WISP or other options


I have a weird off the wall question for a NA group.

Does any have contacts in Edinburgh Scotland who can provide WISP service at the Hopetoun House and Dundas Castle. I would like to have 20-60mpbs to for 2 days of services.

Our company's event planner claims there are no good ISP options in the area and wants us to go with satellite internet which is pricy and has high latency. Its worth noting both locations have ~7mpbs DLS.

I'm also open to other options.


Nick Poulakos

20-60mbps is a tall order.

I¹d say cellular.. Maybe you can pair together a couple of 4g cradle
points and do load balancing on them?

You are screwed for LOS microwave, 60mbps on a microwave hope requires
real life engineering to function correctly. Frequency coordination,
towers, AGL requirements. If you¹re looking for satellite, I can tell you
for certain that a 60mbps circuit for a month would exceed 140k a month in
your neck of the woods. That¹s just to start off, it can get higher as the
link budget dictates.

Is there any reason you need THAT much? Have you thought about using
compression stuff at all? Are these people paying for it?

Laser link, and pray for clear weather?

Warren Bailey wrote:

Yeah.. If you have an extra 10k per radio. Free Space Optics are
everything but free. Lol

And attenuation at 80ghz is going to be heavy.. When I say heavy.. I
mean.. A fart will cause a fade if you’re close enough to the tx. :wink:

I would not recommend FSO for anyone with less than an ultra black belt in
RF. They are such a bxtch to get lined up and running, you could be
hanging out on site for a week trying to figure out why your path isn’t
aligned. It is not for the feint hearted.

Sharks with laser beams on their friggin’ head, probably.

Pay someone to worry about all this stuff, MaxWiFi has a good reputation in
the UK at least.

Stuff like the Ubiquiti Networks AirFiber can be good for getting from A-B
over "relatively short" distances if you've identified another place which
has really good connectivity which you can use, and if good connectivity is
truly critical to the events. Obviously this involves masts, may involve
permitting, and is a bit more complex than just a DSL line.

It's usually possible to bond multiple DSL connections, and it's not
impossible to get phone lines and DSL installed for short events either,
although it does depend on the venue being willing to accommodate you.

According to SamKnows the South Queensferry exchange (Dundas Castle) is
supposed to have gotten BT FTTC capability from 1st March and some LLU (O2,
TalkTalk, Sky) has happened, so again, talk to someone who specialises in
this stuff and they'll be able to navigate "What is the least fucked up way
to solve this for the event?".


I think the real problem here is the event is for 2 days and he requires a metric shxt ton of data (for wireless anyways..). Sure you could get all kinds of COOL solutions together, but do you think the (UK Version) LEC is going to run DSL/fiber/blah for a two day event? And who bears that cost burden?

If this was an office, sure .. Go for it. A two day event, find something cheap or tell them to use smoke signals. (not to mention all of the venues I've worked with stateside either don't help, or want 15k for the "event" in question)

And as a side note, as a die hard wireless guy (satellite, microwave, and cellular) I ask only one thing: Do not trivialize a wireless link.. It's not 802.11 and it doesn't act that way. If you just run an air fiber across and it works - great. But when it doesn't work, we're left to explain to the customer why the equipment neglected to work. Microwave is not 802.11.. Cellular is not 802.11.. 5ghz is not 802.11. They all act differently, and need to be designed properly to function in a less than suck capacity. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "Ewwww.. Satellite??" or "Ewww.. Microwave??" or "We'll use AT&T 4G for disaster recovery" and when you get into it the equipment didn't work because the office wireless guy (Todd, the only guy there who can configure the link sys router) couldn't get this POS 4k microwave radio to work. There are appropriate applications for all of these.. I'm usually the only guy in the room who can drop 100mbps into a field in the middle of Africa next week. It's all about choosing your poison and understanding how to handle it. It can be very beneficial, but it can also lead to you polishing your resume should it not "just work"..

A pair of Air Fiber is like 3k USD, and at 24ghz you had better know what you are doing.. I don't know if you've ever pointed something with that narrow of a beam width, but if you have I imagine you'll appreciate what a shit show it is. Especially if you don't have guys at both sides of the path flashing or a pretty decent path analysis (which can cost upwards of 10k in some cases).

My .02 :slight_smile:

Yes. Absolutely. Getting a phone line or multiple installed for 2 days is
*completely* feasible, and depending on the length to the cabinet/exchange,
the speeds he wants are also not too difficult (~20Mbps) through bonding.

Both of the locations he has identified probably already have a significant
number of copper pairs into the building. There are more than likely to be
enough spare although the install process could be complicated if that is
not the case.

Typically speaking a line install costs from BT Openreach costs around
£50+VAT, but you'd pay £145+VAT to get an expedited install appointment. In
*theory* (never tried this myself) they should be able to install multiple
lines within the same appointment, so four lines might run you £345+VAT or
thereabouts although worst case you could be looking at £195+VAT per line.

I believe it's possible to just cancel them immediately after the event,
and that it's possible to avoid a 12 month minimum term, so you'd be
looking at fairly minimal rental costs (£12+VAT per line, or thereabouts)
to cover their rental for the 30 days covering your event.

I am not trivialising the use of AirFiber in the slightest, however, if
that's what it takes to get him the required bandwidth it's also not out of
the realm of possibility for someone (i.e. doing it through MaxWiFi) to set
up, for the required amount of money. I specifically stated it would be
more complex than a DSL line.

I think the OP was looking for solutions, not pages of text about how
difficult or impossible his situation actually is :wink:

Does any have contacts in Edinburgh Scotland who can provide WISP
service at the Hopetoun House and Dundas Castle. I would like to
have 20-60mpbs to for 2 days of services.

