Gozoe Wireless, Marshall, TX

WITH THE RIGHT EXPERTISE, SEE THE FOREST THROUGH THE TREES

“With sound expertise from WirelessGuys, they directed us from a very expensive platform that wouldn't work to an affordable platform that did work.” GoZoe Wireless, Marshall, TX

The Client:

From its home base in Marshall, TX, GoZoe Wireless uses new age wireless technology to "reach the unreachable", allowing hundreds of rural customers to enjoy high-speed broadband service. GoZoe Wireless has for the past decade installed 900 MHz subscriber units and access points throughout Marshall and the surrounding areas. 

Until recently, the company used 100% Trango equipment. When rumors surfaced that Trango would be leaving the Point-to-Multipoint (PtMP) market, the company began using Canopy 900 MHz units with GPS sync and eventually converted to near 50/50% use of each product. According to GoZoe founder, Ashton Closner, Trango was "a little more bulletproof in the higher interference areas" and is "...more stable, has lower latency and is a little more resilient going through the foliage."

 

However, he found that he liked "... the higher throughput and ability to weight the upload/download" with Canopy. Closner began researching WiMAX 3650 GHz stating, that it "...was touted as being a near line of site or a non-line of site (NLOS) solution that would work, but there was very little feedback on whether it was actually working. In fact, I would say 90% of the people I spoke to said it absolutely would not work very well and we had only a few people saying they we're seeing pretty good results and it was going through trees, etc." 

 

The Challenge

For the past decade, wireless internet service providers (WISP) located in parts of the country with rolling hills and heavy foliage, were limited in product options necessary to provide service to their subscribers, and primarily employed the use of 900 MHz systems. While radios with frequencies of 2.4 GHz and higher were viable applications in less rural areas, they were unable to penetrate wood and shrubbery. 900 MHz systems were designed for deployment in areas where foliage and other obstructions obscure line-of-sight between the access point (AP) and the subscriber unit (SU).A quality 900 MHz system can provide excellent receiver sensitivity and overall system gain for non-line-of-sight (NLOS) range but the reduced speed and in-band interference were major drawbacks.

The Solution:

During his research, Closner discovered WirelessGuys, Inc, a prominent California company experienced in wireless networking and with deep industry coverage and expertise. WirelessGuys specializes in the design, installation, integration and support of wireless networks. After discussing his challenge, location and goals, WirelessGuys was able to provide the pros and cons of the 3650 equipment as it applied to his particular situation. They were able to determine that, in order for the signal to penetrate the trees, he would need to deploy a three-sector solution; second order diversity. The cost for Closner to get "up and running" was estimated be upwards of $30,000. WirelessGuys then discussed the potential use of beamforming equipment which they had been testing. Focusing the energy to and from the client on a per-packet basis, beamforming significantly increases the link gain and the interference resiliency of the base station. Additionally, this digital beamforming technology coherently combines the signals along different propagation paths to and from the client, exploiting multipath to its advantage. Beamforming technology provides a number of benefits that were particularly attractive to Closner and GoZoe Wireless: high quality NLOS coverage, increased throughput, superior interference mitigation ensuring good operation even in noisy environments, a standards based platform, a carrier grade weatherproof IP-67 design made to withstand extreme weather conditions and, cost effectiveness. 

According to Steven Williams, founder of WirelessGuys, Inc "WirelessGuys was able to show our client the results that we’ve discovered with beamforming...It does sound unusual that you can make 2.4 GHz field perform like 900, but it gets close." Williams explained that he was also initially skeptical about the concept, but after WirelessGuys lead engineers researched the science behind it and WirelessGuys field-tested it with positive results; he was very confident and recommended this solution to Closner. Williams told him it would not be a 100% 900 MHz replacement but noted that it had its place and could do some things that typical 2.4 and even 3650 were not doing. He stated that it would probably work better than the 3650 just because of the physics of it and told Closner, "We're seeing some very interesting results. I would suggest you give it a shot." On a "try and buy" basis, WirelessGuys set up the system for GoZoe and shipped it out.

