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Fw: [WISPA] Fw: [Ham-80211] Access control suggestions

Marlon Schafer (509-982-2181) ooe at odessaoffice.com
Fri Nov 12 16:10:19 UTC 2004

Hmmmm.  Who's ron at wispa.org????  Strange.

Oh well, answers below.
(509) 982-2181                                   Equipment sales
(408) 907-6910 (Vonage)                    Consulting services
42846865 (icq)                                    And I run my own wisp! (net meeting)

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jeff King" <jeff at aerodata.net>
To: <Ron at wispa.org>
Cc: "Conversations over a new WISP Trade Organization" <wireless at wispa.org>
Sent: Thursday, November 11, 2004 11:00 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: [WISPA] Fw: [Ham-80211] Access control suggestions

> Hi Marlon:


> I'm not sure I called them "clueless" just not how I would run the

Nope.  *I* called them clueless.  That's a good term for operators that
obviously haven't figured out the easy ways to do things via experience or
(duh) asking others that have already built wisps.

>  What I would do (and I did when I moved here) was ask a realtor to map
> all the affluent residential areas as well as industrial parks. Then
> the telephone CO's as well as the cable companies. See what overlaps and
> doesn't. Then initially target the non-overlapping areas. From what I have
> seen, both WISP's in my area are to a large degree overlapping in this
> regard.

Hmmmm.  That's an interesting way to look at it.  By and large most people
who start up wisps simply have an area that has no service that they'd like
to cover.  If that also covers areas that do have service, oh well, maybe
they'll get some business from there too.  Here's the thing, unlike wireline
based distribution systems it often costs $0,000,000.00 (not a typo :-)
extra to service an area near your targeted zone.

Also, in areas that already have service, a wisp can be very price
competitive.  If a guy want's to be the low price company (NOT something
that I recommend but it's being done out there) a wisp is the best way to do

> That much being said, this conversation has peaked my interest. But like I
> also said.. customer service. How do you deal with customer support? Calls
> midnight or calls expecting you to fix someones outdated Windows 95

Service labor.....

My job is to drop the internet at the door.  If they have computer problems
that's their problem not mine.  Having said that we often help people with
computer problems.  It's amazing how fast they learn to fix things
themselves when we bill them at $125 per hour.  They NEVER pay the whole
bill, I let them pick their hours.  I know that spending $500 to $800 to fix
a pc is not something most people can justify.  They usually pay $250ish
though.  I think we're going to change our program though.  Gonna make a new
program for pc repair though.  The other local guys seem to regularly piss
people off (sloppy looking, bad breath, not getting it right the first time
etc., too bad too they are nice folks) so I guess it's up to us (again) to
step up to the plate and get the job done.

> You might be right. I was particularly interested in your statement in a
> message to Eric in which you said:
> "At 100 subs the average wisp should be putting $2,000 to $4,000 in the
> every month."
> I'd have to own 4+ duplexes (10 units-- rental properties) to be able to
> this in my area, which would tie up $250k+ in capital. Granted, with the
> cheap money floating around I'd not need much equity, but still with
> of seed money, I should be able to put together a start of a WISP, I'd

Here's one of the hardest things about helping folks get started when they
are used to more traditional businesses.

Why, on God's green earth, would you need to own rental properties???????
Where did THAT come from?  lol  You don't need buildings you need internet

OK, here are a couple of examples.

Very small local community:
1 broadcast site that sees locations without broadband (any number but at
least 200 is better).
1 business grade dsl or wireless connection to the internet within 10 to 15
miles (best is 5 or less) that sees the broadcast location. $100 to $300 per
1 wifi based backhaul system (2 to 4 megs of throughput) $800 to $1200
depending on quality and antennas.
1 wifi based distribution system.  $500 to 1500 depending on quality and
size of coverage zone.
1 dsl router.  $50 to $500 depending on quality and customers to be
1 battery backup, business license, cables, tools etc.  $200 to $1000
depending on what you do or don't already have.
1 billing system.  $0 to $lots.  Nothing for something that you write out by
hand, $200ish for QuickBooks (what we use), more for programs designed just
for this.
1 to 2 broadcast sites (one where dsl is, one where you will distribute
from).  $0 (we trade for service) to $200ish per month.  I'd not pay more
than that for rent in most cases.
0 servers.  (maybe a local one for dns just to help speed things up)

So from about $1600 to $5000 (average is $2500 to $5000) you can be a
community wisp.
At a montly cost of $450 or so (includes payback of equipment in 36 months)
you'd need 15 $30 per month customers to break even.  If you can get $50
that drops to 9!

