Saturday, December 03, 2016

Hilarious New Video Series Mocks Those Who Say "Girls Can't Code"

Why can’t girls code? Maybe because they’re girls.

Obviously that's ridiculous. But girls are excluded from male-dominated fields like tech all the time. We're reclaiming ludicrous stereotypes and making it clear GIRLS DO CODE!

When it comes to entering a male-dominated field like tech, there's a lot standing in a girl's way. Girls, after all, are just too beautiful and emotional to truly succeed at something as intense as coding, right?

If that sounds ridiculous, it's because it is — and Girls Who Code is starting a conversation about these bogus stereotypes.

The nonprofit, which works to close the gender gap in tech, launched a new three-part video series this week called Girls Do Code. Using satire and deadpan humor, the series sheds light on offensive stereotypes surrounding girls in tech, all while highlighting the need to change them.

You can also read an article on the 3 part series at the link below...

Yes, Girls CAN Code

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How To Save Time, Money, And Effort On Technology Requirements Of Commercial/Corporate Development Projects

Getting The Technology Backbone Right For A Commercial/Corporate Real Estate New Construction Development Or Renovation Project Can Be Frustrating, Time Consuming, And Expensive...But It Doesn't Need To Be.

There's a free resource available to help you with all the design, planning, and installation decisions for any technology requirements you face in your new construction development or renovation projects .

I You can have a dedicated technical staff search and negotiate "best rate" for all of your dedicated voice/data/internet requirements....saving you time, effort, and money. They'll do all the work FOR you....FREE.

Whatever that application need is...voice/video communications (business office phones, call center, video security, video conferencing, etc.) and data/internet (work stations, conference rooms, multi-media, wireless connectivity, data network management, data security, disaster recovery, supply chain management, etc.).

Covers fractional and full T1, DS3, OC3 thru OC192, business ethernet and fiber...voice, data, and integrated circuits. Also includes frame relay, MPLS, SIP, point-to-point, VPN, private line, co-located servers, business VoIP, wireless networks, SDN, cloud applications, independent circuit monitoring, network management, and more.

Leverage their time and effort to maximize yours....at NO cost to you.

This is ALSO a value added service you can provide your clients...at no cost to you or them. Definitely a selling point to set your agency apart from other corporate/commercial real estate agents.

Given the highly competitive environment of corporate/commercial real estate...and the potential high return to the agent for a successful project...anything that raises your worth in the eye of your client(s) is a business enhancer. All the more if it doesn't cost you a penny.

They'll provide this free consulting service to you and/or your clients for you...and YOU get the credit.

It's as simple as just asking for help at the link below. Easy as 1, 2, 3.

Technology Backbone Solutions

One of the really attractive components of this no cost resource is the FREE independent circuit monitoring provided. The following article does a great job of explaining the benefits of that...

"You Mean You Don't Have Independent Circuit Monitoring?...Sucks To Be You"

WORTH A LISTEN... this free resource was also featured on a recent podcast of the Commercial Real Estate Pro Network focusing on the benefits to CRE Investor/Developers, Facility/Property Mgrs and Owners, and tenants {e.g. Hotels/Resorts, corporate work sites, office buildings, industrial facilities, mall complexes, etc}. Technology Backbone Solutions For Commercial Development Projects

Do you know how to make sure that you have the right backbone solutions in place to meet all of your voice, computing, and other technology requirements? Do you even know what your needs really are and what solutions are available to meet them? Do you know where to get help (free) if you need it? Listen to this newest podcast from the Commercial Real Estate Pro Network to learn all this and more.

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Finalizing Technology Backbone Requirements For A Hotel/Resort New Construction Or Renovation Can Be Overwhelming....But You Can Get All The Hard Work Done For You FREE

Voice/data/internet {broadband} deployment for a hotel/resort property isn't a luxury....it's a MUST have. Don't worry, there's a resource available to help you get it right...and it's free to use.


