Friday, April 29, 2005

FCC To Require 911 for VoIP

The FCC finally jumped in to this fight with both feet....currently drafting a plan to require all VoIP providers to have access to 911 emergency services. This is conveniently close to the recent announcement that Verizon and SBC will be willing to give Vonage access to their 911 networks for a trial period. Once the trial period expires, they will evaluate how well the partnership went and then decide if they wish to continue the service.

Not smart...the "trial" had better become permanent and spread to other providers. Especially for Vonnage who really took it i the shorts i recent consumer lawsuits about their lack of 911 capability. Plus.....despite this new cooperation, FCC Chairman Keven Martin believes that the government needs to step in to speed up the process. He began having concerns over the 911 VoIP issue when there were reports of Vonage users that could not get a hold of the police or fire departments because their provider did not support such a service.

According to NewsFactor Technology News:

"Internet phones look the same as regular telephones," she said. "And even if you understand that 911 doesn't work with your VoIP, someone else in the house, like a babysitter, might not know that."

If the players don't get their act together....it appears Big Brother is going to force the issue.

I guess it was just a matter of time.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Buying & Selling VoIP Minutes...Termination & Origination Of VoIP Is Big Business

Ok kids...ya'll know about folks like Avaya, SipMedia, Vonnage, Packet8, CallVantage, Voicepulse, Broadvox, Skype, and others. But these guys are getting major competition from lesser known entrepreneurs all over the world. Some run pretty legitimate operations with business and residential clientele. However others appear to be quick score enterprises run from "home" in 3rd world countries. Many of these are small local shops offering callings cards or calling cafes for their region. Anyway....it's quite a big global business. Some are good...many I'd run from without a glance.

To learn more about this global boom and what's out there (if you're curious)....I suggest lurking around CallTermination.com and VoIPDiscussion.com. If anything looks interesting please be careful. This frontiere is reminiscent of the wild and woolly Old West and Gold Rush days. Don't count on a town Sheriff to enforce the law. There really isn't much law. Scams and scammers are pretty common.

Number Of VOIP Carriers Swells To 1,100

Just look around. Seems like everybody and their Aunt Martha are trying to cash in on the VoIP craze. From major brand telcos and cable companies to independent operators, 'Mom & Pop' local services and free Internet telephone application developers like Skype.

New research from broadband equipment maker Sandvine Incorporated shows that new voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) providers are coming online at an unprecedented rate; numbering more than 1,100 as of April 5th. Just remember that Voice traffic has unique quality of experience (QoE) requirements that demand more rigorous and flexible traffic handling techniques. All the more reason for you to shop smart when choosing a provider....whether for residential or business use.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Six Myths About VoIP

After you read through Russell Shaw's diatribe below...you need to look over Matt Friedman's well timed lecture on VoIP Myths at Networking Pipeline.

Matt lays out a logical common sense view on the right path businesses should take when considering implementing an enterprise VoIP solution for their company. Smart....not too much naysaying...very honest...and worth taking notes. Matt doesn't say don't do it....but he does say be smart about it. His exact quote is.... "Does this mean you shouldn't upgrade? No. Quite the contrary. The flexibility it offers, the new kinds of applications it lets you deploy, and over the long run (but not short run) the cost-savings are well worth it. But before deploying remember to look before you leap."

Five Reasons Why He Doesn’t Have VoIP: And More Than Five Reasons Why He’s Wrong

Well dang....Russell did it again. Russell Shaw that is....of the IP Telephony blog for ZDNet. No wonder Russell is one of my favorites when it comes to VoIP news and such.

Anyway...I'd read an article in PC magazine which was rather out in left field in it's criticism of IP Telephony. I was going to comment here but good old Russell already put something together I couldn't hope to improve on. So....without further adieu here's Russell's very much on target counterarguments to the article:

======

I’ve just finished reading an article in PC Magazine in which columnist Lance Ulanoff lists five reasons why he doesn’t have VoIP.

Let’s go over his "issues" one by one:

*If you switch to VoIP, you can’t keep your legacy phone number. Well, in more cases than Lance cares to cite, you can.

Lance also has problems with what happens when you can’t port your old number. Apparently, you will disappear into a black hole. Well, dude, three pieces of advice. Try to find a VoIP service that lets you import your legacy telephone number. Failing that, most ILECs will let you keep your old number as a voice-mail only service, and only rings in the switching office. I do that with Qwest, and pay less than $20 a month. Third, changing phone numbers is a great reason to reach out and let your contacts know!

*911 Is not always Included. Lance is right, of course, but that’s changing. If you are going to be mobile, chances are you’ll have a cell phone anyway.

*If your Internet access goes down, so does your VoIP connection. First of all, how often does this really happen? Yet another reason for cell backup.

*"Many VoIP services are tied to semimonopolistic regional cable companies." Huh? New numbers out today from broadband equipment provider Sandvine indicate there are more than 1,100 VoIP providers. Some 500 are centered in the U.S.

As far as cable companies, there are only a handful with substantial regional presences- and some, including Comcast and Adelphia, barely offer VoIP or don’t offer it at all. Five major cable systems that offer VoIP? That’s around 1 percent of the total.

Lance adds that attempting to block VoIP access is something all these cable companies have tried to do. There have only been a few instances of same. Trust me- if there were more, the VoIP access providers would scream loudly at anyone who would listen. And we’d hear it and report (as we have).

*VoIP is insecure. He makes it sound endemic, and only getting worse. Not saying the problem doesn’t exist, but this follows the line of thinking that doesn’t mediate especially well between what can happen and what will happen. Reminds me of an old girlfriend who refused to buy anything online because she saw a news report about online identity theft.

=======

Monday, April 25, 2005

Adelphia Subscribers To Get The Big Sales Pitch For VoIP?

It's no secret now that cable television systems provider Adelphia Communications is planning to be acquired by Comcast and Time-Warner Cable.

Previously Adelphia had not been offering VoIP (they're not exactly the leading edge innovation types so no real surprise). However, with this deal whichever company acquires Adelphia's local system stands to potentially gain around 5.2 million current Adelphia subscribers for VoIP services. Apparently, the assignments will be meted out according to which local system fits in best with either a nearby Time Warner Cable or Comcast cable systems cluster.

If you’re an Adelphia customer now, be prepared to be absolutely overwhelmed with junk mail, sales calls, emails, and all sorts of VoIP promotional minutia. Especially from Comcast, whose acquisition of millions of existing Adelphia accounts just happens to be running on a parallel track with the rollout and promotion of its new Digital Voice VoIP Services.

Personally, I'm not partial to getting VoIP voice service from either Comcast or Time Warner. There are better choices IMHO. You might want to check out all your options before the big onslaught hits you.

For more info on the merger you should read the Adelphia News Release. Don't say you were warned.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

VoIP Now....Voice Over IP News

Whenever you need a quick fix on the latest VoIP news with some insightful commentary and opinions thrown in as an added benefit....I strongly suggest you mosey on over to VoIP Now. Editors Jimmy Atkinson and Cam McCarter will inform and entertain....and never disappoint. While you're there at least look over their well thoughtout and practical diatribe VoIP 101: Voice over IP Explained. This alone is worth the visit as it clearly explains in layman's terms what this thing called VoIP is really all about.

Friday, April 22, 2005

VoIP Costs Add Up....If You're Not Careful

Read the fine print junior. If you don't....you risk paying more for a VoIP phone than you thought you would. While the premise of signifanct call savings by using VoIP is definitely true....a dumb move can cost you. For example, think twice about plans with limited minutes. If you go over you might need the Heimlich manuever after seeing your bill. For another great learning opportunity by Kim Komando read this article at CNN covering set-up and service cost "things to think about".

E-911 Rises To Top Concern For VoIP Providers

The ability ....or lack thereof....of VoIP providers to enable their users to connect to the Emergency 911 system has been a bone of contention for some time. That's not likely to go away anytime soon. Some providers like Packet8 have made real headway and give their users a workable solution. Others are still struggling as evidenced by recent Vonnage legal problems in Texas. TelephonyOnline.com presents a thoughtful article every current or potential VoIP phone user should read sooner rather than later.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

DS3 Bandwidth is Getting Cheaper!

