You certainly do have some free time on your hands of late it looks like! <wicked grin>

I actually talked to Jason an year or two ago. I've gone on a mission to find some of those who started this industry. I've been talking to Cooter, Jaime, and Norm Johnson at least semi regularly (all still in wireless but not always as wisps). I talk to Jeff Lieberman from time to time (not in wireless anymore). Bob K. is about 70 miles from me, we talk once or twice a year (wireless has gotten very big for him in Spokane).

Ahhh, the old days. As I sit here and listen to Doucette, Mama Let Him Play on the computer. (If you guys don't have EV computer speakers you do NOT know what you're missing!!!!!)

As for your post, you and I are on pretty much the same page. We're very much looking forward to the time that my network can grow up instead of out. With nearly 6000 square miles of coverage now that time is closer every day.

Here's a chunk of an email that I just sent to a guy off list:
Would you venture a guess as to what equipment is most used for these
three market tiers.?
I guess I have to also break it down to AP side then CPE.

Is "I have a simple question for you" even in your vocabulary?  Sheesh!


The big guys:.(Using other peoples money)

Licensed bands!  Think g3, evdo and other cell phone offerings.

In the unlicensed world I'd have to say that Moto is really popular with
people that don't know or care about what they do at the FCC level.  They
just know that the name will attract money, either from investors or in a
buyout.  And, frankly, it's good gear and does a good job.  It's biggest
downfall will be seen 3 to 5 years from now when it's time to upgrade to
something new and better from a different brand.  Then these guys will be
sorry that they picked a product that just doesn't do a good job of leaving
room for anyone else.






Assorted mesh products.

Fiber to the home.

Folks in the middle trying to make a living: (Friends with the bank)

I think this is, by far, the biggest market.  Guys like me and those that
started out at or near the time I did and have followed roughly the same

I have a mix of wifi and proprietary hardware.  wifi is 99% of the last mile
and 25% of the backhaul maybe less.

People will run smartbridges, tranzeo, teletronics, zcomax, staros, mikrotik
etc. for their wifi.  For backhaul and/or higher end customers it'll be
redline, trango, airaya, orthogon (now motorola), alvarion, motorola,
waverider, etc.  Pretty much any brand/product you can come up with.  They
all work as long as they don't get shoe-horned into the wrong network or

As always, one has to mix the time it takes to install, maintain, train etc.
with failure rates and return of installation funds to the cashflow stream.

Any are doing things your way.  Using rootennas or something similar and
putting wrap boards and radios in them, diy poe etc.  Many also buy
something like sb or tranzeo.  Or they may buy a product with a built in
radio/router that's already certified like zcomax, teletronics, compex etc.

In MY case, my job ends at the ethernet jack.  I get access TO the house,
what you do with it is up to you.  I'll help set up your router for you (so
I can make sure that no one uses the default 192.168.x.1 ip addy on the lan
side etc.) but I don't warranty that device.  My job is connectivity not
access :-).

*I* also have a network built in such a way that YOU could come in here and
in a day or less take it over and run it.  You or anyone else even close to
your ability could come in here and fix this network or any of the customers
in a very short time.  My network isn't dependant upon my being here long
term.  Many very small or larger companies don't worry so much about that.

The rest: (Living hand to mouth)

Aren't we all actually in this category too?  I know I never have any money
left over, I have too many things to build.

I'd have to say that MOST people start out pinching any and all pennies on
hardware.  At some point they figure out that they are missing installations
and/or maintenance due to the time they are putting into device
construction.  When they hit that point they move up to the above level.

This is USUALLY a level that's reserved for the brand new operator (less
than 24 months), very small operator (50 subs or less), or very geeky
operator (relates well to computers but not people).

The new guy has far more time than money so he can easily justify a $25 or
$50 per install savings even if it takes him an extra hour.

The small guy, same as above.

The geek would just rather play with the hardware than ever have to go out
and do sales or any other customer service related function.

The reason why I ask is there are folks in the area that are using DD-WRT
on LS boxes (Soon to change over to Buffalo)
The boss wants to know why I am using something that cost $195 each for a

Cause it works.  All of the time.  Service calls are expensive.

Your solution is also (hopefully) an FCC certified solution.  As one grows
and/or sells that becomes much more important.

