Definition: Wireless Internet Access Service Provider
WISP is an acronym which stands for Wireless Internet Access Service Provider. These can be Wi-Fi hotspots or an operator with a Wi-Fi based network infrastructure. Often they offer additional services, like location based content, Virtual Private Networking and Voice over IP.
WISP's are predominantly in rural environments where cable and digital subscriber lines are not available. WiMax was expected to become mainstream in 2006 and was anticipated that it would dramatically change the marketplace by increasing the number of interoperable equipment on the market and making mobile data transmission feasible. Unfortunately this has not happened and has hampered the expected increase in adoption rates of WISP services.
Typically, the way that a WISP operates is to pull a large and usually expensive point to point connection to the center of the area they wish to service. From here, they will need to find some sort of elevated point in the region, such as a radio or water tower, on which to mount their equipment. On the consumers side, they will mount a small dish to the roof of their home and point it back to the WISP's dish.
Since it is difficult for a single service provider to build an infrastructure that offers global access to its subscribers, roaming between service providers is encouraged by the Wi-Fi Alliance with the WISPr protocol. WISPr is a set of recommendations approved by the alliance which facilitate inter-network and inter-operator roaming of Wi-Fi users.
Many wireless broadband services provide average download speeds of over 100 Mbit/s, and is estimated to have a range of 50 km (30 miles). Technologies used include LMDS and MMDS, and one particular access technology is being standardized by IEEE 802.16, also known as WiMAX.
At first, Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) were only found in rural areas not covered by cable or DSL. These early WISPs would receive a large connection, such as a T1 or DS3 connection, and then prodcast signal from a high elevation, such as at the top of a water tower. To receive this type of internet, consumers would mount a small dish to the roof of their home or office and point it to the transmitter. Line of sight was usually necessary for this type of technology, but technologies by Motorola have not adhered to this general rule.
- Rapid Deployment - Allows networks to be deployed without cabling for client devices, typically reducing the costs of network deployment and expansion. Spaces where cables cannot be run, such as outdoor areas and historical buildings, can host wireless Internet access networks.
- Fastest Internet Access in the World - Wi-Fi is the fastest Internet access network in the world. Wi-Fi is currently at 54Mbps now, and soon 802.11n will offer 248Mbps. The access speeds blow away 3G, cable and DSL providers. Only fiber to the curb can really compete with Wi-Fi.
- Massive Availability - Wireless Internet Access (Wi-Fi) antennas are built into 99% of all modern laptops, getting a laptop without a built in Wi-Fi antenna would be extremely rare.
- Affordable Pricing for the Masses - Wi-Fi chipset pricing continues to come down, making Wi-Fi a very economical networking option and driving inclusion of Wi-Fi in an ever-widening array of devices.
- Interoperability Amoung All Vendors - Wi-Fi products are widely available in the market. Different competitive brands of access points and client network interfaces are interoperable at a basic level of service. Products designated as Wi-Fi Certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance are backwards compatible.
- Worldwide Wi-Fi Standard - Wi-Fi is a global set of standards. Unlike 3G cellular carriers, which are slow and fragmented, the same Wi-Fi Internet access device works in different countries around the world.
- Ubiquitous Coverage - Widely available in more than 250,000 public hot spots and tens of millions of homes and corporate and university campuses worldwide.
- Secure Network Connections - As of 2007, Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) is not easily cracked if strong passwords are used and WPA2 encryption has no known weaknesses.
- Quality of Service - New protocols for Quality of Service (WMM) and power saving mechanisms (WMM Power Save) make Wi-Fi even more suitable for latency-sensitive applications (such as voice over IP and video on demand) and offered in a very small form-factor.
- Indoor Wi-Fi Access Points - Indoor Wi-Fi Internet access
points are the most ubiquitous form of broadband Internet access in the world. There is not a remote city or third
world country that doesn't have at least one Internet Cafe in town. Wi-Fi Internet access points are easy to install
and very cost effective to deploy. Wi-Fi 802.11g currently provides 54Mbps of bandwidth.
- Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) - In every small town, there
is at least one wireless Internet service provider, also known as a WISP. It might be a very large Turnkey WISP or it might
be a small Neighborhood WISP (NISP). Unlike Wi-Fi, a WISP will install a fixed antenna on a customer's premises, which provides
the equivalent to a wireless T1 or faster connection.
- Municipal Citywide Wi-Fi Mesh Networks - It used to be that only
rural towns in America saw that benefits of building a wireless Internet network in town to generate new economic development.