At 100 subs you'll bring in $3000 to $5000.  By now you'll have better
insurance, better hardware, probably a better connection etc. so your
monthly cost will likely be in the $500 to $2000 range (includes money for
new equipment and t-1 access).  Not enough for most of us to retire on but
better than most are putting in the bank now.  Or how about mom being able
to stay home with the kids and still keep the nice house, new car and boat?

For amore dense deployment (hundreds of likely customers instead of 50 to
100) ramp that up by 50% to 100% per 100 subs (depends on what level of
service you'll give, number of broadcast locations etc.).

These are very rough numbers.  I've seen it done for less and for MUCH more
than even your estimate.  Depends on how creative the operator is and how
long he can wait to get his investment back.

> Hmm.... you do consulting? Maybe we should talk.

I'd love to help!  Here's how you should decide if you should hire some help
or learn by destruction.

Take your realistic income expecations 12 months from when you light the
fuse.  Multiply by 2.  If that exedes the cost of a consultant, hire one.
If not, learn by doing.  Either way, pick a knowledgeable vendor that can
give you HONEST advice on products and methods.  And spend time on wisp
support email lists.

It'll take the average guy 6ish months to really get his network running
nicely.  A good consultant *should* shave 4 to 6 months off of that time.
So a consultant should make you 2x what he costs in that first year or he's
not worth bringing in.

I'm $1000 per day plus travel and lodging.  We arm wrestle over meals.
Steak, you buy.  Burgers, I'll buy.  LOL

Hope that helps!