While many people predicted the end of price erosion for DS3 bandwidth it continues to fall. Service providers are up against stiffer competition and are desperate for new customers to fill their pipes and turn a profit. Are you ready to negotiate for a rock bottom price? Before you do, consider a few of the reasons for the drop in price on DS3 bandwith.

DS3 bandwidth pricing had reduced as companies have gone out of business and the large number of telecommunications companies are fighting for a place in a smaller market. While many service providers did have room to lose margin, many have come dangerously close to the edge of selling circuits at a loss and many have gone beyond this point. It seems that in the race to the bottom many providers failed to learn the lesson that selling at a loss does not create a long lasting and healthy company no matter how many circuits or widgets you sell. Many companies selling at a loss have already been in bankruptcy and look like they will repeat this exercise as they did not learn from their first go around. So, solvency of the DS3 bandwidth provider should be a consideration when looking at great bargains.

Another consideration in bargain shopping for DS3 service is the fact that all DS3's are not created equal. Many providers are convinced (and rightly so) that customers are focused on price and are not concerned with quality of service. Many providers are now oversubscribing DS3 service connections as though they were DSL connections. This means you may not get the bandwidth you thought you would get. Make sure when you look for that bargain price you also reveiw the SLA (Service Level Agreement) and make sure the contract protects you and guarantees you will get the bandwidth to which they committed. Remember, when bargain hunting for DS3 service you'll most likely get what you pay for.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The VoIP Phone And Access Price Wars *Aren’t* “Coming”: They’re Here

Russell Shaw rocks! OK....I'll tone it down a bit. Ole Russ is one of my favorite VoIP writers...if not my favorite. For those that live in a hole Russ writes for ZDNet....and just posted a little ditty on the VoIP price wars. Seems Packet8 is really on his good side (YES!) and "others" better wake up. Cool.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Overseas Calls At Half The Price....Worldwide Origination For VoIP

Not everyone in the world has sufficient internet access capability to take advantage of the benefits from VoIP. Shoot....most folks are lucky to have 1 phone line for that matter. This dose of reality kinda puts the dampers on the "VoIP will take over the world" conspiracy theory.

But hold on there Junior....the little guy may just have found a hero.

Mail2speak, a US-based company, is offering users cut-throat rates to place international calls. But wait until you learn how they do it....read on.

For example......

* You can call the US and UK from South Africa for R1.35 a minute. Telkom charges between double and triple the price for these calls. Calls to Australia from SA are also about 50% cheaper.

* You can call anywhere in the United States and most of Europe from Malaysia for just 45 sen per minute compared to 98 sen per minute at present charged by a local company using land lines. For mobile phones, the calls will be 68 sen per minute as opposed to 98 sen. A call to China costs 50 sen per minute on a fixed line compared to 1.98 RM by fixed line charged by a local company.

* You can call anywhere in the United States and much of Europe from Brazil for around 0.33 BRL.

* You can call Japan from Italy for 0.11 EUR......the US for 0.08 EUR.

* You can call India from UAE for 2.63 AED.......the UK for 1.74 AED.

Those are just a small sample of what is available.

How?

What makes the service unique is that unlike other Internet telephony applications, mail2speak does not require a microphone, a software download or a dedicated broadband connection with special equipment. All that is required to use the service is access to the website and an open phone line or cellphone to receive a call. You can place an international call from any phone or mobile/PDA at super low rates.

The process is simple. Just visit mail2speak and fill out a few registration details. After that enter the overseas number you wish to call and within seconds your phone will ring. The call will have been placed for you and you can talk to your loved ones....or business contacts.... at a ridiculously low rate.

The service is available to and from 280 countries around the world. Your relatives and business contacts overseas can also use this service to contact you and pay in their local currency.

If, as in many international homes with Internet connections, there is only one phone line available, Mail2speak will automatically call you again in one minute to give you time to end the Internet connection and receive the call. They do this because calls to cellphones cost more in some countries.

For business people who make frequent international calls, mail2speak is especially convenient because it allows you to store the numbers that are called and simply click on them to be connected automatically.

