ePMP eDetect

One of the biggest tasks on a wireless AP is finding clean channels.  Once you find those clean channels, making sure you stay on a clean channel is the next task. ePMP has a feature under tools called eDetect. One of the things this can do is give you an idea of how many devices are on a given frequency.

The ePMP AP you see above is on a 20mhz channel, which is why many home routers and other devices are showing up.  If this was on a cleaner frequency it would look like the following.

While eDetect is not a replacement for spectrum analysis, it can give you a pretty good idea of what’s using a particular frequency.  Please note, you see the most things on 20MHZ channels because that is what most home routers are set to. If you would like to read up on eDetect in more detail go here: https://community.cambiumnetworks.com/t5/ePMP-Configuration-Management/ePMP-Tools-eDetect-Explained/td-p/42997

PTp550 Throughput with RF elements horns

Distance:5.03 Miles
Downlink RSSI: -59
ChannelWidth: 40MHZ
DownlinkSNR:33bB
Antennas: RF elements Ultra Horns
Downlink Ratio set to 75/25

Question: Why are you not using channel bonding? 
A)Having some reliability issues with channel bonding at the moment on the 550 platform.

Question: What was the link like before the horns?
Check out this previous post. (pictures are screwed up for now): http://www.mtin.net/blog/the-addition-of-rf-elements-horns-to-a-ptp550-link/

 

 

Form 477 Resources

https://transition.fcc.gov/Forms/Form477/477inst.pdf
lots of good information in here


https://www.fcc.gov/general/broadband-deployment-data-fcc-form-477

Who Files What?

  • All facilities-based broadband providers are required to file data with the FCC twice a year (Form 477) on where they offer Internet access service at speeds exceeding 200 kbps in at least one direction.
  • Fixed providers file lists of census blocks in which they can or do offer service to at least one location, with additional information about the service.*
  • Mobile providers file maps of their coverage areas for each broadband technology (e.g., EV-DO, HSPA, LTE).  See Mobile Deployment Data.

https://www.fcc.gov/general/form-477-orders-and-releases


https://www.fcc.gov/economics-analytics/industry-analysis-division/form-477-resources/generating-fixed

Generating Fixed Broadband Deployment Data for FCC Form 477


https://geobuffer.com/
Turn US addresses into coordinates.

The Changing RF landscape for WISPs

Recently, there have been some discussions on Facebook about waining support for 2.4GHZ .  KP Performance recently published a Future of 5GHZ and beyond blog post. So why all this focus on 5GHZ and why are people forgetting about 2.4?

To answer this question, we need to update our thinking on the trends in networks, not just wireless networks.  Customers are demanding more and more speed. Network backbones and delivery nodes have to be updated to keep up with this demand. For anything but 802.11 wifi,2.4GHZ can’t keep up with the bandwidth needs.

One of the significant limitations of many 2.4 radios is they use frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) and/or direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) modulation. Due to 2.4GHZ being older, the chipsets have evolved around these modulation methods because of age.  When you compare 2.4GHZ to 5GHZ radios running OFDM, you start to see a significant difference.  In a nutshell, OFDM allows for higher throughput. If you want to read all about the differences in the protocols here ya go: http://www.answers.com/Q/Difference_between_ofdm_dsss_fhss

Secondly, is the amount of spectrum available.  More spectrum means more channels to use, which translates into a high chance of mitigating interference. This interference can be self-induced or from external sources. To use an analogy, the more rooms a building has, the more simultaneous conversations can happen without noise in 2.4GHZ we only have 3 non-overlapping channels at 20mhz. Remember the part about more and more customers wanting more bandwidth? In the wireless world, one of the ways to increase capacity on your APs is to increase the channel width. Once you increase 2.4 to 30 or 40 MHz, you do not have much room to deal with noise because your available channels have shrunk.

One of the biggest arguments in support of using 2.4GHZ for a WISP environment is the physics.  Lower frequencies penetrate trees and foliage better. As with anything, there is a tradeoff.  As the signal is absorbed, so is the available “air time” for transmission of data.  As the signal travels through stuff, the radios on both sides have to reduce their modulation rates to deal with the loss of signal.  Lower modulation rates mean lower throughput for customers.  This might be fine for customers who have no other choice.  This thinking is not a long term play.

With LTE especially, traditional thinking is being uprooted.  Multiple streams to the customer as well as various paths for the signal due to antenna stacking are allowing radios to penetrate this same foliage just as well as a 2.4 signal, but delivering more bandwidth. These systems are becoming more and more carrier class.  As the internet evolves and becomes more and more critical, ISPs are having to step up their services.  The FCC  says the definition of broadband is at least 25 meg download. A 2.4 radio just can’t keep up in a WISP environment.  I am seeing 10 meg becoming the minimum customers want. Can you get by with smaller packages? Yes, but how long can you maintain that as the customer demand grows?

