Instructables

Your Own ISP?

I live in Yuma, Colorado and the internet here is unbelievably slow.  Now just to entertain my mind a little bit, lets say I wan't to start a ISP buisness.  The towns pop. is about 3000, some of which can't afford internet, quite a few who don't wan't or need it, and then the rest are already tied up in one of the two ISPs in town.  Now I wan't to be a WISP with speeds of around 20 - 100 mbs.  Now how long, big, and expensive of a fiber optic cable would I have to run to be able to provide these speeds, where would I run it to, what kind of switches would I need, what antennas, radios, amps, towers, ect.  

This isn't a super serious question, but I would like to know this stuff, just because, and I like large community pools so you don't have to be an expert on everything, but if you know everything about fiber optics, or wireless communication fill us in.  

This information pool could help someone greatly so please share.  You never know when a millionaire will decide to move to the middle of nowhere and wan't fast internet, so please contribute. 

thegeeke2 years ago
You will not be able to do it. AT&T has a monopoly going... They pretty much own the internet, and you have to buy from them. Think of it this way: of it were possible/practical, don't you think that the ISPs would be doing it already? The idea of communicating with your customers wirelessly will not be practical unless you use satellite. A server is just a super fast computer with a server OS on it... But you don't really need one for providing Internet per-say.

BTW: want is spelled want... Not wan't.
jj.inc (author)  thegeeke2 years ago
How does nobody understand this wireless thing, both internet companies out here use a wireless antenna on a tower to give us internet. I have looked and you can get gbs antennas and amps for internet, so that isn't the problem, everything else is. If this was going to happen you would obviously still have to pay someone, you would probably hook in at a IXP (internet exchange point) and pay the monthly fee there, but that is it, although it would be a huge fee and would require a lot of ISP's set up on the way from the original town to my town. Maybe you can't imagine the wireless part because you are in a big city, but it takes about two minutes to get from one side of my town to the other at 35 mph.
thegeeke jj.inc2 years ago
The equipment isn't the issue, it's the FCC. Those companies are big companies that deal with the FCC day in and day out... You are not. You will not be able to legally use the frequency space without lots and lots of lawyers and red tape. You chances of being able to do it in the long run are even less if those companies are already doing it... They already have the rights to use those frequencies, and there probably aren't any left.

The only legal way you could do it wirelessly as a consumer is to bridge a ton of APs together.

If you have all this money to spend on it, ask your ISP how much it would cost for them to get higher speeds to your area. They will be able to do this much cheaper than you will.
jj.inc (author)  thegeeke2 years ago
Well, I don't have even thousands and I know this is a millions to billions project, it is just a fun little thing to look at. There are two companies where I live, both of which broadcast wirelessly. I don't know where you are getting you information, but you may wan't to check up on it. The FCC is also non-existent where I live. Also getting onto a frequency isn't as hard as it may seem, you may wan't to become an expert before acting like one because I read people like books.
thegeeke jj.inc2 years ago
Are you in the US? If so, then you are bound by by the FCC rules and regulations. You might want to look at this article: http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/tutorials/article.php/1428941

If you are just talking about this in theory and don't plan to implement it, then yes; it could work. I have a basic idea of how, but not enough to explain it to you. But like I said origionally, at some point you would have to interface with AT&T.

Oh, by the way, before you go insulting someone again, maybe you should learn to spell better than a third grader. Want is spelled want, not wan't. As I said on that comment you wrote on my instructable, sine is spelled sine... Not sin. I think that if you actually googled the information I wrote about like you claim to have done, then you would know that.
jj.inc (author)  thegeeke2 years ago
sorry about the want, and I like to write sin cos and tan instead of sine cosine and tangent just like i like to write 10E2 instead of 10E+2, I spend half of my life on a graphing calculator and it makes bad habits.

Seems to me you were only looking for spelling errors and nothing else because I plainly stated that I wasn't really doing this and just wanted the info.

BTW before you get too over correcting with the wan't thing I have spent the past few months doing old English poetry in class and getting back into new English is quite difficult.

Again it seems you have misunderstood the FCC, they are not there to make problems for people, they are just there to regulate the air waves. They aren't a road block, merely a guard rail.
thegeeke jj.inc2 years ago
I understand the spelling thing... but you can understand what I was thinking.