** In addition, if you do not need to have a two-way chat there is another great service that is offered.

You can use your telephone to leave a message for as many overseas friends as you want for just 63 cents a minute. This message will be e-mailed as an Internet sound file (voice email).

All in all....pretty cool solution for the average Joe around the globe. VoIP technology for the little guy. Gotta love it.

WiMax Primer FAQ

Thought some of you may find this "primer" on WiMAX useful. It's posted at PbxInfo.Com. I don't profess to be an expert on this. I'm sure there's others who can "interpret" and explain the nitty gritty to the rest of us. So feel free to jump in and do so.

Friday, April 15, 2005

....How To Tell You Need T1 Service....

Is it time to look for T1 service?

Many people are confused when they consider whether to upgrade from DSL or not. There are several factors to consider when examining you current DSL connection and the possiblity of replacing it. For many people the biggest factor is reliability and if reliability is critical to the applications you run over your connection you should seriously consider replacing your DSL connection with a T1. DSL is a quick and cost effective method of acquiring high speed bandwidth however it is not intended to support commercial applications or large numbers of users as are T1 connections.

Reliability becomes critical when customers or employees depend on your connection for immediate responses. If your customers use your connection to access your databases or your server or the internet then reliability of your connection is critical. If your employees depend on your connections because you host the e-mail server in house or host web servers or ASP type products, your connections is considered critical. A critical connection can be viewed much like a lifeline, without which your business would be negatively impacted. Your monthly savings of having a sub-par connections will not make up for the loss in productivity of your employees or loss of customers when your DSL connections gets bogged down or cut off. To reiterate, ciritcal connections should be supported with a T1.

Many customers are extremely price sensitive and cannot afford the cost of a T1 which can be as much as 20 times more expensive than a DSL connection (although prices have come down drastically in recent months). Residential customers who are most sensitive to price should not consider a T1 circuit unless then have a business reason to pay for such a circuit and cannot access DSL service. Most people don't realize that a DSL connection can be just as fast as a T1 at 1.5Mbps. The shortcoming of DSL is that it is oversubscribed. This means there is a finite amount of bandwidth available and a customers speed can drop if other customers in the neighborhood decide to use their service. SDSL (Synchronous DSL) is a business class DSL and is ranked as a higher priority than residential DSL or ADSL (Asunchronous DSL). This means it is not oversubscribed to the extent than ADSL and is subject to fewer bandwidth restrictions.

In short, if price is your critical factor go with DSL. If reliability is the critical factor purchase a dedicated T1.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

....VoIP Phone Advantages & Drawbacks....

VoIP phone service providers offer many advantages to the residential and small office/home office user. If you have a high speed internet connection then choosing a VoIP phone service might be right for you.

But before you run out & buy the 1st thing you see....arm yourself with a little education 1st. The benefits must make sense to you or you are just following the crowd.

Lower Monthly Fees

The price of a VoIP phone line is a fraction of the cost of a traditional telephone line, the long distance calls are much less expensive if they are made via a VoIP provider, and applicable taxes are far lower with VoIP phone service than with a traditional phone service. Some VoIP phone service providers offer a phone line for around $9 U.S. dollars per month and will charge you for calls you make at the rate of 1-3 cents per minute depending on the provider. Most VoIP phone providers offer a bundled service offering unlimited incoming calls and unlimited long distance calls to anyone in the U.S. or Canada for one small fee. VoIP unlimited calling plans currently start at $19.95 per month. As with the traditional long distance market trend...expect even this low cost to drop over time as technology and competition matures.

Lower Taxes

So far to date governments have taken a hands off approach when it comes to VoIP phone service providers. Since the calls are being carried over the Internet, governments have not heavily taxed VoIP phone services. Right now the only tax you can expect to see on your VoIP phone service provider's bill is a Federal Excise Tax, which is only 3% of the cost of the service. For example, if you were to choose a $19.95 unlimited calling plan, the Federal Excise tax would be 3% of $19.95, or 60 cents. Your total bill would be $20.55. Compare that to your local telephone bill (go ahead and take a close look) and you will see you are spending quite a bit on taxes each month. Therefore, choosing a VoIP provider could add up to significant savings for you and your family.