So what is the answer? Cell sizes are shrinking.  This is helping 2.4 hold on.  The less expensive radios can be deployed to less dense areas and still provide decent speeds to customers.  This same trend allows 5GHZ cells to be deployed as well. With less things to go through, 5GHZ can perform in modern networks at higher modulation rates.  Antenna manufacturers are also spending R&D to get the most out of their 5GHZ antennas. More money in the pipeline means stronger products. My clients are typically deploying 3.65 and 5GHZ on their towers.  LTE is changing RF WISP design and taking the place of 2.4 and 900.

Calea and the ISP

The Communications and Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) passed in 1994 is a piece of legislation every U.S. ISP should know about and be in compliance with.  If for the simple fact the government can levy heavy fines if you aren’t compliant.

For those of you wanting some background please follow these links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Assistance_for_Law_Enforcement_Act

https://www.fcc.gov/public-safety-and-homeland-security/policy-and-licensing-division/general/communications-assistance

First of all CALEA isn’t simply sticking wireshark onto your network and sending a packet dump to a law enforcement agency. It is much more complicated than that. You have several things which the CALEA standard addresses.

1.The ability to send multiple streams, in real time, to different law enforcement agencies.
2.The ability to not interrupt the connection to a person of interest.  In other words you don’t want to interrupt their connection to insert a piece of hardware.
3.The ability to provide just the information on the warrant.  Too much information can actually violate the court order.
4.There is a difference between a typical “request for information” warrant and a CALEA request.  These are not the same.  CALEA almost always comes from a federal agency. They are expecting you to be compliant with CALEA.

Now, here is where things get a little subjective.  The FBI has https://askcalea.fbi.gov/ which is linked from the above fcc.gov web-site.  The askcalea web-site has not been updated since 2011.  The service provider login and service provider registration simply does not work. The information about CALEA is pretty outdated.

So what does this mean for you as a small ISP? Stay tuned for more information.

Flash Briefing: April 29. Spectrum, IoT, WPA compromises

Spectrum use Article
https://www.networkworld.com/article/3343040/wireless-spectrum-shortage-not-so-fast.html
The wireless industry has always had to deal with regular (and alarming) pronouncements that we’re somehow running out of radio spectrum. We’re not. But the misconception regardless gives many IT and network managers pause. 

It does not mention WiSPs, but is a perspective nonetheless.

IoT Links
How many of you are focusing on Internet of Everything (IoT)? I have posted some links to how healthcare and others are using IoT to further their business.  As a service provider, you should be coming up with an IoT strategy.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/331792
https://www.worldbuild365.com/blog/internet-of-things-iot-the-future-of-smart-roads-skRTWO

WPA Compromises
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/04/11/bughunters_punch_holes_in_wpa3_wifi_security/

Microsoft and IPV6

I have written about IPV6 lately and Microsoft has published a post where they are moving their internal network to an IPV6 only network.

Microsoft works toward IPv6-only single stack network

TeamArin at CanWISP
https://teamarin.net/2019/04/02/how-arin-can-help-wireless-internet-service-providers-wisps/

 

Small Cells and hybrid networks for WISPs: Part 1

The never-ending goal of any Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) is how to get ever-increasing levels of bandwidth to clients. The always increasing demands, by customers,  on WISPs, and ISPs, in general, are becoming an everyday problem for many operators.  Building a business model on unlicensed spectrum can be a shaky foundation.  Interference and changing rules are just a few things which can influence how a WISP deploys services to a customer. Before we get into this, let’s take a step back and look at how many WISPs have been deploying services up until recently.

The “historical” WISP deployment has been to find the tallest structure around and locate some access points on it.  From there they try and reach out as far as they can to pick up customers.  This distance to the customer may be 3 miles, 5 miles, or even further depending on terrain. When an AP gets too full, you typically add a new one and make sure your antennas don’t overlap as much.   In the past installing customers at these distances has been fine for the 3, 5 and maybe even 10 meg packages which have been sold over the years.  However, the modern definition of broadband by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is 25 megabyte25 Megabits download by 3 Megabits upload. A good number of households are “getting by” with far less, but these customers need access to faster connections.

One way to meet this demand is to take a playbook from the cellular carriers. Small cells, or Micropops as many refer to them as can be a tremendous tool in your toolbox. For this series, I am going to refer to what I am talking about as a small cell and not a micro pop.  Why am I making this distinction? Small cells are something folks familiar with cellular operators understand.  This distinction may seem like such a small difference to you and me, but for the banker, or the city planner this could be a critical thing.  Many times you only have a small opening to present your case for deploying services to a neighborhood or other area.   This opening could be a twenty-minute meeting on a busy Monday or at a town hall meeting with 10 other things on the agenda.  Why not use terms which everyone is familiar with.

Small Cell deployment in a California Neighborhood

One way to increase data rates and modulation to clients is to decrease the distance they are from the Access Point (AP) and the number of clients on the AP.  Cleaner clients on an AP make for a better performing access point. The fewer obstructions you have to go through and even the less air you have to go through allows you to increase modulation to your clients on the AP.  If the clients are closer to the AP, they experience less interference. Imagine how many fewer things your AP hears if it is limited to a one-mile radius as opposed to a five-mile radius

So imagine your typical suburban neighborhood.  This may be a collection of houses in a subdivision within a 1-3 mile radius.

