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Jonathan1988

join:2013-08-20
Frierson, LA

Any suggestions for my situation?

Hey all. First Id like to say that Im glad I found this forum and from what ive read its full of very helpful and experienced people!

Ok, so heres my situation. I have just moved to Frierson, Louisiana which just so happens to be "almost" in the middle of nowhere. Far enough out where I cant seem to get any decent internet connection (Satellite, Cellular, and a ATT connection called "Internet Power" which is a "Low-speed DSL" through the phone lines similar to dial-up...or something like that). I have looked for services for a little while, but untill recently had no idea that "WISP's" were more common than I was aware and apparently a very viable solution to my problem. I just have 1 problem, I dont know of any local WISP's in my area. I have done a few searches and I cant find any.

This being said, I have considered getting either a Metro Ethernet connection or a T1 (or 2 T1's) ran to my residence and become a small WISP. Im not looking to make this a business that makes me a ton of money (anything extra would be great! but im not greedy) and I basically just want to get my upfront cost's and monthly dues either extremely lowered or payed for completely, and maybe make a little extra cash.
I have absolutely NO networking experience. I am lost when trying to read alot of you tech guys answers to some of the questions that are asked on here. But even though I dont know anything about any of this yet, I am very confident in my ability to learn how to successfully operate a small WISP.

But before I even spend a cent, I have a few things I want to check out such as a simple interest check to make sure Id have sufficient subscribers (do a survey, go door to door, whatever I gotta do. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can determine the demand for a WISP service?), determine my actual upfront (and monthly) COST to get it up and running, do some in depth looking at my topography to make sure I can supply a QUALITY connection to the area around me. Plus I need to actually learn how to start, operate and sustain a working WISP. I know I didnt list a game plan exactly and Im probably nowhere close to knowing everything I need to do yet. As of now Im still in the "what choice should I make?" stage.

A brief summary of my situation. With this being said, would you recommend that I even attempt to start a WISP? Do you have any other suggestions or advice for me? Is there ANYTHING that you think I need to know now?

wirelessdog

join:2008-07-15
Queen Anne, MD
kudos:1

1 recommendation

No networking experience?

I have a friend who is now a business partner. He woke up one day and had this thought, he wanted to open a gold buying shop with no prior experience. I tell him daily he would have best gone back to sleep.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8

2 recommendations

reply to Jonathan1988
After reviewing the economic and population data for the area, and taking a look at the local area, in my opinion it is not economically possible to provide broadband services to this community...at least by you.

The land is flat and has tall trees so that means expensive towers, and more than one. You're far away from bandwidth, which means high loop charges. The population density is low and diffuse.

Here is the deal with building a WISP: you spend like a fire hose and get paid back with an eyedropper...meaning this is an up-front capital intensive business, especially if you are far away from bandwidth, and you are.

If it was me, and I could, I'd move some place else. It's be cheaper than starting a WISP. Not intending to burst your bubble, but it is better to hear these things up front rather than lead you on. Your vision is 'possible', just not 'probable', given the conditions and the circumstances.

How do you make a small fortune in the WISP business? You start with a large one.
--
Many believe, but few will question...I decline to be blind.



dongato17
VIP
join:2000-07-28
Atlanta, GA
That last line is similar for the horse business.

I agree with John Galt in general but also think that it sucks to not have any decent internet access too. Bito and I started in this great industry lighting up a town of 300 pop. with a similar terrain. We found that the best way to cover the town was actually to stay lower to the the ground and repeat.

Maybe you can find someone to help you locally who wants internet and knows some networking? Then you need to quote some bandwidth costs and talk to some of the downtown small biz owners to see if you can score some seed nodes that are willing to buy service from you. And just like the small town we did, this won't be a money maker but it could be a fun project if you like a little pain mixed with your fun!
--
Harold Bledsoe


WHT

join:2010-03-26
Rosston, TX
kudos:5
reply to Jonathan1988
1.5 Mbps T1 might suppot a dozen users at best.

jcremin

join:2009-12-22
Siren, WI
kudos:3
said by WHT:

1.5 Mbps T1 might suppot a dozen users at best.

And that's assuming they are limited to something like 512k...

