Monday, April 30, 2007

How To Easily Find A ShoreTel Dealer In Your Area

The ShoreTel system is a totally integrated IP phone system that scales seamlessly from 1 to over 10,000 users including voice mail, PBX, and automated attendant functions. The ShoreTel system is built from the ground up and designed to be the easiest to manage, easiest to use, full-featured IP PBX system on the market today. Its distributed architecture is perfect for multi-site companies that span multiple locations because their phone system appears and behaves as one, unified system.

However, in order to purchase ShoreTel products, you need to contact an authorized dealer; someone who has been extensively trained and educated in the ShoreTel product set. But not to worry, we have searched those partners and products.... including Shoretel ShorePhone IP 230, and Shoretel ShorePhone IP 560....for you and ranked them in order using our "best fit" algorithm - which includes customer service surveys, product matches, and other search criteria.

You can begin your search for the best qualified ShoreTel IP, digital voice, and analog voice hardware dealers in your immediate area here:

Find A ShoreTel Dealer

Our form will will only gather just enough information to enable the dealers in your area to get in contact with you. There is no pressure or commitment in any way - this is a completely free service that helps buyers contact the most appropriate (and nearest) dealer.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Managed IT Computer Services

"Managed services" is defined as an umbrella term for third-party monitoring and maintaining of computers, software and networks. The actual equipment may be inhouse or at the third-party's facilities, but is running at a certain quality level or keeping the software up-to-date.

For example, an ISP (Internet Service Provider) that hosts a web site typically offers managed services. If the web server goes down, the ISP would be responsible for restoring it. If an organization requires a secure, available, and redundant IT environment to support their business-critical systems and applications, usually it needs the managed IT services including replication services, storage services, hosting services, network services, managed security services, email and collaboration services, and application services, etc.

Are you looking for a way to keep your web-driven applications up and running? Are you looking for an economical yet efficient way to handle systems monitoring and management?

No problem.

Are you looking for an ISP that offers reliable web hosting services?

You've come to the right place.

We have compiled an extensive database of managed IT services and managed IT technology providers in your immediate and surrounding areas. You can begin your search using the website below, which will only gather just enough information to enable the managed IT service providers in your specific area to get in contact with you. There is no pressure or commitment to buy - this is a free service that helps buyers contact the most appropriate (and nearest) provider.


Managed IT Computer Services

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Is Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) A Good Choice For Business Bandwidth?

For those outside looking in....it appears that the "Broadband Nation" in the business world is going a bit crazy over Gigabit Ethernet of all capacities. Careful....there's more to the story than meets the eye (or bandwidth meter.... 'wink').

You can sum it up as such....more often than not users, both inexperienced and power users, seem to be under the impression that bandwidth is related to end to end speed with anydata. Where in fact that is only one half of the equation. You must look at the actual data volumes being sent as well....to determine if there are any concerns, bottlenecks or other performance issues.

Now take a step back and really look closely at your usage. For example, you've probably been asked many times to verify if the links were saturated for various servers, ie mail servers hosting hundreds of mailboxes.

One would expect that it be very busy all the time, where actually most baselines will show hardly ever moving past a light 25% or in that case 25Mbits/sec (100Mbps link) and for the record, that is most often combined both directions on a Full Duplex link.

The moral of the story is not needing or even wanting 1000Mbits/sec or even 10000Mbits/sec. It is if the need or want is 101Mbits/sec (in whole numbers here for argument sakes) that warrants the next level throughput and or 1001Mbits/sec to quantify considerations for the big 10000Mbits/sec.

The price per port now for gigabit ethernet surely warrants no need to forcibly stay away. However careful planning will continue to ensure reusing the ever increasing copper infrastructures and save on the now outdated need of fibre-for-gig (in many cases) that not so many years ago were not heard of by most. Now you can get a gig switch from LinkSys or D-Link for several pennies. The bang for the buck is at a great price point. Costs elsewhere in high end components offer other values not really important at this time, but more for good reason.

I'd suggest first baby steps while looking at 100Mbits/sec infrastructures and how to perhaps add bandwidth by teaming, or aggregating connections like Fast EtherChannel or Switch Assisted Load Balancing (example terms used by Cisco and HP respectively). This to create simple increments by adding network cards/ports one at a time often reaching near gigabit speeds without having to replace the switching component devices. This approach may be more cost effective and a tried and true technology seldom used. However it still offers even more than just speed such as redundancy. Of course these aggregating techniques have evolved also into the gigabit market. But generally they hold value in the super high end of volume throughput requirements..... and both typically not used at the access layer (aka desktop layer).