Included Features

Most VoIP phone service providers offer features that are included, while most traditional phone companies charge an extra $20 to $30 per month for these. Most VoIP phone providers include the following features in their low monthly fee: Free voicemail, call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting, call waiting ID, 3 way calling, speed dialing and much more.

Flexibility

When you choose a VoIP phone service provider, you will be sent a converter to allow a regular phone to use the VoIP phone service. Your phone number is programmed into the converter. This means that you can take your phone converter and phone number and use them wherever you travel in the world, just as long as you have access to a high-speed Internet connection. Because your telephone number is based in your converter (and not your home/office), you have the option of choosing any area code for your phone number. Some carriers will allow you to have more than 1 phone number in different area codes for a small additional fee (called a virtual phone number). For example, you can have one number in your local area code and another phone number with an area code from another city. By having a virtual phone number in another city where you have a lot of friends and family, you will be saving them money because they can call you on a local number instead of paying for long distance charges to contact you. Both phone numbers will ring your VoIP phone wherever you have your converter and regular phone hooked up to a high speed internet connection.

Draw Backs

Connectivity issues with 911 service is still a concern with some providers. Although much progress is being made rapidly in this area across the board......it's best to find a provider already enabling E911 service.

Despite what urban legends you may "hear" about using a VoIP phone with dial-up internet access....this is still a myth. If you want a quality credible VoIP experience you will need to have high speed internet access (DSL, cable, or satellite).

Your VoIP phone is portable & can be taken with you anywhere in the world. However, it's not quite as unassuming & convenient as many of the newer small cell phones. But then.....cell phone calls home from Europe would be a lot more expensive too.

Hopefully the above info gives you a little knowledge to go on if you are considering a VoIP phone. Just remember to shop, compare, and you'll do fine.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

VoIP Phone Hype....Phooey!

I hold no ill will towards marketing, but do become offended when someone feels I should lose my critical analysis skills and buy into marketing hype.

For example - revolutionary new technology allowing 1 digit calling? Easy connect to VoIP via cell phone? Yada yada...hype & emotion... &..well you get the idea.

The way VoIP works, there are several critical aspects to insure anything close to toll quality calling. First is the instrument used. Next is the inside wiring. Assuming both of these are not a problem, the access line becomes the next major factor. Here there are 3 points. First is quality of the access line - its ability to deliver error free bit streams. Next is the bandwidth. As a shared application, the bandwidth must be sufficient to serve the needs of both VoIP and all other applications simultaneously. Third is the logical distribution of that bandwidth. In effect, the bandwidth must be split between VoIP and the other traffic to insure VoIP has a consistent available rate of communications between the premise and the POP.

Getting all of the above correct is not trivial, and those who attempt a pure plug and play approach stand a fair chance in being disappointed with their VoIP service. But let's assume this all goes well (at both ends for an end to end VoIP call). The next issue is travel over the Internet from ingress POP to egress POP. Different carriers have different paths, which impacts latency. A VoIP session is probably the most sensitive to latency of all common applications (although live video is probably the most sensitive). The carrier incentive is to keep as much traffic as possible on their own facility. This is a business need, not a technical need, but it does impact the quality of service users experience. Multiple carriers provides protection against failure, but it does not insure true shortest path routing. More important than multiple carriers is the ability and willingness to purchase priority transport of packets based on IP header information or other protocol approaches, so that a VoIP call continues as a high priority session and with sufficient bandwidth across the carrier's network.

Finally, there is the placing of calls to standard phones. This is where the PSTN gateway comes into play.

Now what parts of the total technical aspects will your service control? This is where the hype goes away and critical thinking comes into play.

Don't believe because many of us here have technical experience we lack business sense. Or vice versa.

The second issue is just how is the revenue stream divided between delivery costs, marketing, administration, and sales points? What are the volumes required for a breakeven scenario? What is the estimated market cap? Does the promised opportunity stand up to critical analysis of the business plan? Is capital sufficient to reach breakeven revenue streams? Are the processes in place to deal with service problems even if the problem is outside of your control, in order to retain good will in the market space?