  Not knowing what the "Industry is using" I can't explain why I had
rather not go cheaper and that there are folks spending much more.

You may be able to go cheaper.  I just paid $250 for a *g* ap that's
cranking!  (compex,  Things are getting cheaper all of the

One of the great things about using standards based gear is that we're never
locked into one solution.  A guy just has to be ware of that thing called a
habit.  I use what I use cause I'm used to it, not because it's the best
solution today :-).

That's why I always TRY other solutions.  A couple of times per year on
average I buy something I don't really think I want to use.  Often though, I
end up using them cause they are better and/or cheaper than what I had been

Gads, I remember when I thought I was doing great "Rolling my own for less
than $500.

roflol  I hear that!

Now they think they can get quality for $50.

Not yet.  It's going to get there but not yet.

Honestly, the most important thing for you guys to be doing right now is
supporting our efforts at WISPA.  We're working hard on getting access to
empty TV spectrum AND USF funding!!!!!!

Out here Century Tel gets over $100 per phone line in subsidies.  If I could
get that on my 300 wireless subs.......

Besides I have looked at the hardware / firmware version compatibility
list and keeping it straight would drive me nutser than I am.

Why bother?  If it's wifi buy a unit or two and try it out.  If they work
use them, if not toss 'em.

If it's not wifi you just have to buy it all from the same source.

I really have mixed feelings about open source in this setting but maybe I
am wrong.

See the above list of priorities.

I don't see any problems with it in MDU setups but I am really "set in my

We all get that way when we're old and crotchety!  <ducking>

Are my gut feeling all wrong here?
 I really value your opinion,

We've been over this ol' friend!  You and I are on different sides of the
isle.  I want everything simple and manufacturer built.  The kind of stuff
my wife could fix with a phone call or two to tech support.  I'm willing to
give up control and/or efficiency for it.

I can live without the control (it's hard for a technogeek but I do have
other things to worry about and I REALLY need the network to remain simple).

On the efficiency side, it's just too cheap to put in more capacity to worry
about system usage type stuff.  If something's overloaded I'll just put in a
new system, move a few over to that one and put all the new customers on it

This is what I love about a good mailing list. It attracts good people with good ideas. It's a trade show seminar every day! Sure wish I had more time to spend here. Installs are picking up again and I'll soon be back to a couple of hours per day of emails and little or none of it on anyone's list. I have emails yet unread going back to 2004! sigh

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

----- Original Message ----- From: "Patrick Leary" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "'WISPA General List'" <>
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2006 10:42 AM
Subject: RE: [WISPA] Best system for a new WISP, arguably OT

As we all know, this can take the form of an almost "religious" debate,
which I'm going to try to avoid (and I'll ask Brad or others from Alvarion
to avoid the same). We here have a strong tendency toward passion as it
relates to this market, and to be sure, we feel a strong sense of pride in
the role our company has played in building this market. We also way too
often take it personally when our brand gets attacked or we get accused of
being anti-WISP when we know how much we have personally, from a heart and
soul perspective, invested in this market. Mark, know that I am DEFINITELY
NOT saying you are doing either of those things, your questions are fair and
should always be asked and each WISP has to find the mix of answers that
works best for him or her.

That said, our success as a company in the early WISP days has directly led to the many and broad range of choices WISPs have today across many brands.
That's all good, even for us, since it denotes the existence of a robust,
worthwhile market.

What we can say with absolute certainty is that there are many WISPs that
have successfully scaled using our products, most having migrated from other brands. Whether your definition of what constitutes "mainstream" is actually
mainstream is open to debate, since there exist lots of operators outside
the characteristics you cite. What you may be describing may be more
accurately defined as a "typical, rural, entrepreneurial WISP." Within that
pool is where I believe can be found the preponderance of WISPs using
purpose built BWA versions of 802.11, ala SmartBridges, Microtek, Tranzeo,
etc. and specialty niche products Lonnie's Star-OS, Engenius CB-3s, etc.
Also within that grouping of WISPs can be found a few Alvarion guys (not as many as we'd like, but we understand) such as Marty Dougherty's Roadstar in
Virginia and Steve Gowdy's Stonebridge in Minnesota, among others. Also, a
fair amount of Trango and Canopy folks (though I would argue that Canopy has
also lost share among this segment to the purpose-built and niche 802.11
products) are in this grouping. Examples of great guys we lost over time in this pool of operators includes folks like Allen Marsalis and Eje Gustafson
(both who are also more focused today on selling products and services to
their peers). There are many others out there with mixed networks, with
their old Alvarion still chugging away. Then there are folks in that pool I
have never quite been able to reach, got close, and have huge respect for
them, but we have not yet succeeded in convincing them to try us, such as
Matt Larson. Scriv was in that pile until two weeks ago! :)

