Tag Archives: WISP pitfall

Feb 17th

I found cheap “Business Internet” in my town!  Will that work for my WISP?

Your local cable or phone company might offer “Business Internet” packages over DSL/Cable/GPON, and they may even provide some rather large ones, say 100mbit down and 10mbit up.   It’s cheap and available in your area, so why not use that for your main gateway?

Technically you could if these were dedicated 100mbit as they would be a great Internet gateway to start out with. Unfortunately, these connections are not dedicated, they are “oversubscribed”.  Oversubscription is part of the key to how broadband works, and how you can get huge amounts of throughput for cheap as a residential or small business consumer.  Providers will never say it is oversubscribed though, and dedicated is often bandied around by telcos as a marketing term when it is not really dedicated at all.

What you really need is a product called “unmetered dedicated ethernet with 95th percentile billing”, that is normally sold by the large business division of an ISP, or by a company that sells exclusively to other ISPs.   See our article on Wholesale Internet Access for more on how to find a provider like this.

Oversubscription Ratios:  Why Dedicated is the Only Option

Broadband works on the same principle as the sewer and water lines in a city.  If everyone flushed their toilet on a street at the same time, it would overload the system!  When utilities are built, the assumption is that only some people will be using them at any given time, so they oversubscribe the system.  Broadband works the same way.   As an ISP, you might buy 50mbit of gateway, and then sell 200 x 5mbit residential connections on

Author: Matt Beaton