Jonathan1988

join:2013-08-20
Frierson, LA
reply to Jonathan1988
Well I haven't talked to the residents much as of yet to see what type of demand I have around the area as I wanted to see if it was even conceivable as of yet. I have already called several companies and I've been quoted 2 prices so far that I'm comfortable with. For the T1 line it will cost me 500 installation and 256 a month for a one year contract. Free installation and a few dollars cheaper for a 2-3 year contract. As for a metro Ethernet connection (supposedly dedicated just like the t1 but it is 10x10 not 1.5x1.5) for 1000 a month and free installation.

This being said im mainly wanting to start out with simply a large enough system to feed 4-6 other interested residences, charge between 40-60 a month (which competes with satellite comparatively speaking to dollars for performance) so I can pay for my service and have decent internet myself. After that I may see I like this business or that there is a good demand in my area for something like this and move on to another project as a separate venture. I'm not looking to get equipment and internet capable of handling 50-100 residences. Maybe 10-20 at most (that's why in my original post I said maybe 2 T1s but I can always get the second later as/if demand increases) so is this possible to do reasonably equipment/time/money wise based off what I'm trying to do? I even considered simply buying a couple outside (or build a sealed protector) N+ routers and have a hard line feeding each one, each using a different password and simply have my nearby neighbors (assuming I talk to and they want it first) feed off the WiFi that way. If they don't pay I simply shut off their router. I have a couple 200 foot Ethernet cables laying around. I'd prefer a broader broadcast antenna but I'm just throwing out the ideas I've had so far that I felt was monetarily conceivable for me right now.

I'm not one to be discouraged by the probability of something being difficult. I have a gut feeling there is a solution to my problem and I think I may have found it when I read about WISP's. With patience, right planning, and good support like I see here and some (a lot probably lol) dedication I think I can make it happen. But then again maybe this "internet power" thing at&t is trying to hook up for me will work just fine for me. Supposedly its 756k by 400k....but they say its very hit and miss by location.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
I'll agree with Hal that it's possible, provided his caution with regard to the pain aspect is heeded.

The problem is you live in BFE:

»goo.gl/maps/qb9hp

I looked for "downtown Frierson"...couldn't find it.

You need to be careful about the quotes for the T1 lines. Those are typically made by the 'sales' department with no knowledge of the physical telco plant, and by people who will tell you anything to get their commission. Sure, they 'can' provide service there because they know their -lines- go there. Now, whether or not there are enough -pairs- available to implement a T1 is a whole 'nother issue.

Here is how the process works...you place an order with Sales, who assures you they can do the job. Then the order goes to Engineering who conducts a buildability survey. They check to see it the existing physical plant has enough pairs to accommodate the order. They also check to see what the line condition is, how many amplifiers are required, and if any spare capacity exists at the currently installed plant. If there is no reserve capacity, they will provide an estimate of the costs associated with the buildout to provide you service at your specified location.

None of this happens quickly. They will promise one thing and (not) do another. In rural locations you can almost be guaranteed getting a quote that far exceeds the original $500 installation fee, because there isn't any spare existing capacity.

Something else to consider is moving the landing location of your T1 further towards its source and wirelessly backhauling to your service area. This has the upside of allowing you to service more clients along the way to your area.

Here is some essential reading that covers exactly the same thing that you are trying to do:

»www.wirelesscowboys.com/?p=24

This is essentially the story of the founding of the WISP industry, written by Matt Larsen:
quote:
Matt Larsen is one of the innovators in the wireless broadband industry and has been featured in the Washington Post and Wireless Tech Radio. Matt has also been a speaker at WISPCON, ISPCON, EC-Expo, FCC Wireless Broadband Access Task Force, The Broadband Expo, WISPA and the Tom Osborne Leadership Conference; received the 1999 Visionary Rising Star Award from the Scottsbluff/Gering Chamber of Commerce; received the WISP Consultant of the Year Award at the Spring 2004 WISPCON, received the WISPA Operator of the Year Award for 2010 and serves on the Board of Directors for WISPA, the Wireless Internet Service Provider Association.
There are many others of course, like Marlon K. Schafer (509) 982-2181 and Jack Unger by way of example, but Matt has done an particularly outstanding job of chronicling the individual level thinking on moving a project such as you describe forward. There is a lot to be learned (at no expense other than your time) from his posts.