Regarding FCC:
I understand that they are not a road block for most consumer needs, however; for anything that is outside of Part 15, they can be a major road block. Don't get me wrong, I love the FCC. The regulate communications so that it is more fair than "everything goes", but I have had some problems with them (even with just wireless microphones). If I have problems with just wireless microphones and stuff that I use in pro audio, then I think you will find them problematic if you were to attempt what you are talking about (I realize now that you are not actually going to implement it). I am the first to admit that I don't know enough to tell you how to do what you want, but I can tell you where your holes are. ;)
jj.inc (author)  thegeeke2 years ago
You remind me a lot of myself, we live where there is no FCC though, so the farmers around here blast their CB radios for miles, even our buses can communicate with the next town over.
thegeeke jj.inc2 years ago
Are you in the US? The reason I say you might have problems is that if the other companies found out what you were doing, they would probably complain to the FCC, who would then investigate it. (You have to consider that if you are even just technically bound by the rules, someone with a chip on the shoulder can get you in trouble)
jj.inc (author)  thegeeke2 years ago
Oh, yea, well of course, but once you have a license you should be just fine right
thegeeke jj.inc2 years ago
Yes, but that's assuming you can get a license. Those companies probably already have those frequencies licensed out. That's the other problem: if you apply for a frequency license and you are denied or you back out, the FCC will normally send someone soon after to make sure you aren't doing it illegally. Bottom line would be whether or not you could get a license.
jj.inc (author)  thegeeke2 years ago
Couldn't you just run on something like the standard 2.4 or 5.8 for wifi, then just require a login (which there are many of, one for each customer)
thegeeke jj.inc2 years ago
Yes, but you only have so much power that you can use before you are in violation. How tall is the largest building in your area? If I were going to put an AP up for a large coverage zone, that's where I would put it. After you tell me how tall it is, I can do some calculations and estimate the coverage radius. Also tell me if it's on the edge of the town... If it is, and you don't have to cover anything behind it, then you can use a directional antenna which will extend your range.

The logins aren't a FCC problem... That's a software thing. (And for something like that, you would need a central server.) The FCC could really care less about how you manage your logins. It could be unprotected for all they care, as long as it is within their limitations.
jj.inc (author)  thegeeke2 years ago
Oh well, the tallest thing we have is a grain elevator which is probably 75 yards tall, that is what the main internet provider uses, but because we would be providing to out-of town country folk a directional antenna wouldn't cut it, but two or three would.
thegeeke jj.inc2 years ago
75 yards is actually a decent height... I would wonder if the main Internet provider has an exclusive contract with the owner though. Is there more than one provider that uses wireless? Do they have their antennas on the elevator as well? If there is more than one and there is only one on the elevator, I would bet it's an exclusive contract. If even I know to put the antennas on the tallest structure, then I guarantee the providers know it too.

Anyway, give me a few days to do the calculations, and I'll try to give you an estimate. Off the top of my head, with consumer limits and directional antennas, I would say less than a half mile coverage from the grain elevator... And I'm being generous (and guessing).
jj.inc (author)  thegeeke2 years ago
Well, right now the one on it has a range of at least 5 or 6 miles, there are multiple elevators in town, but Plains.net has an exclusive contract with them and plainstel.com put up there own antenna.
thegeeke jj.inc2 years ago
Right, but they are leasing the frequency so to speak. What's the highest you could get your antenna?
jj.inc (author)  thegeeke2 years ago
Well, pretty much as high as you want, I don't know what the highest tower antenna is, but with theoretical money we could easily beat it.

So much you can't, you can't, you can't!!! Guess what you can and you don't have to buy airspace. I've done it!!! Cost me 7k to start up....

1: Lease access to an internet backbone for the network through your local phone company

2: Get an ISP management and billing program on the network

3: 24 Channel T1 switch

4: Access Server

5: ISP Server

6: DNS Server

7: Email Server with firewall

8: Web browsing and usenet newsgroups

9: Connect all of your
devices. Using a hub, locate all of your ISP network servers behind a
firewall, with your access server in the front.

You can expect each T1 line to support the Internet activity of about 200 concurrent users about 1.5mbps

T3 Line will give you more 12 or more mbps but cost more

One server for each
function will be more than sufficient for most start up ISPs, although
you may need to expand this network as you take on larger numbers of
subscribers.



treekids4 months ago

hello Yuma.

Don't give up. Don't let the broad stroke naysayers get you down. But also don't get involved with the magical thinkers.

Ok, so, you need a plan.

1. You'll need a big pipe someplace. ("Big pipe" means a high speed connection to the internet). See how far away the good connections are, and how much they cost. Don't look at residential plans with TOS that restrict sharing- you need business plans that don't restrict beyond the minimum required by law.

