Interview With Jay Akin – Mushroom Networks

Posted on Dec 3, 2021 by Marko Velimirovic

Mushroom Networks is a company that built their Software-Defined WAN from the ground up to meet, and exceed, the needs of today’s enterprise customers including small, medium and large businesses.

Private Internet Access: Please present Mushroom Networks to our audience.

Jay Akin: Mushroom Networks solutions set networks on autopilot. We accomplish this with our router appliance that intelligently orchestrates two or more Internet lines to create one aggregated Internet connection that is optimized for performance. Some of our enterprise customers use our broadband bonding appliances to enhance connectivity at the branch offices. For mobile and vehicular use cases our multi-sim cellular bonding devices enable portable internet access by combining two or more cellular modems.

PIA: What is the story behind the company? What sparked the idea, and how has it evolved so far?

JA: Mushroom Networks originally were targeting community networks where WiFi signals can be aggregated and shared within the community. Over time we focused on the broadband bonding aspect and our technology has been enhancing networks of small and medium sized businesses all over the world.

PIA: What services do you offer?

JA: Our broadband bonding appliances can be purchased with the traditional upfront purchase option or alternatively, as a recurring service inclusive of technical support and our Cloud Relay service. We call it Router-as-a-Service or RaaS and this provides an OPEX model as opposed to a CAPEX model for customers who prefer that model.

PIA: We heard of four of your products – Truffle, Portabella, Streamer Pro, and Broadband Bonding as Managed Service. Could you please provide some information about each one of them?

JA: Truffle is our flagship device that users can plug in any type of Internet connection including fiber, DSL, cable, cellular or satellite and Truffle will intelligently combine all those various internet resources into a single, reliable and performance optimized connection. Under the hood, Truffle has the ability to optimize its algorithms for specific applications automatically. Truffle is designed to provide an automated WAN (Wide Area Network) experience and therefore get rid of the headaches of IT managers who otherwise need to deal with network problems manually. 

Portabella on the other hand uses cellular SIM cards to bond together several 4G or 5G cellular connections to create a portable, fast and reliable Internet connection. Portabella is ideal for remote locations, mobile offices, or other types of vehicular applications where wired internet is not available.

Streamer uses the Portabella base technology and adds video streaming capabilities for live webcasting and broadcasting applications. Our customers use Streamer and Streamer PRO (which adds a built-in video encoder) to stream live footage for news gathering, special events and emergency response type use cases.

Broadband Bonding Service is a managed cloud service that enables all of our field devices to take advantage of advanced tunneling features. This service is managed by Mushroom Networks and is a turnkey solution for our customers who do not prefer to have the headend device in their own data-center or office, which we also offer as an option. 

PIA: Who are your typical customers, and what do you think is the main challenge that your product solves for them?

JA: Our Truffle product line is used by small and medium sized businesses that rely on Internet connectivity as part of their daily business operations. The applications can be communication applications such as VoIP, video conferencing, or cloud based applications such as SaaS, or any other custom application that would suffer from ordinary fluctuations in performance with single Internet connections. Truffle sets their networks on autopilot.

Our cellular bonding appliances are an enabler of high performance Internet connection in mobile and vehicular scenarios. Law enforcement, emergency response type use cases commonly use video as an application for situational awareness. Similarly, our video streaming solutions enable live video broadcasting from locations that don’t have wired Internet access and use cases include live events, sports broadcasting, news gathering and others.

PIA: What is unique for Mushroom Networks?

JA: Our company DNA has roots in university research and therefore our team is obsessed with technological excellence. We bring products to market only if we are proud of what we have developed. Therefore our unique capability is our technology’s ability to proactively resolve network problems even before they can be noticed by the users. Our solutions are closest to having networks on autopilot.

PIA: How do you envision the future of your industry?

JA: The future is automation. More of the things that require a human being are migrated into tasks that machines can do. Networking industry is no different. Networks will become more automated and more dynamic where they can sense, learn and resolve problems by themselves without requiring human intervention.