Startup WISP Help

I have been reading the boards and there seems to be alot of expercts on the Canopy system. I am looking at starting a small (then grow to a large) WISP using the 900MHZ Canopy system and was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me. We are in a very rural area in Nebraska, the positive is that it is flat out here, The location we will setup our pop is Bassett, NE. I have done alot of research and reading, and I know that the 900MHZ does better through trees and small hills (you would consider them mounds of dirt anywhere else), but my biggest concern is being able to reach the distances that we would need to serve the ranchers and farmers. Everything I have read about trees they are talking it seems in the context of a small forest. The situation we have out here is that almost every ranch has a wind block of trees on the north and west side of there home. basically a 100 foot row about 3 - 5 trees deep, sometimes they are cottonwood, but mostly cedar. So my question is this going to cause us problems when we are not able to get above them?

Also I cannot decide if connectorized or integrated units is the way to go. I like the fact that with integrated there will be zero loss for cable, but at the same time would lose the ability to use an external antenna.

and on the AP’s I have decided that I do not need AES, but I am unsure if getting the Filtered units would be beneficial at all.

I have downloaded RadioMobile and plotted everything out, and I am not quite sure if I am doing it right, RadioMobile is basically saying that if I put my AP on a tower 120ft above the ground on the tallest hill in town that I will be able to cover a 3 county area (roughly 2000 SQ Miles) I am a little wary of that calculation and know that trees will play a big part in it.
Would you be willing to share the parameters, .net and ant files at all?

The last question is that it seems that the prices for the SM are wildly diffrent from diffrent vendors, do you have a recommendation? The cheapest I have found for a 900MHZ Connectorized is $301 from Last Mile Gear. Is that a good deal or should I continue shopping.

Thank You for your time.

Thank You,
Ben Anthony

The wind rows should be no problem if the terrain after that is fairly open (line of sight and fresnel). What I have found is that if the first mile out of the AP as well as the SM location is clear and a fairly decent shot (not thick trees, up hill etc.) the link will be good. If not (and even though our terrain analysis program shows there is LOS and fresnel) it may or may not work out over 5 miles. We use connectorized and they perform much better than the integrated modules. It also gives you the ability to change antennas and vary the gain. The price you got seems respectable, about 20% above cost. Good luck!

We run into the same thing with the valley ranches. Our solution is to either go up over the trees or move the radio to a post on the other side of the wind break. With 300’ of cable to play with it’s do-able. We charge extra for that.

Foliage is a real problem. Wet foliage is a bigger problem. Different trees have different levels of attenuation. Pines are a killer as are eucalyptus. Oaks are less of an issue. Broad leaf trees can be a problem.

The # of trees you can penetrate is relative to the distance from the AP. If you are a mile away you will penetrate a full wind break. If you are 3 miles away you can get through a couple of trees. At 5 miles it’s pretty much LOS with maybe one thin tree or some tree tops.

Standardize on connectorized. The integrated offer no options. If you can’t get a link you can try different antennas, and it’s easier to get a yagi up on a telescoping mast. Also if the link changes after installation it’s easier to simply swap the antenna.

You don’t need AES. DES will suffice. Any client requiring more security will have a box at their end.

Filtered units are useful in a high RF environment. I assume you have done an analysis of the spectrum and know what you are walking into? Check with the cities and counties and find out of they are planning any 900MHz deployments. Let them know what you are doing as they may have real needs that you can provide (you never know they may be planning a multi-county Public Safety data system)

What antenna pattern are you using for the AP? If you look on the Yahoo group forum I think that is where I grabbed a 60deg antenna pattern that seems to reflect the AP. Set power at 26dB and antenna gain at 12dB. Set the Rx threshold at -80dB.

300 per unit is as low as I have been able to grind anyone.

We have not done a spectrum Analysis yet, We have talked with the local Fire dept., County, City and Police department and there is currently no one in our area that is using the 900MHZ Spectrum. I do feel that it would be a good idea to do one. What is the cheapest way for me to do it? So what kind of conditions have to exist to get the 20 - 40 miles LOS that Motorola talks about?

Thank You for all the help, I really appreciate it.

Thank You,
Ben Anthony

Easy way to get an idea of what is going on it to buy an SM and a 13dBi yagi. SM’s have a spectrum analyzer built in.

Drive around the area and take screen shots of the spectrum analysis page. This will give you an idea of what the SM sees.

To get the 20 miles you will need to get the AP’s up. I’m guessing 1500’ AGL or better depending on the terrain, etc but that is just a guess.

Another way is to use multiple AP’s with omni antennas. This way you can set up a grid to cover more area, and have more than one angle to try and get a signal.

Thanks everyone for all your Help so far. I have gotten a couple quotes on a startup-kit. Looks like Motorola is all out of them so I had a custom kit put together in the connectorized version, but instead of the 9dbi ant. that the starter kits come with I think we will go with a 120 degree sector for the AP and stinger atenna’s for the SM, these would be in town and only about 1 mile from the AP. My only concern is that since MOTO doesn’t have the starter-kits I won’t be getting any of the software like the Sales and Technical CD’s, which they give to you at a great price in that kit. Is that important? Also when talking with the sales rep (at Last Mile Gear) he said that they use 5.2 in town beacuse the noise floor is alot higher. Being in a rural area and assuming that no one is using 900MHZ equipment out here should I even consider going with 5.2 in town and 900 out of town or should I just go with all 900, I Hope that I can convert about 3/4 of the customers around here from DSL to our solution (everyone hates our local telco) which is going to be around 160 SM in a 2 mile radius. Thank again.


If you have decent LOS within that 2 mile radius and plan on long 900MHz shots, here is what I would suggest you consider:

Connectorized 5.7AP with V-POL Omni
Connectorized 900 with H-POL Omni

Stack one on top of the other.

This allows you to grow incrementally and scale as you go. the two AP’s combined can handle 150 subs.

The 5.7 will allow you to sell T1 replacements for your business customers. these businesses are paying at least 599/mo for a T1. Set up an introductory price of

- 99/mo for 750k x 750k
- 199/mo for 1.5M x 1.5M
- 299/mo for 3.0M x 3.0M
- 399/mo for 5.0M x 5.0M

Tell them in one year the prices will go up 20%, or you give them that price for a 3 year agreement (pretty standard)

Then use the 900 for your ranchers, residential, and links with limited LOS. For residential, price the exact same or a little higher than the Telco DSL and then promote better service, consistent speeds, and “The Local Guys”.

I would highly recommend that you push HARD to get as many business customers as you possibly can. Business customers pay more and require very little tech support (although when they need it fixed they are all over you until it’s up). You can also get other services such as VoIP, Managed Security, etc.

The Utilities might be interested in connections for telemetry or CCTV. there are alot of places to get $$$ when you have a really nice network.

Also, set up free WiFi in the town central areas. Put Banner ads on the pages promoting your service, and sell ad space to the local businesses as well.

Excellnet, that sounds like great idea. Will 5.7 go through a 1 tree. We will have decent LOS but I know that there will be a customer or 2 that we just won’t be able to install the SM somewhere that there isn’t 1 tree.


Depends on the distance and the type of tree, but that’s what the 900 is for.

I’ve found that a good way to get over the trees is to use the Farmers SILO’s. Mount the SM on the silo and power it from the barn and then put in a Router and run CAT5 to the house some way. Of course this only works easily if the house is 300’ or less from the barn.

Just a thought