As you guys know my company was having some serious speed and reliability issues with our existing Trango backhaul some time back. We have about 25 tower locations in Southern Illinois which until recently were all fed from these Trango radios. We had countless short outages, signal irregularities, bandwidth crunches, etc. The Trangos used to work just fine. In the last year or so the Trango links have become a big problem for us. We tried several things to fix these problems but the Trangos were simply being pushed to do more than they were designed to do. The amount of packet counts, speed, etc. we needed to reliably serve the towers simply was too much for these radios and they were buckling under the strain.

I have always thought highly of Alvarion and knew we could probably find a good place for their equipment in our network someday. Previously the trouble with choosing Alvarion had always been that we either needed something they did not offer at the time needed ( as was the case when we selected Trango for multi-point 5 GHz backhaul back in the day) or that they were too expensive. Alvarion finally has a place in our network.

In the case of our troubled backhaul links Alvarion's VL product seemed to fit the bill to help us now. We had seen reports of 50,000 packet per second throughput and up to 35 megabit per second capacity with the new Version 4 of the VL firmware. When I asked about the product I was directed to a guy named Mike Cowan of Wireless Connections who is a RF engineer and sells Alvarion VL.

Mike spent an incredible amount of time with our staff to look over the issues we were having and help us find ways of correcting it. He never charged us a dime for what I consider to be thousands of dollars worth of support and training. Mike Cowan and Alvarion did more for us to help us build a better WISP network than any vendor ever has since the day I became a WISP.

We also had some serious peer to peer traffic issues on our network which were resolved with a Mikrotik box running to slow down that traffic. The combination of this box and the new more robust Alvarion VL backhaul has led customers to remark, "It's like the difference between night and day". We have zero downtime on our backhaul now. We were getting countless reports of downtime from our network monitoring system before. Now it just works.

I don't think I can overstate the impact Alvarion VL has had on my network. If you are having problems with your network then you need to at least call Alvarion and give them a shot. In the last three months or so we have migrated about 40% of our backhaul links over to Alvarion VL. Since that time outages on those most troubled links have vanished. Throughput has tripled. People have gone from screaming and yelling to sending their friends to us to hookup.

If you guys want to compare the numbers out there I am sure you will find a few different systems that will give comparable umbers to what we are seeing with Alvarion VL. What you do not see in those numbers is the quality and the reliability of the system. I have always been a tinkerer and I will continue to tinker. What I believe though is that there is something to be said for buying a high-quality, engineered system and that is what you get with Alvarion VL. If you have tower locations and/or enterprise customers who cannot afford to be a test subject for your tinkering then consider calling Alvarion for those links. There is no shame in admitting you cannot possibly build a system as reliable as a company who has spent millions of dollars and hired countless designers to research and build a better data radio. I am certainly not ashamed to admit it.

For the record, I publicly announced that I would report these findings after I bought some Alvarion VL some time back. This was prior to Alvarion joining WISPA as a vendor. While my report here is almost like reading an Alvarion advertisement I can tell you that it is not. I have not been paid to give this shining recommendation and Alvarion has earned my personal support outside of my relationship with them through WISPA. Thank you, Alvarion, for giving me a better network.
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