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My experience with a local WISP was so-so. Perhaps there are better technologies now, but what mine used was a white labeled version of the Motorola Canopy PMP (point to multi-point)

I was told 8mbs down and 2mbs up. That worked great for about 6 months and then it started to degrade month by month. I assume as more people subscribed to the service. By the end of 3 years I was only getting about 2mbs down and 700kbs up. (at 3am I might get 5/1). Worked ok for browsing facebook, but the main issue was really bad packet loss on the upstream end.

Through reading many of the administrator manuals for the antennas I found online, I came to the conclusion that it was just bad technology and exacerbated by inappropriate default settings. The gist of the way the canopy protocol works is that it is very easy for the AP to transmit data to an end point. The problem is how the data is transmitted to the AP from the customer end point device.

It must first send a request to send (RTS) and then wait for the OK. By default the AP's are set to 10 miles line of sight, which adds in even more delay for the timings. The end result is for a busy AP, most of the RTS requests will be ignored. Which works ok for browsing the net, but I was getting 5-20% packet loss on upstream, which basically meant talking to people on my voip office phone sounded fine to me, but people on the other end only heard bits and pieces of what I was saying. Trying to VPN into work was very painful too.

I dealt with that for 3 years before I finally realized that ATT had 6mbs dsl for $60 a month. I switched and was so happy.




WISP quality is very uneven. It's rare to find one that has the right combination of business acumen, network engineering, and rf engineering to run successfully...

IME when correctly configured Canopy is one of the most robust last mile fixed-wireless systems on the market (though LTE may change that), but it has to be configured correctly.

The main feature of Canopy is GPS synchronization of tx/rx timeslots so you can reuse spectrum. A lot of WISPs bought it for that and then never changed settings because they didn't understand how the sync worked and didn't want to change a setting that alters timeslots and break sync. Never mind that there is a built-in calculator to help you figure that out...

Getting 5-20% packet loss upstream indicated they were doing something terribly wrong. Perhaps they screwed up timeslots and the AP received interference from other APs causing errors when listening for your SM, perhaps they didn't add control frames after their subscriber count significantly increased, or they simply oversubscribed the AP. The most widely deployed Canopy version (gen2 PMP100, came out in 2004 and still widely deployed) could handle up to 10Mbps down & 4Mbps up. Selling 8M/2M plans on that platform is a bit ambitious but unfortunately all too common.




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