Cable TV service deep Dive

For those interested in an in-depth report on cable TV check out the article at the bottom of this post. This mainly deals with the TV side of things but is helpful for those of you looking to provide IPTV or already are. Companies like RealChoice TV and  Atheral have IPTV offerings and will be at WISPAPALOOZA.

Some interesting things I pulled out from it.

AT&T is still the leading “Cable” TV provider. Comcast/Xfinity is slightly behind.

 

Cable TV Statistics in 2019 – Is Cable TV Dead?

Why every ISP should be deploying hAP Lite to customers

This was originally posted at:
https://www.mtin.net/blog/why-every-isp-should-be-deploying-hap-lite-to-customers/

So Mikrotik has a very cheap hAP Lite coming out.   This is a 4 port, 2.4 b/g/n router/access point which retails for $21.95. Baltic networks have pre-orders for $18.95.

Why should you deploy this little gem and how? We have found over the years routers account for more than half of the support issues. In some networks, this number is closer to 80-90%. Whether it be a substandard router, one without of date firmware, or poor placement by the customer.

Deployment of the hAP lite can be approached in one of two ways.  Both ways accomplish the same goal for the ISP. That goal is to have a device to test from that closely duplicates what the customer would see. Sure you can run tests from most modern wireless CPE, but it’s not the same as running tests m the customer side of the POE.

Many ISPs are offering a managed router service to their customers.  Some charge a nominal monthly fee, while others include it in the service.  This is a pretty straightforward thing.  The customer DMARC becomes the wireless router.  The ISP sets it up, does firmware updates, and generally takes care of it should there be issues.  The managed router can be an additional revenue stream in addition to providing a better customer experience.  Having a solid router that has been professionally set up by the ISP is a huge benefit to both the provider and the customer.  We will get into this a little later.

The second option lends itself better to a product such as an hAP lite. With the relatively cheap cost you can install one as a “modem” if the customer chooses their own router option.  The actual method of setup can vary depending on your network philosophy.  You can simply bridge all the ports together and pass the data through like a switch.  The only difference is you add a “management ip” to the bridge interface on your network. This way you can reach it.  Another popular method, especially if you are running PPPoE or other radius methods, is to make the “modem” the PPPoE client.  This removes some of the burdens from the wireless CPE onto something a little more powerful.   There are definite design considerations and cons for this setup.  We will go into those in a future article. But for now, let’s just assume the hAP is just a managed switch you can access.

So what are the benefits of adding one of these cheap devices?
-You can run pings and traceroutes from the device.  This is helpful if a customer says they can’t reach a certain web-site.
-Capacity is becoming a larger and larger issue in the connected home.  iPads, gaming consoles, TVs, and even appliances are all sharing bandwidth.  If you are managing the customer router you can see the number of connected devices and do things like Torch to see what they are doing. If a customer calls and says its slow, being able to tell them that little Billy is downloading 4 megs a second on a device called “Billy’s Xbox” can help a customer. It could also lead to an upsell.
-Wireless issues are another huge benefit.  If the customer bought their own router and stuck it in the basement and now their internet is slow you have a couple of tricks to troubleshoot without a truck roll.  If the hAP is in bridge mode simply enable the wireless, set up an SSID for the customer to test with and away you go.  This could uncover issues in the house, issues with their router, or it might even point to a problem on your side.
-Physical issues and ID10T errors can be quickly diagnosed.  If you can’t reach your device it’s either off or a cabling issue.  If you can reach the hAP and the port has errors it could be cabling or POE.

These are just a few benefits you can glean from sticking a $20 Mikrotik device on your customer side network. It becomes a troubleshooting tool, which makes it money back if it saves you a single truck roll. The implementation is not as important as having a tool closer to the customer.  There are several vendors you can order the hAP lite from.  Baltic Networks is close to me so they are my go-to.  http://www.balticnetworks.com/mikrotik-hap-lite-tc-2-4ghz-indoor-access-point-tower-case-built-in-1-5dbi-antenna.html .

This isn’t practical for business and Enterprise customers, but you should already be deploying a router that has these features anyway right?

How to disable one of the dumbest things ever: AKA DNS over HTTPS (DoH)

So the folks over at Mozilla thought it would be cool to do DNS over HTTPS.  This is a dumb idea. If you happen to be running Mozzilla Firefox you should disable this for your own sake.

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/configuring-networks-disable-dns-over-https

If you want the functionality of DNS over HTTPS (DoH) then use a VPN and make your life easier.

For Patreon Subscribers: Access to Mikrotik Speedtest servers

I am happy to announce a special new tier for my Patreon subscribers. I have now installed a network of speedtest servers in 15 locations in the United States and one overseas as part of stage 1. Patreon subscribers who subscribe to this extra tier of service will be presented with a members-only username and password for testing to each of these.

Stage two will be a looking glass so you can test how your BGP routes look in various spots on the Internet. You will know what Upstreams each location has to better assist you in diagnosing BGP or just getting a view of how your network interacts with the Internet.

Visit my Patreon Page for more details.

Podcast: Quick troubleshooting for ISP networks

Been a little bit so I wanted to do a short talk about troubleshooting in ISP networks. I see too many folks waste a lot of time when they should be starting qt the lower levels of the OSI model and working up.