Notacon 2008: Last-mile Wireless

[Mark Doner] presented on how the WISP he works for near Toledo is set up. His most important point was that 802.11 is garbage when it comes to the type of installations WISPs do. 802.11 expects the clients to adjust based on the traffic from other clients, but when all your clients are directional they won’t see each other. Mark uses Motorola’s Canopy equipment, but he also mentioned Trango and Redline as other vendors. The radios operate in the 5.7GHz band which doesn’t have any power restrictions so they can use refurbished Dish Network dishes when they’re doing long shots. For customers that are nearly at the edge of service, they have 900MHz equipment as well. Heavy fog and freezing rain have proven to be the only weather that really affects the service. For back-haul between their towers they use Dragonwave equipment. Each of the radios costs ~$350 and features GPS to determine distance and maintain sync with the AP. It was interesting to see how a good WISP operates as opposed to the flakey ones we’ve had to deal with in the past.

3 thoughts on “Notacon 2008: Last-mile Wireless

  1. Yeah, WISP has become a term that is tossed around too lightly. Inexpensive off the shelf wifi has persons creating outdoor networks with out researching what makes a good network and with dis- regard for the fact they are using shared spectrum. The only good thing that could come out of it is used wifi goods on the cheap. “the 5.7GHz band which doesn’t have any power restrictions”, ? I would be very surprised to learn that there is a radio service, unlicensed or licensed that has no power restrictions.

    I live in a rural area, too far out for DSL and the cable system stops a mile away. My internet access is through a WISP that uses the Motorola Canopy. I’m pleased with the service and glad I have a choice over dial-up, albeit twice the money. The nearly 100x increase in speed takes the edge off the pain.

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