How to Become an ISP

by Shenron on March 1, 2010

When you think of the internet and how you log on every single day, you probably don’t think about all of the work that goes on behind the scenes to make web pages load properly on your end. Most of us don’t. But, if you’re one of those people that takes into consideration all of the ins and outs of the internet and are interested in starting your own ISP to provide that same service to other people and make some money while you’re at it, keep reading. If you’re not ready for hours of hard work and a large startup cost, starting your own ISP may not be for you. But, if you can foot some potentially large startup capital in exchange for a large payout, the ISP game could be the thing for you.

ISP How to Become an ISP

1. Before you do anything else, you’re going to want to find a place to host your ISP. Obviously, you can start out operating things from your house or a small office building, but if you’re going to get serious, you’ll need a fairly large space to house all of your help support employees as well as your other IT professionals. Estimate a staff of about ten to fifteen to start and find a space that’s large enough to hold all of them on a daily basis. With that part laid out, go ahead and register your ISP with the state you live in and get a tax number. This, along with a bank account tied to your newly created business’ name will be enough to get started operating your business.

2. The next thing to consider is how you’re going to get your customers online. Laying your own cable is unfeasible unless you’re a multi million dollar corporation, so you’ll have to piggyback off of other network’s hubs. Contact some ISPs in your area and see how much they charge to rent T1 connections each month. Most starting ISPs put a few hundred users on a single T1 connection and depending on the time of day, you may need more or less bandwidth to handle the load of everyone trying to connect. But, to get started a single T1 from a local ISP should suffice.

3. Although you have the connection in place, how do you get users online with it? Well, you’re going to need some equipment. Firstly, you’ll need a PRI, or Primary Rate Interface. This allows you to route large amounts of traffic from users to the connection at any given time. Next up is a few dedicated servers to handle all of the basic tasks of an ISP. This includes a DNS Server, an email server (if you want to provide an email service), and a web browsing server. While all of these functions can be performed by a single machine, it is not advisable to put that much load onto a single server. We advise you house these servers at your local ISP’s office so they’re near your connection at all times. Finally, you’ll need to hook all of your devices together with a network hub that will get everything routed to the access switch, which will ultimately connect to the T1 connection that the ISP rents you. From here, you’re ready to get your customers online.

ISP 5 How to Become an ISP

Obviously it would be impossible to cover every single aspect of how to become an ISP in a single article. But, you need to have a thorough understanding of networking to even get started and if you’re still confused, contact your IT friends to get their opinions and help. There’s a lot of work involved in getting your own ISP up and running, but if you put in the time and effort, as well as the research behind everything you need to do to have happy customers, there’s no reason why you can’t have one up and running in a few months from now.

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