2. You'll need a distribution point. In flatland, a tall silo might be just the thing. Or in a valley, perhaps an overlooking mountain. You have mesas? Th point is if you want to avoid wiring everybody up, you'll need directional-antenna wifi (or wifi's license-required big brothers) and so you'll need "line of sight" to your customers. For wifi, trees and metal and concrete structures are a problem, but wifi will penetrate wooden houses and glass windows and clouds just fine.

3. You'll need to get your big pipe to your distribution point. If you have line of sight this could be wifi (with directional antennas at both ends, a point to point wifi link can go many miles). Or it could be what they call "bare copper" or fiber leased line. You'll need to talk to the people who can rent you such a thing- phone companies are the obvious candidates but in this age of deregulation power companies or cable TV companies might also be able to do it.

Once you've identified that the above are possible and gotten ballpark pricing on them, you can start to look into routers, servers, business models, for-profit vs co-op, marketing, etc. But first you need to price the basics.

Btw "best answer", I'm tempted to say something not nice.

jferris21 year ago
For those who are increasingly frustrated with their ISP’s poor customer service, variable-rate connections, and traffic shaping/filtering, a question arises: can you be your own ISP? In some cases, the answer is yes.

Net Neutrality is a big issue in the modern era of Internet usage, especially within countries like America, Australia, and China, but there’s a large secret that many don’t understand: corporate clients don’t have the same problems regular consumers do. Those that purchase plans from the “big pipe” providers, like Covad, truly get what they pay for, at great cost, avoiding the issues of traffic shaping/filtering and a lagging rate of bandwidth due to local network overload.

Since buying services from big pipe providers is extremely expensive, and often requires hardware beyond a simple DSL modem, it is essentially a non-option for the average consumer – unless a group of consumers band together. Chase Rydberg, a reader from Minnesota, has achieved common ISP independence in his condo high-rise, through a complicated and expensive process that ultimately garners far better results than any consumer package would.

Chase’s building was pre-wired for broadband and has a direct fibre connection, but the building’s ISP was using slower and less efficient copper-based delivery, while charging ever-increasing rates for decreasing performance. After deciding that approximately 80 users sharing a 10mpbs connection over a set of T1 lines was no longer acceptable, he did some research and discovered that, if approached properly, the building could handle much higher speeds at a much more reasonable cost.


Speeds - Before and After
For a 60mbps fibre circuit from “a fairly well known ISP” handled by Cisco hardware, essentially a router and some switches, the members of the complex pay only $40/mth for a superior, self-regulated service – no bandwidth caps, traffic shaping, or periodic loss of service. Despite an initial upfront cost of $15,000 for hardware and implementation, paid out of the building’s cash reserves, Chase claims to have over 100 users on their homegrown, managed network, with all costs recouped within the next two years.

This sort of situation should truly scare traditional, consumer-oriented ISPs: when users have the technical know-how and the financial ability, it’s not that difficult to avoid their services. If Net Neutrality becomes so large and cumbersome an issue that AT&T, Comcast, and the rest of their ilk continue to avoid scrutiny and regulation, chances are that homegrown ISPs will become much more common in apartment buildings and condo complexes, to the great benefit of their inhabitants.

Whether ISPs become highly regulated by the FCC under the telco provisions remains to be seen, but the point demonstrated by Chase is clear: there are alternatives to bandwidth connections, and they should always be investigated, lest the manipulative and draconian corporate behemoths continue to profit from their virtual monopolies at the expense of the people.
Vyger2 years ago
You asked this about 8 months ago.
http://www.instructables.com/answers/Rural-Internet/
I still have bunches of equipment for radio internet,
You have to remember that your providing can not be any better than your getting. If you can only get one meg in bandwidth then you can only provide one meg in bandwidth. Split that up to 50 customers and you now have a super slow internet. We were paying over a thousand dollars a month for a T1 line that could only handle 1 meg. So, 20 subscribers at fifty a month would just cover the cost of your source. And they would only get a fraction of that 1 meg. You need lots of cheap bandwidth and you have already said that you don't have that.
jj.inc (author)  Vyger2 years ago
Nobody has seemed to understand what this question is about. I am asking if say, you happen to be friends with a billionaire who wants to be charitable, what would you have to do to get 1 gig of connection piped out to the middle of nowhere. My town isn't magically going to get a super fast access point some day all on its own. Someone is going to have to put in new lines out from town to town until they reach mine. What would be needed in the way of fiber optics to talk to a town so far away.

