(MoneyWatch) If you've ever wished you could merge several Internet connections -- like Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and even 3G -- into a single, faster and more reliable pipe, then you'll want to check out Connectify Dispatch, which does exactly that.
Connectify Dispatch is an app (no hardware required) that mimics an enterprise-grade load balancing solution. It combines whatever Internet connection you have available on your PC and lets Windows treat them as a single, fast connection.
I tried Dispatch in a hotel room recently that offered both an Ethernet port and in-room Wi-Fi. The software worked like magic, seamlessly combining the connections and significantly increasing the throughput compared to what I could get with either on their own.
The software is the result of a recent Kickstarter campaign, and is now out of beta and shipping in final form. It comes with Hotspot Pro, another program that lets you share your Dispatch connection with other devices (so you can, for example, allow other laptops in a hotel room to all take advantage of the more reliable, load-balanced Internet connection.
Unfortunately, the addition of Hotspot Pro adds a lot to the price, and you can't buy Dispatch on its own. The bundle costs $50 for a one-year license to Hotspot Pro or $65 for a lifetime pass. If you think you'll get a lot of use out of Hotspot Pro, the lifetime license is definitely the smarter buy, but if you don't expect to need it, Dispatch will work just fine without an active Hotspot Pro license after the first year.
Connectify Dispatch is a very impressive product. It boasts the ability to automatically fail over among connections, making your Internet service not just faster but also more reliable. It works with all sorts of connections, able to bond Ethernet, multiple Wi-Fi networks, and even a tethered smartphone or 4G router. The app's dashboard even provides detailed performance and diagnostic data about your Internet connection, if you care to check up on it. Clearly, if you routinely operate in an environment where you have access to multiple Internet connections, Connectify Dispatch is well worth the price.