What do I need to be my own ISP?

What does it take to tap directly into the internet without using a DSL, Cable, or Dial-up company. Is this something one can buy? Is the whole set up expensive? Are there still monthly, or one time registration fees somewhere? What would I have to do to start my own ISP. Say I wanted to offer dial-up access for people. What would I need to let them call my computer to connect to the internet.
Could I start my own DSL too? Or can only the phone company do that?

Here’s a good article on the topic.

Starting your own ISP

And companies that will get you started are:




While I appreciate the response, it’s not quite what I’m looking for. Those links involve a person basically selling accounts for another company. The seller has a “virtual” ISP.

I’m looking for a technical description of what’s involved with an ISP. How could someone actually get on the internet without using some other ISP. How does a person go about being hardwired into the internet and becoming his OWN ISP. Is internic involved? Who’s in charge of new ISP companies, anyone?

What hardware/software makes AOL able to connect to the internet. People connect to AOL, which connects them to the internet. But what connects AOL to the internet. What does AOL have that we don’t??? I imagine it’s got to be something expensive or else, all the geeks on this board would have it.
I assume that the majority of this board is paying for some type of broadband, but is anyone here providing their OWN personal internet service? Is Opalcat? Even she is paying some other company to connect her servers to the internet, right??? She is not providing her OWN internet connection, is she?

Am I making ANY sense??

I’m not sure, but I believe that it’s a heavily regulated field, in any country, and that to get a direct connection you need to, directly or indirectly, pay for some of the network infrastructure that connects different cities together.

Your ISP generally connects to a “backbone provider” like UUNET:


They may connect through a variety of connection line types - T1, T3, etc. Follow the two links on theat page for a little more information.

Start by reading this

Since I work for an ISP, I can give you a general outline. It’s not hard or “heavily regulated”, unless you happen to live in a liberal nanny-state.

First you need bandwidth. That means buying a T1 or better from one of the big boys - Qwest, AT&T, UUNET (spamming bastards), etc. You’ll need a full-service T1, not just a business class, so you can resell it if you want to. Plan on spending $600-$1400/month for this.

Next you need IP space - this might be included with your T1, it might not. You’ll want to buy IP space from the same provider as your bandwidth if you can to avoid problems.

Third you need something to hook this bandwidth up to. Most people buy Cisco gear for this, and it’s worth it if you have the money. You can find it used on eBay for cheap, but the service contract (if you want support) can be a bitch to get if you don’t buy it new. You could also get a plain PCI ATM interface card and use BSD or Linux. (ATM here stands for Asynchronous Mode Transfer).

You can now hook up your home network and suck down as much data as you want - run KaZaa 24/7 and no one will care. You’ll only be getting 1.54 Mbps though on a single T1.

If you want to actually sell to customers, you’ll want more servers to host your domain and email, and webpages, etc. Plan on at least six more computers - you can get by with less, but more is good for security and spares.

Now, if you’re going to offer DSL, you’ll need to call the local phone compan(y, ies) and ask to be a Global Service Provider. This will cost more money, in the neighborhood of $400/month for the basic circuit. You’ll need another router or ATM card. This will let you be a service provider on the DSL in your LATA - anyone in the LATA can select you as a provider, and their traffic will be routed to you.

For dialup, you call your phone company (by now they’ve assigned you a rep) and get a block of telephone lines tied to one number - usually done in blocks of 24. You can get seperate lines, but that’s a PITA. With a whole block of 24, you plug the interface into your modem bank and it’s all digital - no stringing lots and lots of phone wires. Modem banks are cheap, less than $200 for a fairly new unit that will handle up to 24 modems per card, 8-10 card slots, $30 or so per card.

Then hire someone to do tech support (like me!), someone else to do billing, a couple of geeks if you’re running Linux/BSD servers, and advertise yourself.

