The Challenges of Scaling WISPs

TitleThe Challenges of Scaling WISPs
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsHasan, S., Ben-David Y., Bittman M., & Raghavan B.
Other Numbers3823

Wireless ISPs (WISPs) are one of the primary means of delivering broadband Internet access to rural and underserved areas of the world. However, WISP operators often struggle to maintain let alone grow their operations. We set out both to understand what challenges WISP operators face and to develop new approaches to help them in managing their networks. First, we present a study we conducted of operating WISPs to understand what barriers they face. Second, we describe our experiences building and using a software system for WISP management, and a new WISP we have built from the ground up using that system. We found that WISPs appear to reach natural scaling limits, and that despite excitement in the networking community about the promise of Software Defined Networking (SDN) in new environments, more mundane functionality like subscriber management provides much of the actual benefit to WISPs.


This work was supported by a grant from and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors or originators and do not necessarily reflect the views of Google or of the National Science Foundation.

Bibliographic Notes

Proceedings of the sixth annual Symposium on Computing for Development (ACM DEV 2015), London, United Kingdom

Abbreviated Authors

S. Hasan, Y. Ben-David, M. Bittman, and B. Raghavan

ICSI Research Group

Networking and Security

ICSI Publication Type

Article in conference proceedings