Getting the most out of your climbs

I have been wanting to write this article for awhile. When the topic is fresh in my mind I am usually too tired from a day of climbing. By the time things get around the lessons learned have escaped me. So, after a day of being in the sun on a 150 foot monopole I figured I would share some best practices.  These are aimed toward the WISP who wants to maximize their climbs.


1.Tighten sector brackets on the ground and other bolts.  If it is holding it to the sector tighten it. The idea is the climber wants to be able to position the antenna against the mounting pole as easily as possible without needing extra hands.  Sometimes having both hands free is a challenge.  If you want to adjust downtilt on the ground the following links can help speed up the process. This is not necessary nor is it a requirement.  It just is one less thing to do in the air. Some helpful Links:

Proxim Downtilt Calculator

Wisp-Router downtilt calculator

I am planning on another blog article about downtilt calculations and my thoughts. We will go into this in a future post.

2.For Wireless backhaul shots in the 0-7 mile range use google earth.  Draw a line between the two points and use two reference points to get in the neighborhood.  By looking at the below screenshot I know to align my path over the edge of the building almost at the base of the tower.  This helped me determine mounting location and get a pretty close aim. You can get fancy with compasses, GPS alignment devices, and other high-tech toys, but people are typically visual people.  Having a reference point is easier on the mind than having a number like 121 degrees off north.  Microwave shots are a different beast so don’t lump tight beamwidth licensed links into the above statement.


3.Don’t get too hung up on labels.  Instead I like to color code things.  If I am putting up 3 sectors I will get some colored tape and label them with a blue piece, a red piece, and a green piece.   This way if the client wants to have a sector facing north We have the software labeled blue.  I can identify color and tell the ground crew I faced the blue sector north. Makes things easier in the high stress environment of being hundreds of feet in the air. The cellular companies have some standardized labeling of their sectors:

Alpha is the North FACING vertical antenna on the cell tower
Beta is the Southeast FACING vertical antenna on the cell tower
Gamma is the Southwest FACING vertical antenna on the cell tower

I would suggest come up with a SOP for all your tower deployments, but be flexible.  Due to the various mounting locations it’s not always prudent to cookie cutter a WISP deployment like the cellular folks do.  I have installed gear on towers where you have a small corner of a rooftop or grain facility.  Due to other things being up there, the fact you are trading service or paying very little, your mounting options may be limited.


4.On a related note color code everything. If you use colored tape, make sure to match the ethernet cables going to the sectors.  This way it is easier to identify the cable going to the sector. This also helps in easier identification of where things are plugged in.

5.There are six phases of the a WISP deployment.
Stage one- assembly and staging
Stage two – Mounting radio equipment and antennas
Stage three – Connecting power and connectivity.
Stage four – Physical adjustment and tuning
Stage five – Testing and tweaking
Stage six – cleanup and zip up

Think about each of these.  This will be another future blog post.

6.Have a plan of action.  Have a flexible order of doing things. Be able to adjust this on the fly due to various factors.  Sometimes is makes sense to mount the sectors, backhauls, and any other boxes at the top.  Once you have them mounted then make the connections.  Other times it may make sense to run the cable when you mount the device.

7. Have a loadout of specific tools in a bucket or tool pouch.  I like to include the following:
Knife – Automatic or assisted opening
Crescent wrench
Super-88 Tape
Zip ties
Phillips Screwdriver
Flat Screwdriver
Slip Joint pliers
Other tools such as ratchet wrenches, different sized tools, power tools, etc. are handy, and can make life easier. However, the above tools will allow you to 90% of what you need to do to install or remove most WISP equipment.  The flat screwdriver can be used to pry things loose or for leverage.

8.If you can do it on the ground do it.  Terminating and testing cat-5 is easier on the ground than 150 feet in the air.


9. Train the ground crew to think about how this affects someone on the tower.  Most of the time folks don’t have the luxury of platforms. So they are hanging off the tower in awkward positions.  Doing a pull with 3 sectors attached to a load line might seem like you are saving time, but it might make things complicated for the climber.  Sometimes, 3 pulls might make their life easier.  They only have to deal with one thing at a time.  They aren’t fighting trying to unhook multiple antennas or figuring out what is what.  This is where straps come in very handy. A strap allows a climber some extra flexibility to move things around and position them better.

