Alamo Broadband Success Story

Learn how this Texas WISP fixed their Bufferbloat issues, reduced ‘internet is slow’ calls, and improved subscriber quality of experience.

Meet Alamo Broadband

With an extensive technical background in network coding, Joe Portman, President of Alamo Broadband, founded his fast-growing WISP in Elmendorf, Texas over seven years ago. Joe had been researching Bufferbloat and looking for ways to measure and reduce the latency it caused in his network when he discovered Preseem and soon became an early adopter of the QoE platform.

Detecting Bufferbloat with Preseem

After deploying Preseem, it quickly became apparent that Joe’s concerns about Bufferbloat in his network were real and likely explained a large percentage of the “my internet is slow” calls he was receiving from subscribers. Large, un-managed packet buffers, a.k.a. Bufferbloat, cause high latency when a connection nears its capacity. If you’ve ever observed ping times go up or had your Zoom call ruined when downloading a file, you’ve been a victim of Bufferbloat.

In most WISP networks, the two main causes of a poor subscriber experience are plan enforcement solutions based on simple queues and congested Access Points (APs). Preseem’s Quality of Experience (QoE) Optimized Plan Enforcement directly addresses the first of these problems and our QoE reporting provides key insight into the latter.

How Alamo Broadband Fixed Bufferbloat Issues

Preseem’s detailed QoE metrics showed Alamo exactly which APs (and in some cases backhaul radios) were providing a poor customer experience. This information allowed Joe to address the underlying network issues. For example, the access point shown below exhibited high latency under load. Fixing these problems required a few key upgrades as well as frequency changes to alleviate interference.

Screenshot of latency on Alamo Broadband network

With the lower level QoE issues resolved, it was time to address the latency introduced by the Mikrotik-based plan enforcement solution, which makes use of simple deep queues in the bandwidth shapers. Preseem’s QoE Optimized Plan Enforcement, on the other hand, makes use of recent active queue management (AQM) advances to enforce plan speeds without introducing unnecessary latency or a poor experience under load. Preseem’s integration with Sonar to obtain subscriber and plan information made enabling plan enforcement a simple configuration change, with no time-consuming duplicate data entry required.

When Preseem’s QoE Optimized Plan Enforcement was enabled (to replace the Mikrotik shaping), the impact was immediate and dramatic. The example below comes from a Rocket 5AC Prism.

Screenshot of latency drop on Alamo Broadband access point

Whereas Alamo’s plans previously had a ‘bursting’ component, with Preseem they’re able to offer higher plan speeds at all times and deliver more throughput to their customers. This is possible because Preseem provides visibility into the QoE throughout the network, enabling immediate action if the subscriber experience degrades.

Screenshot of downstream bitrate graph in Preseem

Importantly, given the reduced number of support calls and Alamo’s use of an external service for after-hours support, Preseem resulted in lower business costs in addition to happier customers!

“‘My-internet-is-slow’ calls have all but ceased.”

Joe Portman
President, Alamo Broadband