Wireless Internet Service Provider

What Does Wireless Internet Service Provider Mean?

A wireless Internet service provider (WISP) is an Internet service provider that allows users to connect to a server through a wireless connection such as Wi-Fi. WISPs provide additional services such as virtual private networking VoIP and location-based content.


In the United States, wireless networking is mainly chosen by isolated municipal ISPs and large state-wide initiatives. WISPs are more popular in rural areas, where the users may not be able to use cable and digital subscriber lines (DSL) for Internet access.

Techopedia Explains Wireless Internet Service Provider

Wireless Internet service providers mesh networking or other devices built to operate over open bands between 900 MHz and 5.8 GHz. The devices may also include licensed frequencies in ultra-high frequency (UHF) bands, including multichannel multipoint distribution service (MMDS) bands.

The operating mechanism of a WISP involves pulling an expensive and large point-to-point connection to the center of the area that needs to be serviced. The process involves scanning the area for an elevated building on which wireless equipment can be mounted. The WISP may also connect to a point-to-presence (PoP) and then backhaul to the required towers, thereby eliminating the need to provide a point-to-point connection to the tower.

For consumers who wish to access a WISP connection, a small dish or antenna is placed on the roof of the consumer’s house, connecting to their own router, and is pointed back to the WISP’s nearest antenna site. In a heavily populated area operating at 2.4 GHz band frequency, access points mounted on light posts and consumer buildings can be quite common.

It is often difficult for a single service provider to invest in building an infrastructure to offer global access to its users. In order to encourage roaming between service providers, a Wi-Fi alliance has been established, which approves a set of recommendations known as WISPr to enable internetwork and interoperator roaming for Wi-Fi users.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…