What is a WISP or Wireless Internet Service Provider?

WISPs use fixed wireless broadband technology to deliver the same high speeds and service of traditional broadband providers but delivered wirelessly as opposed to through buried cables.

Typically, a small antenna is placed on your home or office that receives a direct signal from a WISP tower near by. Unlike technology used for cellular data, the wireless connection from your home “end point” and the tower allows for fast reliable service via a fixed wireless connection. This prevents the interrupted data experienced by cell phone users that often happen as signals bounce from one tower to another.

How is a WISP different from DSL?

DSL internet service requires a phone line connected to your house and the monthly fees that go along with it. DSL’s quality of service is effected by distance from the provider’s hub and how many other customers are on at the same time.

WISPs offer consistent speeds throughout the day and service doesn’t degrade from one house to the next. Availability of DSL has no bearing on whether you can get Internet access from a WISP. Plus, with the number of WISPs growing rapidly fewer and fewer areas are reliant on obsolete DSL technology. Providers on the UWN consistently offer better performance at lower prices than the DSL competition.

How is a WISP different than Cable?

Traditional cable broadband service via your TV provider is only available if the provider has already dug trenches and buried wires to your home or business. And for most, cable broadband also means you are pressured into purchasing a contract “bundle” of phone and TV services to get their best prices.

Availability of cable broadband has no bearing on whether you can get Internet access from a WISP. Once a tower is broadcasting, wireless broadband is available to just about everyone for miles in every direction. A local wireless internet service provider provides competitive speeds and excellent customer service, often at lower prices. Plus, the added value of never having to deal with “big cable” again.

Is a WISP right for my business?

Wireless broadband internet is a perfect match for small businesses. With services from a WISP, businesses can scale their bandwidth, data and service needs as they grow. Your local WISP has experience bringing high speed service to businesses in your area, and a quick chat about your needs can help them offer a custom plan for you and your team, rather than the one-size-fits-all “business bundle” offered by the large providers.

How is a WISP different than Satellite Internet?

Satellite technology has similar reach of the WISPs but suffers from data lags called “latency” as the signals literally travel to space. Data usage caps are common and costs tend to be higher than those offered by fixed wireless providers.

Wireless high speed broadband from a local WISP can prove an excellent alternative to satellite in rural areas where traditional broadband infrastructure has not yet been laid and customers are stuck with slow, expensive service.

How is a WISP different than Cellular Hotspots or Mobile Broadband?

While “mobile broadband” sounds very similar to “wireless broadband” the technologies are very different. The wireless connections offered by a WISP deliver a high speed signal (up to 150 Mbps in some areas) directly to your home or office via one fixed connection, rather than by piggy backing off a number of cellular towers in the area.

To get the portability required in a cell phone, the technology sacrifices reliability and signal strength. Service quality suffers as your data bounces from one tower to another and can get dropped the farther you are from the tower and during periods of bad weather such as rain and fog.

Will my service be effected by weather?

Certain Wireless technologies (Satellite, cellular, for example) can be affected by weather, however members of the UWN can calibrate the frequencies used by WISP technologies to reduce and eliminate what is known as “rain fade.”

How do I ensure my network is secure?

While each ISP deploys different security protocols, the most vulnerable point of a connection is the end customer’s wifi network. Keeping your home network secure is key to making sure your connection stays clean.  A few things to remember:

  1. Always encrypt your network –  A WiFi network without a password is like a home without a door, you are just asking for unwanted guests.
  2. Change the default settings – Your router typically comes with common default settings for the network name, password, and IP address. It is best to change all of these as soon as you can.
  3. Use a strong password – Avoid you name, your dog’s name, your phone number etc. – if your neighbors could guess it, its not secure.  Alway combine letters, numbers, characters and cases.

Learn more by speaking with your local WISP, or check out this handy guide from CNET.

What if I have technical questions?

The best part about working with a WISP is that your local provider is there to answer all of your questions, without entering the maze of automated phone prompts and hours of wait time. Take a quick look on the UWN for your local WISP, give them a call or shoot them an email with any specific questions you have. There is a team of real, local people behind every WISP, and they all take pride in delivering great customer service.

How reliable is the service?

WISP technology allows for 99.9% uptime, meaning as close to constant as possible, which is the same guarantee offered by large tech companies like GoogleMicrosoft, and Social Media sites.

Will I be able to stream video from Netflix, Amazon, etc.?

We offer plenty of speed and bandwidth to handle binge watching your favorite shows and movies, large downloads and video conferencing.



Smartlink Technology, LLC
1901 Sunset Drive
Poplar Bluff, MO  63901


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