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superdog
I Need A Drink
Premium,MVM
join:2001-07-13
Lebanon, PA

1 edit

1 recommendation

Wireless users, READ THIS!

The real truth about WISP is that most of them truly do not understand the RF technology that they have. They think that they do, but like most of the WISP, as their network gets more and more clients added, they have to really be on the ball with what they are doing and their knowledge.

I am the Field Operations Manager for a WISP in Nebraska. We have over 60 towers which are all relayed together. Our goal is to provide each client with the bandwidth that they purchase and not give the excuse "speeds up to". We host over 1000 clients, some as far away as 25 miles. We do not use amps. That is what novice WISP use. A good network design allows for modifications and upgrades that keep up with client's demands.

I feel sorry for those clients who get taken advantage by less than credible WISP. They give good companies a bad name. Maybe they should consider hiring an RF Engineer or study Wave Theory like I did in college when I was studying Engineering.

The one thing that people need to realize with this type of technology is that it is not perfect. Line of Site means just that. However, when site surveys are completed, the field tech should be evaluating the entire environment around which the equipment will sit. Here are considerations that should be taken:

Is the Fresnol Zone completely clear?
People seem to think that if they can see the tower that all is okay, but if there is a hill in between, the height of the hill or object may project into the fresnol zone. As vegetation and seasons changes, this may disrupt the signal flow from point to point.

Are there any electrical transformers across the field of view?
EMI "Electromagnetic Interference" can limit the range that a signal will travel. Antenna placement is critical to this issue. You do not want to shoot a signal directly across power lines, either shoot over or below them.

Are they shooting over city scape or country scape?
Cities generate a lot of RF noise. Again, this will dampen the distance that a tower can send or receive a signal from the client's radio. In large cities, it is advisable to build the towers at the highest elevation possible to get above the noise.

Is the WISP using low budget radios for their towers?
Some Wisp try to cut corners and build repeater towers on a shoestring budget. This may mean they are using off the shelf equipment like Linksys Access Points which have limitations and are not Carrier Class Equipment. We refer to these type of Wisp as Wisp Wannabes.

What is the latency (ping time) from your computer to the Wisp's gateway?
Ping times to the Wisp gateway should not exceed 20 ms. We have clients who traverse over 5 tower hops exceeding 80 miles in distance who have ping times less than 15 ms.

Does the client have any 2.4 gHz equipment within their home? 2.4 gHz phones will cause problems to the data transmission when the phone is in service. Also, be careful when using wireless routers. Depending on what channel you use, you may be using the same frequency that the client radio is trying to use for communication to the tower.

Is the WISP installing the right equipment for the job?
I have found that most wisp take what the manufacture says about it's product as factual. You have to develop your own opinion and use that knowledge as to which manufacturer's equipment they should use. Just because a manufacture says that their radio card is 200 mw does not mean that it is the best working card available. You get what you pay for.

Our company maintains ownership of all client radio equipment. This keeps cost down for clients and we keep our monthly rates very competitive.

Don't be afraid to ask questions to you WISP. If they have any credibility, you should be able to ask for references. Ask them if you can speak with 2 or 3 of their current clients who have had their service for more than 6 months.

Ask what speeds you are paying for. If they respond by saying "speeds up to 1.5 meg" or similar, then asked them what is the slowest speed that you can expect. A good reputable WISP is able to control speeds and monitor for potential bottlenecks. If you sign a contract for 768 kbps then you should always get plus or minus 15% of your contract speed. Be aware that speed test vary from from different test sites and depending on how many people are accessing the server the same time as you. If you are concerned about the amount of download that you are getting, call the wisp and ask them if they have their own speed test on their servers that you can test to.

Getting good bandwidth is all about latency. Poor latency kills bandwidth. Things that will cause poor latency are:

Viruses in the client's computer

Viruses that generate thousands of connections. (NOTE: A computer with this type of virus will affect other client's connections that are routing through the same access point on the tower. This is only true of low cost or cheap access points.)

RF interference, this is a big one. If the WISP has to adjust frequencies on their tower on a daily basis then they don't know what they are doing and dirty up the RF for that area. We had a WISP like that here and we ended up buying them out so we could stop them from killing the RF in our area. All is well now. We don't change frequency of a tower. That just creates problems.

