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What is Multihoming?

What is Multihoming?
April 15, 2016


Nowadays, devices such as mobiles, laptops, and gadgets have multiple interfaces with different access technologies e.g. WiFi, LTE, 3G, Bluetooth, USB, or Wired. This can be called as multihomed or multihoming device. Using the all network interfaces for connection with Intranet or internet will improve the connection speed as well as performance of the application in many ways. If one connection fails, then no problem the multihoming device connects the out side world by remaining available interfaces. It will further help to access internet from anywhere, any time, without connection failure problems.

So, what is multihoming? If a gadget or personal device or host has multiple network interfaces and can connect with internet or cloud or LAN simultaneously by all available interfaces, that device can be called as a multihoming device. Also, one more way we can define multihoming, is when a home network is simultaneously connected with internet via more than one router and keep connectivity with outside world. In contrast, the single-homing connection disrupts with any connection failure.

A typical example for Multihoming is an internet user connected with more than one network provider from his own device.

One more classical example, a person or organisation can get secure information or specific data via a particular interface to a secure application and all other data via the other available interfaces using multihoming technology. Also they can set up different VPN (Virtual Private Network) and combine them in a multihoming environment. In this scenario, one can use the multihoming more securely and elaborately.

Multihoming host

Fig. 1: Typical Multihoming host

The advantages of multihoming are:

  • Load balancing by dividing data across multiple interfaces.
  • Resilience to the network failures, better redundancy, and disaster recovery.
  • Improvement in the usage of all available network resources and performance, and bandwidth aggregation.
  • Simultaneous use of multiple network access.
  • Smooth handover between different networks while travelling.
  • Can be done by both Ipv4 and Ipv6.

One major challenge currently is multihoming cost, but in coming days it will be more economical and will be used widely.

Different ways of multihoming are:

  • Single link, multiple addresses
  • Multiple interfaces, single IP addresses per interface.
  • In this scenario, SCTP (Stream Control Transmission Protocol) multihoming solution or Multipath TCP based multihoming solution can be used. The latter is more usable in terms of real world implementation at present.
  • Multiple Links, Single IP address:
  • BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) is usually used for multihoming under this category.
  • Multiple Links, Multiple IP addresses

Mobile multihoming is one of the fastest growing area because of the rapid increase of mobile user segment and their needs for accessing more data anytime, anywhere, and the availability of heterogeneity of networks. Currently, a lot of research activity is going on in mobility and multihoming area. In future, our communication base and data usage will be exponential and multihoming may be one of answer to the future Internet and cloud communication.