On Fri, 5 Dec 2008, Tim Barker wrote:

>What we're doing with Avansu is looking at scale. If you can bill 
>thousands of subscribers a month you'd want to go with Canopy. If 
>however, you want to offer a service to 30 or 50 homes, single 
>site, it is cost effective?

I suppose it would depend mostly on what you are calling "cost 
effective".  I have currently about 92 hotspots deployed in various 
hotels, rv parks and other businesses.  These hotspots (some are 
mine and some are partner locations) are all run with a backend that 
cost me just over $1k to set up.  That's a one time fee.  It is 
maintenance free and runs on a server that isn't even physically 
within my reach.  Was that "cost effective" in the way you mean? 
FWIW, this system generates an average income for me that makes it 
very cost effective.  As to the hardware?  I can install Mikrotik if 
I want and extend the system with any gear I want (such as low cost 
NS2 devices) if I choose to do that.

And yes, if I wanted to offer service to 30-50 homes, the hardware 
is NOT the part that makes it expensive.  Mikrotik (if that's what I 
wanted to use) would cost about $250 to install.  Even less 
depending on how I got it to an internet access location.  If I went 
with a Canopy system, the cost is higher, but there are other 
benefits to Canopy that many people don't consider simply due to the 
cost.  Either way, I have a fairly low cost system that will allow 
me to connect (easily) as many as 50 homes.

I don't know about your gear specifically, so don't assume I'm 
talking about your gear.  It is not uncommon to see the lower cost 
gear (specifically gear like Linksys, Netgear and such) needing to 
be rebooted all the time.  It is typically not rated for the outdoor 
environment where it often needs to be installed, so temperature is 
a problem.  Mikrotik and Canopy hardware is built for outdoor 
deployment and this problem evaporates.

One other issue that comes to mind is signal quality.  Again, I have 
not looked at your equipment, but the radio cards I like to use with 
Mikrotik are very high quality cards that generate a clean signal 
and have very good rx sensitivity.

As for a billing platform, there are LOTS of choices out there. 
Some of them are better than others and some are easier to manage 
than others, but these do not require a specific hardware platform 
in order to manage the network.  I don't know that your system is 
good or bad, but I do think it is a pretty poor practice to attempt 
to "boost" your product by knocking another as not fit for a 
purpose for which it was designed.

* Butch Evans                   * Professional Network Consultation*
* http://www.butchevans.com/    * Network Engineering              *
* http://www.wispa.org/         * WISPA Board Member               *
* http://blog.butchevans.com/   * Wired or Wireless Networks       *

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