Equipment failure, yes it does happen. Dipoles within cheap antennas have a limited life span. If the antenna is amped then the life span could be even less.

Moisture within the antenna cable connection or cable itself. Fitting should be sealed with a vapor seal to prevent any moisture from entering the fitting. One drop of moisture will greatly affect transmission speeds.

Wrong color sequence for CAT5 cables. Novice WISP don't understand that CAT5 cable have 4 pairs of wires, each pair having a different number of twist per inch. This eliminates crosstalk between the pairs. However, if you use the wrong color sequence, you just created the potential for contamination of your data which will cause additional retries across the links.

Wrong equipment for the distance. If the equipment does not have the umph needed to make the distant link reliable then retries may increase. One major mistake that WISP make is not understanding how to make adjustments for long distance links. Most just assume that they have to amp the signal, truth of the matter is when a packet is sent to a tower across a long distance link, the client radio will wait a nanosecond to hear back from the access point that it received all of the packet that was sent. If it does not get the response in time it will retransmit the packet which is referred to as a retry. When a long distance link is made, it is imperative to adjust the RTS Threshold of the client's radio. By doing this, you are telling the client radio to wait a little longer (nanoseconds) before it starts to transmit the packet again.

I could go on and on about what WISPs should be doing in your area, hopefully, they will do their reading and provide you with a good product. If not, be a thorn in their side and demand better service.

Mark Nelson
MicroLnk Field Operations Manager
--
»www.wavecrazy.net



superdog
I Need A Drink
Premium,MVM
join:2001-07-13
Lebanon, PA

I guess I should have said all of this?, I was just to lazy to type it. It really is a fairly good post, and it describes a LOT of the WISP's that are currently out there. As time goes on, I can only hope that things get better, and maybe You will be able to hook up with a "Professional" WISP, and not a fly by nighter, as a lot of them seem to be. In the FAQ that I wrote, I mentioned the fact that the technology used is only as good as the person pushing the buttons, and there are good and bad cable, DSL and wireless operators. I can only hope that You find a good one!:)
--
»www.wavecrazy.net


Vectordirect

join:2003-02-09
Rhome, TX

I also agree with your post. Here it seems like the prevailing attitude is that the professional WISPs do not want to move into an area served by another even if it is a "wannabe". So the "wannabe" completely monopolizes an area. I'm looking for choices in my broadband service.


anthrorules
Premium
join:2003-09-14
Rollinsville, CO
reply to superdog

In terms of competition...in my neck of the woods, there are three WISPs in the town closest to me, and two WISP in my neighborhood...separate from the three in the town...one is a co-op and the other is a larger company with actual data centers in the Front Range, and a large network of towers, which the latter is my WISP...which is about $30.00 more expensive than the co-op, but you get what you pay for, which is great customer support (co-op has two volunteer engineers who are only able to support issues in the evenings and weekends versus my WISP that offers 24-7-365 support) and reliable service (well, after they amplified my antenna signal to 2.4 Ghz from 900 Mhz).
--
ionSKY Wireless ISP - 2.4GHz - 802.11b - 1.0MB/384kbps | Dell Dimension 4550/WinXP Pro/SP2/768MB Ram -- Dell Inspiron 5150/WinXP Pro/SP2/512MB Ram |Kerio Personal Firewall 2.1.5 | NAT Router/Firewall | NETGEAR WGT624v2 Wireless Firewall/Router


cevans59
Premium
join:2003-08-14
Smithton, IL

Good post The WISP we get our service from has had some growing pains but overall they have been responsive. They are getting ready to replace the single radio/omni antenna on the tower we use with an 3-radio/3-120 degree sectional system soon. They said we will be down for two days but they are going to credit us for half of our next bill due to the inconvenience.

Overall I'm happy.
--
When the impossible becomes the probable, reality fades and the fun begins.



prestonlewis
Premium,MVM
join:2003-04-13
Sacramento, CA
reply to superdog

Great post. You really got it right in my opinion. WISPs are like ISP's 10 years ago. Some were great and knowledgeable, others were run by people not ready to run an ISP and service sucked in a major way. WISPs have a way to go in terms of reliability. Some of the bad ones need to be weeded out because they give the entire industry a bad name. Properly implemented, WISP should be better than any other broadband medium and provide the fastest speeds (well excluding fiber) with the least amount of social disruption (like tearing up your street to lay cable or fiber). WISP should be the future, in my opinion, but boy is it a crap shoot today when you order service from a WISP. About the only "rule" I have is that if they don't use Trango equipment, I assume they aren't quality. Now whether that is a good way to quickly assess a WISP, I don't know but that's the way I've done it. Perhaps you could post a short checklist of questions to ask before ordering a WISP connection in terms of equipment, distance, etc. It would be nice for us who are less informed than you are.



jlramirez
Premium
join:2004-10-01
Sugar Grove, IL
reply to superdog

And now take this all over to the WISP provider forum and let the flames begin. I agree with you 150% about most WISPs these days. Looking at the posts of what equipment to use, etc... and most being regular consumer stuff...

-JR
--
Fiber Optics is the future of high-speed internet access. Stop by the BBR Fiber Optic Forum.



superdog
I Need A Drink
Premium,MVM
join:2001-07-13
Lebanon, PA
reply to prestonlewis

said by prestonlewis:

Perhaps you could post a short checklist of questions to ask before ordering a WISP connection in terms of equipment, distance, etc. It would be nice for us who are less informed than you are.
OK, I thought about this, and then I asked myself: "If I moved into an area that had 2 or 3 WISP's offering service, Which one would I use?". After thinking for awhile, I came up with this:
1.What type of radios are You using for Your point to multi-point subscribers?(This is the last mile to Your home, and #1 on the importance list!).
The following answers are acceptable!
Alvarion, Trango, Motorola, SmartBridges, Deliberant, Tranzeo, Raylink, Demarktech, Mikrotek, StarOS and a few others on a case by case basis, send me an IM if You are unsure?.

2.What type of radios do You use to backhaul Your towers or PoP's?(where Your access points are located-this is the 2nd most important thing as these radios carry Yours and every other users data back to the NOC so it can get out to the internet and it is one of the main places bottlenecks can occur)The following answers are acceptable!
Alvarion, Trango, Motorola, Tranzeo, Redline, Orthagon, Microtek, StarOS, SmartBridges(Nexus line), Airaya and a few others(IM me if unsure).

3.What is the size of Your main pipe going to the internet, and how many users do You allow until You will upgrade to a bigger one and do You have a QOS(Quality of service) policy in place?The following answers are acceptable!

This is a tough one?, as depending on how many users they have, and the speeds they are offering, a T1 could be fine, and a DS3 could be not enough?. If they are small, and only have a few users(under 50) and have the proper bandwidth throttling policies in place, a T1 is usually fine, which really leads to a second question: "Are You throttling Your users?", If the answer is no?, MOVE ON!

4.Can I test drive Your setup for a day or two?

If the answer is NO!, and they want You to sign a contract upfront before doing anything else?, Run, and DO NOT WALK. Any WISP that cares about their service should have no problem doing this if they have a quality product....... If You have no other option but the only game in town(Which happens a lot!), follow the installer, and when he or she hooks up their notebook to see how well the radio is performing(which will happen 99% of the time), ask them to run a speed test from this website and have them ping a few places to see what happens. If it sucks?, You know what You are in for!.

5.Call their customer service or support phone # listed on the website BEFORE doing anything else. If no one answers the phone during normal business hours?, BEWARE!

The list above is really only a guideline, and may or may not hold truth to the type of service You will receive?. As in any other business, the people running it may or may not care if You are happy?. Read the customer reviews on this website, ask Your neighbors, call the better business bureau and be a smart consumer!. With any new technology, You will have some issues in the beginning. When I first started in the wireless business, I guess I really didn't have a clue for the most part as to what I was doing(No one did at that point:D), and I am man enough to admit it. I guess the true answer lies in the fact that some people are willing to answer the phone and work with You to make You happy, and some just don't give a rat's ass. You will have to make the decision as to who You are dealing with?. The USA is full of nice people, and it is full of idiots that try and capitalize on every new fad that comes along, I hope Your internet experience is filled with honest people, and the village idiots move on to the next town!!!:D
--
»www.wavecrazy.net


CR Taylor

@cox.net
reply to superdog

Wow, looks like I started a small debate.
Thanks to everyone for the input and I'll let you know what happens next week when I get the amp installed and raise my grid another 10 feet.