10.Have a checklist of sorts.  This can be a running thing as you go along.  I routinely tell the ground crew to remind me to do this.  If you have someone writing this stuff down they can read it back to you before you come down.

There are a great variety of tools, tricks, and ways of putting stuff on the tower.  Many people have their own ways of doing things.  These are just some of the best practices I have come up with through experience. We could debate tape vs zip ties and other things for hours.  Please leave comments and some tips that make your life easier.


MTIN WISPA Announcement

MTIN would like to announce some exciting new services for ISPs and network operators

The first is Midwest Internet Exchange ( )

MidWest-IX has created a peering fabric we are expanding to data centers focused on the needs of WISPs and network operators such as yourself. Peering can be a valuable, and cost-effective solution for your ISP. MidWest-IX has created a solution based around those needs.

We are tailoring and providing these services to the WISP community as a way of making everyone stronger. WISP operators need advantages. MidWest-IX can provide lower latency to content providers such as Netflix. MidWest-IX can cut down on transit costs through peering. We are also creating an ever-growing marketplace for members to provide redundancy, market goods and services to each other, and create a WISP peering cloud. We have many more benefits of an exchange listed at:

We have exchange services available at:

350 East Cermak Chicago Illinois
733 West Henry Street Indianapolis Indiana
401 North Shadeland, Indianapolis Indiana
900 Walnut St. Louis Missouri
535 Scherers Court Columbus, Ohio

If you are a WISP in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, or Missouri contact us on how we can leverage the exchange to help your business. Other locations planned for 2015.

Our next announcement includes services in several Data Centers.

MTIN in cooperation with Midwest Internet Exchange (M-IX) offers co-Location, bandwidth, peering, transport, and managed services.

Do you have a need for circuit termination, server/router space, or peering in any of the above locations? Let us put together a managed solution for you. MTIN can handle the ins and outs of cross-connects, facilitating ports to the exchange fabric, and other data center needs. A data center can be an intimidating thing. Let us take the guesswork out of it for you.

Services Include
-Bandwidth (let our experts provide unique and out-of-the-box solutions)
-Cross connects and cable landings
-Off-site backup and DR
-Co-location (TierIV and basic Co-location)
-Connections to 3rd Party networks such as Internet2
-BGP Peering

MTIN provides xISP consulting and backend solutions. BGP, OSPF, routing, DNS, network engineering, and other services. Talk to us how we can put together a complete solution to optimize your network. Our Engineers can design a cost-efficte solution that fits you and your needs.

Contact us:

Tel: 317.644.2224

News from the WEB – ISP Edition
Add NewWave Communications
 to the growing list of ISPs large and small that are promising to soon offer 1 Gbps speeds — albeit to a tiny portion of their overall subscribers. The company has announced that they’re planning to offer 1 Gbps to a handful of rural markets starting next year
California this week became the first state in the country to pass a law requiring that cell phones include so-called “kill switch” functionality to deter theft, enabled by default
Intel is revealing what it calls the world’s smallest standalone wireless modem for connecting the Internet of things, or everyday things that are connected to the web like coffee machines that you can turn on with a mobile app.

Most Popular Services

I was recently asked what some of our most popular services we offer to clients are.  The following are the top ones that come to mind

1.Converting bridged networks to routed
2.Remote Monitoring from our Data Centers. This allows a client to be notified in case they lose connectivity to the outside world.
3.Backend automation.  Implementing radius, monitoring links, and other things to give the ISP more information
4.Data Center services such as DNS hosting, circuit termination, and bandwidth.
5.Mikrotik configuration and support

WISPA Call To Action 5725-5850 band

From Rick Harnish

Purpose: Call To Action to support WISPA’s Petition for Reconsideration

Subject: FCC First Report and Order in the Matter of Revision of Part 15 of the Commission’s Rules to Permit Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII_ Devices in the 5 GHz Band (ET Docket No. 13-49)


