I have searched all over the place. most of the information that I find is 10 years old or older and mostly deals with Dial up.

I have recently been tasked with finding out what equipment would be needed to start an ISP. The end users/ customers would need to be able to use 1.5, 5, 10 mbps (possibly Higher).
It is my understanding that the following would be needed:

Multiple T3 or OC3 Lines
Access Switch
Dns Server
Email Server
Web Browsing Server
Routers / Sitches
Need to lease lines from upstream providers.

Additional Items
Backup Generator
HVAC Cooling System

Then the other obvious items of building/employees etc.

Can anyone add additional information on things that I am missing or what equipment you would recommend? Any information will be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

Hi there,

My specialty is FM so I'll touch that first. Once you have your building you would need not only a HVAC system but also a BMS such a Trend to run the system. Generally you would also have redundant A/C capacity should a faulty occur with the BMS (they are known for being temperamental).

Does the building have a sufficient power supply? Depending on the type of building and the scale, do you need to implement an additional phase or additional capacity?

Fire systems, there are often linked with the BMS so that ventilation is controlled in the event of a fire.

As well as relevant signage, emergency lighting etc - all of which (and the above) need to be to the correct code.

In the event of a power failure, do you have back-up cooling systems? Will the equipment dissipate heat effectively?

Security and access control, how will you control access to the data centre? Swipe cards, mag locks, keys, multi locks, biometric, RFID. CCTV? Local or remote?

An awful lot to think about, but at present you have far too many variables, once you know the demographic and estimated number of end users you'll be able to cost the equipment, the space you'll need, the building to accommodate it, the staff to main it, the insurers to underwrite it, the systems to protect it and so on.

The cost will add up also, a basic Trend BMS panel is around £25k alone.

Hope it all works out for you


You can start an ISP service small - a late friend of mine did that in his little town in central Massachusetts, where there was no DSL or cable internet - only dial-up. I think he started with a T1 or fractional T3, and worked out something with the local phone company or cable provider to provide DSL or cable modem services to their customers. His customers included the local schools, library, and the general public.

So, you need the means for people to connect to you, enough bandwidth to handle them (maximum bandwidth / customer != actual bandwidth experienced - make that clear in the user agreements), a DNS and dhcp server, a block of routable IP addresses that can be assigned via the dhcp server. It may be possible to use NAT so that the IP addresses are not routable from the internet, but then if they have their own internal network they would be going through two or more NATs to get on the Internet.

As for an email server, let them use services such as gmail. No one uses their ISP mail any more, or they don't if they are smart. Web browsing server? Why? Are you going to provide hosting services? Finally, you will need a good router/switch. Unless you are hosting servers for your customers, you probably only need 2 router/switches - the primary and a backup.

For power, definitely a heavy-duty UPS is appropriate, and a backup generator (gas powered) that will kick in if the power is out for more than a few minutes. Get a UPS that also does power line conditioning and surge suppression. Eaton FERRUPS products are the ones I would use. Get a UPS and generator that provide 2x what you actually need to run your servers, routers, switches, and other gear.

Cooling? Well, it depends upon how much waste heat your systems are generating. A decent AC unit will get you started, but that depends upon where you are located. Up here in snow country, you can just pipe in cold air in the winter as you need it. Summertime around here is when the AC is needed.

Anyway, good luck!

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