Tips for faster downloads: How I combined two internet connections

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Image via WikiHow

Image via WikiHow

Recently during the holiday season my primary internet connection started acting up. It seems there is a signal problem affecting my upload speed, so it takes an inordinately long time to complete simple tasks such as processing the GET request although the download is a breeze once this obstacle is surmounted with download threads achieving the expected 1 Mbps .

Coincidentally my iWayAfrica connection started working about the same time achieving similar speeds without the upload speed problem.

As I sat there twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the ZOL technicians to come and fix the problem (I am still waiting by the way), and waiting for my downloads to complete using the working connection I started wondering if there was a way to combine the two connections and get the best of both worlds?

After going through the Google hoops I am happy to tell you there are indeed several methods that allow you to do this and being the good man I am, I will only share with you the ones that yielded the best results.

Caveats

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Naturally there are several things that you should know before we begin:

  • This method works only with two or more desperate broadband connections i.e. the gateways have to be different. For example combining two internet connections using an Ethernet cable and WiFi which are connected to the same CPE internet connection achieves nothing.
    If your ISP says you will get up 1 Mbps connection you will get just that, unless if they decide to give you a Christmas holiday gift which is likely to be temporary.
  • With the methods mentioned below you are unlikely to see an increase in your browsing speed since your browser can only use one internet connection at a time. The real speed benefit is obtainable using a multi-threaded internet download manager such as Freedownload Manager or IDM or, God Forbid, when downloading Torrents.
  • NB You will only see the aggregate of the two connections when using multi-threaded download managers.

Method 1

This method works when you are using WiFi and Ethernet connections or multiple WiFi and Ethernet connections.

  1. Make sure the two interfaces are physically connected and up.
  2. Go to your Network and Sharing Center and Select Change Adapter Settings
  3. Select the two/more connections that you want to combine, right click and select the Bridge connections settings.
  4. Wait until a new adapter appears and you are done
  5. This will not work with connections that appear and interface as Dial Up connections such as CDMA or 3G even though they are broadband connections.

Method 2

Use Connectify Dispatch software. This software will allow you to combine all your internet connections including Mobile Broadband and produce a nice real time graph to show the throughput of all your network interfaces both separately and combined.

If you invest in the Pro version, which you should only do if you often use multiple connections, you can restrict certain apps to certain connections, set up data limits for each interface, prioritize certain interfaces and of course receive support.

This would be the perfect solution if you are one of those Windows lackeys who believe software should come bundled and wrapped up with a nice bow and work right out of the box. The software is bundled with Hotspot Pro ( allows you to create WiFi hot spots using your computer and costs $16.50).

Method 3

For the geeks among us there is always the FOSS method. Dispatch proxy is a FOSS solution that allows you to use multiple connections and “combine” them as one by creating a locally hosted proxy on your computer and configuring your apps to use this proxy instead of connecting directly to the internet. And yes you can use Bittorrent over a Socks proxy server.

  1. First you will need to install node.js on your computer (which for the benefit of our Windows counterparts comes nicely packaged as a Windows installer)
  2. Open CMD.exe ( the command prompt as administrator) and run the command “npm install -g dispatch-proxy” without the quotes. This will automatically download Dispatch Proxy and install it to your computer.
  3. To verify that it has been installed run the command: dispatch -V the option is a capital V and the command should output a version number of the installed version of Dispatch proxy.
  4. To start Dispatch run the command dispatch start this will start a Socks proxy server on localhost (127.0.0.1) port 1080 and will output all the IP addresses of the connections  which are being combined.
  5. You can read Dispatch Proxy’s documentation on how to assign priorities to various gateways.
  6. Configure each app that you want to use the combined connection via the proxy at localhost. If for some reason you prefer an HTTP proxy instead of a Socks proxy you should start Dispatch proxy with the command: dispatch start –http instead.

NB You can force certain applications to use specific interfaces using the ForceBindIP utility when using multiple interfaces.

For what it’s worth I would recommend the second and third method. Using the third method I have been able to achieve speeds of nearly 4 Mbps using my two connections on happy days using an internet download manager.

Method 3 also works on Ubuntu Linux (and if you must ask it also works on Linux Mint and other Linux distributions, with a few tweaks of course), just install Node.js using the command: sudo apt-get install update&& sudo apt-get install nodejs npm Dispatch Proxy can be installed using the same command as in Windows.

Happy Holidays and Happy Downloading.

24 Comments

  1. G says:

    need more of these tech articles that explain such things to the Zimbabwean technology community. good on u mate

  2. ProudZimbo says:

    Thanks Garikai. This is the best Eve of New Year’s Eve-Eve present i have ever had!

  3. shepherd says:

    misleading article. Bridging NICS is not Bandwidth aggregation 🙂 please do not mislead yourself and others on this one. This should be rather, how to join two LANS.

    Bridging NICS help to connect two networks together rather than piping two links into one huge pipe / increasing the speed of internet. If ZOL is slow it will still be slow on the bridge and the difference is the same.

    From this article here is what should be done with less hustles and maintaining security . 1.) Connect the two Routers from ZOL & iWayAfrica onto your switch. 2.) Go to Advanced TCP/IP settings and configure the static IP Addresses and let your better ISP’s gateway have a metric of 1 and leave the slower ISP on Automatic. On DNS you can use Google’s public DNS of quad 8.

    1. Garikai Dzoma says:

      If you carefully read the article you will understand how the preferred method 3 works: A download manager breaks a file into multiple segments, creates a connection for each segment and downloads it. By using a Dispatch for example these segments are downloaded using both connections which can either have equal preference or be routed using some preference rule there by creating a virtual “one” network.