Every hotel/resort property MUST have a reliable and robust voice/data/internet network built into it...it's as important as the walls, floors, roofs, windows, furniture, plumbing, electrical systems, furnishings, security, HVAC etc. But....how do you know what your options are AND if you are getting the right solution to meet your needs?
When installing a broadband network for your hotel/resort you must consider the technology requirements of your staff, facility, AND your guests. What are their needs for voice communications, data management infrastructure, financial/billing IT, reservation/accounting management, internet access, web/audio/video conferencing, business/conference centers, keyless room entry, WiFi, multi-media use, security/surveillance systems, digital displays, engineering systems, etc.
With that in mind, if you're looking to:
* ....move into a new building with existing carrier facilities.
* ....gather information that will be helpful in the planning stages of broadband system deployment for a planned new construction hotel/resort development.
* ....install broadband network connectivity into an already underway hotel/resort construction project.
Or....
* ....upgrade existing system capabilities as part of the renovation of a current property.
Than simply go directly to the link below and request their free assistance.....easy as 1, 2, 3:
Technology Network Backbone Solutions
Includes help in Voice/Data network design decisions, FREE independent circuit monitoring, fitting the right system to verified requirements, ensuring you get exactly what you need (no more, no less), finding the lowest cost for the right solution, comparing available providers at the desired location (by cost, quality, capability, & customer service), helping with paperwork, providing ongoing consulation, & MORE.
See just how easy it is to get FREE real-time quotes on T1 lines, DS3 Bandwidth, Business Ethernet, MPLS, cloud services, SDN, business VoIP, PRI, SIP, business phone service {wired landline, wireless, or VoIP}, conferencing capabilities, network management and monitoring, and MUCH more from available providers at any location you choose.
All you have to do is ask.
One of the really attractive components of this no cost resource is the FREE independent circuit monitoring provided. The following article does a great job of explaining the benefits of that...
"You Mean You Don't Have Independent Circuit Monitoring?...Sucks To Be You"
WORTH A LISTEN... this free resource was featured on a recent podcast of the Commercial Real Estate Pro Network focusing on the benefits to CRE Investor/Developers, Facility/Property Mgrs and Owners, and tenants {e.g. Hotels/Resorts, corporate work sites, office buildings, industrial facilities, mall complexes, etc}.
Technology Solutions For Corporate Real Estate Development Projects
Do you know how to make sure that you have the right technology backbone solutions in place to meet all of your voice, computing, and other technology requirements? Do you even know what your needs really are and what solutions are available to meet them? Do you know where to get help (free) if you need it? Listen to the podcast above from the Commercial Real Estate Pro Network to learn all this and more.



















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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What Is The High Speed Internet Technology Of Choice For Hotels & Resorts?

Deciding what to base your hotel or resort voice/data network infrastructure on ... T1, DS3, OCx, fiber, ethernet, etc. ... can be complicated and frustrating. There's much to consider to reach a decision that makes business sense.

Firstly, I would put hotels in the Multi-Dwelling Unit/Multi-Tenant Unit (MDU/MTU) category.

Secondly, we need to split this into high speed connectivity within a hotel and high speed connectivity backhauling traffic from the hotel.

Thirdly, we need to consider the physical media, i.e. copper, fibre or microwave.

The emphasis is towards an end-to-end Ethernet architecture at all layers, i.e. at the physical interface, service and transport layers.

Each hotel room will come with a cheap Ethernet port for connectivity and can easily cover bandwidth requirements. Common areas like the swimming pool and lobby will have broadband wireless access.

The thing about backhauling traffic back towards the service provider is that service providers have their capital 'sunk in' their E1s/T1s. An end-to-end Ethernet infrastructure promises a lot, but very much depends of these service providers making an oerhaul to their access networks.

This in turn depends on demand and also product availability. Why? As an example, we need to consider managing Ethernet SLAs in the same manner as E1s/T1s, so we need an equivalent to the smartjack devices. Yes, they are available, but we then need the economies of scale to make it worthwhile. Why add cost to the E1/T1 revenue stream?

There will also be other instances to consider. Tall buildings like hotels usually have masts at the top for cellular access. There will be sync requirements for these rooftop cell sites.

Although the push is towards Ethernet and packet, TDM (T1/E1) will still play a big part till the end of this decade. Saying that, standards bodies like the MEF and also equiment vendors (no surprise here as they could do with additional sales) are accelerating the development and deployment of Ethernet.

Laptop connectivity can be achieved by means of a data card that makes use of the cellular network. Cellular operators now also offer WiFi access (co-located).

Wireless broadband and wireless broadband services are driving wireless evolution (2G -> 3G -> 3G+ -> LTE) and also convergence.

WiFi, WiMAX, etc. all provide the 'front-end' air interface. Wireless broadband is indeed driving wireless evolution (3G+, HSPA, LTE, WiMAX).

We also need to have sufficient bandwidth to backhaul the additional bandwidth requirements brought about by these air interfaces. This may require DS3 bandwidth ... or more depending on the size of your physical plant and if there are multiple locations to cover or link together (think large resort/casino).

When we talk about E1s/T1s (PDH), we are talking about this backhaul bit. Hotels come under the MTU/MDU category. Very often, especially in metro areas, such buildings will have fibre laterals that connect to a MAN fibre infrastructure provider.

You should probably consider differently VOIP and data/internet. My suggestion is that you might decide to offer the second but not the first.

Why?

- Internet/data access is now a "must-have" commodity for guests and meetings, and the hotel is most probably the single best-placed organization to provide that.

- VOIP is a cost-effective solution, but there are other solutions: mobile phones or the hotel phone lines..

You might consider that you MUST provide good internet access, with some business model that allows you to deliver the needed bandwidth, eg "free" for hotel guests, and a flat daily rate for meetings organizers (a low price based on the number of attendees).

For phone, you might consider blocking VOIP (or more precisely SIP) access, and allowing 3rd parties to handle that with their business model. Of course, this will allow some skype-like calls thru your data connection, but you will not be judged on quality here.

