Horvath Communications offers free tower co-lo

In an effort to alleviate the ramifications of COVID-19, Horvath Towers V will be offering free tower co-location to rural broadband service providers for a period of six months. 

“With so many families working and learning from home,” company President Jackie Horvath told Inside Towers, “the demand for wireless internet access has sky-rocketed. As such, we would like to partner with rural internet service providers to allow co-location on our tower assets on a temporary basis.”

Applications will be accepted between now and May 1. All inquiries are to be sent to ehorvath@horvathcommunications.com. As part of this program, the broadband provider will be responsible for the cost of installation and the equipment. The installation team must provide proper insurance before climbing the tower. 

https://www.horvathcommunications.com/ has a map with a site list

AirFiber 4.10 is out

Important notes
  • Please update far end of a link before the near end
  • Please refresh browser cache when logging into a v4.1.0 unit for the first time
  • UNMS cannot upgrade airFiber firmware loaded with pre-beta8 firmware (i.e. -beta7, etc.)
  • If you are upgrading from pre-v4.0 software, your password (after upgrade) will be the first 8 characters of your pre v4.0 password. If you chose to downgrade, please ensure that your password is no longer than 8 characters or you will be locked out of your unit.
Features
  • Added additional modulation rates (3x, 5x, 7x, 9x, 11x)
  • Improved throughput capacity (improved modulation performance)
  • Added support for UNMS
  • Added telemetry reporting (optional)
  • Changes to support Apple SSL certificate location rules
  • Updated default https certificates validity for 18 years
  • Added Paraguay and Swaziland country codes
  • Telnet Server port number now displayed on Services tab when using default number (23)
  • Added alert box when Receive Target Power is enabled
  • Build number now shown in system tab
  • Firmware version now displayed with product ID (i.e AF11 vs AF09)
  • Assorted web changes to colors, initial login screens, updated EULA
Improvements
  • Manual browser refresh not required when upgrading FROM 4.1.0
  • Updated SNMP MIB
Bugfixes
  • Detect and recover from OTA management traffic lockup
  • Detect and recover from user traffic lockup
  • Fixed issue where capacity graph showed 2x capacity when there was no GPS signal at the timing master
  • Fixed issue where GPS process would use 100% of the CPU
  • Fixed issue where RF link would repeatedly reset if Ethernet port was disabled
  • Addressed issue with moving (jittery) labels around signal strength graph
  • Corrected conducted power reading when using Receive Target Power
  • Fixed issue with Carrier Drop Operation where unit would not come back if Block Data After Pulse was enabled
  • Fixed issue where disabling Management VLAN after upgrade from pre v4.0 could corrupt networking configuration
  • Fixed SNMP reporting of frequency (SNMP now reports frequencies in MHz)
  • Fixed Static IP gateway address usage (was ignored if configured with v4.0.x)
  • Fixed GUI issue where deleting link name and pasting in a replacement would not work
Known issues
  • If you are upgrading from pre-v4.0 software, your password (after upgrade) will be the first 8 characters of your pre v4.0 password. If you chose to downgrade, please ensure that your password is no longer than 8 characters or you will be locked out of your unit.

Official Page and Download links here

Compliance Test for LTU and AC gear

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Sponsored Post: Atheral voice solutions

Founded by two telecommunications veterans in 2018, Atheral is building customer-centric white- label and wholesale cloud solutions for Internet Service Providers that decrease end-user churn and increase profitability while being geo-redundant, highly available, and scalable. We focus on redefining technology in the cloud to minimize capital expenses while providing a predictable operating cost.

Atheral’s core white-label Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) platform is simple, flexible, and feature- rich with unique US-based support resources. Atheral is the only white-label VoIP wholesaler that focuses on WISPs while providing a customized branded experience for their end-users. Pricing, just like our platform, is feature-rich and straightforward:

  • Unlimited local and long-distance calling in the United States, Mexico, and Canada
  • One telephone number per user and e911 registration
  • Branded customer-facing documentation
  • 140+ Softswitch features
  • Our companion Android and IOS softphone app

Why should a WISP care about VoIP?