Many of us are interested in a logical analysis of both the business and technical aspects. Just don't try blowing the preverbial "smoke up our butt".

Whew....I think I'll get a cold drink now.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

How Do You Become A WiFi Hotspot??

WiFi is a very hot commodity worldwide...for both users and those wanting to cash in on the business potential. Below you'll find some things to consider if you're one of those interested in the business potential of WiFi. If you have more to add....please do.

I'll try to keep this as simple as possible.

Here's some simple ideas you should consider for becoming a WiFi Hotspot.

* To turn your business into a hotspot, you really only need 2 things:

- Hotspot Kit (which should include hardware, software, and remote monitoring)
- High Speed Internet (whatever is appropriate for your situation....DSL, T1, or DS3 connectivity)

* Before you order your hotspot kit, you need to first determine what type of service you will need:

- Single Access Point OR
- Multiple Access Point

The number of connection points you need is determined by the amount of area that you wish to make available for wireless internet access. For example....larger hotels will require one access point per every 20 rooms (on average) while a coffee shop can adequately service their clientele with just a single access point.

* The last decision you will need to make is whether or not to bill your clients for wireless internet access. Today, more and more enterprises are offering wireless internet access as a value-added service in an effort to attract more visitors to their hotels/shops. In today's competitive environment, offering complimentary hot zones can be the determining factor when customers weigh your offering against that of your competitors.

However, should you find that billing your customers is what you want to do, find a provider who can help you do that. Your hotspot kit should come with software that will enable you to take credit cards right over your gateway (the page the users 'see' when they try to access the web using your hotspot). You'll likely partner with that provider in that revenues would be shared by both you and "them". Thae provider you choose will make sure the hotspot is running efficiently. This allows you to focus on your key business and to receive a profit-share check each and every month your customers log on to the net in your hotspot.

The above is a simplistic description of what you'll need to think about before becoming a WiFi hotspot. There's much more of course...but if you do your homework along these lines you'll have a decent foundation to make a good business sense decision.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

T3 Line Vendor Review

If a T1 service isn't enough to meet your needs, you can choose from the Tier 1 service providers' comprehensive t3 line (DS-3) service options. This high-speed line is offered in variables of up to 45 Mbps (from 3 Mbps to 45 Mbps or just 45 Mbps, depending on your needs) of continuous bandwidth so you can optimize the response time of your Web site, transfer large video files, or offer regional Internet access. We found 5 service providers that offer great plans. The first plan we found was with ACC Business. ACC uses the ATT network exclusively and is at the top when it comes to reliability. At ACC you'll get the realiability you would expect from ATT without the price.

Sprint also came up high in our review of T3 service plans. Sprint offers an incredible SLA (Service Level Agreement) with their service standing behind the product they offer 100%. While this may seem like something all providers do, further research will show that not all providers offer an SLA like Sprint. The third provider offering a great T3 plan is Telepacific. Unfortunately Telepacific is a regional player and only offers service in California and Las Vegas. Because of their focus they are extremely specialized and offer incredible customer support and reliability. If you're not in California you may consider moving there just to get this service!

The fourth plan we found and highly recommend is Telarus. Telarus is a reseller for Global Crossing, Qwest, and Wiltel. While you will get the value of the underlying provider you will not pay the price you would going in the front door. Telarus buys in bulk from these networks and transfers on the cost savings to its customers. Telarus is a virtual provider so you will not have extra hops to the network. You jump right on from your local CO and don't have to worry about extra latency! The final plan we suggest in our top 5 is Savvis. Savis offers Tier 1 service and highly reliable customer service. While they have a limited footprint, once you're on the network you'll have one of the best services around.

VoIP Without Wires

Face it.....management and use of basic business phone systems can be a royal pain in the you know what.....hassles and expense. You're not at your desk all day but your phone is....so callers get voice mail, everyone plays phone tag, and critical conversations get delayed. Callers try your cell phone...but if reception in your building is spotty...you miss the call. Top it off with your phone and cellular bills would gag King Kong.

So why can't your office phone go where you go....throughout your building or around your compound? In fact, it can. The convergence of two rising technologies within the enterprise makes the office phone portable: VoIP telephony and 802.11 wireless LANs.