Generally speaking, any hotel looking into what network technology makes the most business sense for guests, dedicated business suites, and conference activities ... needs to do their homework and not jump without a thorough analysis. For help with that assessment, I strongly suggest taking advantage of the no cost research and support available through Bandwidth Solution. They will save you time, money, and effort ..... and find you the best solution for your specific situation.

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

WiFi For A Hotel....What To Think About

First, the hotel's WiFi strategy needs to be finalized, and following this you would know where the service needs to be available, if it will be free, if it will be solely used for guest browsing, or if it will also facilitate value added services to the hotel itself .... such as wireless point-of-sale, wireless security, wireless signage, wireless VoIP on the compound, etc. There are a plethora of resources online that you can check for the technicalities of some of these types of equipment - this is not a challenge.

After this, everything begins with an on-site survey to determine the layout of the hotel, and placement of the access points. This should include RF mapping for larger properties (or any property for that matter, since it removes alot of the guesswork).

Bearing in mind you're working with a budget, you need to let that budget dictate the type of equipment you're going to use. From Access points & routers, to POE switches, packet shaping & filtering, to billing & authentication platforms. Or whether you're going to do it all with a cheap and simple Dlink setup, complete with login ticket printers. There are a multitude of different architectures for these networks.

You will also need to agree upon work schedules with the Hotel Management, because they may not want technicians and engineers visible throughout the compound while guests are enjoying their stay there. This can lengthen or shorten the duration of the project (depending on what Hotel Management decides) and can have direct effects on project cost. All of which needs to be presented to Hotel management in different scenarios.

One of the make-or-break details that often get overlooked is the available bandwidth being piped into the hotel to feed this Wireless network, and depending on the size of the hotel, it needs to be considerable. I'd suggest a minimum of DS3 bandwidth, but recommend Ethernet or fiber if you can get it (much cheaper).

Once you've done a simple traffic analysis to quantify bandwidth requirements, based on information from the hotel such as average room occupancy percentages throughout the year, you can determine what is required. Once you can get this required bandwidth from a service provider, you're golden. Whether or not the budget allows, you should always push the Hotel to choose a corporate data package with an service level agreement (SLA) attached to it, so as to guarantee uptime for the guests. This is critical if the hotel has a high percentage of business travellers.

For assistance in finding just the right bandwidth solution ... at best price .... I recommend using the free services at Bandwidth Solution .

Once the physical aspects of the network is in place and everything has been neatly tucked away, you need to develop a nice walled garden for the hotel - although this is something the larger hotels normally do, for branding and marketing purposes. However, this is an additional step that needs to be done, whether or not it is your responsibility. This can facilitate something as simple as the logon splash screen, or it can offer more interactivity based on the tech savviness of the hotel.

Finally, this can be as simple or as complex as the hotel and their budget requires, but even in the most complex scenario it really is quite simple and is one of the easier wireless implementations to deploy.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What To Consider When Evaluating Hardware For Your Network Infrastructure

When you are placed in the uneviable position of having to make decisions on selecting a hardware solution for your company's network infrastructure .... LAN or WAN .... the evaluation process can be overwhelming. Without a plan you're doomed to failure .... and a huge migrain.

Keep in mind that it's important to consider the culture of your enterprise and what qualities it values.

For instance, if it values self-reliance in IT - or views it as core to its business - it may be more likely to look for the best of breed solution. If IT is less central to the enterprise, than a widely implemented adequate solution that is easy to find experienced people to work on may be the solution of choice.

In short, making the list of qualities we all want in a piece of gear/vendor is easy. Figuring out which ones to emphasize in the analysis is the real challenge and the analysis that really should drive your decision.

To help things go smoother ..... focus on these simple attributes in your evaluation.

The number one answer is the integrity of the corporation. What is very important is that the company has a commitment to make their products work as advertised and documented, and not cut corners on Quality Assurance.

Another important factor, but related ,is their customer service and technical support. What is the turn around time to get replacement components that are defective. When you talk to technical support, are they knowledgeable or certified on the product they support and the platforms the product runs on.

Base your provider evaluation on the above and the rest will follow along.

Next .... confirm the design requirements, how much network traffic, kind of traffic (data, VoIP, etc.), number of remote networks for WAN, future growth, redundancy. Cisco has an online tool that will suggest the appropriate device based on answers to these kinds of questions.

If cost if no object you'll do well with Cisco. It may be worth evaluating Juniper and Foundry depending on your needs, and for SMB solutions you may even consider open-source options such as the Vyatta router/firewall.

Over the years I've seen people tackle this question, all in a variety of ways. What I have seen more often than not is the desire to create more documentation / analysis of products / due-diligence without focusing on what's at stake.

Don't complicate the question too much - focus on your specific needs, and make sure you don't exclude the future. What you need now may be just the ice-breaker for what your needs are in the future - make sure you have a plan to scale.

The other big question I think is also overlooked is residual costs associated with purchased equipment. Alot of companies are gung ho on maintenance purchased annually .... remember, there is a cost associated with downtime, and in some environments this cost prohibitive; in some it is a non-impact. Factor these things in your evaluation as well as the cost to support the solution.

