Windows: Most people only have one internet connection at home, but what if you could merge your connection with the free Wi-Fi from the cafe down the street with your phone's 4G connection to create a super-pipe with lots of additional bandwidth? That's what Connectify Dispatch does, perfectly.
Connectify Dispatch came out a few months ago in beta, and testers have been getting impressive results so far. The app essentially bonds multiple available internet connections around your computer into a single pipe and manages the traffic among them for you. You can connect multiple Wi-Fi networks and adapters, a wired ethernet connection, even a tethered 3G/4G smartphone, and the service uses the combined throughput of all of those networks together. The service even promises to accelerate your BitTorrent downloads.
Dispatch also provides automatic failover among those networks, so if one of them goes down, your traffic is automatically shunted to another one — this is especially useful if you have an open Wi-Fi network near you and your cable goes out. You won't even notice the drop. The Connectify app also allows you to prioritise the available networks, so you can rank your personal connection at the top, and others in order of speed or reliability. If any of them are unavailable, Dispatch will switch to the next highest one available.
Connectify Dispatch comes with Connectify Hotspot Pro, which allows you to share the bonded internet connection that Dispatch creates with other devices in your home. The service isn't cheap: Dispatch and one year of Hotspot Pro will set you back $US50, while Dispatch and a lifetime subscription to Pro will cost you $US70. Dispatch isn't available on its own, unfortunately.
The folks at Connectify sent us a licence so we could test it, and it works as advertised — you just need to have multiple networks open and available to you for the app to really work. In my case, all I had was my cable connection, a cafe about a block away (and too weak to really contribute) and my 4G smartphone. Even so, with two networks combined I managed to see throughput averaging 40-50Mbps down/15Mbps up, where my cable connection alone was around 30Mbps down/5-10Mbps up. Downloading a test torrent was definitely faster with Dispatch enabled. If I moved somewhere with more open networks, I could probably do much better — good enough to even log into a VPN and encrypt my traffic without latency.
Hotspot also worked well, and sharing the connection from the Windows laptop with my Macbook Pro was easy. That said, Dispatch is the real star here: if you live in a place with multiple connections and hotspots available to you (that you can use — all warnings about hijacking random networks to use with this app apply), bonding them this way can get you some serious bandwidth for downloads, gaming, and streaming video or music.