Isp Hardware

Written by Clive Swanepoel
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The ISP hardware required to start a small ISP business can be as simple as a server, a dedicated Internet connection, a few modems and phone lines. This "bare bones" start-up approach is unlikely to grow into a successful business because it lacks the redundancy that is needed to compete in the ISP industry. Subscribers expect to be able to get internet access at any time, without busy signals and dropped connections.

Starting a Small ISP Business

Typical ISP hardware consists of servers to handle the email, DNS and websites, routers with firewalls, switches, cabling, racks, and most importantly, the remote access server, or RAS, which controls subscriber access to the network. The email, DNS and website hosting servers could all be located on a single machine to start with, but there should also be a backup server on the network.

Internet service providers have found that they need at least one telephone line for every eight subscribers. The RAS should have a sufficient number of analog and digital ports to handle the anticipated subscriber base. It should also be easily scalable to accommodate expected growth.

ISP Hardware Is Designed for Reliability

Leading manufacturers of ISP hardware focus on reliability; the RAS server supplied by Patton Electronics is a good example of this approach. It includes redundant dual power supplies and no moving parts--the ventilated cabinet design eliminates the need for cooling fans. Reliable ISP hardware needs to be managed, so the RAS usually has software that enables administrators to monitor connection activity in real-time and fix problems as soon as they occur.

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