first thanks to the guys who answered my questions

In short it looks like UBNT sells the equipment a WISP needs to set up a base and sell internet

The Web has become so rich with multimedia content that users everywhere are demanding more and more bandwidth. Regardless of the market — whether it is urban, suburban, or rural — a broadband wireless Internet access (BWIA) solution is by far the most cost effective and quickest way to reach the most customers.

Today’s Internet service providers need high-speed solutions which can be quickly and cost-effectively deployed across wide geographic areas to reach the most possible customers. Fixed broadband wireless access products from Trango enable Internet service providers to deliver broadband access for a surprisingly low cost of deployment and a high return on investment (ROI).

What is a WISP?

A WISP is a Wireless Internet Service Provider. WISPs offer broadband Internet services to business and residential customers utilizing radio-based point-to-multipoint networks. Many WISPs operate hybrid networks which consist of both wired and wireless Internet access infrastructure. Through wireless deployments, traditional wired ISPs have been able to greatly expand their service offerings, enlarge their network footprint (coverage areas) and increase their bottom line profit.

Most WISPs utilize equipment which operates in the license-free spectrum (2.4 GHz, 5.3 GHz, and 5.8 GHz) to deliver “last mile” access. With the right equipment, a WISP can enjoy quick ROI while offering their customers very dependable, high speed, always-on, broadband Internet access service.

Many WISPs around the world have enjoyed great success due to the low entry, low deployment, and low maintenance costs of fixed broadband wireless “last mile” solutions. Building a wireless network infrastructure involves less equipment and less maintenance than traditional cable and fiber providers.

Are WISPS the customers for UBNT solely? I can understand some of what they sell–antennas, radios & routers. I went to Ubiquiti global and found two local businesses selling internet connections. It would appear that any of us could set up a receiver and get RF ourselves and be our own WISP. Cost is no doubt a limiting factor

Does anyone have any idea of the cost of setting up a WISP?

Is this what they like to call a last mile service? And if so, is the internet just floating around out there in RF-land free for the taking if you have the equipment to capture it?



Wisp seems to be mostly last mile, but ubnt is moving upstream with their air fibre products. The CEO is talking about wireless everywhere except the data center.

In the us there are areas where there is a monopoly on broadband access. Verizon, AT&T, or Comcast has fibre circuits and want to control access. Ubnt is trying to overcome that with wireless over longer distances.

100 miles from where we live bw is cheap. Here it is. Rey expensive because there is one provider. If we could get fibre to a data center, you can reduce the cost of fibre and break the large carrier monopoly.

Can’t tell you exact cost. Ubnt has brought the cost down significantly.

Think about how things changed at home and work with wireless. No more running cat5 cable everywhere. Ubnt is doing the same thing outside. No running fibre under sidewalks. Use air fibre. Very new concept. Wisp companies are going to communities and telling them they can connect their communities without waiting for AT&T to get around to it,

Very disruptive!

Different conversation about whether ubnt can capture and contain market share.



It would appear that any of us could set up a receiver and get RF ourselves and be our own WISP. Cost is no doubt a limiting factor

Does anyone have any idea of the cost of setting up a WISP?

Is this what they like to call a last mile service? And if so, is the internet just floating around out there in RF-land free for the taking if you have the equipment to capture it?

Kit Kat,

Great questions. I hope someone can answer them. I’m not tech savvy enough.


Wisp companies are going to communities and telling them they can connect their communities without waiting for AT&T to get around to it.

You mean my small town could decide to buy wireless internet from a
WISP company, rather than the only choice now, which is that each
household buy an internet connection from the (one) franchisee, Frontier?

How would this work?

This is all very interesting.
I hate a cord.

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Here is a link to look for a wisp in your area:

You get a little transmitter/receiver that sends your traffic over radio waves to an access point. It then goes in a variety of ways to the internet.

There are new standards for transmitting the data, and ubnt has brought down the price of the equipment.

Here is a link on how to setup a wisp:

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In order to get internet through Rf it will not be free. If you go down to Starbuck you can get wireless access for free but if you want to get it to your house you will need to pay. The price of what it will cost all depends on the speed you want. More speed, more money.

Think of it this way. You want to be able to drive to your home but the freeway only gets to your nearest town. In order to get to your home you need to build a road to carry the traffic to your home. Ubiquity’s equipment is the road, your car or truck is the data. You can have a dirt road or you can have a concrete road. It all depends on how much you want to spend. You will need to buy the connection from an internet provider, once you have the connection will tell you what equipment you need to build it out to your house.

I hope that helps.



