A many routed network

Necessity proved the mother of invention for Viprinet and this has helped Wits keep key projects online.

30 November 2016

There is something very African about the story behind the creation of Viprinet. Founder Simon Kissel was living in Germany in a town where the broadband connectivity was reminiscent of the South African experience – patchy and unreliable. He recalls that he tried a number of channel-bonding solutions in order to get a reliable connection, but none of them really met his needs. The problem he faced was one that is inherent in IP technologies – that packets are expected to arrive at their destination in a specific order and because of this, channel bonding technologies will route specific transmissions across a single circuit, effectively deciding which information will follow which path.

What Kissel wanted to do was to connect multiple channels and allow the information to flow freely across whatever was the best connection at the time. This would effectively allow him to send some information across (as an example) an ADSL line, some across an LTE link and others across a fibre-optic connection, with the system deciding which link was the best option on the fly. The problem he faced was one of latency. Each one of those examples connects at a different latency and whatever system is receiving the packets needs to be able to understand whether a packet is simply late or is not going to arrive at all and has to be resent. The simple answer was to take a leaf out of the data storage handbook and use a technology similar to that used by RAID storage systems, where information is able to be reconstructed by using parity information sent on one line.

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