Rfsjr2
Shop on Top
Premium
join:2001-08-11
Ferndale, WA
reply to superdog

said by superdog:

4.Can I test drive Your setup for a day or two?

If the answer is NO!, and they want You to sign a contract upfront before doing anything else?, Run, and DO NOT WALK. Any WISP that cares about their service should have no problem doing this if they have a quality product...
Thank you for making this point. I was trying to figure out the verbiage to use when I go set up my account. "Test Drive" wins!
--
*Frank* EL SRS. DW4000. G4R 970_.42. W2K Pro SP4. DAK421_P15_C1. Wired LAN, 3 clients.

ernliz

join:2001-11-25
Albemarle, NC

1 edit
reply to superdog

said by superdog:

Are there any electrical transformers across the field of view?
EMI "Electromagnetic Interference" can limit the range that a signal will travel. Antenna placement is critical to this issue. You do not want to shoot a signal directly accros power lines, either shoot over or below them.
Unquote.......................

superdog1, thanks for a really fine primer on WISPs. I rely on one WISP totally, therefore I'm very interested in any and all info on how they work.

Just for your info, though, my WISP's tower is about 12 miles away (as you may have already read several times!). I have a rural (2 wire) electrical power line about 90 yards from my antenna and my signal LOS is directly beneath it. About 1 mile away is a HUGE multi-megawatt powerline and my WISP's signal (Fresnel zone) goes right through it. Yet, my signal strength and quality is terrific, especially with my amp. Without the amp my system works just as well -- but I like to see the increased numbers with the amp!? However, you are probably right about the dangers of the power lines -- my reception "could" be a whole lot better without them!

Regards..........


superdog
I Need A Drink
Premium,MVM
join:2001-07-13
Lebanon, PA

If You do a search for amps in this forum and others, You will find that amps are not a good thing for the most part. The paragraph that You quoted was not mine, it belongs to this man:
Mark Nelson
MicroLnk Field Operations Manager

I just thought I would give credit where credit is due, and I do agree with 99% of his posts!:)
--
»www.wavecrazy.net Join WISPA today! »www.wispa.org/



superdog
I Need A Drink
Premium,MVM
join:2001-07-13
Lebanon, PA

Credit for Mark Nelson

This post is for Mark Nelson(Microlnk Field Op)

I want to give credit where credit is due to the following person!:
Mark Nelson
MicroLnk Field Operations Manager

Here is the post I am referring too:»Wireless users, READ THIS!
Dear Sir,
After doing a cut and paste on Your entire post and using it as a "sticky" post at the top of the page, I hope I have not offended You by not asking Your permission. Thanks in advance for making a post that I guess I was just to lazy to type?. All of the things that You listed in Your small "novel" should be a guideline that every person thinking about starting a WISP should read!. I may even call it a "bible" for startup WISP's. Thanks again for taking the time to "Set the record straight", as it was needed.
--
»www.wavecrazy.net Join WISPA today! »www.wispa.org/



pepe le peu

@244.xx.24.Dial1.StLo

Any security questions for new wisp?

Thx for great info - especially suggestions on what to ask potential wisp. I'm just getting started with wireless broadband and was looking for help with choosing a provider.

Security is as big an issue to me as speed and reliability, but I'm not sure how to tell if a wisp does use good security practices.

Any suggestions for questions or methods to determine if a wisp uses wireless security "best practices" before signing up with them?

Can I require that they use WAP instead of WEP (since my router supports WAP)?

Should I be worried if they don't have an Acceptable Use Policy in place to deal with bandwidth/spam/whatever abusers?

Also, is there any list of things to check to verify that the wisp is using good, secure settings after they do the install?


mfinn02

join:2002-09-10
Van, TX
reply to superdog

Re: Wireless users, READ THIS!

Interesting Read. Thanks for the post!



superdog
I Need A Drink
Premium,MVM
join:2001-07-13
Lebanon, PA
reply to pepe le peu

Re: Any security questions for new wisp?

said by pepe le peu:

Should I be worried if they don't have an Acceptable Use Policy in place to deal with bandwidth/spam/whatever abusers?

