With one Meraki wireless mesh project successfully up and running for a year (110 resident units in a 15 story condo), we are still searching for the appropriate business plan to properly structure future Meraki installations. As a system integrator, our strengths are in design and deployment, not fielding the midnight call that someone can't connect to the internet. The first install was a condo-owned install, we were just the hired guns to make sure it was done correctly.
Has anyone effectively transitioned from integrator to Wireless ISP or is there some hybrid where we can capitalize on our expertise in wireless but not overextend ourselves with ISP type support and NOC requirements?
My initial thought is to partner with an existing ISP and let them handle the maintenance.
(pardon the pun, I couldn't help myself)
I am the network admin for a large WISP in Arkansas and also have a decent business for installing Wi-Fi in hotels so I have some perspective.
I would be interested in hearing your experiences with Meraki. It looks like a neat concept.
In my hotels, I outsource my support to a third party. The hotels pay them and I get a commission, which doesn't add up to much, but that is fine with me if I don't have to answer midnight calls about why their Win95 machine won't connect. You could think about doing something like that.
Who are the residence paying for Internet?
What physical area are you trying to service? Customers in a city, county or state?
Where are you located?
Let me know if I can be of any help. Thanks!
I am in Atlanta and your model is precisely what I am trying to emulate.
Our current deployment is a condo-owned (residents pay with their HOA dues) installation. We are hands off except for any issues with connectivity. Aside from installation costs and hardware (which was $49 per node at the time, the price is not $149 per node) the residents split 4 DSL lines and pay an average of $0.94 per month versus their $42 per month before.
they pull between 2 and 5 gigs a day and I can monitor it using the meraki dashboard. There is built in monitoring and billing and network analysis. I have not had any major problems with the network except for some initial issues with their portal. We now run with no splash page and just broadcast the SSID and all users can connect.
There have been power outages and when they are localized to a floor, the residents don't notice the issue because the active nodes around the clients are still running and the built in routing finds the best path out to the internet.
We are currently trying to target Condo and Apartments that are trying to extend their "Wifi by the Pool" to an amenity that they can offer to their residents.
We are also targeting outdoor malls.
But as you said, I don't want the support calls. Is your outsource company able to support any wireless issues or do they just field basic support? And more importantly, can they handle some more business!
The company I use is Guest Direct (www.guestdirect.com).
I'm not sure how their pricing model would work with your situation since I only use them for hotels. The do deal with wireless issues. They will even get into the equipment to troubleshoot it if you let them. The more you can document for them, the better. They are very good about troubleshooting client issues. If they can't fix it or they get a high number of calls, they send you an escalation email with the call details.
They are based in Missouri which is a nice option in the outsourcing world.
I come to Atlanta fairly often so maybe next time I can take a look at the Meraki product. Thanks!
Thank you for the valuable information. I will research it.
Our implementation is about 20 minutes from the CWNP World Headquarters ;) and the customer is happy to show it off. Give me a ring next time you are in town.