Some years ago, Cisco introduced the 40xx series switches. The first model had several slots, each of which had 6 gigabits of throughput. Two cards could plug into this slot. One had six 1 gigabit slot, intended primarily for interswitch trunking. The other had eighteen 1 gigabit slots, which, at first glance, would seem a bad idea.

The rationale for the 18 port card, however, was that typical Windows servers of the time, with typical processors, could only drive 300 Mbps or so of throughput. There was a net benefit to plugging such a server into a gigabit port, because the individual bits would clock in and out in one nanosecond, rather than 10 nanoseconds on a Fast Ethernet interface. Without going into a lot of queueing theory, this is, statistically, a good thing.

Using parallel 100 Mbps cards still holds down the bit transfer rate, but also adds a nontrivial cost of additional cables and physical ports.

Traffic statistics can be misleading, if you look only at the average transfer rate and conclude the link is little utilized. Especially if you are dealing with delay-sensitive applications such as VoIP, you need to consider the peak, not average utilization, because it is at a peak when you are most likely to encounter delay. For routine transaction processing, average load may be good enough, but not for audio and video, where the effect of delay is cumulative.

Now I'm a big fan of Gigabit Ethernet. But the driver is QoS in a very broad sense, not just traditional traffic analysis but more closely related to how video/multimedia can be supported for globally connected hosts connecting to server clusters.

Examine the existing teletraffic distribution in most enterprises and most do not need big GE, but a few already do and some really dynamic organisations will be shouting yes please.

If we change the perspective, there are genuinely organisations out there who will want to offer those services that could not previously be offered by virtue of the LAN bottleneck or resource exhaustion at the server cluster.

Just remember that it doesn't provide a universal best fit for all enterprises and users.

The pricing for Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure is a major factor in implementing it in any organization. While more and more server vendors are equipping their servers with 10/100/1000 NICs (powered by Intel and Broadcom chipsets), the network side of the house (if not purchased/installed in the last 2-3 years) are still most likely 10/100Mbps.

It makes sense to require all new servers to be 1000Mbps capable, but on the switch side of things: if there isn't a widespread need for 1000Mbps, don't retrofit your entire architecture with it. Do a blade or two on your core switches, and a smaller distribution switch or two for the few aggregation points that do need it.

As the price per port comes down for GigE, cash in on vendor trade-ins to upgrade your equipment. Additionally, watch your bandwidth. There's always been a historical trend where whenever there's additional capacity people get really lax on the management of resources.

640K used to be a memory barrier, forcing people to be efficient with their code, now you have gigs upon gigs where people get sloppy with their code, database indexes, etc. and end up requiring more memory. The same goes for network traffic. But, I am not advocating that you're stingy with your bits, just sensible.

Now, 10GE is a different story, and I can only currently see a need for it in linking campuses and buildings with a significant amount of high-bandwidth users. The price of a single 10GE XENPAK is 2-3 distribution switches, or even a bandwidth shaping device.

The final practical message.....choose carefully.

For assistance in finding the best fit bandwidth solution for your application(s) I recommend the no cost consulting services here:

Gigabit Ethernet

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Is DSL The Right Choice For Your Video Conferencing Backbone?

An age old question....almost as old as broadband itself....is "what is the right bandwidth for video conferencing applications?"

When implementing video conferencing capabilty many businesses are more focused on the make-up of the video suite itself.....and assume that DSL bandwidth is sufficient for their network backbone. Whether this be an existing network or intended new install.....assuming that DSL is sufficient to support your requirements may be shortsighted. Beware, there's more out there to consider.

To learn more..... and avoid potential mistakes..... I suggest you read this article:

Is DSL The Right Choice For Your Video Conferencing Backbone?

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Establishing T1 And T3 Connectivity....How Do You Decide From Who?

For T1 and T3 business connectivity.....how do you decide who offers the best package of bandwidth and network performance for the money?

A T1 by any other name or even the same name, may not be the same. There is so much more to it than just getting a T1.

First, no matter who you buy your T1 from, most likely the actual circuit (loop, UNE, copper, ...) will be provided by the Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier, (ILEC) which is the RBOC, a Baby Bell in most areas (in the US). Might be Pac Bell, now SBC, er... AT&T (can sure get confusing). But any area with any amount of B&I will have a number of Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLEC), other competitive phone companies. And they are not all the same in their services. They may all offer a T1, but there can be BIG differences.

