We are at a time when an internet connection is more of a necessity than a luxury. It’s the backbone of smart things, a source of information, and a handy communication tool. Of course, these are not the only uses of the internet, but it pretty much sums up everything I do with mine.
However, most people buy more internet speed than they need. For example, I had a 25Mbps line to my house. It is superfast, mostly reliable, but severely underutilized. Then I realized that sharing this internet connection could make me money on the side. And that’s how the WISP (Wireless Internet Service Provider) idea came along.
In this post, I share all the crucial steps for starting an internet sharing business.
The first thing to do when looking to launch a WISP is to simulate connections. Most networking device manufacturers have online tools that help people with network planning, depending on equipment choice.
Ideally, you want a clear line of sight to every point in your network. Anything that stands between the connections causes interference, which means reduced speeds to end-users. Still, these simulations are not always accurate. They only consider the topology, with no regard to trees and any recent buildings that may have come up. That’s why you need a physical inspection of the area in question.
Once you know where your potential customers are and where to place your infrastructure, it’s time to go shopping. You’ll need radios, routers, sector antennas, access points, PoEs, switches, and lots of cables.
Several companies are offering decent networking gear out there, but I choose to go with Ubiquity. Their prices are affordable, and they also have a vibrant community. That means you will most likely find solutions to common problems online instead of bringing in technicians.
With a clear plan and equipment at hand, it’s time to put everything together. That involves lots of configuration, which is usually the most challenging part for non-technical people. But once you get that out of the way, you are ready to start accepting clients.
Usually, this step involves getting an internet connection to resell, then placing your sector antennas, access points, routers, and switches on a tower.
If you own land in the area, putting up a tower would be a great idea. It is one way to get passive income from the land – but that is not always possible. I resulted in renting tower space for a small monthly price. That eliminated the need for building one, and it also came with a fiber connection on site.
Climbing towers is not for everyone. And that’s why you need to find networking technicians who can set up the antennas and access points for you. And it’s also worth noting that these guys are not cheap. That’s why I did most of the work myself.
Here comes the tricky part – connecting clients. This part depends on how well you did the research phase. Is there a need for a good internet connection in that neighborhood? What about competitor pricing? With these questions in mind, you can advertise and win potential clients.
I rely mostly on word of mouth for marketing, but I’ve also put up several door hangers on random houses in my coverage area. The secret to marketing your internet business is delivering quality services. If you can do that, your WISP will be profitable in no time. Just keep at it and upgrade your gear periodically, and you should be fine.