All told you’re looking at about $20K-$50K in startup costs depending on how much capacity you want to start with, and about $3K/month in recurring costs outside of utilities and salaries. With a single T1 you can serve a lot of modem customers or not very many DSL users. You’ll want to look at pricing on fractional DS3s, which run from 4 to 45 Mbps. It’s about $6,000/month for 4 Mbps, $8,ooo/month for 12 Mbps, and $12,000/month for the full 45 Mbps where I’m at. At that point your provider may have to run fiber to your premises, or require you to locate at their CO.

In direct answer to your question, there is no such thing as a “direct connection to the Internet” - it’s all a web of bandwidth providers moving data. Your ISP has their own service provider, who may be reselling bandwidth from someone else entirely. AOL has contracts with most of the major network providers who own and run the fiber optic lines that form the biggest data pipes. So do the major ISPs like Earthlink, Comcast, etc.

Now, if you wanted to be one of the fat pipe providers? Hope you’ve got a few hundred billion dollars under your mattress - that’s what it would take to lay coast-to-coast fiber, light it up, and keep it going 24/7/365. And then you’s have to negotiate peering agreements with other backbone providers to make sure your traffic got to other people…

Hopefully, this is just a minor aside, but why are some folks so enamored with T1 lines? My home DSL line gives me 6 Mbps down and 768 Kbps up. (Tests out at 5.2/650) Obviously, this is asymmetric, but still, I can suck down data at close to 4 times the speed of T1. And a heck of a lot cheaper than that T1.

And how does it work for corporate networks? Last I knew, the building I’m in has an OC-12 connection to the world. (Plus a half-gaggle of T1 lines for phones, video conferencing, etc.) Does this OC-12 line run unbroken to our regional “supernode” 90 miles away? Or does our data get poured into the Internet and get routed and bounced around from here to the supernode? Our supernodes all have redundant OC-768 lines.

Which brings the next question: These OC-12 and OC-768 lines - Do we own (or rent) physical and dedicated fibers? Or again, is this just capacity flowing through the Internet?

A T1 or E1 is a leased line, direct from the Internet to you so you aren’t sharinf bandwidth asd you are with your ADSL. The T1 may not have the same download speed but at least you are 100% sure that you always have the bandwidth whenever you need it, whereas your ISP may end up with too many clients and you’d notice a reduction in your available bandwidth.

Oh yes, and if they’;re promising you 6 Mbps down for anythign approaching a reasonable rate, they are probably not going to be able to maintain that with more customers.

smiling bandit and Ponster have nailed it. Your home ADSL connection may promise 6.0M/768K or something similar, but try using 100% of that 24/7 and you’ll find yourself disconnected. T1/E1/DS3/etc lines deliver a much higher Quality of Service (QoS) than any consumer-grade connection can. See, ADSL is so cheap because the company is betting you won’t use that connection anywhere near 100% of the time. The standard varies by area, but it’s typically 0.10% to 0.50% for home users, around 1% to 1.5% for businesses.

This means that the company will oversell their bandwidth by 200x to 1000x - meaning for every 1000 customers that have 6.0Mbps connections, they’ll have 6.0Mbps of dedicated bandwidth. Now you know why people who run P2P apps get nasty letters, or get dropped with no notice. And the broadband companies are starting to share lists of network abusers, so you may not be safe with another provider.

gotpasswords: If you’re working for a Fortune 200 company, you may in fact own the fibers. Or rather, you have them on long-term lease from the people that installed them, since most non-telcos don’t dig their own trenches. I would wager if the local “supernode” has redundant OC-768 (40 Gbps!!!) lines and your company is the sole user, you’re working for one of the top ten bandwidth providers, or one of the Fortune 50. No one else uses that much bandwidth, except for the military. Or you’re sharing a datacenter with a lot of other people. I can’t even begin to estimate the costs of running a single OC-768 let alone redunant links. I couldn’t tell you if you have unbroken fiber or if it routes over another system without knowing specific details.

Oh, in case anyone wonders, I’m in New Mexico and the entire state has I think two OC-12s. sigh