> Regards,
> Jeff King
> On Tue, 9 Nov 2004 11:30:21 -0500, Marlon K. Schafer wrote:
> >Hiya Jeff,
> >
> >Sorry to hear that you have a clueless wisp in your area.  They are
> >certainly out there but aren't the norm.
> >
> >And there are more starting up all the time (3000 for sure and very
> >likely 6000 today, estimates of 2000 to 4000 more untraceable by
> >standard methods).
> >
> >Where are you?  Maybe it's time for another company to start up
> >service a few miles from where they already have a good working
> >system?
> >
> >laters, marlon
> >
> >----- Original Message ----- From: <jeff at aerodata.net> To: "TAPR
> >Mailing List for Ham Radio Use of 802.11" <ham-80211 at lists.tapr.org>
> >Sent: Friday, November 05, 2004 12:01 PM Subject: Re: Fw: [WISPA]
> >Fw: [Ham-80211] Access control suggestions
> >
> >
> >>Walt:
> >>
> >>Your analogy is close, but not perfect. CB has significant foot
> >>print and "skip" where as WiFi doesn't. A better analogy would be
> >>the VHF dot frequencies (151mhz range) that are highly congested in
> >>urban areas, yet quite useful in rural areas. I use some of the dot
> >>frequencies (MURS) in my car, and can easily get 5+ mile range with
> >>no interference in my rural area yet in a urban area, my range is
> >>far less.
> >>
> >>So, what I am saying, is WiFi can be a viable internet distribution
> >>method in certain conditions.
> >>
> >>Still.... the majority of my WISP consulting was done in a urban
> >>area, back when 28.8 was the high speed. So we did Wireless mostly
> >>for backbones... not for the customers. Point to point engineering
> >>links. These people loved internet and technology but still where
> >>good business people.
> >>
> >>Fast forward to the future.. I moved to a rural area and when two
> >>WISP's started, I tried to do some consulting for them. However,
> >>they knew everything. For their range maps, they preferred
> >>perfectly round circles instead of my ragged propagation study I
> >>did on Radio Mobile. When I suggested they would be better served
> >>with sector antennas on their 200 foot tower instead of amp'ed 12db
> >>omni's, I got blank looks. So I backed off. Then when I wanted to
> >>get off directway, I had one of them out for service. Seems their
> >>towers where only in the center of small cities, both of which had
> >>DSL and Cable modems. The noise level was so high we couldn't get a
> >>good connection (I had their AP at a 15 DB S/N at 5.5megabit but
> >>they only had me at 1-2db S/N. We where using smartbridges.
> >>
> >>Point being, at least where I am, the WISP's are NOT going after
> >>the low hanging fruit (underserved rural areas) but focusing on
> >>small cites that already have cable/dsl. These are either 2nd or
> >>3rd generation WISP's and I don't think they understand the
> >>technical issues like the 1st generation WISP's do. There is no
> >>love for radio or technlogy, just a businessman trying to turn a
> >>buck. I think they can't see the forest through the trees and are
> >>only looking at the population per square mile as opposed to
> >>underserved areas.
> >>
> >>BTW, I meet with our local power company on the BPL issue. They
> >>said it wouldn't scale in our rural area. BPL mostly intended for
> >>dense urban areas, at least that was their thought
> >>
> >>73
> >>
> >>JEff
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>>I'm just sorry that power companies and the government didn't push
> >>>for fiber along side each power line...you could have telephone,
> >>>HDTV, highspeed Internet, and many future expanded services.
> >>>
> >>>If what I see is true in the local area, some telephone companies
> >>>are replacing their copper with fiber and new telecommunications
> >>>are putting in fiber
> >in
> >>>rural areas.
> >>>
> >>>Also, with reference to BPL, as individual hams learn more about
> >>>it, I think you will find hams many miles...even hundreds of miles
> >>>away from BPL transmission lines hearing the BPL signals on HF.  I
> >>>can't forget copying the CW
> >signal
> >>>from downunder from a transmitter/oscillator created using a
> >>>tunnel diode. Less than 10mw of signal and copied here in the U.S.
> >>> IMHO, using Part 15 WiFi for commercial distribution of Internet
> >services
> >>>is much like companies building their 2-way commercial radio
> >>>systems on 11 meter CB...in the end it just isn't good enough to
> >>>solve the problem.  Today
> >you
> >>>see few businesses using 11 meter CB as a business radio...I
> >>>believe that in
> >a
> >>>few years you will see the same happening with commercial
> >>>distribution of Internet services using Part 15 equipment.
> >>>
> >>>The 11 meter CB experimant failed and took away a great band from
> >amateru
> >>>radio operators.  I am glad that at least we still have 2.4-2.45
> >>>GHz so that when commercial use of the band fails, at least we
> >>>will still have the frequencies.
> >>>
> >>>Walt/K5YFW
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>>BPL isn't a negotiable situation where people can just decide to
> >'share'
> >>>>the frequency.  A chunk of property at 2.4ghz is less of