Yes!, It could be a major problem, as other users could stop on Your bandwidth.:D
--
»www.wavecrazy.net Join WISPA today! »www.wispa.org/


superdog
I Need A Drink
Premium,MVM
join:2001-07-13
Lebanon, PA

About antennas and MORE power!

said by HostingShack:

i would say try a 24db antenna, that radio is nice no problems with that.. if you upgrade the antenna and still have problems the AP is overloaded during the day, there is nothing you can do accept ask your wisp to upgrade already!
That radio with the antenna that is on it has no problem doing 12 miles with LOS(Line Of Sight) depending on the sector or base antenna it is shooting at. If in fact the link is good, a higher gain or larger antenna will not help. Latency in a wireless network is determined by quite a few things, but with all due respect to HostingShack See Profile, the antenna is usually one of the last things to cause it?. Poor link quality due to obstructions and other factors(Do a Google on Fresnel Zone) seem to be a major problem, as most WISP's will not take the time to make sure the path is clear, and then the easiest remedy in their minds is to do a "Tim the tool man" approach, and just use more POWER, which is the worst thing to do.
I did a cut and paste of this for a reason, as I want everyone to understand how power and antennas work. If You are using a WISP, and they come out to Your location and try and use an amp, I would run, not walk, as this is a bad idea. the same thing applies if You buy an amp off of ebay and install it thinking it will give You better speed and latency, or a larger antenna. It just doesn't work out 99% of the time. There are reasons for every problem You have whether it is a wired or wireless connection, and doing poorly engineered cures are not good.
--
»www.wavecrazy.net Join WISPA today! »www.wispa.org/


wild1wood

@comcast.net

I have used cable broadband for many years now , but there is a WISP here in my current area, They offer residential service that is 1000kbps up and down,my current broadband is Comcast and I have 384kbps up and 4000kbps down.
My question is: I am an online gamer and am wanting to know if the additional upload speed and lower download speed would balance out my game play, or will it not help me at all??



superdog
I Need A Drink
Premium,MVM
join:2001-07-13
Lebanon, PA

said by wild1wood:

My question is: I am an online gamer and am wanting to know if the additional upload speed and lower download speed would balance out my game play, or will it not help me at all??
The best answer I can give You is no, as good game play comes with good ping times or latency, and NOT the amount of bandwidth You have once Your connection speeds get above 128k up or down. If You are happy with Your current online experience, I wouldn't switch?:)
--
»www.wavecrazy.net Join WISPA today! »www.wispa.org/

icecing

join:2005-07-22
reply to superdog

Re: Wireless users, READ THIS!

i have read your explenation of wisp it was very interesting thanx for the info


reply to superdog

Hello,

__ The real truth about WISP is that most of them truly do not understand the RF technology that they have. __

Agree.

__ We do not use amps. That is what novice WISP use. __

In the hands of the inexperienced, an amp can certainly make things worse. Generally, they're best avoided.

__ ...the field tech should be evaluating the entire environment around which the equipment will sit. Here are considerations that should be taken __

Additional installation steps take more time, and since time is money...this doesn't happen too often.

__ People seem to think that if they can see the tower that all is okay, but if there is a hill in between, the height of the hill or object may project into the fresnol zone. As vegetation and seasons changes, this may disrupt the signal flow from point to point. __

Right, but there is no accurate way to predict how seasonal changes will affect the signal. Sometimes, the best signal is the only one you have.

__ Are there any electrical transformers across the field of view?
EMI "Electromagnetic Interference" can limit the range that a signal will travel. Antenna placement is critical to this issue. You do not want to shoot a signal directly across power lines, either shoot over or below them. __

I always point my antennas to where the signal strenth/quality is best. Once again, the best signal is often the one you are stuck with.

__ Is the WISP using low budget radios for their towers?
Some Wisp try to cut corners and build repeater towers on a shoestring budget. This may mean they are using off the shelf equipment like Linksys Access Points which have limitations and are not Carrier Class Equipment. We refer to these type of Wisp as Wisp Wannabes. __

Frankly, I would consider any WISP that operates in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz unlicensed bands to be somewhat amateur-ish, regardless of the equipment used. Selling broadband in the unlicensed bands is a risky proposition. All's it takes is a some cordless phones and home networks per every-other, few houses, and a few nasty cell carries who pillage 2.4-5 GHz spectrum for backhauls, and a mix of traditional ISAM (industrial/scientific/medical) towers/ominis here and there and your QOS takes a nose dive, taking your business with it.