  • Government Funded Competition – Offering VoIP with your awesome broadband experience protects your ISP from being overbuilt by government-funded competitors or enables you to apply for government funding to expand your coverage area.
  • Customer Stickiness – Customers that purchase value-added services are more likely to stay customers, especially when they are satisfied with those services.
  • High Margin – While phone service in the home may be declining, VoIP is growing by leaps and bounds in the business community with the VoIP industry seeing ~21% annual growth through 2025. All those added users equal high margin for you – the average VoIP reseller sees margins in the 40%-65% range.

Visit https://atheral.com or e-mail info@atheral.com

VXLAN and why you should care as a service provider

As some of you may have heard Mikrotik has added in some VXLAN support in the latest RouterOS7 beta.  What is VXLAN and how would service providers use it? Let’s start out with some broad information about VXLAN

Where does TRILL and VXLAN fit in to your network strategy?

The always interesting RFC read
https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc7348

This document describes Virtual eXtensible Local Area Network
   (VXLAN), which is used to address the need for overlay networks
   within virtualized data centers accommodating multiple tenants.  The
   scheme and the related protocols can be used in networks for cloud
   service providers and enterprise data centers

Boil it down for me. What is vxlan?
In short, VXLAN allows you to create a layer2 network on top of a layer3 network. It allows you to bind separate layer2 domains and make them look like one. If you are thinking this looks like a GRE tunnel, you are correct except the layer2 domains are still separate with tunnels. VXLAN is mainly touted as a way to interconnect data centers. If you are having to use spanning-tree then VLXLAN is an answer.

Okay, but why not use tunnels or MPLS?
VXLAN allows you to accomplish what GRE does without having to change the network design. By using VXLAN you are also able to have standalone layer2 domains that talk to each other. With the tunnel approach, you have to do a lot of manual configuration.

Is this just a data center thing?
VXLAN was designed to solve many of the edge computing and hyper-scale computing issues. Imagine having compute nodes in different parts of a data center or even in different data centers.  You want all of those nodes on the same VLAN.  With GRE you could extend that VLAN, but with VXLAN you can have two standalone layer2 VLANs that are merged together. VXLAN also solves the 4096 VLAN issue.  This is important in hyper-scale cloud computing.

VXLAN benefits in a nutshell

  • increases layer2 segments to 16 million
  • Centralize control
  • Standards-based
  • Scalable

VXLAN downsides in a nutshell

  • Multicast must be available
  • more overhead to layer2 packet
  • no built-in encryption
  • Slow adoption of ipv6 support by open source

What about the service provider? How can I use this?
In a service-provider network, you have things like broadcast issues. Basically, bridging is bad. Your layer2 networks need to be contained. Imagine you are a service provider who is providing LTE services. You may have an LTE VLAN on your network.  Historically you would have to extend your VLAN across the network in order to do management and access your LTE core. Now you have this large broadcast domain across your entire network.  Or worse yet, you have tunnels to other cities or locations you don’t have physically connected to your network.  Now you have tunnels a part of your LTE VLAN.  MTU issues and other things are now a part of your life.

With VXLAN each LTE node can have its own layer2 VLAN but still talk to the others. This prevents the broadcast storms which can occur.

Another use for VXLAN is a way to allow managed service providers to deploy large scale networks over the 4000 limits of VLANs.  You could literally deploy thousands of layer2 segments to tenants

Why I should or should not care about VXLAN as a service provider?
If you just have a couple of layer2 networks to extend across your network VXLAN is not for you. However, VXLAN does allow for multipath routing and other protocols to be extended to remote networks.

VXLAN adds 50+ bytes of overhead to the layer2 frame. In many service provider networks, this is not an issue due to MTU being raised for MPLS, etc.   IP multicast must be extended across the entire network. Mac addresses are used in creating a distribution network across all of the routed layer2 domains.

Large service providers have started looking at segment routing to solve many of the issues I talk about. This causing them to gravitate toward EVPN. EVPN allows for BGP for the control plane and MPLS for the data plane. More on this coming soon.

In closing, VXLAN is an ultra-cool technology and has use cases for service providers.  Other methods also exist to solve these issues in the service provider world. For those of you looking to learn all you can, I will be posting a list of links for my Patreon folks.