For a quick checklist:

* First of all evaluate known and proven brands when possible since the issue of continued support from the company and availability of warranty repair and replacement would be a major concern on a significant investment.

* Second - Choose the correct level of product for the job. Avoid paying for added functionality if the client would never, ever (be careful, things can change) use these things. Don't buy a limo when you only need a bicycle.

* Third - Compare performance, price, and mean time between failures (MTBF). Look for "end of life" announcements. If you are looking for a bargain or want longevity these are a good clue.

* Fourth - Google the product(s) in question to find reviews and other feedback.

* Fifth - Hands-on evaluation with a call to support for the finalist products.

Somewhere in here you may need to consider the need for failover or redundancy. If this unit represents a single point of failure without backup .... then cross ship warranty policies or local availability may be critical.

Generally ..... it all starts with knowing your needs. Routers have the ability to connect networks with different media, even different networking techniques. Examples are Fiber-to-UTP and Ethernet-to-ADSL. It's obvious you should have a device that can address your needs. Will your needs change in the future and, if so, is the device capable of adapting to those changes?

Other considerations are security ..... does the device stand at the edge of your network, at the risk of being attacked; or is it somewhere in the middle of your LAN, just connecting departments to the core. In the first case you need something with a firewall feature set, in the second case a layer 3 switch might do.

Don't forget ..... what is the amount of traffic the router needs to process.

Once you know what you need, and bring back your whitelist to the devices that address your needs, more choices have to be made.

When it comes to IT in general, money is a BIG issue. As IT usually will be seen as something that costs money. So at first thoughts, the price of the equipment is important.

BUT...

You should consider that also for managing the network environment. When your initial expenses are low but you spend a great deal of time keeping it up and running, it is difficult to adapt to changes, or your company suffers network outages ..... your management will not be pleased. So you need to look at MTBF figures, mean time between failure, and how fast you can get a replacement. With some exotic brands replacement can be an issue.

For real important routers you should consider a hot standby configuration which costs more, but will switch over automaticly in case of a failure without anyone knowing your primary router died. Except for you, of course, as you are monitoring both devices.

Another important item related to managing the equipment is how it fits in your IT department. If your network engineering department is a group of well-trained Juniper specialists, buying a Cisco brings additional costs for training.

Boiling it all down here's the real message:

Firstly as with all business considerations you must consider the costs there is no point at looking at the top of the market if the business will not stretch to that point. It is also worth discounting cheaper options ASAP if the business is prepared to pay for the right solution rather than the cheapest.

The next consideration depends on the nature of your business, your need for security and reliability. But at a general level most businesses need something reliable. This means if you are remote or have remote offices with little support you want something with a high time between failures. Security often depends on the nature of your business protection. Financial and Medical information is for example considered more of a risk than most general data. There is also always a basic need for security .... but again as always there must be a balance of Cost, Useability and Security. It must never be your only consideration. It also depends on the size of your IT support organisation. Will hundreds of people require access to this equipment .... or will this be restricted to a select few? Is centralizing and auditing access worth it for your organisation?

Supportability is also part of this equation; you may want something with either great remote management capabilities or something simple anyone can maintain. If you purchase rarer equipment it may be harder to find remote service personnel capable of support. However if you design the systems well .... with spares and redundant paths .... a centralized body may handle this for you. You see it all depends on your approach to the problem.

Next how high will you scale, do you have growth projections for the future. Are there any new applications or new company acquisitions which will seriously affect the solution. Will you be moving say from a DS3 bandwidth backbone to an Ethernet or Fiber with SDN backbone in a few years?

Once all the considerations have been looked at you must be consistent. Classify differing sites and have set standards in operating systems, hardware platforms, IP Addressing and configurations for sites. This is great from a TCO perspective and will make supporting the network easier and cheaper. Even when using low end equipment replacing a standard item held it stock is much easier the trying to figure out a new configuration in the heat of a network outage. This also makes documentation easier which is the core of world class architecture. Support on sites without documentation is always a nightmare.

For network designers there are obviously many brand considerations, but most will often recommend CISCO solutions. I can recommend CISCO from a security, manageability, scalability and supportability perspective. However it can be quite expensive depending on your requirements.

It is up to you to manage the balance between price and the rest. You may end up with a different vendor for routing, switching, wireless, VOIP etc. The important thing is to try and keep it manageable. The item price is not the full cost consider Maintenance, Support and Reliability in your equation. Sometimes the most expensive option has a much better support cost than the upfront cheap options.

Whatever solution you choose in the end .... hopefully you follow a well thought plan in the process incorporating the above issues and suggestions.

For extra help in finding just the right network equipment hardware solution for your LAN or WAN requirements, especially from Cisco, Avaya, and Nortel, simply visit: Network Equipment Deals

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

What You Should Consider When Deciding A Business VoIP Solution...The Ultimate Checklist

The selection of a business (enterprise) VoIP solution is a major decision. Voice service is critical to the operation of the business, so no one wants to implement a technology that will compromise call quality or reliability in any way. On the other hand, the cost savings and value-added functionality available with VoIP makes it a compelling investment.