In the last year, just about every big city in the world has contemplated adding wireless Internet access to their portfolio of economic development
tools to generate jobs and attract corporations to their cities and towns. In addition, wireless Internet access is
also seen as the only cost-effective way to provide broadband Internet connections to underpriviledged citizens. The technology that made this
possible was wireless routers using mesh networking technology. Mesh network technology
made it possible to blanket a city or town with Wi-Fi access points and offer the same type of roaming capabilities that
users have come to expect with wireless cell phones.
- Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) -
EDGE was designed by 3G
carriers to carry wireless data over cell phone connections, which were designed for low bandwidth voice applications.
As a result, the maximum speed is limited to only 236.8 kbit/s for 4 timeslots (theoretical maximum is 473.6 kbit/s for 8 timeslots)
in packet mode and will therefore meet the International Telecommunications Union's requirement for a 3G network. By Wi-Fi
standards, EDGE is very slow and offers only a marginal connection at best.
- Evolution-Data Optimized for CDMA -
was also designed by 3G that operated CDMA networks. The initial version was called EV-DO, Rev. 0,
but quickly upgraded to
EV-DO Rev. A.
Sprint and Verizon Wireless are deploying
EVDO technology in the United States and by Bell Mobility and Telus Mobility in Canada.
EVDO was yet another attempt to develop a faster wireless data transport system that could compete with Wi-Fi.
In addition to the increase in the maximum burst
downlink rate from Rev. 0's 2.45 Mbit/s to 3.1 Mbit/s, Rev. A offered a significant
improvement in the maximum uplink data rate, from 153 kbit/s to a maximum uplink
burst rate of 1.8 Mbit/s. Still slow compared to Wi-Fi, but EVDO can provide acceptable
wireless Internet connections if nothing else is available.
- High-Speed Downlink Packet Accesss for UMTS -
was designed by 3G carriers that operated UMTS networks. High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), sometimes
referred to as High-Speed Downlink Protocol Access, is a 3G mobile telephony protocol in the HSPA family,
which provides a roadmap for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS)-based networks to increase
their data transfer speeds and capacity. Current HSDPA deployments now support up to 7.2 Mbps and represents
the fastest 3G wireless Internet access protocol.
Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) -
WiMAX is a
standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile
wireless broadband access as an alternative to wired broadband like cable and
DSL. WiMAX provides fixed , nomadic, portable and, soon, mobile wireless
broadband connectivity without the need for direct line-of-sight with a base
station. In a typical cell radius deployment of three to ten kilometers, WiMAX
Forum Certified systems can be expected to deliver capacity of up to 40 Mbps
per channel, for fixed and portable access applications. This is enough bandwidth
to simultaneously support hundreds of businesses
with T-1 speed connectivity and thousands of residences with DSL speed
connectivity. Mobile network deployments are expected to provide up to 15 Mbps
of capacity within a typical cell radius deployment of up to three kilometers.
WiMAX technology will be incorporated into the majority of notebook computers
and PDAs by the end of 2007, allowing for urban areas and cities to become "WiMAX Metro Zones"
for portable outdoor broadband wireless Internet access.
Many WISPs, especially in Africa, Asia and CIS use satellite as their main Internet backbones. For example, PEP-iDirect is a perfect platform to start up the WISP business with much lower costs than it would take with standard SCPC systems and terrestrial circuits if the local telecom markets are monopolized. At the same time PEP-iDirect allows to maintain the high quality of backbone service provided which is equal to a dedicated SCPC or even better. The PEP-iDirect system can support up to 1500 subscribers with no equipment upgrades as well as little as 50 subscribers, still staying cost effective for entrepreneurs.
A wireless connection can be either licensed or unlicensed. In the US, licensed connections use a private spectrum the user has secured rights to from the FCC. In other countries, spectrum is licensed from the country's national radio communications authority (such as the ACMA in Australia). Licensing is usually expensive and often reserved for large companies who wish to guarantee private access to spectrum for use in point to point communication. Because of this, most wireless ISP's use unlicensed spectrum which is publicly shared and therefore more prone to interference.
This information provided by the Wikipedia Free WISP Encyclopedia.
Today's News Stories on Wireless Internet Access Products/Services, Wireless Internet Access Network Deployments and Wireless Internet Access Industry Research:
More Wireless Internet Access Related Wireless Internet Access News Stories: