Saturday, October 29, 2005

VoIP Plans Comparison Chart

Daniel Gray from geekbooks.com has posted a nice comparison chart of the most common VoIP providers here.....VoIP Plans Comparison.

It could be a bit more comprehensive, but I understand that it's very hard to keep up with the ever changing features and prices in todays VoIP landscape.

Verizon Scared Of VoIP...Or Just Playing Games??

WARNING: Viewer Discretion Advised. The following contains language unsuitable for those unable to accept blunt honest opinion. (Too bad Bubba...it's MY blog).

When are some of these big Kahuna's of Telecom going to wake up? The Internet will become the dominant means of voice communications around the world. I agree 110% with Ted Wallingford of The VoIP Weblog that "a global IP network will dominate the space currently occupied by the global TDM network."

Unfortunately some of the brains (or no brains) behind the big Telco's don't see it that way. In fact...Verizon CTO Mark Wegleitner stated ”Voice over the Internet in the long run is probably not going to provide the five-nines or high-quality voice that consumers are going to require.”

Maybe not today...granted (in some but not all cases in my opinion). But that’s not exactly what he said. He said it NEVER will.

What have you been smoking Mark??

You think the current crappy overpriced high fees poor customer support PSTN you been shoving down our throat for years will be status quo forever?? Get your head out of the sand Dude. You're about to get hit by a freight train.

Or maybe you're just playing the bait and switch secrecy strategy? Afterall....at the Telecom 05 conference in Las Vegas, CTOs of major carriers hinted at what could develop into an intriguing strategy for their rolling out IP telephony on a broad scale to residential markets: keeping it quiet. At least Balan Nair, CTO of Qwest acknowledges where Telecom is headed and is openly working in that direction. Yet Mark old boy is playing games...or ignorant. Either ain't exactly nice to watch.

Yeah, yeah...Verizon has been involved with internet telephony service to business clients for a bit of time. Big deal. It sucks. And Verizon is working on expanding their Verizon VoiceWing consumer VoIP product. So...you really are involved in this VoIP stuff Mark? But you don't really believe in it? What's up with that?

Ted puts all of this in even better perspective with this:

"The real value of Internet telephony is that is separates the application (voice) from the network (the Internet), in contrast to the old way, where the application (voice) and the network (PSTN) are bonded inseparably. Translation: VoIP frees us from network carriers like Verizon. And that is a scary concept to them. VoIP provides standards for voice apps that allow them to run on any IP network, meaning its huge upside is that it allows us to ditch the decades-old legacy TDM technology underpinning today’s phone company switch networks.

So, it’s in Verizon’s immediate best interest to bash IP telephony, to question its future, to question the ultimate reliability of the Internet 5, 10, 20 years from now."

How about blocking other Broadband Phone services from being used on your networks? Like say....Vonnage? Is that because it doesn't work or you don't want the competition? Does that ring a (baby) Bell (pun intended) Mark?

It just doesn't add up. Even with fuzzy math.

Either Verizon is stupid...or being sneaky. Both I don't like or appreciate.

What these jerks with this attitude don't get is this....Yes, it's about the dollar signs. But OUR dollar signs...not their business dollar signs. We want what WE want.....at a cost WE want to pay for it....doing what WE want it to do. In other words it's all about OUR choice....NOT theirs.

If Verizon doesn't see that...or insists on bait and switch secrecy tactics with consumers (hiding real intentions) just to get an advantage over younger more agile and aggresive compatitors (e.g. Packet8, Vonnage)....it oughta bite 'em in the butt. Serves 'em right.

Than those former combo experts/strategists/naysayers can have a convention on some roadside..... while they beg for nickels with a coffee can. Reminisce about the good days and wax poetic.

Whew.....OK. Glad I got that off my chest.

We now return you to your regular programming.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Taming the WiFi Beast

You better not miss this. Om Malik's latest article in the November edition of Business 2.0 is a must read for wireless afficiandos everywhere.

As Om puts it:

"Home is where the Wi-Fi is. And the more Wi-Fi you get in your home, the bigger the business opportunity becomes. With a raft of new Wi-Fi-hungry devices arriving for the holiday season, consumers could soon face a domestic broadband bottleneck. Fortunately, lots of new companies are lining up to ease the congestion."

Review Of VoIP Analysis Tools

Thinking of deploying a VoIP solution for your business? You know you'll need to do some testing first right? But...what tool do you use to get just the right info for your needs....what works and what doesn't?

Well....Network World did you a big favor. They've reviewed some of the likely VoIP analysis tools for you. In this Clear Choice Test, they've evaluated a burgeoning class of new products, collectively called VoIP analysis tools. These wares help the VoIP network manager proactively monitor and troubleshoot the IP telephony environment to ensure call continuity.

I suggest you look over the results of this review....and use it to help make an informed decision on what analysis tools you'll use.

How To Determine Your Bandwidth Rate

Want to know how your connection to the Web stacks up? This Bandwidth Meter service from ZDNet will run a quick test that will compare your connection to DSL, cable modems, and more. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3...

Pretty cool.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Broadband Subscriber Growth Slows

According to a recent study by Kagan Research....broadband subscriber growth has started to slow during 2005. The research firm forecasts that there will be 9.3 million net new broadband subscribers in 2005, which is down from the 9.5 million in 2004. They expect that figure to drop off to 8.1 million net new users during 2006 with continued decreases thereafter. Kagan Research estimates 45.2 million total broadband subscribers by the end of 2005, and 29.6 million dial-up users.

There's a nice little discussion on this trend going on at BroadbandReports.com. The prevailing suggestions for why we're seeing this downward trend are cost and availability. For many broadband seems too costly to obtain outside of metropolitan areas...or just plain isn't available at all. I suggest you truck on over to the discussion and add your 2 bits to the debate.

Bandwidth And Backbone Connections....Easily Get What You Need

Submit your detailed RFQ to DS3-Bandwidth.com and they'll get you the best Tier 1 pricing in the US for T1, DS3, and OCx networks....covers fractional, full, intregrated, and bonded including local/LD voice, data and DIDs. This nice little service doesn't cost you a penny. But please be serious about your request as these folks put in a lot of time and effort to find the best match for you. That effort includes negotiating on your behalf with vendors and doing the paperwork for you. They'll extract a finders fee from the vendor you choose to cover their effort. Overall....it's well worth it to have these guys save you all that time and effort of doing it yourself.

Internet Telephony Conference & Expo

For those attending this year's Expo there's a must see session titled "How To Make Money With VoIP" this Tuesday, October 25 at 10:15 am. Rich Tehrani and Robert Messer will detail all the ways you can make money selling VoIP equipment and service. I suggest you look over the entire Expo Schedule for more great topics....plenty to choose from.

Friday, October 21, 2005

How Cell Phones Work

Can you hear me now???

Yeah, yeah...we've all seen the commercial. But....do you know everything you really need to know about cell phones beyond that snappy advertising?

Fret no more Snoopy....just browse through How Stuff Works and Wireless Advisor.

Now...can you hear me?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Validating Design and Capability For VoIP Rollout

Brix Networks is offers a service that tests for how well VoIP will work with a particular potential customer end point.

This gets me wondering what others are doing in terms of testing. Are you doing any modeling before rolling out services, or only paper design and then implementation? If the former, are you using OpNet or some other tool? It the latter, how much time is spent on "tuning" following the roll out? What tools are you using to manage performance?

Broadband Traffic Analysis Tools

There are a number of tools related to network traffic and performance. One of my favorites is a tool called WAN Management System™ by EMCOM.

To do a legitimate traffic analysis requires the capability to capture statistics over extended times, and with enough granularity to understand sources, destinations, volume, time frame, and protocols involved. It is also important to gain insight into the circuit performance in addition to the traffic.

For circuits up to fractional T3, my friend Ken Hilving of Hilving Associates considers this tool to be the best. His personal preference has been with the portable unit as an outside consultant, but it works well as part of an overall NMS approach also.

Since EMCOM only works on circuits, Ken supplemented this with EtherPeek™ by WildPackets for LAN analysis. Ken has tried other LAN analysis tools, but found this works consistently with a minimum of tweaking, important considerations when billing hourly.

Telecom Network for Professionals and Users...Broadband And More

If your looking for a good place to network with other Telecom professionals and users...especially on broadband issues...look no further. There's a very active network on Ryze (business networking community) where you can connect with others of like interest, ask questions, and help others. Good place to get referals and leads for your business efforts too. Just head over to Ryze and register...it's free.

Monday, October 17, 2005

What Can You Do With A Blackberry?

Good question.

In the interest of public health I'm not even going to attempt to give an answer.

Why? Because one...or both....of 2 things will happen.

Either you'll fall face first into your PC from the fatigue of reading the whole laundry list. Or...my hands will fall off at the wrist from overuse.

Needless to say there's a ton of cool things that can be done with a Blackberry. Business AND personal (sic fun). To get yourself started learning what they all are...I suggest you visit these 2 websites:

1. RimRoad - a collection of applications you can download for your Blackberry.

2. Blackberry Forums - nice place to connect with other Blackberry users and share tips, ideas, and stories.

I know this is a little deviation from the normal faire from this blog. But somebody asked.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

BroadBandWiki.Com

The incomparable Om Malik has recently put together a little project he calls "The Broadband Around The Planet Project". This Broadband Wiki is intended to build a “broadband profile” of the planet. With contibutors writing short pieces about the broadband situation in their country. Om hopes to include a list of:

1. Key Broadband Players
2. Main Access Technologies, like cable, or DSL
3. The price of bandwidth per megabit
4. Average Speeds available to consumers.
5. Anything else including links to some of the better blog posts about the “broadband situation” in that country.

Check in often as Om builds this resource for the world's broadband users. Should be the ultimate one stop source for anything and everything broadband around the world.

Cool.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

High Speed Internet Access Guide

This High Speed Internet Access Guide provides a comparison of high speed Internet access providers....and articles on how to get the most out of dsl, cable & satellite connections. Nice little tool to find what you want...and learn how to get the most out of it.

Directory Of Wireless Services & Wireless Internet Providers

Here's a neat little resource for you.

It's a Directory of wireless services and wireless providers which provides users a simple way to find a provider according to their requirements. Search by cheap, best, provider, Cable, DSL, ISDN, Wireless, or any other type of high speed internet access provider you are looking for....you can find your choice in this Directory. You can search providers by city or area code, compare cheap providers. Get detailed info on providers and perform advanced searches to find the provider that best suits your needs.

Friday, October 07, 2005

....The Straight Scoop On Business VoIP....

VoIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol, is an enigma for many. There are many flavors of VoIP and many pros and cons that you need to be aware of when considering which service to choose. One goal of this blog is to help you decipher through the technospeak so that you can make an informed decision that will save you time and money.

The first thing you need to know about VoIP Service is that it can replace your local phone company. Whether you have just one POTS (plain old telephone service) line or a voice T1 (24 bundled dedicated lines), a VoIP solution is meant to replace your phone company. Instead of using your local phone company's voice connection, VoIP will digitize your voice signal and send it over an internet connection.

In order for your voice to transmit digitally through the internet, you need to be sure you have enough bandwidth to facilitate the communication link. A minimum of a DSL line is required, but most larger companies will want a T1 line - a dedicated link directly to the internet that is guaranteed to be up over 99.999% of the time. Since you will be entrusting all of your business voice communication to this new technology, your connection to the internet becomes the critical link and you don't want to risk a company-wide phone outage to save a few hundred dollars on your bandwidth connection. DS3-Bandwidth.com has developed software that will allow you to generate a T1 price in just seconds.


Once you have your high-speed internet connection taken care of, it's time to select a VoIP Service Provider - the company that will actually route your digitized voice signal to a real telephone on the other end. In essence, your VoIP Carrier will become your long distance carrier. The service providers Business-VoIP-Solution.com work with offer unlimited telephone calls to the United States and Canada, all for one fixed price. For companies who average more than $40 in local and long distance usage per employee, VoIP is well worth the initial investment.


There are likewise other hidden benefits of VoIP Service, the main benefit being the reduced bandwidth required to conduct a regular telephone conversation. Since a VoIP transmission only requires 32KB of bandwidth, you can fix up to 24 'VoIP lines' on a data T1, and still have 768KB left over for dedicated high-speed internet access! This means that you can migrate your entire phone system on to your existing T1 and still have half of the bandwidth allocated for data.


Other benefit of VoIP lies in the prioritization of the digitized voice signals that are generated when you speak. In the event no one is talking, the VoIP line does not transmit any data. This allows your T1 line to dynamically allocate bandwidth as it is needed, instead of permanently blocking out an entire channel of data.


Lastly, the MAJOR benefit of VoIP telephone systems is that they come with a very rich feature set. Some common features include: Unlimited Minutes,,Local Number Porting (LNP), Personalized Voicemail, Unlimited In-Network Calling, Caller ID, Caller ID Blocking, Call Waiting, Call Waiting ID, Call Forwarding, 3-way Conferencing, Call Return *69 activates, Online Management & Billing, Choose Your Own Area Code, *70 Call Waiting Disable, *78/*79 Do Not Disturb, *77/*87 Anonymous Call Blocking, Distinctive Ringing for Virtual Numbers, Virtual Phone Numbers all over the world, Enhanced 911, and Toll Free Services. You just can't get all that service with regular phone service without paying extra fees and surcharges. These features are standard with most VoIP plans!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

VoIP Network Assessments

For those businesses considering deploying an enterprise VoIP solution...or troubleshooting an exisiting one...there's 3 VoIP Network Assessment tools that may help:

□ Essential VoIP Verification Tools: Advanced Testing Solutions to Generate, Monitor & Analyze VoIP traffic

□ Shunra Virtual Enterprise: Emulate any Network Behavior & Configuration

□ Network Assessment: Assess, Manage & Troubleshoot your Network for VoIP Deployment

Advanced IP Address Calculator

The Advanced IP Address Calculator is a freeware Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP utility that lets you calculate every aspect of your subnet configuration in a few mouse clicks! It was designed for any network engineer who needs a fast way to determine subnets. You can get this freeware from PBXinfo.com.

Sprint Invented VoIP????

Sprint is suing Vonage and other VoIP carriers, because it says that it invented the technology and patented it years ago. If only Al Gore had gotten a patent when he invented the internet(LOL). Anyway...read more about it in the Washington Post.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Verizon VoIP: Unlimited Really Means Only 5,000 Minutes

NEWS FLASH....Verizon's "unlimited" VoIP service really limits you to 5,000 minutes per month (around three hours per day). "More than 5,000 minutes a month is considered beyond normal residential use and may be investigated, resulting in potential termination of service," notes the fine print on Verizon's website.

Well Duh....I know none of you fell for that little known factoid.

Ahhhh....you did?

Well....NOW will you think about looking at Packet8?

Small Business VoIP Guide

The Small Business VoIP Guide provides independent information to help you choose a new broadband based (VoIP) telephone system for your business. The cost is around $149 and is well worth the investment.