Every year the technical and business leaders in the Wireless Internet Service Providers industry gather in Salt Lake to discuss changes and unique challenges.
This year’s conference (afmug.com) begins Jan. 31 and continues through Feb. 2 at the Utah State Fair Park.
Outside of metropolitan areas throughout the world Internet access can be a difficult proposition. Where cables can’t be run for a variety of reasons (distance, landscape, cost, and more) over the air and microwave solutions have emerged. To fill the market space Wireless Internet Service Providers, or WISPs, were born.
What began as a group-list-serve (an email posting board) between WISP operators across the continent, began to evolve into something more. As the information pipeline grew a movement gained traction suggesting face-to-face communication would facilitate more involvement and better information. A Utah WISP owner and operator, Chuck McCown, stepped in to fill the void. Initially the event was envisioned as an alternative to the traditional trade show, a user’s conference driven by the needs of those involved in the everyday activities of a WISP and not necessarily by sales pitches from sponsors. Now there is a mix of sponsor media, while still maintaining the roots of data sharing between WISP operators.
To further his own WISP, McCown, a design engineer by education and trade, began to invent additional technologies to improve the connection and reliability of wireless solutions. Wireless Beehive Manufacturing, or WB Manufacturing, has vertically integrated to such an extent that it now offers a wide variety of custom antenna design, rapid prototyping, tool and die manufacturing, plus injection molding. WB is an example of the technologies and information shared at Animal Farm.
When all of these things come together, Animal Farm happens. WISP operators and owners gather at this event to hear from industry leaders, and one another, to discuss everything from best practices to trends in municipal communication.