There is a *chance* that we (http://hubs.net.uk/) can help. Our
network in Edinburgh is mostly constructed for serving areas to the
South -- the Lothians, the Borders, etc. and South Queensferry is to
the Northwest.

So one way of doing this would be to find an intermediate spot and
make two links. Briefly consulting a map there are a few candidates,
and for some, a temporary relay (the broadband wagon parked on a
hilltop) might work. It also looks as though there may be line of
sight to Scolocate in South Gyle which is a major datacentre where IX
Scotland is -- unfortunately we don't have anything on the roof there
at the moment.

If the event is for some sort of not for profit or academic related
thing other possibilities open up as well, it may be possible to use
one of the universities' networks to get most of the way there.

There are definitely possibilities, but it may well be too expensive
for such a short duration. Send me a mail off list if you want to
discuss in more detail.

Our company's event planner claims there are no good ISP options in
the area and wants us to go with satellite internet which is pricy
and has high latency. Its worth noting both locations have ~7mpbs

It would be interesting to talk to this event planner...

Another option is bonded ADSL. I'd recommend Andrews and Arnold
(http://aa.net.uk/) for that. It's a bit ugly, and any DSL or FTTx is
very expensive for real use (BT Wholesale's tarrif for bandwidth on
their DSL carrier interconnect for resale is something like -L-40/Mbps
plus lots of other charges) but for a temporary situation it's not a
bad option.


You are screwed for LOS microwave, 60mbps on a microwave hope requires
real life engineering to function correctly.

Well now, really. Yes it needs engineering, but nothing spectacularly
difficult. The upper bound on distance the OP needs is something like
10 miles which is peanuts. Any of your typical off the shelf 5GHz
stuff will do that, you can even just eyeball the alignment. The upper
5GHz band is not very crowded around here. You do need line of sight
which means spending a little time with a topo map.

You're right that it isn't as simple as just putting up some antennas,
leaving the kit at factory defaults and hoping, but that's not a very
high bar.


Rather conveniently there are lots of hills around here. A typical
can easily be something made out of standard scaffolding not more than
2.5m tall. You try to build them at the top of steep bits so that
people (and sheep) can't easily stand in front of the antennas.

If you�re looking for satellite

Satellite is a last resort, and almost always unnecessary even in very
remote places. It is also, as you point out, extremely expensive.


You'll have to pray really hard around here, especially in South
Queensferry down by the water...

We actually have an FSO link between two tall buildings in South
Edinburgh. Only about 500m. It works pretty well except when the haar
rolls in.

Giant pain in the behind to align though, and given that the wind that
comes over the top of these tall buildings can be 5x that at ground
level, and gales happen several times a year, keeping them aligned
is... interesting...


It's not 802.11 and it doesn't act that way.

Actually most of the installations I've seen -- and my day job is
working with community networks around Scotland that have built all
manner of strange things -- the problems most often have nothing at
all to do with the physical layer. More often they're related to doing
things with spanning tree that we all learned in networking long ago
to not do, or running many layers of NAT because IP routing is not
understood. Things like that.

The only common RF problem is leaving the channel selection on
"auto". Which invariably means one radio, like an access point with a
sector antenna, can't hear the point to point link coming in to the
dish behind it and picks the wrong channel.

Again, yes, you're right, you have to understand how this stuff works
and think a little bit when you build, but your messages saying "It's
really really hard" are coming across a little like FUD.

A pair of Air Fiber is like 3k USD, and at 24ghz you had better know

The AF24 are also illegal here. Or rather the lower channel belongs to
the police, and the upper channel is limited to a very low output
power. We have a pair of these, with a special non-operational license
from Ofcom to put them through their paces. They do work, though they
are a pain to align and subject to rain fade. They are on the West
coast which is very rainy. Right now we're using them to measure rain
intensity rather than to carry real traffic (which we can't do with a
non-op license anyways).


I think the AF5 should be legal over here, at least, the lower bands are
license free up to 1W transmit power.

Not used the AF5 at all yet, it's quite new, and the only AF24 experience I
have is only ~1000m worth of distance so comparatively easy to make work.

Either way you latched onto the point, which is "Where there's a will,
there's a way". In a lot of ways the UK is significantly more
forward-thinking in terms of what can be done with DSL lines, the US LECs
really aren't very imaginative. Who ever thought I'd be praising BT.

There are plenty of Microwave products that produce that type of bandwidth and more, LOS and NLOS. I do not know if there is a WISPA counterpart in Scotland but you may want to reach out to WISPA to see if they know of an organization. You can also reach out to Cambium to see whom their partners are in the area.

Dustin Jurman

Indeed - there's fairly local transit capacity (though it is via a BT
exchange, so good luck actually getting a reasonable price off BTWC
for a temporary line) and doing LOS on some temporary towers should be
within the capabilities of some creative engineers. WISPA might be a
good starting point, INCA can certainly put you in touch with the
local crowd to advise.

Either way it'd certainly work out a heck of a lot cheaper than sat.
You can do 3G (DC-HSDPA) in that area on at least one MNO but probably
want a decent directional antenna with some gain on it. That'd
probably work out cheapest, but will be bandwidth limited and you'd be
looking at a fair few devices bonded to get that much bandwidth.

- --

Thanks for all the ideas.

Right now, Im talking with Maxwifi. Go the route of letting them deal with everything.

Im still exploring other cheaper options:
  A) 3G/4G wireless service. A Orange rep is building a data plan to support 160 devices and to find out data usage in the area and available bandwidth.
  B) Getting wireless service from the near by datacenter(~6 miles away in South Gyle).

Can anyone recommended a good 3G/4G router? The follow link looks good. http://www.proroute.co.uk/proroute-4g-routers/proroute-h820-4g-router/

Would it be better to run one 4G route or bond many of cheap hotspot?

Nick Poulakos