So VoIP buyers must select a VoIP platform that maximizes business benefits while minimizing potential technology ownership headaches. Adding to the difficulty in making a purchase decision is the broad range of vendor offerings on the market. In general, these offerings can be segmented into two categories: low-end VoIP gateways and highend router-based solutions.

Low-end gateways are tempting because of their low upfront cost. However, they lack many important capabilities that are essential for VoIP to work as required in real-world network environments and to fulfill the requirements of the business. Their poor survivability. lack of intelligent call routing functions and inadequate integration with existing enterprise communications resources limit their usefulness and can lead to problems in provisioning VoIP services as required.

High-end router-based products come with a larger price tag and, at first glance, offer more sophisticated VoIP functionality. Unfortunately, they often come with further price premiums in the form of PBX modification and add-on modules for support of H.323 and/or SIP. And, despite their price and apparent robustness, their capabilities may still come up short in many ways - forcing users to change their dialing habits, limiting the efficiency with which available bandwidth can be used, and exhibiting the same lack of survivability as their low-end counterparts.

PITFALLS ON THE LOW END

Low-end gateways can be very attractive to today's VoIP buyer. Most IT organizations are working with very tight budgets. And many do not have highly ambitious plans for their initial VoIP deployments. They simply want to piggyback voice calls on their data network's existing IP connections. So it's easy for them to be seduced into purchasing a simple, no-frills VoIP gateway to ostensibly limit costs and complexity. This is rarely a wise decision. Low-end gateways are rarely adequate for today's enterprise VoIP requirements. Even in cases where they may be able to meet an immediate, short-term need, they will not be able to support evolving technical and business requirements in the future. Specific common shortcomings in low-end gateways include:

* Poor interoperability with the PBX

Low-end gateways simply convert analog signals from a phone line to a stream of packets that can travel over an IP link. They are therefore unable to interoperate with or leverage the power of the corporate PBX. This can make installation in the existing enterprise communications environment problematic. Users may be required change their dialing habits - something most are disinclined to do. So any cost savings can quickly be consumed by installation and configuration work.

* Lack of enterprise-class capabilities

Low-end gateways are limited-use devices with little or no call routing capability. They are mainly intended for "second line" applications that supplement a separate regular phone line. Thus, they typically route all calls to a central point where the intelligence resides. As a result, they cannot support basic Vo I P functions such as network "hop off" or "hop on" that allow, for example, the transatlantic portion of a call from an office in the U.S. to a customer in France to be carried over a corporate WAN connection to an office in Paris before being passed to a local phone company - thereby eliminating international phone charges. Reliance on a central point-of-intelligence also leaves these gateways completely vulnerable to a failure of that central point.

* NAT headaches

Many organizations use network address translation (NAT) on their routers and/or firewalls as a security measure and as a way of increasing the number of IP addresses available for their internal use. But, because NAT masks internal addresses from the outside world, it can also make it difficult or impossible to set up point-to-point VoIP sessions with external users. Low-end gateways that lack an effective mechanism for automatically and securely traversing these NAT boundaries can therefore cause significant implementation headaches.

* No H.323 and/or SIP Survivability

H.323 and SIP protocols are becoming increasingly useful for interfacing with other network and other organizations - especially next-generation service providers that can deliver tremendous savings on long distance. Because they lack support for these protocols, low-end gateways force customers to purchase separate H.323 gatekeepers and/or SIP proxy servers. The cost of these additional devices nullifies whatever savings were realized in the original gateway purchase. Worse yet, reliance on these external devices leaves all the gateways on the network vulnerable to their single point-of-failure. If they lose contact with the central H.323 gatekeeper or SIP proxy server, phone service can be totally disrupted.

* Lack of support for 911 services and analog devices

While much of the world is going digital, telecom managers still have to support analog communications for local 911 emergency services, fax machines and other reasons. A low-end VoIP gateway cannot accommodate these analog requirements.

* Vulnerability to IP network congestion and/or failure

Low-end gateways do not protect the business against problems on the data network. If the IP network becomes congested or fails, the calls that it carries will lose quality or fail. That's because such gateways can't automatically re-route calls over alternative routes or over the PSTN itself. This risk is unacceptable in an enterprise environment.

* Inefficient utilization of network bandwidth

Because of their price-sensitivity, VoIP gateways typically lack or have only rudimentary compression/multiplexing capabilities. This makes them relatively inefficient and can cause them to lose call quality as call volume rises - or as other applications on the network begin to consume more of the bandwidth available on key network These are just a few of the technical pitfalls associated with low-end VoIP gateways. For IT organizations seeking to minimize technology headaches, ensure ongoing call quality, and maximize the business value of their investments in VoIP, these pitfalls clearly give pause. Prospective buyers can ill afford to purchase products that will have to be replaced in a year or six months. And they can't allow the business to be hindered by unnecessary limitations in its communications infrastructure.

