Shireburne wireless ISP – win-win for all!
An overview of the journey so far, to provide Internet connectivity at Shireburne Park Clitheroe.
- No cost to Shireburne Park and removal of park home sale obstacle.
- Observ IT profit from install and monthly cash flow.
- Charges significantly less than traditional approach benefiting park home owners.
Shireburne Park are expanding and want to ensure Internet connectivity is available to new park homes. Research identified connectivity costs via traditional methods, to be significantly higher than expected. This was due to the residential status of the new park homes and the lack of available telephone lines connections coming into the park. Rather concerning was the fact that not all new owners would be able to connect due to a lack of available landlines. Shireburne Park contacted Observ IT, to look at possible problem solving solutions.
- Provide high speed Internet connectivity to new park homes
- Designed for growth – 200+ users
- Cost-effective – cheaper than current options
- Minimal upfront expenditure – costs relative to number of users
Quick and easy to set up but tests identified patchy signal strength and comparatively very high data user costs. Concern over scalability, as the number of Internet users grew, the user experience would suffer due to the shared nature of the technology. The more users the less bandwidth to go around.
An Ethernet-based copper solution was considered, but as distance exceeded 100 metre limit of the technology, it was removed from the selection process. A fibre solution was a contender, but procurement and significant installation costs, combined with an unknown user demand removed this option.
Another option that was eventually selected, was the utilisation of a fixed wireless provision. Comparative installation costs were vastly cheaper (no cables or digging required). Having control over the wireless provision, enabled bandwidth improvement techniques such as sectoring. The relatively short distances facilitated very high data rates to cope with high demand users. Concern was expressed as Shireburne management had experienced poor wireless connectivity on numerous occasions at events, hotels and coffee shops. These concerns were addressed by explaining that the external wireless solutions provided by Observ IT use a different TDMA-based wireless technology that overcomes traditional wireless shortfalls.
While discussing running and installation costs it became apparent that they could still be costly, but on the flip side lead to a business opportunity through the creation of a fixed wireless ISP owned and managed by Observ IT. Here park home owners could pay monthly for Internet access. After crunching the numbers Observ IT agreed to the proposal and Shire Internet was born. Benefits include:
- No cost to Shireburne Park and removal of park home sale obstacle
- Observ IT profit from install and monthly cash flow
- Costs in line with number of users – minimal upfront cost for Observ IT
- Charges significantly less than traditional approach benefiting park home owners
Now that Observ IT would be providing Internet connectivity objectives were revised:
- Provide high-speed Internet connectivity
- Ensure fair usage to benefit customer satisfaction
- Scalable to 200 users
As the number of potential customers was unknown it was decided to keep access simple but scalable. This was achieved by using a central omnidirectional antenna which linked back to a fibre Internet connection installed at the Central office. To ensure fair usage Observ IT utilised its traffic management skills to implement a fair share queueing policy to ensure all users get an unbiased slice of the available bandwidth. To allow for growth, room for additional sectorial antennas was ensured. The network design was based on a routed rather than bridged/NAT approach to also benefit scalability. Costs were calculated from which end-user prices were formed. Users wishing to access the service pay a flat fee reflective of costs and sign a 12 month contract.
“Excellent, very fast and reasonably priced” April 2014
As the number of users has expanded, available per user bandwidth has dropped. To reverse this trend and ensure a quality end-user experience, the central omnidirectional antenna has been replaced with sectorial antennas.