From the March 2010 issue of Entrepreneur

Small businesses find it tough to get what they need from big telecom service providers, which more often create offerings with big businesses in mind--"one-size-fits-all" solutions that may or may not fit.

In many cases, that one size is a T-1 line. At 1.5 megabits per second, that's faster than some business connection alternatives--but it also can cost as much as $1,000 per month. For the most part, service providers are not in a rush to develop a more flexible solution for small businesses that ultimately would subtract from their bottom lines. Fortunately, there's a work-around: an approach called broadband bonding. Simply put, it allows two or more broadband lines to be bonded into a single, more capacious pipe. Broadband bonding variations are offered by several companies, one of which is Mushroom Networks, founded in 2004 as a spinoff from the University of California, San Diego.

Mushroom offers a box called the Truffle (cute, huh?) that uses bonding to aggregate as many as six lines of any type--DSL, cable modem, wireless, even T-1s--into one Internet link that allows multiple end-user connections. The full aggregate bandwidth is available to any of the users.

Before you get worried about the potential cost of anything named after a pricey yet delicious fungus (the company also has a Porcini, which bonds four lines, and a Portabella, which aggregates wireless connections), listen to Mushroom CEO Cahit Akin's contention that the Truffle delivers return on investment in just a few months:

"Having two bonded DSL lines versus a T-1 can save you about 70 percent. We think there are small-business owners who have thought, 'Is there some way I could combine lines to increase bandwidth and save money?' These people have been looking to create options for themselves because they feel they have been faced with a lack of choices."