Conference Preview: WISP Virtual Summit 2020

photo credit: Jeff Little

It seems like ages ago that we blocked out time in our schedules to fly to technical conferences and immerse ourselves with great people and content for an entire week.

In reality, it’s only been a few months but 2020 has made it seem like a lifetime.

However, those of us in tech are quick to adapt and virtual conferences are now a thing.

For the fixed wireless industry, in-person conferences are critical because most of the attendees are entrepreneurs.

For a small business owner in tech, going to a show is one of the best ways to evaluate content and business opportunities needed to stay competitive in a short amount of time.

The first virtual conference for Wireless ISPs

Thankfully, due to some amazing efforts and collaboration in the WISP industry – led by Preseem and supported by WISPA, we are about to kick off the first virtual conference for the fixed wireless industry at 10 AM Eastern on July 28th, 2020.

An enormous amount of work has gone into planning and preparation to replicate the experience of an in-person technical conference as much as possible.

First thing’s first….get registered

Kick off the registration process by visiting:

First you’ll need to get registered by signing up and paying a very modest $25 registration fee – probably the least expensive tech conference you’ll ever attend.

My company, IP ArchiTechs is a platinum sponsor and you can use our discount code of IPARCHITECHS25 to save a few bucks before completing your registration.

Conference layout

When you first sign into the conference site at you’ll see a page similar to the picture above.

This is the main event area online where you can browse to virtual vendor booths, check the event schedule with speakers and live streams as well as earn points for prizes throughout the day.

There are chat areas, a social media wall and group discussions.

Getting Started

There is a great how-to video that’s very brief to quickly orient you on how to navigate the conference platform. Take a few minutes and check it out

Live Sessions/Agenda

Looking at the menu on the left, you’ll see all of the sessions planned for the day with times and links.

I’ll be talking about Overlays/Underlays for WISPs in the Core and Backhaul Network: Designing in 2020 session at 2:45 PM Eastern Time.

This session will be helpful if you want to learn more about technologies like MPLS, Segment Routing, VxLAN, VPLS and their role in a WISP network.

WISPA Keynote

The sessions will kick off with Claude Aiken, the President of WISPA giving a keynote on WISPs during the COVID-19 era at 10 AM Eastern time.

Virtual booths

Visit the virtual booth for each vendor to get contact information, a brief description of the company and videos to get an idea of how each company can benefit you and your WISP.

Just as it would be at an in-person conference, the booth will be staffed via chat and you can interact with people at the virtual booth in real time.

See you there!

I’ll be online all day along with the rest of the team at IP ArchiTechs if you’re interested in chatting about network design, operations or whatever….give us a shout.

Hope to see you there!

WISP Design – OSPF “Leapfrog” path for traffic engineering


One challenge that every WISP owner or operator has faced is how to leverage unused bandwidth on a backup path to generate more revenue.

For networks that have migrated to MPLS and BGP, this is an easier problem to solve as there are tools that can be used in those protocols like communities or MPLS TE to help manage traffic and set policy.

However, many WISPs rely solely on OSPF and cost adjustment to attempt to influence traffic. Alternatively, trying to use policy routing can lead to a design that doesn’t failover or scale well.

Creating a bottleneck on a single path

WISPs that are OSPF routed will often have a primary path back to the Internet at one or more points in the network typically from a tower that aggregates multiple backhauls.

As more towers are added that rely on this path, it can create a bottleneck while other paths are unused.


Creating an alternate best path by leapfrogging another router

One way to solve this problem is to use VLANs to create another subnet for OSPF to form an adjacency.

By tagging the VLAN from Tower 6 through Tower 3 and into Tower 4, a new path for OSPF is created that will cause Tower 6 and Tower 7 to take an alternate path.

This allows a WISP operator to tap into unused bandwidth while still retaining a straightforward failover mechanism.


Tower 6 and 7 can now use the alternative path

Now that a lower cost path exists at Layer 3 for Tower 6 and 7, the original best path become less congested and bandwidth that was previously unused can now be used to load balance traffic.


How to build the new path?

I often recommend “switch-centric” architecture also known as “router-on-a-stick” when building a WISP – there are a number of benefits to doing this. In this case, since the switches handle all connections, it’s fairly easy to tag a VLAN from Tower 6 to Tower 4 and create the “leapfrog” path.


A few closing thoughts

This works well when the towers you need to move onto an alternate path are part of a stub network – that is, they only have one way into the aggregation point before the traffic is split.

If you were trying to do this with rings that connect to other rings and had redundant paths, there could be unintended results so you need to plan the costs and paths carefully.

Labbing the topology to see what will happen is always a good idea.

Hope this is helpful for someone looking to get just a little more bandwidth out of an OSPF based WISP network.