      It is simple, does not require routers (my other iWayAfrica connection is via USB by the way) and no switches. While your method is better this is meant to be cheaper and simpler.

  4. Anthony Somerset says:

    Method 1 is not used for multiple internet connections, all you are doing is creating a logical bridge between the 2 “LAN’s” so they can see each other via your PC – it does nothing to “combine” or “Bond” network connections – did you even try this first before posting it?

    Connectify is a good tool but it then only works on your one machine – if you want to do it for your network and/or phone/tablet then you need to do it at the router level – Milkrotik, Ubiquiti and Cyberoam are some makers of routers that can do Multi-Wan routing and pfsense is a free opensource version if you have a spare pc with multiple network cards lying around

  5. tinashe says:

    This works if you have two different ISP.

    1. Anonymous says:

      The question is how ? A bridge just makes too lans visible. How will the bridge determine which isp is fast and the one that is slow ? Only advance tcp/ip does give you room to chose the best gateway.

      Clearly describe your assumptions tinashe. This is somewhat correct but it’s still not the right way to go about it . I am open to corrections but I BET this is so wrong in so many ways.

    2. Anthony Somerset says:

      as someone that used to do this for a living – trust me, no it doesn’t

      a Bridge is a Bridge – you still have to control(route) what goes over it and in what direction where it goes after that etc etc

  6. Mhizha says:

    Is this site for linux users only because windows users are always an article away from being insulted. Mu bash macho chamunenge muchiita chii chaizvo?

    1. lol, no. site not for Linux users. I work here but I use Windows. The writer just happens to prefer Linux, and yes he does insult Windows users a tad too many times!

  7. macd chip says:

    Mmm!! Garikai, l think you are mixing up terms here to the extend that you tech proposals can not measure up.

    Bridging a network not aggregation. Bridging is term most effective on Lan, lm just puzzled how a LAN technology can resolve a WAN issue.

    On aggregation, practically you need specialised hardware to aggregate WAN connections to realise full benefit. This is so depending algorithm used.

  8. fourwallsinaroom says:

    I had the exact same question on techzim answers a long while back. I have 4 connections at the moment. ZOL WiMAX, iWay WiMax, Tel*One ADSL and Econet WiMAX (before we start arguing that ZOL and Econet WiMAX are the same, the routing and IP’s are different along with performance even though both go to Pockets Hill base station in my case) That said, I had to settle for a hardware setup I used this device http://www.classifieds.co.zw/category/995/Routers-Firewalls/listings/515585/TP-Link-TL-R470T-Load-Balance-Broadband-Router.html . That was the best $$$ I have ever spent. Now I only bind the ZOL, iway and tel*one links as econet is billed at 2.5c per Mb

  9. mutape says:

    this is not news, we have been doing this for years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. shepherd says:

      doing what ? mutape this does not work at all. stop lying 🙂 unless if this was a joke to find out if we have technical folks who care to correct blunders. others this is a HOAX imho

  10. Naison says:

    Anything is possible , That’s why we are here . Please think , experiment and come up with a workable solution .hey

    1. Anonymous says:

      Nice debate going on above…. best way to find out who is right or wrong is to try what is being advocated….as the proverbial saying goes “the proof is in the tasting of the pudding”

  11. cool says:

    this dispatch tool works like a charm, i hv been using it since it ws introduced . it does as wht u wnt it 2 do, cn it be load balancing or round robin or aftr primary coonection fails.stop complain u noobs, u should learn to say thank you, thats y i ddnt tell pipo abot it except thoz who r cloz to me coz m aware of yo existnc (jer k as ss noobs like u who dnt apprct)

    1. osi says:

      Your spellings say a lot about you… A friend of a fool is a fool even if his name is cool.

  12. Garikai says:

    Method 1
    Please note Method 1 does work; its not great since there is not software to do the load balancing but I need to repeat and say it does work. As said it works using connections that present themeselves as LAN connections e.g. Ethernet cables/WiFi. When using a download manager each thread is randomly processed via any of the two connected interfaces so the theory of probability suggests its possible to max the two connections although this will not be perfect since there is no software monitoring the connection to balance the load between the two interfaces.
    ITS NOT PERFECT BUT IT WORKS. It is this imperfection that dissuaded me from making the preferred method. I only included it because it is simple and some people might like to try it.
    Two networks can be “bridged” by setting them to the same metric in Advanced settings this works even when these network interfaces include CDMA and other forms of Dial UP connections.
    Try it first and you will see that it works. I did not include the metric method because although it is similar to Method 1 it is a lot of trouble to go for an imperfect solution.
    Remember this solution was written with home users in mind and certainly not business users who have industry grade solutions that have existed for a long time and have been perfected over the same period.

  13. TheKing says:

    The comments on this article show that everyone in Zim has a CISCO certification, that’s why so many where quick to jump in and comment, compare this to articles on other fields in tech, you willfind not so rich comments. Let’s diversify team

  14. jack smith says:

    There is new solution inetfusion to combining multiple internet connections tried it few days back. inetfusion works smoothly and without any configuration at all. does load balancing, comes at an affordable price

  15. Alisha Gomez says:

    Is netfusion a software or something? COuld you provide a link to follow?
    is this it?
    http://www.clusterlinks.com

  16. Kishore says:

    I did all the steps as mentioned below.But one thing is that my internet connection goes through a proxy 172.16.0.5:3128 so I donot know how to configure the commands behind the proxy.Please tell solution..

    1. Garikai Dzoma says:

      I will have to look into it, but good Lord, a proxy in 2015 that is really criminal from your ISP.

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