Look at the contracts offered. A T1 is 1.544M of bandwidth. One contract may state that if you actually use the full bandwidth regularly, they will increase your rate. Another one may state that if the full bandwidth is not available at any time 24x7 you get a rebate. BIG difference. Some will go even further and provide specs on things like packet loss and latency letting you know not only how fast, but how good. Be sure to check SLA's (Service Level Agreements).

Many of the smaller CLECs may have the ability to connect locally to the ILEC and sell you a T1. But how much bandwidth do they own? Some business models allow for a 10 to 1 ratio of sold bandwidth to owned bandwidth. This is guessing that only one out of ten of their users will want to actually use their bandwidth at any time. Others actually have their own "above net" fiber. This way they can haul your traffic above the congestion of the regular Internet to a more local peering point. At the extreme top end of providers, they can guaranty data transfer rates to points around the world.

Dedicated Internet, Voice or WAN availability depends on the exact address of the service location.

For a T3 connection, this can be very expensive to implement. You might first want to see if the building you're in already has any fiber connectivity going into it. If the buliding is new or was part of the 2000 boom they might have some fiber already in the building. Then all you would need to do is find out who the fiber belongs to and pay to light up the line.

T1 and T3/DS3 are not distance limited, but they can be expensive for rural or hard to reach locations. DSL is limited to 12-18K feet and Ethernet over Copper (EoC) to 9K feet from your service address to the closest DSL or EoC equipped Central Office. Cable Internet and fiber providers must already be in your building to provide service --although, they may extend cable/fiber if there are multiple tenant prospects.

Most T1 and Ethernet over Copper providers buy building access (copper pairs or loops) from the local exchange carrier (LEC). If you have a T1 order in process (with any provider), and are experiencing an extended install delay, chances are that the LEC has facilities issues in the area (not enough copper pairs, fiber, cross-connects, etc.) In this case, you can either wait for the LEC to resolve the issue, or order new service from a provider that doesn't use the LEC access network (e.g., cable, fiber or wireless.)

Throw in the options of MPLS, Fiber, Gigabit Ethernet, and Metro Ethernet....and making a decision can get even more confusing.

However, no matter direction you go in you'll want to do a thorough comparison of all available providers to make sure you get the best combination of bandwidth, cost, SLA, QoS, etc to meet your application requirements.

Whatever that solution is it can be pretty time and effort intensive to contact every potential provider in the area individually.....compare, negotiate, decide, do the paperwork, etc.

This service will do all of that for you...and at no cost to you either:

T1 and T3 Connectivity

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Vonage CEO Gone.... Announces Massive Cost-Cutting, Firings

If you've been paying attention at all to the numerous posts here with warnings about Vonage...this should come as no surprise. If you are shocked than shame on you....you can't say I didn't warn you.

"It's a company on the last vestiges of life support," says Leo Hindery, telecom kingmaker at InterMedia.

Vonage's CEO resigned today, quickly followed by an announcement from company officials that major cost-cutting measures and at least 10% of the company's workers are going to be out of a job in the coming days. Jeffrey Citron is now the interim CEO

Vonage workers have been updating their resumes for days, and today's announcement only heightens the concern that Vonage will be out of business sooner rather than later.

"They are running out of money," said Hindery, explaining the probable real reason for the cost cutting and firings.

Vonage continues its efforts to convince the public and its customers that it is a viable company, but customers are defecting anyway, with an uptick in churn rates. Vonage suspects they won't be attracting a whole lot of new customers either -- much of their cost cutting will be directed at their marketing campaigns to attract new customers.

I can hear it now, customer service - you suck, operations - you suck, marketing - you suck, development - you suck, I want them all gone by midnight. Not going to be pretty in NJ over the next few days/weeks.

In the end don't expect anything to get better operationally with all management covering their !@@ and trying to cut each other's throats to save their own, JC not willing to cut his sub performing friends, and JC forcing engineering to implement a half baked solution in a futile attempt to get away from the proposed infringements.

Sadly focus may be pulled from winning the patent infringement battle. Shame on our system to allow such crap to be granted a patent. Nothing was truly invented here and our court system needs to have the guts to stand up and say so.

For those who haven't left Vonage yet you better make a decision soon...or you risk going down with the ship. If you've been looking at Vonage for broadband phone service.....look elsewhere. I suggest Packet8 and SunRocket as viable options.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Security Is Not A Joke....Protect Your Home & Business

You hope it will never happen to you.....but the fact is no one is really safe today. It doesn't matter where either.....home or business. The anxiety that creates on becoming a potential victim is also unfortunate. How can you address this and reach some level of comfort with your personal, family, and business security?