> >>>>significance than the people that are trying to do low-power work
> >>>>on the 2-80mhz HF chunk.  The signal goes a lot further and
> >>>>penetrates a lot more places in the HF than up in microwave
> >>>>allocations.  It's probably still
> >relatively
> >>>>easy to find 80mhz of continuous bandwidth up in the microwave
> >>>>allocations too.  That 2-80mhz spectrum is prime real-estate for
> >>>>transcontinental communications.  I don't think residential
> >>>>Internet needs it, and it's
> >a
> >>>>bad use of spectrum.
> >>>>
> >>>>I think WIFI and MANs in the upper allocations are the way to get
> >>>>fast network access to rural areas.  As a matter of fact, I'd
> >>>>love some free-for-all high speed wireless solutions in the
> >>>>900mhz.  There has been a long issue of obstructions preventing
> >>>>network access for everyone.
> >This
> >>>>would be a proper way to give the public more options.
> >>>>
> >>>>I think these people experimenting with WIFI hardware will
> >>>>perhaps have interest in becoming ham operators and exploring
> >>>>radio technology outside the scope of off-the-shelf solutions.
> >>>>The 'free for all' should have limits, however, and realism
> >>>>should be weighed.  I don't think the current wave of the FCC has
> >>>>much interest in the public and would sell every single
> >>>>allocation if they could.
> >>>>
> >>>>The frequency use has to match the job you're trying to
> >>>>accomplish. 2.4ghz and 900mhz largely works because it permits
> >>>>cohabitation because of small directional footprints as well as
> >>>>more available continuous spectrum chunks.  Stuffing these things
> >>>>on far-reaching frequency allocations is not the solution, it's
> >>>>the start of a problem.
> >>>>
> >>>>Just my thoughts.
> >>>>
> >>>>--Droo, K1XVM
> >>>>
> >>>>At 09:04 AM 11/5/2004, Marlon K. Schafer wrote:
> >>>>>forwarded
> >>>>>
> >>>>>----- Original Message ----- From: "Brian Webster"
> >>>>><bwebster at wirelessmapping.com> To: "Conversations over a new
> >>>>>WISP Trade Organization"
> >>>><wireless at wispa.org>
> >>>>>Sent: Friday, November 05, 2004 5:27 AM Subject: RE: [WISPA] Fw:
> >>>>>[Ham-80211] Access control suggestions
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>>Marlon, The problem with most hams is that they don't have any
> >>>>>>clue how
> >much
> >>>>>>spectrum is worth these days and the pressures of commercial
> >>>>>>demand
> >>>>for
> >>>>>>spectrum. Having been in the commercial wireless industry for
> >>>>>>or 15
> >>>>years,
> >>>>>I
> >>>>>>have been beating my head against the wall trying to convince
> >>>>>>my
> >>>>fellow
> >>>>>hams
> >>>>>>that the FCC will always make their decisions based on the
> >>>>>>benefit
> >>>>of the
> >>>>>>most Americans they are supposed to represent. The BPL
> >>>>>>situation is
> >>>>a
> >>>>>>perfect example. Hams have a lot of spectrum and don't create
> >>>>>>any
> >>>>jobs or
> >>>>>>tax revenue with it. Slowly the ham radio community
> >>>>>>demographics
> >are
> >>>>>>changing and you should see an ability for them to co-exist
> >>>>>>with
> >>>>other
> >>>>>>services once all the olds ideas and notions fade away. My
> >>>>>>personal option is you open all the spectrum up for a free for
> >>>>all and
> >>>>>>just give different services a time slot instead......between
> >>>>frequency
> >>>>>>hopping and/or spread spectrum things could be used much more
> >>>>efficiently.
> >>>>>>But that would negate the ability for the government to create
> >>>>auctions
> >>>>>and
> >>>>>>sell the laws of physics. This in my opinion is why software
> >defined
> >>>>>radios
> >>>>>>are being fought. Think of the idea of a carriers spectrum
> >>>>>>being
> >>>>made
> >>>>>>instantly worthless because a SDR radio can just hop anywhere
> >>>>>>to
> >>>>open
> >>>>>>frequencies in any mode. I can't wait for those days. Ok off my
> >>>>soapbox
> >>>>>now
> >>>>>>:-)
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>Thank you, Brian Webster N2KGC 214 Eggleston Hill Rd.
> >>>>>>Cooperstown, NY 13326 www.wirelessmapping.com
> >>>>>><http://www.wirelessmapping.com>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>(607) 286-3465 Home (607) 435-3988 Mobile (208) 692-1898 Fax
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>_______________________________________________ ham-80211 mailing
> >>>>list ham-80211 at lists.tapr.org https://lists.tapr.org/cgi-
> >>>>bin/mailman/listinfo/ham-80211
> >>>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>_______________________________________________ ham-80211 mailing
> >>>list ham-80211 at lists.tapr.org https://lists.tapr.org/cgi-
> >>>bin/mailman/listinfo/ham-80211
> >>>
> >>
> >>
> >>_______________________________________________ ham-80211 mailing
> >>list ham-80211 at lists.tapr.org https://lists.tapr.org/cgi-
> >>bin/mailman/listinfo/ham-80211
> >
> >
> >_______________________________________________ ham-80211 mailing
> >list ham-80211 at lists.tapr.org https://lists.tapr.org/cgi-
> >bin/mailman/listinfo/ham-80211
> >
> >
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