Underground boxes for wireless deployments

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Broadcom announces WIFI6

Broadcom Inc. (NASDAQ: AVGO) today announced the availability of a portfolio of Wi-Fi 6E devices. Wi-Fi 6E is a new standard that builds on the rich feature set of Wi-Fi 6, including OFDMA and other multi-user operations that improve performance in crowded environments, advanced roaming capabilities and increased security. Wi-Fi 6E extends the Wi-Fi 6 standard to support the soon-to-be-operational 6 GHz band. This new band enables up to 1,200 MHz of spectrum for Wi-Fi use, which WLAN access point (AP) manufacturers can leverage to deliver faster speeds, higher capacity and lower latency with no congestion from legacy devices.

https://investors.broadcom.com/news-releases/news-release-details/broadcom-announces-industrys-most-comprehensive-portfolio-wi-fi

Bandwidth and the Wireless ISP

This was an older article I had on my blog a few years ago.  Much of this applies still.

Bandwidth is a big hurdle most aspiring WISPs face. The reason is if high-speed alternatives were already in place, the need for a WISP would not be as great.  Sure there are business models in which the WISP can compete with other high-speed solutions. However, the bread and butter of a WISP is going into underserved areas.

You have several options for bringing a connection into your area to re-distribute to your customers. I will outline these and then go into further detail

-Leased Lines (Fractional, T-1, T3, etc.)
-Fiber Optic
-Wireless backhaul
-Cable
-DSL

Leased Lines are the most easily accessible across the United States. However, as more and more providers build fiber it is taking over as the preferred method of connectivity.  Fiber is more “future proof” than a T-Carrier circuit such as a T1 or T3.   Most phone companies can provide t1 service to almost anywhere. This is because T1 service uses the existing copper already at 99% of locations. If you have a phone line you can almost always get t1 service.  Once you go beyond T1 things get a little more complicated.  However, T1 has the ability to do bonding if the carrier and telco support it.  You essentially buy multiple T1s and combine them into a single “pipe”.  This requires the provider to support bonding as well as some special configuration on your routers.

Some questions you should ask your provider/telco.

1.Where is my circuit “homed out of”? This means where does the circuit terminate on the facility end.  You do not want this to be too far. If it is too far your reliability will suffer because you have more distance and equipment to go through.  This raises the likelihood of an equipment failure, backhoe digging something up, & utility poles falling.  The longer the distance also means the “loop charge” will most likely increase.   We will get to that in a moment.

2.There are several types of T1s for our purposes.  Some terms to familiarize oneself with are PRI, channelized, transport, and port fee.

3. Ask your provider to spell out what type of t1 this is.  If you are buying the T1 from a backbone provider such as Qwest, Level3, and others they will typically bundle everything into one package. Ask them to break this down if they don’t.  You want to know what the Local loop charge is, what the port fee is, and what the bandwidth costs.  The local loop is typically what the telephone company charges to deliver the circuit from Point A (their equipment) to Point B (you).  If you are going with a 3rd party, and not the local telephone company, the provider typically becomes the central point of contact for the entire circuit.  This can add a level of complexity when issues arise.

The port fee is a charge normally passed on for connecting to the provider’s equipment.  Say you have a 48 port switch sitting in a CO-Location facility.   For each Ethernet cable you plug in from the telephone company they charge a fee either one-time and/or monthly.  This is just the way it is typically.  One of those “Because they can” charges.  The 3rd charge is the cost of the Internet bandwidth.  A T1 can handle 1.5 Megabits of bandwidth so the cost per Megabit is not as big of an issue because you are not buying in bulk.

4.Ask to see the Service Level Agreement (SLA). If you are unfamiliar with the terms have a consultant look this over.

5.Know where your DMARC location is. This is the spot where the provider’s responsibility ends and yours begins.

6.Ask if the provider can verify with the telco how long the next circuit would take to install. You don’t want to go to order a second circuit and find out the local telephone equipment does not have enough capacity.  This has happened to our clients on many occasions.  This can be a quick process or the telco can take months and months to get around to installing the needed equipment.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demarcation_point

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-carrier