This email is a request to all WISPs and other entities that use the 5725-5850 MHz band.  On March 31st, the FCC adopted new rules for the 5 GHz bands.  While WISPA petitioned successfully to retain unlimited gain antennas, the FCC adopted more stringent out-of-band emission limits by eliminating Section 15.247 rules and placing all new equipment under Section 15.407.  Currently, most 5.725-5.850 MHz equipment operates under Section 15.247 rules. In two years, Section 15.247 equipment will no longer be legal to manufacture. Requiring all new equipment to be certified under Section 15.407  has SEVERE ramifications for the WISP Industry. Section 15.407 equipment will be much more expensive (will need expensive additional filters) and will operate on fewer channels (will have to stay away from the band edges). That’s why WISPA is putting out a CALL TO ACTION, to encourage all WISPs and others who use this band to file FCC comments supporting the Petitions of Reconsideration filed by WISPA, Cambium Networks, Mimosa Networks and JAB Wireless.  Below are links to the First Report and Order and all of the Petitions for Reconsideration. Please review the seven points that are listed below the links and choose the point (or points) that you feel are the most significant and that have the most impact your WISP operation. Discuss those points in your FCC Comments.

FCC First Report and Order in the Matter of Revision of Part 15 of the Commission’s Rules to Permit Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII_ Devices in the 5 GHz Band (ET Docket No. 13-49)

Wireless Internet Service Providers Association Petition for Reconsideration
Cambium Networks, LTD. Petition for Reconsideration
Mimosa Networks, Inc. Petition for Reconsideration
JAB Wireless, Inc.

On July 21st, Steve Coran, telecommunications counsel for WISPA and Rick Harnish, Executive Director of WISPA met with key staff people for Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, O’Reilly and Chairman Wheeler.  We stressed the importance of reconsidering this change in the rules.  We followed these meetings with a meeting with the staff of the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET).  We emphasized the following points:

1.      We thanked the Commission for preserving unlimited gain antennas in this band
2.      We explained how the new restrictions on out-of-band emissions (Section 15.407) would cause severe consequences for the WISP Industry and for many other industries, including Oil/Gas, School Systems, Aggregate Processors, Food Processors, County Governments and many more.
3.      We explained how many rural communities only source of Broadband is fed by this “Workhorse” band and would possibly go dark and/or service levels (capacity) would be compromised by the this change in rules, which would affect link distance, useable frequencies and capacity.

4.      We also explained how the new rules would cause manufacturers to add filtering to the radios, which would not only cost much more to produce, but would decrease the available spectrum from 125 MHz to 45 MHz due to a 40 MHz filter needed on both ends of the band.
5.      We explained that this decrease in useable spectrum would limit the ability for Wisps to use more than two sectors for Point to Multi-Point use and would cause a decrease in potential capacity to the consumers.
6.      We explained that the lower power/smaller antenna option to comply with the rules would cause some consumers to entirely lose their service due to distance limitations.  We also explained that consumers who have had service for many years, would not understand why they would either lose service or would now have to pay for a new installation (new more expensive radio) which would have less capacity and speed.
7.      We explained that many rural communities are fed by long distance PTP links in this band, which would not be possible with these new rules or would cause operators to have to build more towers at approximately $50,000 per tower, in order to retain service to these communities.  This would cause undue hardship on the operators and the consumers served by these links.  In some cases, the demographics of the communities would prevent the operator from investing in more towers and radios in order to retain service to these communities.

 We now encourage everyone to file comments supporting all of the above petitions for reconsideration.  The FCC and OET encouraged Steve and I to have operators file commentsexplaining the economic impact of these rule changes, examples of long distance links which would be impossible to make,given the rules changes, and other hardships the new rule will impose upon your business.  Please put your comments on your company letterhead.  Below are links to file your documents or comments.  You can read previous comments at

Azotel Webinar

e-mail from azotel:

I would like to inform you of the next Azotel SIMPLer online training webinar, taking place on Thursday, February 27th at 2.30PM London time. The topic covered will be Master/Sub Account Management in SIMPLer.

Further information on this topic can be found at page 47 of the following location:

If you are interested in attending this month’s training webinar, places are limited, so please sign up by sending your name and company name by email to before Wednesday February 26th.

Not interested in this month’s topic? Send your suggestions to – these will be considered for future webinars.