Founded by Mike Paradis
The Echo Networks name is new but my online history dates back to the mid 80’s. My name is Mike Paradis and I’ve been involved in the online and communications field for much of my life.
My first online adventures started around 1987 by building a resume sharing system using a network called Datapac. Datapac was a service offered by Bell Canada and other Telco’s around the country.
My venture would provide colleges a way for students across the country to share their resumes and for employers to have a wider selection of potential candidates, unheard of at the time.
This project lead me to learning more about telecommunications including hardware such as multiplexers and early multi-processing computers as I now had an interest in voice and data transmission.
In fact, in the late 80’s, I made a presentation to Gandalf Technologies. I proposed a modification to their multiplexers that would enable them to handle both real-time voice and data concurrently. This modification would involve a transition from a time-division system to a frequency-division system, where different frequencies are assigned to voice and data signals. The data signal would be filtered in a way that makes it inaudible to human ears, while allowing the voice signal to remain audible.
This would result in a more efficient and effective system that could handle both voice and data communication simultaneously without compromising the quality of either.
I never heard back from them but not long after, Gandalf folded. A couple of years later, I read an article about this new amazing thing called DSL being tested by a new company in another country. I still have part of that presentation material and when I see it, I sometimes wonder.
I didn’t realize at the time where this interest would lead.
That turned into offering a BBS (LiveWire Online) around 1990 that would grow to 200 lines (InaSec.ca). At one point, I decided to connect the BBS to the Internet and doing that soon turned into becoming an ISP.
Initially, Internet access was via slip/ppp services running on 486 machines with 256K of memory.
Fun fact: There were no Linux installers back then. It took over 40 diskettes to build the operating system.
The emergence of the Internet quickly replaced the BBS, and I ventured into the Internet service provider (ISP) industry as NewForce.ca. We transformed from using Linux servers to Cisco dial-up servers and had a 100Mbps fiber connection to the local TelCo, allowing us to become a full-fledged ISP.
Our services included dial-up and dedicated Internet access, which led to a government contract with the fisheries department. We also hosted early VoIP services and were involved in a lot of new technologies.
During this time, we expanded our offerings by developing digital recording devices, live Internet broadcasting, and exploring options for wireless access and antenna locations. This period was characterized by continuous innovation and growth.
However, by 1999, large telecommunications companies like Bell and cable operators began to undercut our prices, resulting in a significant loss of business for us and other ISPs. As a result, we were fortunate enough to exit the market before it collapsed and sold our user base to a national ISP.
In the year 2000, I closed my ISP business and found myself with an abundance of hardware that I wanted to repurpose. It was then that I conceived the idea of creating my own search engine. Given my inclination towards DIY projects, I quickly got to work.
I began by assembling all the necessary components – from power and cooling to the equipment room that I would require to build my search engine. With everything in place, I started building the project. My initial plan was to start with 96 nodes and gradually scale up from there.
Unfortunately, my timing was off as the dot com bust ensued. Despite the setback, I remained committed to my project and continued to work on it.
Due to the convenient and well (Internet) connected location of our new home, I decided to convert our basement into a development environment to further my knowledge of various technologies while continuing my work on the search engine.
My curiosity about cluster and grid computing led me to build a GFS network, which provided a better understanding of shared storage access. This was especially beneficial for the search engine, as it relied on GFS storage. Consequently, the network allowed for every node’s disk/storage to be accessible via the network, and shared among all nodes.
As I continued to expand my knowledge, my wife and I identified an opportunity to establish Logicore Networks, a managed services company, utilizing the vast resources I had accumulated. We had eight racks of hardware in our basement, which were consuming well over 60amps of electricity 24/7. I also installed a generator and a large UPS system with battery banks. For our new venture, I added wireless Internet providers as backup.
My wife, who is also technologically inclined, joined local business groups to promote our offerings, which included VoIP, centralized managed services, and virtual office solutions.
One of our most significant achievements was helping a company become 100% virtual in just two weeks. We equipped all employees with phones at home, allowing them to transfer calls as if they were in the office and use shared remote apps. It was a challenging situation, but we were able to overcome it successfully.
OutagesIO: My Journey to Building Something of my own
As someone who has worked in the ISP/MSP industry for years, I’ve witnessed firsthand how frustrating it can be to fight with ISPs for reliable internet services. I always wanted to build my own SaaS, but the opportunity never presented itself. So I decided to take the plunge and create OutagesIO, based on my experiences.
Building OutagesIO from scratch has been the most challenging project I’ve ever taken on. But seeing how it has helped many people makes it all worthwhile. I remain committed to maintaining and improving it.
Looking ahead, I’m open to new opportunities and possibilities. However, I’m concerned about the loss of privacy and innovation that comes with sharing information online.
As a new SaaS on the internet, I understand how difficult it is to be discovered among the sea of tech giants. The monetization of the internet is slowing down innovation and creating a world owned by a few companies. When we talk about our lack of interest in profiling users, or how hard it is for our service to be found, it comes from an honest place of frustration with the current state of affairs.
As the founder of OutagesIO, I’m dedicated to providing reliable services while maintaining user privacy. I hope to see more innovation in the industry and a level playing field for all companies, big and small.