PITFALLS ON THE HIGH END

In order to ensure that VoIP services are robust, reliable and secure, technology buyers may go to the opposite extreme - spending top dollar to acquire high-end router-based solutions from a big-name networking vendor. There is certainly some apparent safety in this approach, and such high-end solutions do boast capabilities well beyond those of low-cost, off-brand gateways. However, despite their expense and the cachet of their brand, these router-based solutions also fall short of the mark in many ways. As a result, VoIP buyers can wind up spending a lot of money and still not getting the functionality or even the reliability they require. Specific shortcomings of high-end router-based solutions include:

* Complex, disruptive implementation

Router-based VoIP solutions typically require the use of a separate line trunk on the PBX. This adds the significant cost of an additional line card. It also requires re-programming of the PBX so that VoIP calls are routed to that trunk. In addition, this approach can force users to dial one prefix for PSTN calls and another for VoIP. These solutions can thus cause significant headaches for technical staff and end-users.

* Limited failover capabilities

Because these high-end solutions are on a separate trunk, they do not have the PSTN connectivity necessary for effective failover. They can be equipped with a simple analog line for back-up purposes, but they are by and large unable to automatically switch to that line. So, in the event of problems on the IP network, all active calls will be dropped and will have to be manually re-dialed over the PSTN.

* No H.323 and/or SIP Survivability

High-end router solutions also share a basic shortcoming with low-end gateways: they require customers to purchase separate H.323 gatekeepers and/or SIP proxy servers. However, in the case of router-based solutions, these add-ons can be even more expensive. These shared add on devices also cause the same type of potential single point-of-failure in router-based architectures as occur with basic Vo I P g a t e w a y s .

* No multiplexing

Router vendors typically attempt to address the issue of bandwidth utilization with packet header compression alone. However, as use of VoIP expands and the other application traffic on the network continues to grow, compression alone will be insufficient to meet many organizations' needs. Multiplexing delivers far more efficient use of available bandwidth, yet router-based solutions don't provide it despite their cost and purported sophistication.

* Vendor lock-in

Many router vendors' VoIP solutions are closely tied to their overall data networking architectures. This may offer some limited benefits in terms of network management, but those benefits may be entirely contingent on using that single vendor's solutions across the enterprise. This lock-in strategy by the vendors limits IT's future choices and assures the vendor of an ongoing, across-the-board pricing premium. Higher costs do not always mean great functionality or superior adaptability to an organization's specific needs. VoIP buyers should therefore consider all of the implementation and ownership costs associated with router-based products - including difficult implementation, poor survivability, and additional user training and support - and then determine if those significantly greater lifecycle costs are truly buying any technical, operational or business advantages.

DON'T PANIC.....THERE IS A SIMPLE ANSWER

Before you throw up your hands in disgust and frustration....relax. All is not doom and gloom. You can find a business VoIP solution that will meet all your needs....and avoid all the potential pitfalls and minefields we've warned you about above. To do this the answer is simple. Make use of the free assistance provided by Business-VoIP-Solution.com to find you the right solution and the right provider to deliver that solution. Just tell them what you want (requirements, applications, etc.).....and they'll take it from there.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2016

What Voice/Data Network Solutions Make The Most Sense In Today's Economic Environment?

Given today's economic contraints (actual or perceived) .... and the hypothetical situation that "you" are looking for a bandwidth solution for the backbone of your network infrastructure for a multi-site business .... what would you gravitate toward and why? (e.g. T1 based ... such as MPLS, DS3/OC3/Sonet based, Ethernet based, other).

In reality there is no universal answer for this.

I'd recommend a three step process:

1) Determine your bandwidth and performance needs.
2) Get quotes for various services, from various vendors that meet your needs.
3) Pick the lowest cost solution that comes from a vendor you trust.

In my opinion MPLS always makes the most sense (when available), because it's very cost effective and redundant (new or replacement). However, like anything else, it depends on the scenario. We have many different deployments of MPLS, DS3, T1's, OC3's, and in some cases E1's (outside of North America). However, no matter which pipe works for your particular deplyment, any sort of shared resource/cost model will always be more economical.

The answer is not quite that straightforward. The answer would depend on the size of the company, the number of offices, their geographic locations, the amount of bandwidth needed between offices, and the number of dollars they want to commit to the project.

If they are in a large metro area metropolitan ethernet may well be the cheapest form of connectivity. It's very easy to attach to the LAN at each location and as a Layer 2 transport supports any and all Layer 3 and higher protocols. It would also allow you to prioritize traffic and make priority changes as you desire. As implemented by most carriers, metropolitan ethernet is "layer 1 agnostic", meaning it doesn't care if it's running over a DS1, DS3, OC3, OC12, etc.

If they are spread across a wider geographic area MPLS would most likely be your best option. But it will require additional expertise at the router level and additional dollars to spend for routers and IOS software that support MPLS traffic. But again as a Layer 2 transport it supports almost any and all Layer 3 and higher protocols. And depending on the carrier selected, it too should allow you to prioritize traffic and make changes as you desire. As implemented by most carriers, MPLS (like metropolitan ethernet) is also "layer 1 agnostic".