You have a gift. You can take a complicated subject and distill the complex into a simple picture a child can understand. It has been my observation that is one of the qualities of people who truly understand their subject material…they have the ability to communicate essential truth to a sixth grade class.

Thanks for making it clear to this “sixth grader” what UBNT does and how it works! It’s like a light came on for me. We can all understand dirt roads and concrete roads.

Please keep posting. You have a large class of eager young minds listening to you!



Thanks Jim,
I appreciate your kind words. We all have something to give this community. If you all can help me with finding great companies the least I can do is give something back.

Long Ubnt

hi Andy

– where does the internet come from? Is it all carried through a cable to the WISP guys who can send it on to you via a “road” or is it floating free in the ether for anyone to pick up with a dish and a transmitter?

If I have a wifi provider who is giving me internet access, where is he getting the internet from? And does it cost or is it free?

It’s amazing how we all take these things for granted and just sign on to the 'net everyday, but at least I have never stopped to think about what and where it is.


Hey Lekitkat,
Ok they way this works is we have backbone providers. These are the people who create the superhighways, they use equipment like ciena and infinera and cisco. These companies would be your tier 1’s and data centers so think like Sprint, At&T, Cox, Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner, Centurylink. They provide the links across the country along with the big data centers. Think of it like a big spider web with all of these companies connected together in all of the towns. Usually these companies will have one center at least in all the major towns. So they send the data around the country and pass it off to the local companies, Some of these companies have local access also. At the local level they usually will have one, if its a small town, or two if its a large or big city, offices that all the data comes into. These offices will pass this information around other offices in the town. It used to be like a wagon wheel. They built them in rings so that the service would never drop completely. Now they are going to the spider web concept also with all of the offices being interconnected.
SO for these offices they go out to your tower Lekitkat. They can go out on copper cable and be a 56kdata ckt which would be like dial up, Isdn where they can bond two of them together along with 4k of what they call dchannel to get 132 mbps, to t1 which equals 1.54 mbps on up to 10 gig. The cheapest way to do it is to run it on dsl which takes a copper wire. If you can get dsl to your tower you could get speeds from 1.54 mbps up to 50 mbps. It just depends on how far the tower is from your nearest town. That’s why lekitkat it is important to ask your provider just how much speed he can give you and what he is feeding the tower with. If it was a DS3 which is 28 t1’s tied together you should be getting plenty of bandwidth, I think he is probably feeding it with a t1.

There are a lot of ways to get service out to you and some more expensive than others. Usually DSL is the cheapest because they don’t need to condition the line. But dsl will not reach as far as t1 or ds3. If they had fiber running to the tower it would be great but I have a feeling that isn’t the case where you are at.

But there are a few important answers I need from you Lekitkat in order for me to help you. I need to know how far from the tower you are, how far from the city the tower is, and if the company you are buying internet from own the tower you are coming off of or are leasing space. Is there more than one provider on that tower? How many companies in the nearest town from you provide internet service. (easy to google)

I hope this helps you Lekitkat and if you need any help on figuring this out I am here for you.



Hey LKK, Andy’s explanation is totally correct but in the past it helped me to think of a simpler model, the water supply model. Big Big water pipes are all interconnected and water is directed where it is needed. It’s never free (except when you go to Starbucks and get it with your latte)(free wireless).

The more money big players ( ATT, V, Comcast, etc) pay, the bigger their pipes. They then distribute the water (internet access or bandwidth) through a series of medium to small pipes. DS3 is a really big water pipe, T1 is a medium big pipe as is optical fiber. Cable and DSL are medium to medium small pipes, depending on how much you pay your provider. Dial up is a really tiny water pipe with hardly any pressure(bandwidth). The bigger the pipe feeding the tower, the more water pressure every one will have that gets their water supply from the tower. If you’re the guy way out of town at the end of the line, you hardly have have enough pressure to run your sprinkler!

Ubiquiti is like a supplier of one of those high pressure nozzles you buy that direct a really strong stream of water long distances.

Sorry for the kind of lame analogy but I hope it helps.

Dr. D


Hey Dr D.,
That was a really good analogy but you have to remember one thing, Fiber, copper wires, and cable are all the medium that the different technologies travel across. Fiber is the best because you can run any of the technologies, DS1, DS3, DSL, Ethernet, all of them at different speeds, and further without having to regenerate the signal. Going with your analogy ds3, cable, DSL, Ethernet, would be the bigger pipes with lots of pressure. Ds1 and DS3 are a fixed pressure with a regulated speed that will always be the same, DSL, Ethernet and cable the pressure and speed can vary depending on what you order.