But outside that segment of the WISP market exist lots of other, well,
WISPs, only they might have spun off as a subsidiary of another firm, such
as Diode Broadband (from Diller tel in Nebraska), AMA*Techtel (from
Attenbury Grain in Texas), Wheatland Broadband (from Wheatland Electric in
Kansas), Clearwave (from Midwest Wireless, now Alltel in Minnesota), and
many, many others.

Why would any WISP choose us? It helps to have previous, experienced
exposure to wireless broadband before being able to understand our value.
From a sales and marketing standpoint, that's a pretty big cross we bear --
newbies to wireless will think anything they use, no matter how raw and
spare, is the best thing out there since they have no frame of reference. It
is like the villager who spent his early years "driving" and ox cart,
emigrates on day, and buys his first car...a used Yugo. A little quicky and
rickety for sure, but as far as he knows, it is the best darned car ever.
But in wireless, it is even harder to learn the distinctions because you
can't see the other "cars" driving around you, you only experience them as
interference. When it is an actual car, that immigrant with the Yugo can at least see the other cars on the road, how well-built they appear, how little
they leak fluids, how quiet and fast they are, etc.

So it can be hard to appreciate the value of obscure, but operationally
effective (and cost saving) features like broadcast rate limiting, our very
advanced CIR/MIR, remote Ethernet port control and power up, batch
upgradeability with a shadow flash, and scads of other things I'm not smart
enough to understand. Someone like Marty could explain it better.

So, back to the Alvarion operator:
- Often it is one who has matured over the years technically and
financially, since better access to capital is a natural result of a growing
and improving WISP operation.
- Often, an Alvarion WISP will come from the more traditional telecom space,
so the values we offer are more obvious from the start.
- Occasionally, a funded start-up WISP is drawn to us for ego reasons.
Sounds silly, but it is sometimes true, since we are viewed by the larger
BWA market as a best-of-breed, even if many within the entrepreneurial WISP
segment of the market might not agree. For a start up that favor a visible
profile, this might be the case (and I am not saying this is necessarily
good or bad, it just is).
- As well, there are still many out there that when they started we were the only purpose-built UL BWA product on the market (around 1999-2001) and they are still with us, still growing (Midcoast in Maine, you guys out there? -- That's a pioneer folks. Marlon, remember Jason Simonds? He was THE authority when we came onto the scene.). Sometimes some of these might have moved away
from us at points, trying cheaper brands, but most come back missing the
total value we offered. I claim we are the best for all WISPs for all circumstances? No, not by a long shot. Do I think though that a 1,000 CPE Alvarion WISP is more valuable from an equity sense than a like WISP of any other UL brand? I
do. A Navini or Aperto UL WISP might make the claim (both vendors make
excellent gear, if more narrow in scope), but it is harder for them to do so
since there are so few such WISPs of any scale, and the largest WISP for
both also have Alvarion in their networks.

Anyway, please excuse the long winded, ra-ra post.

- Patrick

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Koskenmaki [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2006 8:46 AM
To: WISPA General List
Subject: Re: [WISPA] Best system for a new WISP

Brad, it would be an interesting discussion, to "break down" what the
various costs are of networks at various scales of deployment.

Even more interesting, would be what kind of business model can be created
which shows profitability servicing residential customers at
price-competitive rates using ANY current offerings from Alvarion.

I know, I know...   This conversation always dies with someone stating you
have to get more revenue per customer than just "access" costs - something
nobody disagrees with, but if your business models REQUIRES you to sell VOIP
and something else on top of access, then you're not a "mainstream" ISP
again.  Instead, the conversation jumps to other topics of how to get your
average revenue up.   While 'reliability' and "features" have a worth that
can be assigned (not sure it can be accurately calcualted), if someone
offered a system that had 100Mbit FDX speeds to the c ustomer, gauranteed
100% reliability, and with all the bells and whistles, but cost $1000 per
customer...  Could the average mainstream WISP make a "go" of it?