If they are a small, financially conservative company with a dozen offices spread across a state or region a high quality site-to-site VPN may be the best option. It's very low cost, easy to set up and maintain and very well understood technology.

No matter which of these 3 you pick, they all have the potential for built-in redundancy which allows for traffic re-route around a cut line or other network failure. If you were going with a large deployment of MPLS (say national or international coverage) I would suggest implementing MPLS on 2 different carriers to protect you against carrier outages as well.

If you're looking at MPLS nationally, AT&T and Global Crossing are probably your best choices. They both understand MPLS very well, and both have it deployed in their own backbone networks (and have for 7+ years).

A key question to ask is whether or not the site equipment is being upgraded (i.e. Legacy PBX to VOIP-PBX) as well or just the backbone.

There exists the following possible scenarios:

1) If you are upgrading Legacy PBX's to IP-PBX's, then the infrastructure is simply an ethernet backbone for both voice and data.

2) If you are keeping the Legacy PBX's in place, you need an infrastructure that supports both T1 (or E1) for legacy voice and ethernet for data services.

a) Simplest way is to implement separate links for T1 (for the Legacy PBX's) and ethernet link for data services.

b) You could implement an all T1 solution for both legacy voice and data services. You would need an additional piece of equipment that maps Ethernet onto T1 (or E1) via EoPDH protocol.

c) You could implement an all ethernet solution for both legacy voice and data services. You would need an additional piece of equipment that maps T1 (or E1) from the Legacy PBX onto ethernet via the SAToP or CESoP protocols.

Of the above proposals, #1 and #2C are the preferred options.

For multiple sites, MPLS is a very good approach for VPNs. You can also use single VLANs (802.1q) or stacked VLANs (802.1ad) based equipment for creating VPNs.

Ultimately .... the answer would depend on the size of the business and the typical office set for the multi-location scenario to determine the most economically viable solution.

For a large Enterprise account or even an SMB the convergence of voice and data networks is the key in my opinion. Get more out of your wireline for less. The solution could be a hosted VoIP solution using a network based carrier that can overlay MPLS for data application sharing with a hosted VoIP product that offers QoS on the voice side. For a larger account where hosted may not work it could be IP enabled PBX at an HQ with all voice traffic funneling through there to remote offices using IP sets.

In either a hosted or premise based PBX scenario you can reduce costs by reducing copper lines as well as per minute usage charges by implementing the VoIP model. If it is a premise based solution the MPLS with QoS for voice for IP calling between locations is the critical piece.

Some carriers offer a high bandwidth solution at a low cost using EFM (Ethernet over First Mile) that can povide you with the same capabilities of a T1/DS3 from a network (or WAN) infrastructure standpoint in terms of high speeds, and overlay with MPLS, VPN, etc, while still being able to honor CoS requirements and provide QoS for voice calling to give you a converged solution.

Dynamic bandwidth (single or bonded IP backbone delivery broken up for voice and data) can be used in a converged solution in a bunch of different scenarios. But in today's world, as much if not more business is being done via the internet than over the phone. Therefore, maximizing the companies utilizations in the right way is the best way to determine what solution is best for them. Be it a network upgrade or new network construction/design, getting "the most for less" is critical with today's economic constraints.

To me the answers are always dependent on the true business requirements AND the flexibility and scalability your business plans call for.

For a new network ..... I would think you would especially gravitate to what you perceived to be the most scalable, both upwards and downwards. However, you also have to make a decision on the network availability your business requires. Do you require 99.999% availability? If so, then what providers have demonstrated this level of availability and what contractual remedies do they provide? Obviously, these are just a couple of examples that makes the selection process extremely dependent on your business requirements.

For upgrading or replacing your network ..... you have the "benefit" of having a very real track record of your business history and therefore your network infrastructure performance and dependencies in my specific environment.

However, the evaluation/decision criteria is the same.

In both scenarios, by now, you have a fairly good idea (based on your product and services) the impact the economy is having and will have on your customers .... and therefore you have scenarios based on "what if". This dictates and drives your decision process on how you can have a dynamic network infrastructure to serve your current needs .... and a network provider that has contractual conditions you are comfortable with in meeting your needs for "dialing up" and "dialing down" those needs.

Keep in mind that to find the best solution you'll need to determine your detailed set of requirements --

What is your application? Voice & Data? Just Voice? Just data? And by data, is your requirement for internet connectivity alone or inter-site data transmission? What are your bandwidth requirements? How concerned with quality are you? Do you need specific SLAs? Do you have mission critical data? Do you need redundancy? If so, at what layer? Where are your locations? (urban, suburban, rural, very rural, international?) Are the sites relatively close together? What are your latency and jitter requirements? Do you have specific security requirements? Lastly - what's available?

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As a Telecommunications Consultant, my job is to figure out what makes the most sense for each company on an individual basis. It's not a one size fits all world.

As a Telecommunications Consultant, I ask the necessary questions about business processes to determine what the bandwidth requirements are.

