WISPs: IPv6 is the answer to some of your issues

Many Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs), especially newer startups, struggle with nat issues and having enough public Ip addresses to go around. Invariably, you start running into double nat issues pretty quickly. Then you get the dreaded gamer call:

Many times they don’t know why they are even calling. They just know the magic box is saying this is bad. This is related to how many layers of nat between your edge and them. Many times you are natting at the edge, then you are natting at the customer router. If you have multiple customers behind the same nat at the edge this compounds it even more.

So what is the fix? Give the customer public addresses. But IPv4 is hard to get! I didn’t say IPV4 I said public addresses. IPv6 is a public address. When given the choice between v4 and v6 most modern streaming and gaming platforms will prefer v6. Xbox has supported a protocol called Teredo for a long time. You can learn all about Teredo in this PDF. Basically, it is a tunnel in which the Xbox speaks ipv6 over the tunnel. The ISP does not have to support v6, which does away with the above-mentioned nat issues.

Great! I don’t have to worry about IPv6, Microsoft has it taken care of for me. There are two problems with this statement. Problem number one. There are more companies out there than Microsoft. Sony Playstation Online, Apple gaming, and Steam are just a few. Second, you have overhead of tunnels. In the world of who can pull the joystick quicker, milliseconds count. You don’t want them wasted in tunnel overhead. Plus, v6 is beneficial for other service such as Netflix.

Any other service that runs into port issues behind nat can be solved with Ipv6, This can be voip, cameras, and other type services. This is providing the product or service supports v6 addresses.

So what is an ISP to do?
Awhile back I put together a resource guide for ISPs. You can find it at https://blog.j2sw.com/networking/ipv6/ipv6-planning-and-implementation-resources-for-the-xisp/

Some Mikrotik SXT photos and first thoughts.

I have been wanting to do some photos and thoughts on the Mikrotik SXTR-LTEs and other Mikrotik LTE products. I recently fired one up using dual sims. One is from Tmobile and one is from At&T.  Verizon is pretty nonexistent in my area. I am about 2.5 miles away from a Tmobile tower and about a mile from a fiber-fed AT&T monopole.

As you notice in the following photo I am pretty buried in trees.

My view of the tower. Notice the high-tech holder.

Some initial notes.  Setup of LTE is a very easy process as far as the mikrotik is concerned.  I literally had to put in some information in the APN and that was it as far as LTE goes.  I did set up standard Mikrotik stuff (DHCP server, security, etc.).

Adding the second sim card can be a huge pain due to the location of the sim card slot.  Luckily I had some tweezers that were angled to be able to slide the card in the slot.  These were part of a dental kit I picked up off Amazon for releasing stuck SFPs and the like.

Look for a more in-depth series on Mikrotik LTE coming soon.

Podcast: Atheral, VOIP and communication “stuff”

Recently I sat down and did a podcast with Daniel White of Atheral (https://atheral.co/). We talked about how WISPS can use VOIP to prevent overbuilding, Unified communications, and some of the forms and procedures for getting started with VOIP.

If you want to contact Atheral about their products you can do so at the following:

Web: https://atheral.co/
Book A demo: https://calendly.com/atheralsales/prtdemo
e-mail or Phone: https://atheral.co/contact

 

Atheral recommended 499 fillng help

Our friends over at Atheral have some companies to help you with your 499 filings.

What is FCC Form 499‑A?
FCC form 499‑A must be filed by interstate or international telecommunications providers in the US to register for the Universal Service Fund and report their revenue. You’ll have the form 499‑A immediately inside your registered agent account with our DC agent information pre-populated on it immediately after signing up for our DC registered agent service.

Inteserra Consulting Group:  https://www.inteserra.com/tom-forte
Lerman Senter:  https://www.lermansenter.com/attorneys/stephen-e-coran/
Compliance Solutions: https://www.csilongwood.com/
Marashlian & Donahue, PLLC: https://commlawgroup.com/

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

Philosophies as a consultant Vendors, distributors

Over the years my views and philosophies on being a consultant have changed and are constantly evolving.  There are certain things that consultants can incorporate into their businesses in order to maintain a high level of service to clients.

Being Neutral
One of the things I have tried to do is be neutral when it comes to vendors and technology. While this is an admirable goal to have, you will find yourself gravitating toward technology you and your clients find useful and proven. It’s okay to be a certified consultant for a specific vendor. This brings up a whole new set of issues I will talk about later. There are two keys to take away from this. The first is to understand the underlying technology as a whole. If you think a particular product is superior enough for you to become certified in it, know why. Know how it is better than the competitors and where it lacks compared to the competitors.

The second key is to not be influenced by becoming a reseller/distributor for particular products. If you want to become a distributor, then focus on that. If you offer consulting services, become an integrator for that product. This way, you are not influenced by the latest promotion for a particular product and try to make it fit for a customer when something else might be better.

Vendor Expertise
As a consultant, you will probably find yourself working with specific products more than others. This is natural. I have found myself working with Cambium ePMP products more often than some others. I believe in the product, so I recommend it to my customers when it fits their situation. However, becoming an expert on a product line has pitfalls.

The first pitfall is you are an expert not paid by the vendor. If you are doing an excellent job on Social media and SEO your name should be popping up in google searches for that product. For example, if you do a search for “Cambium Consultant,” the first page that pops up is a page with my info on it. In a way, you are representing the brand without knowing it. This can lead to you answering questions about a product without any direct compensation for your time. I have always strived to answer questions on topics I am an expert on. There is a fine line between answering questions to a client who has not paid you money and one who has. Every potential contact is a potential client. You have to decide how to handle that grey area. This is an area I struggle with regularly. I am a Cambium ePMP expert and get many questions on this and that from folks who are not clients. I try and answer as many as I can, but at the end of the day, the paying clients do take priority.

Distributors and ordering
I mentioned earlier about me personally, not wanting to be a distributor or reseller. I don’t want to have to meet quotas and absolute minimums to keep stock of products. Some companies are better at this than I ever could be. Having a good relationship with a few good distributors is a good idea. Over the years, I have developed good relationships with several of these WISP distributors. There are some I shy away from due to they have competing services. There are a few vendors and distributors I have referred folks to, and the next thing I know they are offering them consulting services or saying, “I can fix that real quick for you”. They may not even realize they are hurting my business. These are distributors and vendors I personally stop referring business to. If it’s the right product, I will still include them in options for clients, but I make sure I keep on top of the relationship between myself, the vendor, and the client.

There are distributors out there who do very well offering consulting services. The question to ask is are they selling you products because the product makes them money or is it the right product for you? There is much room for either way.

Just some random 3am thoughts

Podcast: John, Ivan and I talk WISP finances

I sit down with John Scrivner from LiveOak Bank and Ivan Crowe from Ritalia funding and discuss topics related to WISP funding. We talk about leasing, lending and the pitfalls WISPs run into when it comes to financing.

John Scrivner
john.scrivner@liveoak.bank
Office 910-550-1407 X1345
Cell  618-237-2387

Ivan Crowe
Icrowe@rtflease.com
818-921-3624

#packetsdownrange #wisp #funding #leasing

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