And before we get all confused, I consider "mainstream" to mean the

1.  provides multiple levels of service - from affordble residential, to
higher end commercial access
2.  is price-competitive with current levels of service and cost commonly
3. Has appropriate service levels for the vast majority of customers within
the defined geographical area serviced.

I dont' consider myself "mainstream" in the sense that I am not truly price
competitive and I do not offer the highest end connectivity.

Instead, I am a "niche" market ISP, because I have a relatively narrow focus
of providing connectivity to people / areas not otherwise served by

Which brings me back to the "how to be a mainstream" WISP again.

The telephone company didn't choose a system with $500 CPE.   They have a
$50 CPE.    Same with Cable.   We can all understand the infrastructure
buildout and the considerable cost in building it, but even they grasp the
"cost of growth" limitation factor. THEY are prepared to wage war at the
residential level, and are doing so.   We need the tools to get into that
war as well, WITHOUT a billionaire backing us.

There's more strategies than just the $50 CPE (I don't expect to see it), to
be sure.   What I see needed is options for all of them.

North East Oregon Fastnet, LLC 509-593-4061
personal correspondence to:  mark at neofast dot net
sales inquiries to:  purchasing at neofast dot net
Fast Internet, NO WIRES!
----- Original Message ----- From: "Brad Larson" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "'WISPA General List'" <>
Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 12:29 PM
Subject: RE: [WISPA] Best system for a new WISP

Mark, Not to belittle your opinion but many of my customers would say just
the opposite in that they're actually saving money by deploying Alvarion.
The cost of owning a network isn't based on cpe costs alone. Brad

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Koskenmaki [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
Sent: Saturday, April 15, 2006 2:06 AM
To: WISPA General List
Subject: Re: [WISPA] Best system for a new WISP

It is not financially feasible for a mainstream WISP, who is attempting to
serve all types of internet customers to rely on BA for anything but
specialized application.,   It's just too expensive.

North East Oregon Fastnet, LLC 509-593-4061
personal correspondence to:  mark at neofast dot net
sales inquiries to:  purchasing at neofast dot net
Fast Internet, NO WIRES!
----- Original Message ----- From: "Brad Larson" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "'WISPA General List'" <>
Sent: Friday, April 14, 2006 5:53 AM
Subject: RE: [WISPA] Best system for a new WISP

> Mark, Come on.....The whole BreezeAccess product family was made and
> continues to get upgrades for WISP's. There are well over 1,000 WISP's
> our gear in the states alone. You won't find many of them here or on
> WISP threads but it doesn't mean they don't exist. Saying we're "niche"
> not "mainstream" and there is some division is a real strech. Brad
> ----- Original Message ----- > From: "John Scrivner" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> To: "WISPA General List" <>
> Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:51 PM
> Subject: Re: [WISPA] Best system for a new WISP
> >
> > With that said I still think Alvarion is a far better platform than
> > Canopy which is strictly my opinion and has no basis in fact. In the
> > past I have been put-off by a perceived arrogance I have seen by some
> > Alvarion representatives who have insisted previously that they had
> > "only" viable solution for wireless broadband and seemed as though
> > were claiming almost a "holier than thou" behavior toward anyone
> > another opinion than their own. I have also seen a terribly biased
> > negative attitude toward Alvarion by many WISPs who wanted to drive
> > the "WISP=Cheap" mentality to the point of alienating Alvarion from
> > entire market segment. Both Alvarion and most WISPs have lost a great
> > ally in each other and I suspect both sides have suffered from such
> > negativity. I am hoping to see this division closed between the
> > WISP operator and Alvarion.
> Until Alvarion makes a product that's viable for more than "niche"
> WISP, the 'division' is simply going to continue to exist.  They have
> certain products that WISP's will find useful and valuable, but they
> make mainstream WISP "last mile" equipment.   I have been expecting to
> them announce something, but so far, I've not seen anything.
> The ball's in thier court.
> North East Oregon Fastnet, LLC 509-593-4061
> personal correspondence to:  mark at neofast dot net
> sales inquiries to:  purchasing at neofast dot net
> Fast Internet, NO WIRES!

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