There are numerous scenarios from security, regulations, network usage, type of usage (video, VOIP, VPN), etc. that will define a solution for each client. It is rarely the same in all instances.

It also depends on Location. Ethernet is not available everywhere. Not every location has more than two choices. (It's called a Duopoly for a reason).

As a Telecommunications Consultant, the client is looking to me to ask the appropriate questions and design a solution for their specific needs.

That's what I do.

For no cost assistance working through the above to find the right solution for YOUR specific requirements .... simply provide some information to get us started here:

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Saturday, November 05, 2016

Call Center Solutions On Steroids...Technology Advantages That Optimize Every Aspect Of Operations

inContact owns the largest market share of virtual call center solutions in the world. The company's services and solutions enable call centers to operate more efficiently, optimize the cost and quality of every customer interaction, create new pathways to profit and ensure ongoing customer-centric business improvement and growth.

What You Should Know About inContact

inContact’s sophisticated cloud-based technology gives call centers many advantages not available with traditional premise-based systems. Aside from being far more cost effective, inContact allows call centers to create a differentiated and profitable customer experience. inContact enables call centers to understand their customer preferences, touch points and channels; optimize the mix of self-service and agent-managed contacts; and deliver customer-centric business insights.As a complement to the company’s call routing and agent optimization solutions, inContact has built inUnison, a powerful ecosystem of alliances with leading solution providers that are easy for customers to buy and implement. The inUnison is aligned by vertical and customer need and offers an intelligent workflow between the platform and applications.

The inContact platform includes an ACD with skills-based routing, IVR with speech recognition, CTI capabilities, reporting, WFM, eLearning, hiring and customer feedback measurement tools. Together, the inContact platform creates an integrated, all-in-one solution for operations seeking to support call centers, including those with a distributed workforce – either at-home or multi-site.

To take advantage of free assistance designing the right solution for YOUR call center simply click the link below and ask....easy as 1, 2, 3.

Call Center Solutions

Watch this video to learn more....

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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Does MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) Meet The Data Security Needs Of Business Organizations?

MPLS as a Bandwidth Solution, by itself, merely offers a "label switching" architecture, and does not address security in any way. It enables the efficient routing of datagrams/packets over a path, in a manner not unlike driving a car on highways - when you're on the highway, all you care about is the exit, not the final destination. Similarly, when you're "labeled" routers hop you through the cloud till the end of your label switched path.

Security is achieved by the tunneled layer II or layer III protocol. In the case of most VPNs, that would be IPSec, which - through its components, AH and ESP, offer the security services required, including confidentiality, and protection from man in the middle forms. IPSec encryption and authentication is generally regarded as highly secure (it can work with the latest FIPS approved standards, e.g. AES (Rijndael)). The only minor caveat is in key establishment, but that, too, can be easily solved.

It is important to keep in mind that not all MPLS networks are created equal. Some telecommunications providers route Internet traffic across the same backbone that also caries MPLS traffic while some have built dedicated private network MPLS only backbones.

Some vendors allow customer controlled routers to inject MPLS labels into the network and therefore they could be subject to spoofing attacks while other vendors edge routers will have ingress and egress policies that will reject and shutdown any customer edge interface that has has MPLS packets on them.

Some vendors require check sums and authentication of peering routers with static addresses assigned and controlled others do not care. And some vendors allow full encryption of traffic prior to MPLS encapsulation but others will warn you that you will lose classes of service etc. if you do that.

Key to the question is "which organization"? The answer is also linked to the use case for the technology. Three combinations immediately spring to mind - and more will probably crop up if anyone cares to offer comments in reply.

* Use Case 1 - Shared Public Network - SP Perspective

If you are looking at the ISP/SP that is providing shared access across common equipment then MPLS-VPN is a solid technology that provides good segmentation of traffic. In that respect it is an excellent technical approach that provides benefits. As pointed out above implementation is the key!

* Use Case 2 - Shared Public Network - Consumer Perspective

From the perspective of the consumer of the service that is provided the MPLS VPN is transparent. The term VPN is potentially misleading in that there is no tunnel from end-point to end-point. It is more of a Virtual Circuit on the packet-based network. There is no security provided by the MPLS technology because access to the routers = access to the data and control of that is with a third party.

* Use Case 3 - Private Network over SP Infrastructure

The third use case is on the backbone of the network inside a large organisation where the MPLS infrastructure is managed across an infrastructure provided by a third-party SP/ISP cloud. In this scenario the MPLS services can provide separation of traffic, control and QoS in a "VLAN on Steroids" approach. Again implementation is key.

* Approach to Regulation and Encryption

If an organisation is regulated for privacy - healthcare, financial services etc., then it is going to want to layer a full VPN implementation over the MPLS to provide the tunnel security that is usually the interpretation of the legislation. In current implementations, that VPN could be SSL/TLS based or IPSEC, but will generally use strong encryption from end-to-end and incorporate good key-management processes.

I hope this summary prompts more discussion (sic comments in reply) - as there is a lot of confusion about the security implications of these technologies. But it's a good question to ask.

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