There are other more recent posters who are working through this kind of thing and are just a bit ahead of where you want to be. Check this thread by TheHox:

»Planning my first backhaul for my new WISP

To recap (and not put you off your quest in any way), it is always possible to do something, whether or not is is realistically possible to do something is another matter. Just be ready and willing to accept the aforementioned pain.
--
Many believe, but few will question...I decline to be blind.



WHT

join:2010-03-26
Rosston, TX
kudos:5
reply to Jonathan1988
And »www.triadwireless.net/tales-from ··· e-Towers


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
Another good one.

Then...and now. You'll see that some things never change...
--
Many believe, but few will question...I decline to be blind.



WHT

join:2010-03-26
Rosston, TX
kudos:5
reply to Jonathan1988
I'll look for my post that has links to several articles and forum posts that is a good reference starting point. In the meantime, here is what I posted in another forum for something that was dreaming way too much.

said by WHT :
Here are a few umm..."minor" things you might want to possible think about first.
1. Incumbent competition. Looks like Riverside may have cable TV internet for as low as $40 month and $60 install, and telco DSL for as low as $20 per month and free install. Can you compete against that?

2. Have you done any RF site surveys to see what the RF landscape looks like? 900 Meg might be useless, and 2.4 Gig next to useless.

3. Have you done your terrain and land cover plotting with Radio Mobile yet? Do you have any clue what your CPE elevations will need to be at?

4. Have you created your Fresnel clearance maps?

5. Have you estimated your bottom line customer install costs? Did you add the $100 for labor and parts (50 ft. CAT5 STP, #10 ground wire, station protectors, tripod/roof mount, and miscellaneous hardware).

6. I'm not going to ask what your network topology is like as you've already asked how to do it - so you don't have a clue.

7. Have you done a housing density survey yet?

8. Have you negotiated with an upstream provider yet?

9. Do you know how to create a link budget? System Operating Margin?

10. Do you fully understand FCC compliance? Opps, we already know you failed that question.

11. Do you know what STP/FTP, STP, EIRP, TPO, SNMP, TFTP, and BORK mean? I'd list a few dozen more, but Walmart is out of alphabet soup.


TomS_
Git-r-done
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-19
London, UK
kudos:5
reply to John Galt
said by John Galt:

Something else to consider is moving the landing location of your T1 further towards its source and wirelessly backhauling to your service area.

And if you do this you might find that higher speed options become available at lower prices too. So if you do decide to backhaul in dont forget to check out what other options you have.

A T1 in this day and age with the vast array of rich media that exists wont go very far any more.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
reply to Jonathan1988
Click for full size
Just to give you an idea of the expected coverage, I did a sample coverage map of the Google location of Frierson, LA. In this simulation, the 12 dBi omnidirectional antenna is mounted at 60 feet, and fed with a 24dBm output radio. This arrangement gives the maximum legal power output of 36 dBm.

The customer radio is mounted at 20 feet and has an antenna gain of 14 dB and a sensitivity of -93 dBm.

The coverage circle has a radius of ~2.5 miles, a diameter of ~5 miles.

Trees must certainly be considered as an impediment to radiowaves, so any houses blocked by groves will not be serviceable. Those can be differentiated on the map.

An actual installation for your main location (this one) might be different. I would install two 2.4GHz NanoStations, one on Channel 1 and the other on channel 11. Since these radios are colocated, there needs to be as much distance between the radios as possible, both the physical location and the frequency of operation. Since you has gone to this much trouble, you might as well mount two 5GHz NanoStations there also.

There are many other configurations, of course, all based on the particulars of the environment and installation. The simple one described above using the omni would certainly be enough to get started.
--
Many believe, but few will question...I decline to be blind.


gunther_01
Premium
join:2004-03-29
Saybrook, IL

1 recommendation

reply to Jonathan1988
I would change that to -70 or higher. Especially if we were talking about usable signals with a Nanostation in 2.4Ghz.
--
»www.wirelessdatanet.net


WHT

join:2010-03-26
Rosston, TX
kudos:5
reply to John Galt
All it takes is one customer running an indoor wireless router on 2.4 GHz within a quarter mile of your AP to raise the noise floor at the AP to -70 dBm.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8

1 edit
reply to Jonathan1988
Click for full size
Click to display full-sized animation
Both gunther_01 See Profile and WHT See Profile are correct. Using the most optimistic sensitivity levels for radios from datasheets can lead to misleading expectations. The real noise floor that a WISP has to deal with drives the coverage area.