__ What is the latency (ping time) from your computer to the Wisp's gateway?
Ping times to the Wisp gateway should not exceed 20 ms. We have clients who traverse over 5 tower hops exceeding 80 miles in distance who have ping times less than 15 ms. __

That latency is fine, but if a residential customer begins experiencing delays because his neighbor just bought flavor of the month Linksys WAP signal-booster-thingy there is nothing you can do about it. Suddenly, your reputation is on the line.

__ Does the client have any 2.4 gHz equipment within their home? 2.4 gHz phones will cause problems to the data transmission when the phone is in service. Also, be careful when using wireless routers. Depending on what channel you use, you may be using the same frequency that the client radio is trying to use for communication to the tower. __

Interfering with one's self. Not only does a WISP have to higher microwave engineers, but Panasonic/Sony/Uniden/VTech phone experts.

I don't disagree with what you're saying. I just think WISPs who operate in the unlicensed bands risk having the rug pulled from under them. I think the FCC should allocate a WISP only spectrum. This will probably eliminate 75% of the interference: home networks, cordless phones, ISAM networks, and gay-ass cell providers who use unlicensed for backhauls (which should be prohibited if you ask me). The problem with cell backhauls is these a**holes overpower there links often by several WATTS, totally illegal, but do they care? No.


Pictor Guy

join:2004-06-21
Sammamish, WA
reply to superdog

said by superdog:

said by prestonlewis:

3.What is the size of Your main pipe going to the internet, and how many users do You allow until You will upgrade to a bigger one and do You have a QOS(Quality of service) policy in place?The following answers are acceptable!

This is a tough one?, as depending on how many users they have, and the speeds they are offering, a T1 could be fine, and a DS3 could be not enough?. If they are small, and only have a few users(under 50) and have the proper bandwidth throttling policies in place, a T1 is usually fine, which really leads to a second question: "Are You throttling Your users?", If the answer is no?, MOVE ON!

Wow! `A' T1, DS3 or even OC48 would not be fine in my book. There should not be `A' SPOF like that. Now you did say ``main pipe" but I wanted to point out that this is another area where I see a lot of corners cut. And it's not just with WISPs.

reply to superdog

Love this post. My WISP in out of Stillwater OK must be one of those wannabe's. My WISP has not worked for the last two months. If any of you are looking to expand, I have 10 acres of land on a hill top for your first antenna.


Airplane777

join:2004-06-20
reply to superdog

Tim:

You have supurb information here.


shrokar

join:2006-07-17
Brookport, IL
reply to superdog

Great post!

Currently i am subscribed to a wanna be regretfully. I have really no other choice. At teh start they had me at like 800/440 and it was great. But then within a year they have congested themselves so badly. Pocketing the money and not improving anything. Several outtages that last for days are a norm t=with there service.

So i can either surf and game at 12am till 8.30am, or deal with the bad lag. I am in the process of putting up a tower 150' to bhopefully have more options. But it just burns me that they do there clients like this..They also arent 100% legal..using subscibed comcast/verizon lines to distibute there services.


stonecoldtv

join:2006-07-29
Bowling Green, MO
reply to superdog

it is Not good thing about radio waves give speed up and down changes speeds all of the time i found out myself it is supposed to be 300 K but never go over 300 k at all few time i tried to play my playstation 2 game on the wireless internet and give alot of slow that is Not good idea for any gamers on the wireless bec of waves

peace

Expand your moderator at work

j2sw

join:2006-05-02
Williamsport, IN
reply to superdog

Re: Wireless users, READ THIS!

It's not like the old days when you had to order Channelzied T-1s, PRI's, know how to naviagte the CIsco IOS, etc. Today anyone with a cable modem, a linksys Wireless Router, and some time on their hands can become a "WISP". It's good that the technology is progressing, but buyer beware.

Justin

Expand your moderator at work