as standby or backup connections in case any one of them fails. Other options available are to use DNS servers other than the ISP provides you. You can use Google or OpenDNS to your advantage. You can also meter individual connections to limit the Internet usage so that you don't exceed the download limits according to your plans. This can be done on daily, weekly or monthly rules according to your download plans. Lastly, you can set Dispatch to draw the bandwidth from the available connections that have the best latency and reliability.
An Android phone using Hotspot over Wi-Fi with full combined speed
Finally, if you have bought the Dispatch + Hotspot utility together (Rs 5,114), you can start up HotSpot and share this combined mega-Internet pipeline to all other computers and devices on the network wirelessly or using a router.
Connectify Dispatch is a very powerful utility that can benefit small and large business environments too. Take for example, a large organisation that provides most of the employees with a USB Internet dongle for use when they are travelling. When they are not travelling, the Internet connection is wasted as they are lying unused and the office Internet connection is used at work. By using these dongles on a PC installed with Dispatch, the entire bandwidth can come in handy for the entire office to have a faster Internet connection. Other areas where Dispatch can come in very handy is for video chat, online high-definition and 3D video entertainment, distributed or cloud gaming, online backups and data sync servers, remote desktop sharing, and a few others.
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