The animation above shows the difference the noise floor makes on the service coverage area. The largest coverage area is -93 dBm, the middle-sized coverage area is -70 dBm, and the smallest coverage area is -50 dBm.

While these maps are generated by changing the receiver sensitivity, that can be used as a proxy for the coverage area. In other words, if the noise floor is a certain level, the radio cannot hear signals at or below that level.

You need (prefer) the signal to be decoded to be 20 dBm over the noise. So, looking at the animation, if the noise floor is -93, the then -70 is your service area. As more transmitters are added, and the noise level rises to -70, then your coverage area shrinks to the -50 service area.

These maps and explanation are a broadbrush generalization, but it illustrates the consequences of multiple transmitters operating in your service region. There are ways of dealing with these problems, though, but the reality is noise becomes a problem at some point.

In your area there probably are not a lot of routers, since no one has broadband. Most routers ship with the default channel programmed as Channel 6, but then are exceptions to that 'rule'. But you do have to contend with microwave ovens and phones, and even worse and more likely, video cameras watching the barn (for example). A spectrum analysis of the proposed service area is highly recommended and easy enough to do. A NanoStation M2 on a 30 foot pushup would work fine for a local survey (people might ask what your doing, too )

Essentially the trees are your greatest obstacle so wherever you deploy the tree lines will effectively be your demarcation line. You might get some penetration into and through the tree line, but virtually zip if the trees are arranged as a grove or clump.

Again, these things are not unmanageable, but knowledge going forward will assist in making the correct choices during the design and deployment phases.
--
Many believe, but few will question...I decline to be blind.



John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
reply to Jonathan1988
Click for full size
Following along on our random choice of location, you can see all the potential customers indicated by the yellow squares. Only residential dwelling units or businesses are marked (to the best of my ability to figure it out based on the sat photo).

If you live somewhere else, or intend to service a particular location, things might be different, for better or worse.


54067323

join:2012-09-25
Tuscaloosa, AL
said by John Galt:

Following along on our random choice of location, you can see all the potential customers indicated by the yellow squares.

That doesn't seem to present a very good take rate.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8

1 edit
If the OP wants to simply cover costs, it might be possible to do that.

I'd say the housing is split 40/40/20...40% mobile homes, 60% stick-built, 20% of those being more upscale houses/miniranch.

ADD: 46 total residential / business shown

I would estimate that you could get 6 subs from what is shown on the map.

raytaylor

join:2009-07-28
kudos:1
reply to gunther_01
said by gunther_01:

I would change that to -70 or higher. Especially if we were talking about usable signals with a Nanostation in 2.4Ghz.

Something I love about where I live - I can legally use channel 13 on 2.4ghz because ubnt radios support it, but the laptops and home routers dont, so its super clean.


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
reply to Jonathan1988
Typical tower pricing:

»www.criticaltowers.com/Rohn%20Da ··· uyed.htm

The full list (scroll down):

»www.criticaltowers.com/ROHN%20In ··· ain.html

Here's another supplier (at random):

»www.alabamatower.com/
--
Many believe, but few will question...I decline to be blind.



DaDawgs
Premium
join:2010-08-02
Deltaville, VA
Reviews:
·Metrocast Commun..
reply to dongato17
said by dongato17:

Bito and I started in this great industry lighting up a town of 300 pop. with a similar terrain. We found that the best way to cover the town was actually to stay lower to the the ground and repeat.

Maybe you can find someone to help you locally who wants internet and knows some networking? Then you need to quote some bandwidth costs and talk to some of the downtown small biz owners to see if you can score some seed nodes that are willing to buy service from you. And just like the small town we did, this won't be a money maker but it could be a fun project if you like a little pain mixed with your fun!

Yes my long time friend and that was a long time ago... I agree with you though, someone who wants to kick start a business in the middle of nowhere delivering broadband can probably do it because expectations are low if your customers are stuck with dialup.

It has been a long time, my friend, it is good to say hello.
--
Once we IPv6 enable every device on the Internet we will have toasters, baby monitors, and security cameras joining the bot nets which today are populated only by idiots that can not refrain from clicking, "Yes I would like to see those titties..."