Mushroom Networks Looks To Grow Broadband Bonding Through VARs


The San Diego-based company, a past finalist for Everything Channel's XChange Tech Innovator Excellence Award, first launched its broadband bonding products in February 2008.

The technology helps businesses essentially get more bang for their broadband buck by combining all of a local network's available Internet connection resources -- DSL, cable modem, T1 circuits, fiber -- into a single, virtual broadband pipe to improve connections all over the network.

Mushroom's flagship product, Truffle, can combine up to six wired broadband connections plus one USB cellular card using an internal router and firewall, and can also support port-forwarding, static IP, PPPoE, DHCP and other Internet services.

Another offering, PortaBella, is Mushroom's wireless bonder, and allows customers to combine as many as four USB cellular cards to optimize broadband speed and reliability for branch offices, traveling employees and the use of broadband-intensive applications like video.

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Both product sets, Truffle and PortaBella, are Ethernet-based and are installed between a customer's local network and broadband modems or cellular cards. They also don't require the customer to reconfigure the network, according to Mushroom.

Co-founder and CEO Dr. Cahit Akin said in a interview that the company has about 100 reseller partners already, but Tuesday marks the launch of both an official program and formal partner recruitment. Most of its VAR partners so far came from inbound queries, but Mushroom is looking to expand its presence in the channel all over the world.

"We want to provide a nice package for VARs to get them going really quickly," Akin said. "We're really getting to a point where we want to scale up in North America as well as internationally, because this is a major business growth opportunity for a slow economy. It's the most cost effective way to bring the bits to the office compared to some legacy approaches, and it's one of the rare areas in IT that's actually growing right now."

As part of its program, Mushroom is offering partners lead registration that includes three months of locked-in leads so VARs don't step on each other's accounts, plus access to a resource library of white papers, case studies and best practices, and training on Mushroom's various product lines.

"It's a really nice way to reach clients, especially for VARs who already have basic spam filter, firewall and virtualization practices," Akin explained. "Our primary driver so far has been word-of-mouth and client referrals, and we think the same thing will happen through our channel programs."

"We look at the growth in areas like telepresence, videoconferencing and live applications, and for those, broadband bonding is an enabler technology," he said. "Branch offices that have slower connections can get HD quality telepresence-enabled, and they don't need a superfast and expensive connection. Broadband bonding uses inexpensive cables, DSL, whatever type of connection is there."

David Riggs, co-founder and president of Computer Consulting Services, a Jackson, Tenn.-based solution provider, said in an e-mailed statement that Mushroom's broadband bonding was a "win for both us and the customers we serve."

"By combining multiple broadband access connections into a single shared pipe, our business customers can now achieve fiber-like speeds and near 100 percent network reliability very inexpensively," Riggs said.