Improvement doesn't come all on its own, do you really think our telephone company is going to expand the lines just because they want to, no they aren't they work just fine and there isn't any competition that does better so we are totally screwed to slow internet until someone with some money sends us some new lines. Like google.
Vyger jj.inc2 years ago
As part of the economic recovery program there were large scale upgrades to telecommunications sponsored by the Federal government. One of the local companies here got several million for upgrading the major trunk line so it could handle higher bandwidth. All your phone company had to do was submit a request. The money was a grant that would not have to be repaid.
Much of the existing telephone and electrical systems to rural areas that are in place today are there because of government plans. REA is one that brought power to all American homes, even if they were in the middle of nowhere. The same was true of phone service. There is no real money in providing something like power to rural people. The cost of spanning the distance is far more than what it would be for a suburb of a major city. So utility companies were offered incentives to hook everybody up. So its not a philanthropist that gets you services on par with big cities, its the government. Research it and you might be able to find something that you can do, like talk with a Senators office.
jj.inc (author)  Vyger2 years ago
Oooh, I happen to know a congressman, I don't know if he is house or senate off the top of my head though, thanks for the advice.
Vyger Vyger2 years ago
By the way, I should mention that you cannot resell standard home DSL. You can give it away and you might be able to share the cost of it with someone but under the terms of service (which will depend on your source) you cannot sell your bandwidth to another party for a profit. You need to get a commercial bandwidth which you are allowed to sell, hence the cost of the T1 line which is a commercial use internet. You can kind of get around this by not charging people for the bandwidth but only charging them for maintaining and renting the equipment but if your provider decided to challenge it and either charge you a full commercial rate or just turn you off you could find yourself in hot water very fast. You could get sued by everybody including your provider.
rickharris2 years ago
You may be able to rent or buy suitable accommodation - a fairly large office. Rent a high speed back bone to your local telephone supplier (assuming ground lines).

You would need to install a large server set up to service the communications.

You would need to hire engineers to man this 24/7

You would need to hire managers, sales managers, advertise the service somehow.

You would need a lot of time, money and luck - Most ISPs have millions of users.
jj.inc (author)  rickharris2 years ago
Well, I know this, but what do I need for a server, how do I communicate with customers wirelessly, and I don't wan't to rent from the phone company. That is what the ISP's we have do and our internet is very slow. I wan't to run optic cables to the nearest POP.
Therein you have the core of your problem - The basic issue of why your local internet is so slow would be the weak point of any system you can supply.

You don't communicate with your customers wirelessly you use the phone lines like everyone else does.

If you don't rent from the phone company where will you get your access to the backbone? In essence they own it. Either them or someone like them because it costs big bucks to set up and maintain the infra structure.

If you want to run a fiber to make a faster connection start saving because that is going to cost!

Simply digging up the ground usually needs a license, you need various companies/organizations permission because you don't own all the land you will need to cross. You need equipment and a team of people to work it. You need to pay wages over some time. Plus ou will still need to pay to get connected.

AND the provider will not allow just anyone who turns up with a bit of optical fiber to connect you will need to show you have the right equipment and structure in place so they know you won't bring their system down ETC ETC it just goes on and on.

That's why ISPs are mostly BIG corporations and the small ones find it hard to compete.

jj.inc (author)  rickharris2 years ago
This is all wishful thinking, we so money isn't an issue, I get my internet via a 700 mhz connection and it is as quick as you can get with a wired connection in my town. Both of our local companies actually use wireless, and don't use the phone lines. The only actual hard wired internet is a giant cable connecting all three schools together. The closest city with high speed ability is probably Denver which is about 150 miles away off the top of my head. The closest actually IXP is Kansas city which is all the way accross Kansas plus about 40-50 miles. If someone could actually lay in a large fiber optic line to our town it wouldn't be long before all the towns around us had ISP's looking to hook in, and the cell phone company would probably wan't in too, so right there without even setting up our own ISP we would have many who wanted in, and we could charge big bucks for big businesses.
FoolishSage2 years ago
I dont know about setting up your own ISP but if you want decent internet at a remote location you might want to look at satellite internet. I looked it up a couple years ago for use on a site in the middle of nowhere and it looked reasonably priced (although the project fell through so I never actually used it)
jj.inc (author)  FoolishSage2 years ago
lol, satellite internet is the worst thing you could possibly get in my opinion. It doesn't really go as fast as it says it does, the upload speeds are still in the near dialup range. And they limit how much you can use to one or two youtube videos a day. They say you can stream movies, but even the most expensive business package barely allows that at mid quality.
As I said: I never ended up using it. Good thing I didn't :)