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The Internet Wireless Networking Technology

WISPS Mean Cable and DSL Aren't the Only Choices 256

Brett Glass writes "Feel like you're stuck with a no-win choice between expensive cable modem service and slow DSL for Internet? Currently using satellite, with long latencies that make it impossible to do VoIP or interactive gaming? One of America's best kept secrets, so it seems, is the wide coverage of WISPs — terrestrial (not satellite or cellular) wireless broadband Internet providers. The linked article gives an overview of WISPs and provides a handy map showing their nationwide coverage (more than 750,000 square miles of the continental US — and only about one third of the WISPs in the US are on the map so far). Most WISPs are small, independent, consumer-friendly, and tech savvy, making them a better choice than big, corporate ISPs who can't even tell a penny from a dollar."
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WISPS Mean Cable and DSL Aren't the Only Choices

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  • They work well too (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Codex_of_Wisdom ( 1222836 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @08:37AM (#26750417)
    I'm on a WISP and it's great. I'm in a rural area, so it was either that or satellite, and, as previously stated, satellite is not good for online gaming. With WISP though, I still have latencies in the 100 range. It's nice. /babbling
  • by drunkennewfiemidget ( 712572 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @08:46AM (#26750463) Homepage

    I look forward to the day when I can tell the incumbent cable provider (Rogers Cable) here in Canada to go fuck themselves with a chainsaw.

    Them and their, "we're upping your price for the second time this year", and "you're on our do-not-market-to list, but we'll just send you all sorts of spam and upgrade offers along with the semi-annual price increase letter!", and their overall scummy existence.

  • by gandhi_2 ( 1108023 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:15AM (#26750647) Homepage
    The only problem with Infowest is their incomprehensibly, um... "diverse" pricing plans.
  • Worst map ever (Score:3, Interesting)

    by T-Bone-T ( 1048702 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:33AM (#26750763)

    Which WISPs serve my coverage area? Is it even more than one?

  • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:34AM (#26750771)
    I have used a WISP for the past few years because it was the only option. Unfortunately, my experience has been the same... high prices ($60/mo.), slow speed (512/512), bandwidth caps (5 Gig/mo), frequent outages, high latency.

    Fortunately, ATT just installed a DSL substation across the street from me (I was formerly 18000 ft from central office) and now I can get their minimal package 1.5/0.5 for $15/mo.

  • by the_crowbar ( 149535 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:45AM (#26750851)

    It must be nice to have such cheap internet. I happen to live in the only state shown with no WISP coverage. High speed internet links here are ridiculous.

    I have two options:

    1) AT&T (formerly BellSouth). If you have a land line you can get 768k/128k for $19.99/month, but you must have a land line which adds another $15+/month. Naked DSL is available, but the cheapest price is $34.95/month for 1.5M/256k.

    2) Charter cable offers internet by itself. Their minimum advertised speed is 5M. The price is almost $60/month or $54.99 if you also have cable.

    I don't need 10M+ speeds, but it is nice to have if I watch streaming video or other things requiring greater bandwidths. I do not download music and movies illegally, but I do grab iso images of Linux discs regularly. 1.5M would be slow, but meet my needs. Problem is it is $35+/month. I would love to have a WISP available. I live less than 2 miles from a mountain that could service a large city if there was a WISP. I would switch if I had the choice.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06, 2009 @10:14AM (#26751127)

    My building has a deal with a WISP. Free internet in the lobby and a pair of APs on each floor above for subscribers. Off peak hours are OK and it's cheap, but generally too congested to stream video or game on. Also, If you download more than 2GB they drop your speed to 128K for the rest of the month.

    Lastly, they require a periodic web based login to use the service, so even though I bridged in my LAN to their AP, computers on my LAN often failed to perform late night updates and automated functions, which was too annoying to put up with.

    The way they have it set up, it's only a little better than dialup.

  • by Igarden2 ( 916096 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @10:47AM (#26751507)
    My wireless is $29.95 and much faster than dialup. In my location (rural) I'm told DSL is not going to happen. Cable isn't even nearby.
  • by Brett Glass ( 98525 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:58AM (#26752919) Homepage
    Thank you for your, er, kind words. The purpose of posting the link to Slashdot isn't advertising; it's to raise awareness. Most people don't realize that they have alternatives to the cable companies and telephone companies.

    As for coverage: WISPs cover more of the area of the US than cable modem and DSL combined; we also serve more of the population. And we're growing as fast as we can to cover more. But most WISPs are self-financed and not public companies, so folks have to know about us and patronize us before we can build out.

  • by dieu1979 ( 993752 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @12:49PM (#26753895) Homepage
    Im personnally a WISP in Quebec Canada. I install in 2006 some wifi network in Cameroon. And when i return back i decide to offer the service here where is not available or where the service is really poor. I got some village that switch from dsl to me because the dsl service is terrible. I was not thinking make a lot of money on this but it's more a defy then anything. I see some wisp that share their cable modem to offer high speed. You cannot get a good result with this kind of access. Be a wisp is the hardest ISP business. You have to play with the nature of signal , temperature , obstacle and noise when you use public channel + all other problem other isp can confront. If you like trouble start WISP. But for me is perfect. I like trouble :) and is paid off by the smile of every client i connect.
  • by transporter_ii ( 986545 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @12:55PM (#26753997) Homepage

    We only did good in areas without DSL. If you couldn't get anything else, wireless is far better than a satellite.

    However, if an area we serviced suddenly got DSL, we lost most of our customers in that area.

    And let me tell you, DSL is only going to grow.

    Also, a WISP usually gets its bandwidth from the same phone company that has DSL in an area. So the phone company wins either way.

    It is VERY hard to compete against a phone company.

  • by Brett Glass ( 98525 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @01:08PM (#26754263) Homepage
    Our WISP often gets customers who are tired of DSL. As we finish installing the antenna on their roofs, they say, "Thank you! We're calling the telephone company now to cut off our land line."

    One of the things that WISPs do is enable people to "cut the cord."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06, 2009 @01:43PM (#26754843)

    Well like I said, the only open AP is in the lobby and while it might get overused, I wasn't using it. Each floor of the building (with ~10 residences per story) has 2 APs that only work for subscribers. Also, each floor provides decent shielding for each AP. I can generally only see APs on the floor above me and the one below in a site scan. So each AP during peak usage might have 5-10 people on it, but it's probably more like 1-2. During peak evening hours the total number of users on the 64 subscriber-only APs in the tower is probably only in the range of 100 systems, as most people are using comcast or AT&T.

    It is more likely therefor that the wisp is greatly oversold. Hop 4 on a tracert gives
    Looks to me like they're trying to spread a commercial DSL line a little too thin.

    So the analog isn't "me plugging too many things in", it's "me and my neighbors get a brownout when our ACs kick on at the same time".

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain