The problem with broadband projects in general

Before Covid I tried to attend as many meetings community leaders and towns had about bringing broadband to their communities. This is what you are supposed to in order to let the leaders know you, or in my case, my clients are there, right? Sometimes I would attend to provide my input as part of giving back to a community.

I have found some similarities in these meetings and workshops. Let’s go over them. If you are a community leader don’t let yourself fall into some of these.

The High-Level view
The high-level view starts out with noble intentions. The leaders want to get broadband to underserved areas. They have not bothered to dig deeper into seeing what is actually in the areas they want to cover. These folks may have called the ISP they have or someone their family has. they don’t actually know which providers service what areas. In their defense it’s not their job to. What they do with these meetings determines if progress is made or not. I have been in meetings where there have been four providers that service the area in question. The leaders say they must do more studies to see who is in the area. You literally have four sitting at your table who can tell you what they service. Take their information, take their maps and progress.

Bedazzled by the incumbent
Typically this person has XYZ Internet at their home and they love it. They love it so much they want it everywhere. This is great, but there are reasons that XYZ Internet is not everywhere. Otherwise, you would not be doing these meetings. Some of this is due to lack of money. Either XYZ Internet does not have enough or the return just is not there. This leader is one of the most hampering of all. I have been in many meetings where the small local company is putting their own money into investing in the community and this type of leader overlooks the small company. They even go as far to suggest the local company help XYZ become bigger in their own service area.

These leaders often invite their beau to these meetings to give their take on broadband in the area. Sometimes these companies are honest and straightforward. Sometimes they paint the picture they are the only ones who can solve the broadband issue.

The “let’s do a study” crowd
Studies are nice. They give you nice graphs, charts, and tons of fluff information about an area. It makes for good reading for those who like to learn about facts. These folks are probably the ones who know the stats of many sports figures, who lived in the prominent houses in the lcoal towns and other facts. They are willing to spend twenty thousand dollars on a piece of paper to get this information. In many instances, sitting down with the right group of people could tell you 90% of the information you need.

Unrealistic goals
Let’s face it, not everyone knows everything about the topic they are trying to address. Being able to provide gigabit to every home is a nice goal, but is hard to achieve. Not everyone needs or wants gigabit. In my county and the surrounding area, there are towns of only three or four houses. Unless lots of government money is involved fiber will not be coming to them anytime soon.

The academic
These are usually the most frustrating for the existing ISP. Terms like focus groups and thirty thousand foot view are thrown around. They are usually applying for some grants or RPF. They already have their goal and possibly the outcome in mind. They are not there to solve issues but to get the “bigger picture”. They may only know broadband from buzzwords. 5G and internet of everything are thrown around alot.

What folks do you see at these meetings? Let me know as we are working on a funny video.

WIFI calling port forwarding

Recently I came across a need to do some port forwarding for wifi calling. I have assembled a resource guide to help you if you need to do such things. IPSEC should be allowed per RFC 5996 https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5996 for all wifi calling

Verizon
https://community.verizonwireless.com/t5/Verizon-Wireless-Services/What-are-the-wifi-calling-firewall-ports-and-destination-IP/td-p/1080659
UDP ports 500 and 4500 open to sg.vzwfemto.com and wo.vzwwo.com

TMobile
https://www.t-mobile.com/support/coverage/wi-fi-calling-on-a-corporate-network
IPv4 Address Block: 208.54.0.0/17 and 66.94.0.0/19:
UDP Ports 500 and 4500
5061 for SIP/TLS
TCP port 443 and 993
Also whitelist the CRL server for DIGITS OTT and WFC 1.0: crl.t-mobile.com 206.29.177.36

AT&T
https://www.att.com/support/article/wireless/KM1114459/
UDP Ports 500 and 4500
TCP Port 143

Whitelist the following:

  • epdg.epc.att.net
  • sentitlement2.mobile.att.net
  • vvm.mobile.att.net

Sprint
UDP Ports 500 and 4500

Any of the above is subject to change.

Underground boxes for wireless deployments

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Importance of PIM in LTE

As the number of WISP LTE deployments increase, there are many things WISPs will need to be mindful of.  One such item is properly supporting antenna cables. LTE systems are more sensitive to cable issues.  In a previous blog post, I talked about pim and low-pim cables.   One of the things that can cause low pim is improperly mated cables.  If cables are not supported they can become loose over time.  Vibration from equipment or even the wind can loosen connections.

How do we support cables?
We can take a cue from the cellular industry. The following are some examples of proper cable support.  Thanks to Joshua Powell for these pics.

Where can you get these?
A good place to start are sites like sitepro1 or Tessco has a selection.