Due to houses, terrain, and trees, you may not be able to service these homes with the needed 25meg downloads they are expecting from the historical setup I mentioned above. The tower is just too far awa and is going through too many things to scale to customer demand.

This problem is where the neighborhood small-cell can come in and solve.  Due to land and Home Owner Association (HOA) policies putting up the typical WISP tower is not feasible.  Many homeowners do not want industrial things cluttering up their views, even if it means delivering the high-speed internet they are wanting. Towers can bring down property value.  In our photo above, several poles or small towers ranging from 40-80 feet would be inconspicuous enough to blend in with the neighborhood.

Small cell on existing pole

Each of these poles may service as many as 20-30 homes. This small customer count per AP keeps the customer count on the AP low, so you are not oversubscribing the Access Points, and also allows each customer to have the max signal to their nearest AP. Due to customers reliance on speed test servers, being able to provide what you sell is critical.  If you are selling 200 meg packages, then the customer should be able to run a 200 meg speed test. In an earlier article, I talk about the problems with speed test servers, but your customers want to get what they expect.

So now that we know why small cells are essential to a WISP, our next articles in this series will focus on the technical aspects of small cell, integrating them into your existing infrastructure, and showing deploying them is not really that scary, hard or expensive.

xISP billing platforms

One of the more common things I see on lists is asking for what billing platform to use for your ISP.  I have put together a list for ones to help you in your research.  These are presented in alphabetical order. These can also be found on https://startawisp.info 

Wisp Focused
Azotel
https://www.azotel.com/

Billmax
https://www.billmax.com/

Celerate
https://github.com/Celerate/celerate-controller

Freeside
http://freeside.biz/

Hydra
https://www.hydra-billing.com

Platypus
http://www.ispbilling.com/

Powercode
https://powercode.us/

Sonar
https://sonar.software

Swiftfox
https://swiftfox.net/

Splynx
https://splynx.com/

VISP
https://visp.net/

Telecom Focused
Aradial
https://www.aradial.com/

Billing SaaS
https://info.enghousenetworks.com/billing-saas/

BluLogix
https://blulogix.com/the-bluiq-platform/

Cadebill
https://www.cadebill.com/

Datagate
https://www.datagate-i.com

IconWave
https://www.iconwavetech.com/oss-bss-solutions

Innovaware
http://inovaware.com/

NetUP
https://www.netup.tv

OpenBilling
http://www.openbillingsystem.com

OSS360
http://unbouncepages.com/advantage-360-billing-provisioning-gdm/

There are many more platforms in the Telecom world.  Some are just for inter-carrier billing or integrating with other systems. I have listed some of the more popular ones which do more than just invoice generation.

Generalized Billing
QuickBooks
https://quickbooks.intuit.com/

Zoho and Zoho One
https://www.zoho.com/one/

Vendor Backed
UCRM by Ubiquiti
https://ucrm.ui.com/

Are you a vendor and want to talk about your platform? We are looking for helpful articles with an informative and how-to nature.

j2 Flash Briefing:Grants,768k day, youtube

Flash Briefing for April 22nd, 2019

https://www.telecompetitor.com/usda-reconnect-broadband-funding-program-will-begin-accepting-applications-april-23/

<USDA announced reconnect broadband funding progam. Application acceptance will start tomorrow April 23rd.

The USDA will make three different types of awards:

  • $200 million in grants, with a requirement for 25% in matching funds, with an application deadline of May 31
  • $200 million in 50% grant/50% loan combinations, with an application deadline of June 21
  • $200 million in low-interest loans, with an application deadline of July 12

FCC Cracking down on out-of-compliant set top boxes
https://www.lightreading.com/video/video-hardware/fcc-cracks-down-on-video-streaming-boxes-/d/d-id/750916?_mc=RSS_LR_EDT

In an Enforcement Advisory posted earlier this month , the Bureau noted that it has observed an increase in the marketing of out-of-compliant boxes. The agency has yet to provide a list of models that are allegedly out-of-scope, but stressed that any companies marketing or operating non-compliant devices should “stop immediately.”

The easiest way to tell is if they have an FCC sticker that shows they have been through testing.

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2019/04/amazon-and-google-settle-feud-bring-youtube-back-to-fire-tv-devices/
Youtube coming back to Amazon devices

https://www.axios.com/discovery-strikes-multi-year-content-deal-youtube-tv-26d01ff0-031f-4c00-b265-cdfd0232f839.html
YouTube TV announced Wednesday it is increasing its prices to $50 per month after striking a major multi-year distribution agreement with Discovery Communications to provide channels like HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, and more.

768K Day
Increase your routing table max prefixes and TCAM tables.  Estimates say the global routing table will surpass 768,000 routes.   This is being referred to as 768k day.  In 2014 “512 k” day happened. This caused some widespread outages on the internet. If you are taking in full routing tables it might be prudent to increase your max prefix limits. With some hardware it’s not as simple as changing max limits.  You have to adjust your TCAM tables and reboot.
https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/docs/DOC-27403

768k Day expected within the month from sysadmin

Indiana ISP meeting is May 16th
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-indiana-isp-meeting-tickets-60311319781