Outsourcing a modem pool for dialup? Any advice?

Philip Hallstrom freebsd at philip.pjkh.com
Fri Jun 10 16:57:50 GMT 2005

>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: owner-freebsd-questions at freebsd.org
>> [mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at freebsd.org]On Behalf Of Philip
>> Hallstrom
>> Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2005 10:38 AM
>> To: freebsd-questions at freebsd.org
>> Subject: Outsourcing a modem pool for dialup? Any advice?
>> Hi all -
>> 	Our company has a product such that a small server is installed at 
>> each customer site.  This server dials up to the Internet every night 
>> and exchanges some content with a central server in our data center. 
>> Total transaction takes about 5 minutes.
>> Customers can have multiple sites.  Our largets to date has three, but 
>> some potentials have several hundred.
>> In the cases where the site does not have an existing Internet 
>> connection we currently use dialup via a major ISP.
>> This works for now, but won't for the long haul for a couple of 
>> reasons:
>> - they all are all sharing the same username and password (yes yes, I 
>> know...)
>> - we're moving into canada and this ISP doesn't have many local numbers 
>> up there.
>> - Dealing with local numbers and their somewhat frequent changing is a 
>> real headache.
> OK. Now then, am I assuming that if you go the 800 number route then 
> that you will be billing the customers for the LD usage on that or are 
> you going to eat it?
>> What I want is a modem pool with one local number (tied into an 800 
>> number) where I can create as many username/password pairs as needed. 
>> I want that local number to never change :-)
> Totally unnecessary since your using an 800 number.  If the local number
> changes you just repoint the 800 number to the new local number.

Mostly, but this way I can configure the local number first 
(1-xxx-xxx-xxxx) and then the 800 number so sites that allow long distance 
calls get billed for the call instead of us...  saves a bit of money...

>> Now... to make it fun...
>> - No, I can't install a dialup server in our corporate datacenter.
> Why not?  This is so calling out for you to run your own dialup server 
> that it is unbelievable.

Ah... I am glad I am not the only one who thinks that!!! :-)

Believe me... I could write volumes on why this isn't going to happen. 
Well, it might, but only if I can show that outsourcing is going to cost 
zillions of dollars.. and that's not even getting to the paperwork 
process.  I've tried before.  1.5 years later I haven't gotten any closer.

>> - No, I can't setup a freebsd server in satellite office.
>> That leaves me with an outsourced solution that needs to work with
>> FreeBSD's PPP.
>> Anyone know of anyone that does this sort of thing?  Or an ISP
>> that has a
>> service geared towards this (our current one does not).
> Most of the major telcos will do outsourced dialup.  The problem is this:

[snip of solutions]

The problem with these is they all require hardware to be placed 
somewhere... and if I was okay with that, I'd just put it in our office 
here so it's closer to me when it fails, but hte problem with that is our 
office loses power and it's just not designed for it.

> Frankly I think your really being business-stupid by ruling out a dialup 
> server in your datacenter.

Heh.  I completely agree.  I totally understand I'm going about this in 
the most inefficient way possible.  *sigh*  :-(

> If you program your remotes to call in under a staggered pattern rather 
> than all of them at midnight, you can probably go to a ratio of 50-to-1 
> or even higher.  If the data packet is small enough you probably could 
> do all of them on a couple of POTS phone lines.

Yep.  We could.

> All you need to do is pick up a used Portmaster, or Ascend Mux or even a 
> Cisco AS2509 and hang external modems on it, setup your RADIUS servers, 
> and your up and running.

Ah... and there's the trick :-)  If I could do that, I would just do that 
and put it in corporate's data center :-)



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