wireless

ISPs new years resolutions 2023 edition

If you are an ISP, you should do the following this year.

  1. Enable HTTPS on your website. I see many ISPs who do not have HTTPS enabled on your domains. The biggest reason to do this is so google will “crawl” your site.
  2. Apply for IP space from your local RIR. For North America, this is ARIN. It’s easier than you think and is still available.
  3. Have contact info on your website that is easy to get to.
  4. Mention your service areas in detail. I see too many companies not list the states they cover. If you cover a town called Washington, which one of the 88 “Washingtons” in the United States do you cover? Also, have text descriptions. Search engines are still a big deal.
  5. Automate your Social media and blog. Not everyone uses Facebook. Not everyone uses Twitter. Not everyone uses both. Some tools can instantly post updates to your social media from one platform. I use WordPress plugins on the blog to do this. An up-to-date web presence engages with potential customers and current customers.
  6. Update your contact info with critical resources. ARIN WHOIS comes to mind.
  7. Spin up your own DNS resolvers
  8. Rollout IPV6
  9. Cleanup your Monitoring
  10. Offer Voice, even if it’s just to businesses. This can open doors to broadband funding.
  11. Start collecting and categorizing data. Centralize log management, know who visits your website, what keywords they use, and network-related data are just a few things you should know.
  12. Create a centralized Management network to increase security and flexibility.

If you need help doing any of this, I have some time available on a consulting basis to help. Reach out to me here. I have a special going on for hours of time. These are extremely limited, though.

The ever-evolving service provider

Some of you may have noticed a subtle difference in the title. In many of my previous posts and articles, wISP was written as WISP. Note the capitalization of W. This represents a shift from Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) becoming a more hybrid approach to service delivery. What does this mean? Are Wireless providers going away? Read on, dear reader.

Mainly due to government definitions of what broadband is, speeds being delivered by service providers are being increased. In 2015 the FCC defined broadband as a download of 25 megs and an upload of 3 megs. Several wireless equipment manufacturers were able to come out with new point-to-multipoint radios in unlicensed and 3.65 frequencies to meet this demand.

Fast forward to the “Covid years.” Demand for broadband increased. Working from home has become more mainstream than it ever has. This is the time many WISPs shined. These operators could service up new areas and increase bandwidth in existing coverage areas quickly. As with many governmental dealings,

What does this mean for the wISP? wISPs will be transforming into an overall service provider to satisfy several needs and regulations. Delivery speed will be the number one focus on all new build-outs. Many politicians and government regulators are already suggesting a 100 meg service tier.

So how are wISPs evolving? Let’s jump into it.

Automation
Automation saves money. Saving money allows for more devliery devices, whether they be Access Points, OLTs, or switches). Automation makes customer interaction faster and more efficient. From signups to support ques, automation is becoming the key to optimizing these interactions. Companies like SBR Consulting LLC provide automation. Other companies like RemoteWinbox can automate managing your large Mikrotik network.

Add on services and vertical markets.
Most government grants require you to provide Voice as part of your offerings. Why not let companies like Atheral take this load off you. You can then concentrate on acquiring customers. Video services like Realchoice can make sense if your network supports their unique data demands.

Network Quality of Service
Modern access customers are demanding. Technology is always evolving, and so are data flows. Preseem and Cambium QOE are two companies that can apply policies to flows and data endpoints as well as other traffic manipulation. This allows you to optimize your network. Latency sensitive items such as VOIP can benefit from a QOS/QOE soluiion.

High-Speed multipoint wireless
Fiber takes time to build and is costly. Wireless makes sense in so many places. 802.11-based systems are still a viable option for rural and less dense areas. However, MU-MIMO systems from the likes of Tarana and Cambium Medusa are the next generation of fixed wireless systems delivering higher bandwidth. LTE players such as Nokia have solutions for the growing wISP.

Hybrid Networks
As customer demands increase, there have to be bigger pipes pushing bandwidth to the towers and aggregation points. Licensed links are pushing more and more bandwidth. Fiber-fed towers are also becoming a thing. This means the wISP is possibly building their own fiber infrastructure to support the gigabit and muti-gigabit clusters being installed on towers. One natural progression is , as the provider passes homes, it makes sense to use strands to provide some sort of Fiber To The Home (FTTH). This is an easier cost to absorb as it can be both revenue generating and business supporting at the same time.

Peering and Interconneciton
Internet customers tend to consume much of the same data repeatedly. Pulling this from geographically close locations speeds up the customer experience while reducing latency. Internet Exchange Points (IXPSs) bring more resiliency to a fragile Internet. Companies like FD-IX and Ohio-IX are independent exchange points.

these are just a few things the xISP (wISP, fISP, etc.) can look into to migrate their networks to the next level. Many of them mentioned are at WISPAPALOOZA 2022 in Las Vegas this week.

What services should your ISP be providing?

As Internet Service has evolved so have the service offerings of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Not too long ago the majority of ISPs were providing USENET feeds. If you remember those you have been at this for a long time.

For those of you just getting started or wanting to do an evaluation on your network here are some thoughts on services you should or should not be providing.

Let’s dive into the short list

DNS – Must Have
You should be running your own Doman Name Service (DNS) resolvers. There are many benefits to you and your customers.

e-mail – Don’t worry about offering
The advent of free or low-cost e-mail services has seen a rapid decline in the need for ISPs to their customers. For ISPs who offer e-mail, it is a service that generates many trouble tickets. From SPAM complaints all the way down to them not receiving emails. Leave offering email to customers to the GMAIL folks of the world.

Web-Site Hosting – Optional
If you are a Managed Service provider (MSP) then web-hosting can be a lucrative business. With web-site hosting also comes e-mail hosting.

VOIP
Voice Over IP (VOIP) is a hot topic these days. Many grants mention the ability to provide voice services as a requirement. Outsource this to providers such as Atheral.

Thats it! There are many other services you could extend to customers. There are also services which are not public facing you might want to run. Radius is on example of services you would run internally. As a service provider you should be spending as much effort on delivering solid access to your customers. Other services can be found by the end users themselves from dedicated services.