Gareth B Jenkins Gareth B Jenkins Content Strategist | Copywriter | Scriptwriter

The Brief
A freelance commission produced along with a technical writing series for the server appliance specialist Appliansys. This case study was produced to refresh the company's case studies section and, as part of that series, to demonstrate the global reach of the British company.

The Content

Esplanade Wireless

California might be home to Silicon Valley but 168 miles north of the world’s computing hub, ISP Esplanade Wireless is finding it impossible to acquire enough bandwidth to meet its customers’ needs. Online research, by one of the ISPs partners, revealed that Appliansys could offer the ideal solution.

About Esplanade

Esplanade is a small ISP in Gualala, California.  It provides broadband to around 4,000 customers, across six communities in Gualala, The Sea Ranch, Point Arena, Anchor Bay, Manchester, Irish Beach, and Elk. Esplanade launched its broadband wireless service in 2003.

Challenge

Jason Coleman says that he is blessed to work on a five-and-a-half mile wide strip of north California coastline but he also recognises that his remote surroundings are far from ideal for accessing more bandwidth.

Jason, along with five friends, runs Esplanade, a small ISP in Gualala, California. San Francisco is the closest major city and it’s around 115 miles to the south. Esplanade provides broadband to around 4,000 customers, across six communities, through three T1 connections. Both customers and traffic were increasing – a fourth T1 was needed to meet demand but, after contacting local providers, Jason was told that there were none available.

“We’re stuck out here and we don’t have the options available to internet users in the city,” explains Jason. “There’s no Qwest here and, across the two counties we cover, options are limited. We tried to order another T1 from Verizon but it’s full to capacity and AT&T was the same. Neither have any plans to increase their capacity any time soon so a caching server was our only option to free up bandwidth.”

Solution

Keen to find a suitable solution, Jason searched the internet for an appropriate appliance and came across several options, including CACHEBOX from Appliansys.

“Appliansys looked like the best provider for an ISP like us,” adds Jason. “They offered usability, a tailored solution and an open-source based system that would allow our programmer the option to go in and make modifications to suit our needs.”  Jason’s team  can use advanced configuration parameters to control the way CACHEBOX handles requests, with restrictions based on time of day, client IP address, website, file type, etc.

Jason spoke to Steven Tee, Appliansys’ CACHEBOX product manager, and together they recognised that, with 45% of Esplanade’s traffic being Port 80 traffic, caching would be a worthwhile investment.

Result

“We installed our CACHEBOX two weeks ago and it’s alleviated half of that Port 80 traffic!

Even in that short space of time, the difference has been dramatic – it was an ‘Oh my god’ moment from day one. On top of the appliance, the support from Appliansys has also been great. The appliance makes the difference for a lot of applications and the extra bandwidth has allowed us to add more services for our business, residential and emergency services customers.”

“As we’ve no hospital here, anyone with a serious illness or injury is helicoptered to San Francisco. With the freed up bandwidth, we’ve installed a webcam to keep an eye on the local helipad. We can now let incoming pilots know if the ‘pad is clear or if we need to send someone to move a deer off it!”

Esplanade also provides internet access to holiday homes and gated communities in the area. The CACHEBOX has freed up bandwidth, improving the connection for the many second-home owners who come up to Gualala and connect via a virtual private network (VPN) back to their office.

“We’d never tiered our customers. Alongside the CACHEBOX, we’ve also installed a Net Equalizer, so everybody is able to make use of the available bandwidth. We used to offer speeds of between 500 and 800Kb/s but now we can offer an 800Kb/s minimum and an average of 1.5-2Mbit/s. Our customers are already noticing the difference, especially during off peak hours. The extra bandwidth helps keep us connected with the rest of the world.”

The Outcomes

The piece was still used by the Appliansys sales team for three years after it was produced, to demonstrate the benefits of the product to clients alongside the customer-orientated approach the business takes.