Here's how......

Visec is a powerful video surveillance system that allows you to watch your home or office from anywhere in the world, even a cell phone. Who can use this product? Anyone! Install it at your elderly parents’ front door so they can see who is there, keep an eye on your pet during the day, and even remotely monitor your office to see who is coming in and out.

Any small businesses that CAN’T afford an expensive monitoring system can certainly afford Visec. Also, those large businesses that do have a sizeable budget and CAN afford a large monitoring system can opt for a Visec commercial system that is comparably rated to a military grade system. With Visec there are no limitations. You can login from anywhere in the world and know what is happening.

One of the more frightening and potentially dangerous crimes that can occur to a family is a home invasion robbery. A home invasion is when robbers force their way into an occupied home, apartment or hotel room to commit a robbery or other crimes. It is particularly frightening because it violates our private space and the one place that we think of as our sanctuary. Home invasion robbers work more often at nights and on weekends when residences are more likely to be occupied. The home invaders will sometimes target the resident as well as the residence. The selection process may include a woman living alone, latchkey kids, or a senior citizen for example. It is not unheard of for a robber to follow you home, based on the value of the car you are driving or the jewelry you are wearing. Many home robbers have been in your home before as a delivery person, installer or repair vendor. Home robbers rarely work alone and rely on an overwhelming physical confrontation to gain control and instill fear in their victims. The most common point of attack is through the front door or garage. More common is when the home invaders knock on the door first or ring the bell. They hope that the occupant will simply open the door, without question, in response to their knock. Unfortunately, many people do just that. If you have a Visec camera installed anyone can simply view the person standing outside of the door before opening it and call for assistance.

This product is applicable for residential as well as business customers. Check it out and see for yourself:

Video Security

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

What Is The Best Cell Phone Today??

What is the best cell phone today? The answer to that question may surprise you. Here it is.....None!

With all the choices of styles, models, design, options, gee whiz features, and calling plans in the market today.....there really is no 1 "best cell phone" for everyone. Throw in the multiple cell phone providers to pick from and any search can make you dizzy.

Also take into account the constantly evolving state of the cell phone industry itself and you'll quickly understand how impossible a simple answer really is.

But....at any given time there is a "best cell phone" for you. The trick is doing your homework and really researching what is out there....and from that deciding what is the best fit for YOU and YOUR needs, wants, applications, and price range.

Although that may appear to be a mind numbing task it doesn't have to be.

Here's a neat little tool which will search and compare available cell phones and providers by area for you (USA only)....covering every item you may be interested in.

Cell Phone Finder

Besides standard cell phones this tool also covers other wireless devices such as the popular Blackberry.....and even includes a section on cell phone accessories.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

What Is SIP?? (Session Initiation Protocol)

For those who have wondered just what the heck is SIP.....here's a resource link that will set everything straight for you:

What Is SIP....An Introduction

Everyone interested or who has questions should peruse the entire link and study it. What is great about this site is that everything is in layman terms and can be digested very easily. The coverage of VoIP and the many facets thereof defining H.323 protocols to SIP is the finest I've seen yet. Knowing the basics and functionality makes deployment and involvement so much easier and less intimidating than it seems. Learning all the acronymns is something that comes with continued involvement and studying.

For yet another resource read this article:

The Basics Of How SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) Drives Your VoIP System Design And Function

SIP will reside in your cell phone, your PC (In XP ALREADY), in your business phone system, in your cable box, in your home security system, in your video security system, in your home automation system.

SIP is not a telephony standard. It is a multi-media standard that is a disruptive technology.

If you are a small interconnect, get to know SIP now. It will be the technology that brings down the price of IP phone systems, to the level of standard digital systems.

IT IS NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME. That is the good news.

Why? because it buys you some time. If you have not gotten your feet wet with IP, learn SIP first.

What's wrong with it right now? Not that many features, sound quality can be an issue, off site SIP stations need VPN tunnels on most systems I've heard of, and reliability.

However, system software upgrades will show up within weeks of each other in some cases to fix bugs and add features. Other major features will include multiline business phones with DSS/BLF and line appearances, unified messaging, web based user interface for phone programming, collaberative work group tools, software based video PC phones (softphones).

In short......learn about SIP and you'll be ahead of the game.

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