 

The Test:

Closner stated that the first phase of installation was in a new territory that they had not deployed in and had expected to use the 3650. After receiving the recommended beamforming equipment from WirelessGuys, Closner reported that "I went and threw it up on a tower and interestingly enough, I put up some other 2.4 stuff and it just blew the other 2.4 stuff away." In a post on WISPA, Closner reported that he "Threw up the 'AP right next to where I had a point to point Ubiquity M2 to M2 client at about 3.6 miles with near line of sight who I could deliver 4 mb to with a signal of -80. I put up the beamforming AP with the same client radio and got 11 mg down and 9 up with -73." His initial response was "Wow, I never thought 2.4 could do that. I'd never seen 2.4 do anything like what I saw with just two or three clients as demos." Within two or three hours after being mounted, the unit was up and running "really well" at one client’s location. After encountering problems with interference at another customer location, he was able to immediately contact a WirelessGuys engineer who showed him a few basic tweaks "here and there" which resolved the problem. Closner stated, "After that, we pretty much have taken it from them and never had an issue with adjusting...We just obey the “tweaking directions and it's worked great."

The initial experience exceeded Closner's expectations, causing him to "try the unthinkable." He installed a beamforming sector 120 at the same height as a 90 sector Trango 900 MHz at about 90 feet which connected 18 customers in a heavily wooded oak and pine neighborhood. His thinking was that if he put up the 2.4 beamforming equipment he could switch some of his customers over to that unit and put the other customers on the Canopy 900 MHz, allowing him to offer more bandwidth to his 2.4 customers. With this in mind, his technicians connected 14 customers with Nanostations M2's and 4 with Nanobridges. He stated, "We just swapped a 900 for 2.4 and improved throughput from 2.5 Mb at AP to at least 25 Mb. I have seen about 25 Mb at one customer's house. The average is around 7 Mb and the worse customer was about 1.4 Mb due to a higher signal." Closner stated that he does not see beamforming as a 900 MHz replacement, but "I am saying that there is an amazing alternative to noisy areas or oversaturated 900 APs.

 

The Benefits:

In addition to the obvious speed and throughput advantages of WirelessGuys’ beamforming solution the cost effectiveness was another positive factor for Closner. He recognized that after the first phase of use, he thought, "Instead of going 3650 and spending $30,000 per tower, I think I'd rather invest in this and spend closer to $8,000 or $9,000 with three sectors, so it was a lot cheaper." The biggest selling point, according to Closner, is that GoZoe now has "...about three or four different power options on the CPE side and none of them are anywhere near as expensive as the 900 MHz CPE solutions which can perform a maximum of about 3 Mbs to a customer. And, we're able to push 10 Mbs to a customer easily as an upgrade to our service with the ability to offer tiered pricing." In addition, the ability to move his customers over to 2.4, allowed Closner to put much of his 900 MHz gear back into inventory for future use. He stated that "Now, I've got to look through my whole client network and decide where else I want to throw one of these up and peel these 900 clients off. Now I don't have to buy more 900 gear! I'm pulling equipment back from the field and I can now redeploy and reuse it other places."

 

Success:

Ashton Closner summed up his experience with WirelessGuys and the positive beamforming results, stating how helpful his WirelessGuys team has been. He was really impressed with how educated and experienced they were, “they really know their stuff and I now trust their guidance." Closner stated, "WirelessGuys have been fantastic and they absolutely know what they're talking about, they directed me down a very good course. It's been interesting and I have learned a lot. I deal with a lot of different vendors and some vendors are just salesmen who really don't know the product or the manufacturer that well. That’s the difference with WirelessGuys and why this has been a really good experience because it's been a true education, not just 'Hey, here's a good product but there's ten others just like them.'"

Finally, Closner had nothing but praise regarding his encounter with WirelessGuys, Inc stating that they did a "great job of consulting" and took him off of a very expensive platform that wouldn't work and gave him an affordable platform that did work.

 

Customer Quotes


Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe

"WirelessGuys' work was very timely. They worked quickly through any issues that came up and got everything done right and on time. Some companies throw their hands up when they run into obstacles. WirelessGuys tackled the issues, worked through them and still finished in a timely manner. They also brought significant expertise to our project in terms of their antenna and cabling work as well as their advanced project management skills."

Sober Living by the Sea

"After speaking with Steven Williams and his team, their expertise and technical know-how was very apparent. They basically sold themselves. During the installation, I was quite pleased with the knowledge, project management skills and technical know-how they brought to the table."

Pepperdine University

The magic wasn't just in the new technology. It was that WirelessGuys knew how to tune the system and make the necessary planning decisions. That is what we value them so highly for. The expertise they brought to the table was just incredible!

Sober Living by the Sea

"I've had several questions since the project was completed and WirelessGuys has supported me in every way, even when the issues we faced weren't part of their wireless installation at all."

City of Monrovia , CA

"WirelessGuys' sales and technical staffs are very good and easy to work with."

   

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