These 2 technologies can work together to carry voice traffic over a wireless LAN so that mobile staff, such as maintenance workers, executives, doctors/nurses, wharehouse staff, and HR reps (to name just a few), can make all their calls anywhere within the facility while avoiding pricey cell phone service.

Now before you get all excited and do something foolish....you need to get the whole story. Yes, there's big potential benefits in connectivity, mobility, and cost.... for some. But you'll need to do your homework. Maybe....it isn't right for you. Yet.

Read more about the potential ups and downs at WirelessNewsFactor.com.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Finding The Right DS3 Bandwidth Provider

Telecommunications contracts can be much like a marriage and as we all know there are good and bad marriages. The fact is, when you enter into a telecommunications contract with a DS3 Bandwidth provider for reasonable amount of bandwidth or voice service you will have to enter into a long term contract. Telecommunications contracts for T1's and DS'3s/T3's typically range from 1 years to 3 years. Anything longer than a 3 year contract is usually only seen in very large applicatons like OC3 and OC12 or complex frame relay connections with many nodes. While the term of the contract will not be a problem if you have the right provider, the contract could prove extrememly burdomsome with the wrong provider.

We suggest using a broker to walk you through your options and show you the providers and services available. A broker or independent agent can help reduce the time it takes you to shop around for a DS3 provider by asking you the questions once and searching through multiple providers to get the service that is right for you. The agent helps steer clear of the bias you will receive when speaking with one vendor as the agent will be paid no matter which service you choose. As the agent doesn't work with a specific provider like AT&T or Sprint, he or she will not push you in that direction if they are not right for you.

Remember that the DS3 Bandwidth provider you select will be your partner for quite some time so take caution in your decision. The worst part of being with a bad provider is the fact that it will affect your business. Dropped calls or an internet connection that goes down can be disastrous to a business. We found that the larger companies like AT&T and Sprint will release companies from long term contracts it if is shown that the voice or data DS3 service was faulty on a regular basis, however the release from such a contract will not help recoup the damages of the lost calls and e-mails from the poor service. When shopping for a DS3 provider we suggest using a broker and asking for referals from current customers to give you an indication of what you can expect.

Monday, April 04, 2005

National WISP Directory....See An Opportunity Here?

Check out the National WISP Directory at Broadband Wireless Exchange. If no Wireless ISPs are listed in your city, you have a great opportunity to be the first person to launch a broadband wireless network in your area. You can learn more on how to make that happen by reading BWE's "How TO".

Friday, April 01, 2005

VoIP Getting Business Dollars

IT executives at businesses are spending more on VoIP than RFID. One-third of businesses have invested in security and VoIP technology, compared with only 16% who have invested in radio frequency identification. The study was conducted by Siemens Technology. According to our good friends over at the RFID Gazette:

In the cut-throat IT market where cheap technology sells, VOIP has proven to have a greater cost/results ratio than RFID. While it is unlikely RFID will disappear from the IT mainstage, the success of VOIP is turning heads in the industry.

Read more here: RFID Loses Out To VOIP In Lastest Survey

Consumers Hesitant to Make Switch to VoIP

While 72% of businesses are likely to deploy voice over IP (VoIP) this year, most consumers are leery of switching to the new technology because of privacy, security, and complexity issues. This is according to the "2005 Telecommunications Report" published by Harris Interactive. The survey also finds that 87% of business decision-makers are familiar with VoIP, while only 35% of consumers are VoIP savvy and only 3% of them currenly use it. The IP telephony technology still faces a host of issues that must be resolved before widespread adoption is possible. One of the biggest issues is integrating full emergency 911 support for residential customers. According to Communications Convergence:

On the whole, businesses are attracted to VoIP primarily by the expected cost savings the technology can provide. According to the Harris Interactive survey, some 72% of businesses that are likely to deploy VoIP this year expect telecom savings of between 11% and 40%. Customer satisfaction is high; some 88% of businesses using VoIP are either somewhat or very satisfied with their service and, of those consumers using the technology, 40% expressed satisfaction.

Read more here: Businesses Bullish On VoIP, But Consumers Remain Leery: Survey