So the next time you are planning your LTE deployment think about cable support.

10 Gig SpeedTest server Intel Nuc

Recently a client testing their 5G solution came to me asking for a solution to testing speed from their CBRS/5G/802.11ax clients.  One of the requirements was it had to support greater than 1 gig speedtests as close to the devices as possible. This particular client has a small cell device which has room for a small form factor PC. The challenge was finding a small PC that could handle a 10 gig port.

In steps my buddy John from Columbus.  John is up on hardware more than I am.  After some talks, we settled on the following two pieces of hardware

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PQTG131/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_c_api_i_C3P4EbG40PESH

https://www.amazon.com/Sonnet-Technologies-Thunderbolt-10GBASE-T-SOLO10G-TB3/dp/B07BZRK8R8/

Intel Nuc, Sonnet 10 Gig adaptor, Mikrotik HexS

Once we assembled this we need a router for the Internet and DHCP. We chose a RouterBoard hexS
https://www.ispsupplies.com/MikroTik-RouterBOARD-RB760iGS

As a not both of these will run off DC power.  The Nuc comes with a 19Volt power supply so if you are running Pure DC you may want to drop from, say a 24volt battery bank to 19 volt with a Meanwell converter.

The Software
Proxmox was installed on the Nuc.  Nothing crazy about this. Just make sure the thunderbolt adaptor is plugged in during install.  For our purposes, we are just using the 10 gig adaptor.  Proxmox recognizes the adaptor without a hiccup.

In some earlier blog posts I wrote about the self-hosted speedtests.
https://blog.j2sw.com/networking/self-hosted-speed-test/
https://blog.j2sw.com/xisp/self-hosted-speedtest/ (Patreon Subscription Required)

I installed the self-hosted speedtest under a Centos Minimal Install. Everything was put on a 172.16.x.x network.  This was done in order to prevent any conflicts with various types of Internet the Mikrotik may be plugged into.  By default, port 1 is set up to be a DHCP client.  In our setup, the Internet is the bottleneck, but we are not testing the Internet.  We are testing clients on the 5g/CBRS/802.11ax network. Our 10 gig port on the nuc will be plugged into a 10 gig switch at the small cell, and not into our routerboard.  The routerboard is just there to hand out DHCP and allow Internet access, if available.

 

 

 

 

j2 Briefing: FCC news, Microsoft whitespace, polls

The j2 Podcast for August 29, 2019

Microsoft is pushing it’s Whitespace product as a solution to the Digital divide. This has been branded “Airband”
https://www.multichannel.com/news/microsoft-brands-rural-divide-national-crisis

The FCC
The commission unanimously voted to distribute more than $20 billion of Universal Service Fund subsidies over the next decade as part of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. It also adopted a long-awaited proposal to get more detailed information from broadband providers about where they offer service in order to improve the agency’s coverage maps.  <let’s hope this revamps the form 477 reportin>

iOt is showing it’s age
Amazon is killing off the gimicky Dash buttons.
https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/01/amazon-dash-buttons/

Verizon turns up 5G

In the ever-changing 5g race Verizon turns up 5G in Atlanta, Detroit, Indianapolis, Washington DC

New poll says the Internet is more important than Air conditioning while on vacation
https://www.swnsdigital.com/2019/08/majority-of-americans-would-rather-give-up-air-conditioning-than-have-no-internet-on-vacation/

Mobile Users double since 2013
The percentage of respondents who said their primary online access devices is mobile has effectively doubled since 2013, and many of those are using mobile as a substitute, rather than a complement, to wired broadband service.
https://www.multichannel.com/news/pew-mobile-broadband-users-double-since-2013

 

j2 Podcast:5g hype, more bandwidth, preseem

Hi this is Justin, it’s Tuesday, July 30th, 2019 and this is the ISP news you need to know.  It’s been quite hot in my office so I haven’t been doing many recordings due to fans and such making it noisy in here.  here are some of the things you need to know.

Think 5G is all hype?
The 5G providers are touting how 5G will bridge the digital divide and folks are paying attention.
https://www.digitaltrends.com/web/31-percent-us-households-no-broadband-internet/

Another reason your customers need more bandwidth
Google play store is now selling some Disney movies in 4k.
https://9to5google.com/2019/07/25/google-play-disney-4k/

FCC asks for more c-Band input
The FCC seeks more comments on C-band proposals for flexible use of the 3.7-4.2 GHz Band. Comments on all the further studies are due August 7 to Docket 18-122.   
https://insidetowers.com/cell-tower-news-fcc-asks-for-more-input-on-proposals-to-repurpose-c-band/

Preseem Netflix Video
The folks over at Preseem have a pretty informative video on Netflix.