[SASAG] Microwave ISP Feedback?

Nick Webb nickw at redwireservices.com
Thu Mar 12 14:22:53 PDT 2015

Thanks Steve,

I appreciate the feedback. A couple of points below.

On Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 11:07 AM, Steve Stroh <steve.stroh at gmail.com> wrote:

> Nick:
> You're correct - microwave CAN be reliable... how reliable... it DOES
> depend.
> When I knew personally of their operations several years ago, AccelNet
> did most things right.

Good to hear!

> There's a quick solution - ask them for contact info for some of their
> reference customers. If they decline to provide any, if it were me, I
> wouldn't go with them.

Of course I will ask this, however, it's easy for them (or any provider) to
cherry pick the best references... thus my asking here as I was hoping to
reach folks directly working with them or similar providers in the area.


> Then, ask them for the specifics of how they're going to connect YOU.
> Use of 5 GHz license-exempt spectrum (shared amongst many, many users)
> band isn't automatically a disqualifier - it depends on their network
> (how close is the tower) and the quality of the equipment they use.
> Use of 3.65 GHz spectrum is licensed-light; interference isn't
> supposed to happen, but it can given that there can be new entrants in
> an area that accidentally cause interference.
> Use of a licensed link like 6 GHz spectrum is point-to-point
> exclusive, but that will be more expensive and take longer as there
> are license requirements, path studies, and the equipment is usually
> more expensive.
> You might also ping Frontier - they've deployed (formerly Verizon)
> FIOS and if you're in a FIOS service area, they offer a business tier.
> In my experience, Verizon did a good job with the FIOS architecture
> and Frontier has invested in expanding and maintaining the FIOS plant.
> Wave Broadband is another alternative to Comcast in the greater
> Seattle area. From what (little) I've heard, they're a competent
> operation and unlike Comcast, reasonable, even friendly to deal with.

Wave does not service here, Comcast business does.  However there is no SLA
and it's "best effort". We used this at our old location and it was mostly
fine, but not great for VoIP.

While it is run somewhat separately from residential, and is somewhat
separated from residential services (something like a VLAN), it's the same
wires and if everyone is watching Netflix your connection will certainly
degrade. I think it's a good value, though, 100/20mbps for $250/mo is hard
to argue with for pure speed and bulk backups, etc., but there can be short
bursts where you have high latency or < 1mbps upload, and they don't care
as there is no SLA. For most folks this is completely fine.

> All that said... Comcast Business Broadband DOES seem to be a
> completely different operation from Comcast consumer. Everyone I've
> talked to that has Comcast Business Broadband (including two techie
> buddies who have it at home) don't seem to have any complaints -
> including getting competent tech support.

Not sure who you are talking to, I've worked with them for clients and
associates, and in my own business, they are a step ahead of residential
support, but I'd stop far from saying it's great or even good, it's only
acceptable. In fact I called today to cancel for our old office, and it
took no less than 6 transfers / people I spoke to, and one dropped call.
That's not terrible, 15 minutes of my life, but far from great customer

For other's benefit, though, it is still better then residential. One other
difference I know of is that they warn you of planned maintenance (we had
2+ events a week for a few months while they upgraded our neighborhood,
2-5am). They also will roll a truck within a 4 business hour target if you
have a problem, so being without service for multiple business days is


> Thanks,
> Steve Stroh
> On Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 10:27 AM, Nick Webb <nickw at redwireservices.com>
> wrote:
> > All,
> >
> > We have moved offices and are trying to get a reliable internet
> connection
> > in place. The new location doesn't have a ton of options for our small
> > business budget (~$300-400/mo). Basically our options include various
> > offerings from Comcast (including ones with an SLA), T1, and microwave
> from
> > AccelNet (accelnet.net) or some combination thereof. Comcast does have
> fiber
> > in the area, but that's 3 months out and is outside our budget (to do the
> > buildout, they want a >= 20x20mbps for 3 years commitment).
> >
> > Given the SLA and cost effectiveness of AccelNet, I'm very tempted to
> pursue
> > that option, however we have zero experience with it and are unsure what
> to
> > expect. Basically the only information I can find comes from WISPs
> > themselves who of course say it's the best thing ever, even better than
> > fiber. That seems technically true in some cases, but it seems that
> > reliability can be an issue depending on the specific equipment the WISP
> > uses, distance, weather, etc. I also know that carriers have used/are
> using
> > microwave for some major connections, which tells me it *can* be
> reliable.
> >
> > The connection would come with a 99.99-99.999% SLA, but it's a problem if
> > it's down even a couple of minutes once or twice a week during business
> > hours, which would still meet that SLA. I'm OK with planned maintenance
> > after hours and maybe one or two small blips here and there during
> business
> > hours, but it can't be a daily/weekly occurrence.
> >
> > We are a really small shop, we have just 3 folks now, probably 4-5 in the
> > next 3-6 months. While speed is nice, I'm more interested in reliability
> as
> > we depend on VoIP and various VPN connections, etc., that can be a hassle
> > (though not impossible) over the standard "best effort" Business Cable
> > connection. I think we are more tolerant of failure than larger shops,
> but
> > less so than most businesses our size.
> >
> > Any advice welcome, especially specific experience with microwave and
> > accelnet.net.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Nick
> >
> > --
> > Nick Webb
> > Principal Systems Engineer
> > Red Wire Services, LLC
> > T: <206.829.8621%20x11>206.829.8621 <fs-call:12068298621> x11 / F:
> <206.826.1223>206.826.1223 <fs-call:12068261223>
> >
> > 15215 52ND Ave S STE 205
> > Tukwila, WA 98188-2354
> >
> > http://www.redwireservices.com
> >
> > http://linkedin.com/in/NickWebb
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> > Members at lists.sasag.org
> > https://lists.sasag.org/mailman/listinfo/members
> --
> stevestroh at gmail.com
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