List mod,
Would it be out of line for me to invite the main man from this company over to the list. I'm very interested in the service, but I can never seem to come up with the "right" questions to ask... I'd like to see the great minds on the list quiz him down to see if the service is the real deal.

Brian

Mark Nash - Lists wrote:

The paid services look pretty good. I'm checking them out now. I've looked at other 3rd party tech support companies but they all seem to have to adapt to WISP support. This is a WISP that knows WISP needs. When I talked with the guy he had most of the right answers to my questions.

They will send you 2 servers to put at your main POP. The two servers load share and fail over. The servers are in-line on your network but parallel to each other at your POP. Your customer traffic goes through them...they each split up the load of CPEs they manage and if one goes down the other takes on all traffic from all CPEs.

The servers do bandwidth management (I think it's limited now in that it cannot do traffic-type-shaping...just mainly up/down speeds on different CPE service type profiles). They do DHCP, NMS, alerting, etc.

Their level 1 tech support:
- will take phone calls from your customers (currently they have a 12-hour shift but he said they were expanding their level 1 support hours). - will help your customers with their routers, their firewall software, their e-mail program, their e-mail password
- will provision a radio on your system and set up a customer record
- will help you over the phone to allow you to have one guy out there aiming an antenna at the AP getting feedback on bidirectional SNR, packet loss/retransmission, etc - will help you over the phone if you're on top of a tower putting on a connector and asking "How's that working now?"

Their NOC support:
- responds to alarms and checks a protocol to see if you want to be woken up at 2 in the morning for such an alarm (7/24)

- watches performance of backhauls

Their billing system is free for you to use and integrates with the customer service side of the database. If you have your own merchant account for billing via credit card, it will do that free of charge. If you want to use their merchant account, there are fees. You can even set it up so that your customers can pay by check but you never have to handle the checks (with fees, of course, as this will take labor).

I'm on the upper end of their 250-CPE mark and will pay $250 per month with (most likely) no $$$ up front. Then I will pay $500 per month for the 251st-500th CPEs. I am going to try this out on a 1-year contract. It's worth that much to me just to see if it will work out for my situation.

I think that if it is a good service, then it will be a good option for some small WISPs. It is clear to me that if my business will keep growing, it will grow out of a service like this. This may buy me some time and get me over that hump, though.

p.s. I haven't talked with them about their CPE lease option but I plan to. I'm also talking to other leasing companies about leasing CPE. Anyone out there have opinions on leasing companies? (I chose my words carefully there about not starting a debate on whether or not to lease CPE.)

Mark Nash
Network Engineer
UnwiredOnline.Net
350 Holly Street
Junction City, OR 97448
http://www.uwol.net
541-998-5555
541-998-5599 fax

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