Monday, March 31, 2008

Telarus, Inc. Wins ACC Business Platinum Cup - Again

For the Fourth Consecutive Year, Telarus Wins the ACC Business Platinum Cup by Writing Over $200,000 in New MRC in 2007.

Telarus, Inc., premier telecom master agent and creator of ShopforT1.com, ShopforEthernet.net, and VARNetwork.com, announced that it was named Platinum Agent by ACC Business, a division of AT&T, for 2007. "This award demonstrates that Telarus is consistently a top performer for ACC Business" commented Sandy Butler Buchanon, National Sales Director for ACC Business.

"ACC Business is one of the most popular carriers in the agent world. Receiving this honor for the fourth year in a row reflects on our agents' consistency and work ethic," said Telarus President Adam Edwards. "ACC Business has also done a terrific job of working closely with Telarus. It is truly a mutual effort."

The 2007 Platinum Cup Award winners include agents in the top 1 percent of all sales agents in the ACC Business program, including InfoLink Communications, Intelisys Corp., MicroCorp, Simplify Corp., Technology Brokerage Group, and US Telebrokers in addition to Telarus, Inc.

"For the fourth year in a row, Telarus is expanding its reach by developing relationships with integrators and value added resellers, which gives ACC Business greater reach and creates impressive sales productivity," said John Baker, President and CEO - ACC Business. "We were proud to recognize their top performance and celebrate our mutual success."

Sandy Butler Buchanon, national sales director for ACC Business, and Celine Azizkhan, Vice President of Indirect Sales Channels at AT&T, presented the award to Adam Edwards, President of Telarus, at the at ACC Business Awards Luncheon held in Las Vegas at the 2008 Channel Partners Conference & Expo.

According to Patrick Oborn, VP of Marketing of Telarus, Inc., ACC Business has the most robust footprint of all of the 30 carriers loaded into GeoQuote. The broad geographic coverage area allows opportunities for ACC Business to compete for more T1, DS3, Ethernet, MPLS, and Bonded T1 lines than any other carrier.

"ACC Business has the unique advantage of riding the AT&T network." commented Oborn. "This advantage really comes into play in areas of the country that are underserved by the other national dedicated service providers. ACC Business takes this advantage and combines it with excellent provisioning and customer service. Almost all of our customers who sign with ACC Business report on-time installation, correct and easy-to-understand bills, and show a willingness to renew their contracts at the end of their terms."

"Our agents continue to guide this company in the direction it needs to go" added Edwards. "By doing right by them and by focusing on continued IT development we have found a winning formula. What you see now is just the begriming of this very fun, very ambitious climb to the top of the telecom space."

About Telarus

Telarus is the number one master agency in 2008 as voted by the members of the Telecom Association and VAR Business Magazine. It is thier goal to make agents and VARs more successful than they can be on their own or with any other master agent. Telarus provides agent tools, automation, and superior support in an atmosphere of cooperation and ethical community.

One example of the tools Telarus provides its agents is real-time voice and data price quoting through its patent-pending GeoQuote technology. GeoQuote makes it possible for business shoppers to access instant pricing and availability information for over 30 broadband data and voice service providers which include ACC Business, AireSpring, AT&T, Cavalier, Covad, Level3, MegaPath, Network Innovations, NewEdge Networks, Nuvox, PAETEC, One Communications, PowerNet Global, Qwest, TelePacific, Telnes, Time Warner Telecom, UCN, and XO Communications.

If you are interested in making Telarus your Master Agent, please go to - Telarus Master Agent

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Friday, March 28, 2008

What Is The Real Difference Between LAN And WAN Computer Network Infrastructures?

Although a business shouldn't be confused on what the differences are between Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN) .... too often those entrusted with finding a bandwidth solution for their business aren't clear on these basic tenets of overall computer network infrastructure.

So .... in the interest of clarity here's the real differences between LAN and WAN:

LAN - A local area network (LAN) is a computer network covering a local area, like a home, office, or group of buildings in close proximity to each other. Current LANs are most likely to be based on switched IEEE 802.3 Ethernet, or on Wi-Fi technology running at 10, 100 or 1,000 Mbit.

In general a local area network is made up of devices in local proximity to each other and has finite distance limitations. The LAN can be either wired or wireless but is only at a single location.

WAN - A wide area network or WAN is a computer network covering a broad geographical area. Contrast with personal area networks (PANs), metropolitan area networks (MANs) or local area networks (LANs) that are usually limited to a room, building or campus. The largest and most well-known example of a WAN is the Internet.

A wide area network (WAN) is comprised of multiple LANs connected to each other across distances. And example would be a corporate office connected to each of its satellite offices. This method of interconnection is handled via a third-party carrier -- i.e. Qwest provides the wiring connecting two locations together.

WANs are used to connect local area networks (LANs) together, so that users and computers in one location can communicate with users and computers in other locations. Many WANs are built for one particular organization and are private. Others, built by Internet service providers, provide connections from an organization's LAN to the Internet. WANs are most often built using leased lines. At each end of the leased line, a router connects to the LAN on one side and a hub within the WAN on the other. Leased lines can be very expensive. Instead of using leased lines, WANs can also be built using less costly circuit switching or packet switching methods. Network protocols including TCP deliver transport and addressing functions. Protocols including Packet over SONET, MPLS, ATM and Frame relay are often used by service providers to deliver the links that are used in WANs. X.25 was an important early WAN protocol, and is often considered to be the "grandfather" of Frame Relay as many of the underlying protocols and functions of X.25 are still in use today (with upgrades) by Frame Relay.

For no cost assistance is finding just the right LAN or WAN solution for your business applications use the no cost assistance available through OC3 Bandwidth

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Just What Is MajicJack?? Good Choice Or Bad Idea?

A new cheaper Internet telephone service launched mid 2007. Does it still have the potential to be a Vonage and Skype killer?

Some people love it .... some people hate it. There doesn't seem to be much opinion "in the middle".

Bottom line is the jury is still out....but stay tuned as it does look intriguing.

Just what is all the fuss about? Read on .....

The former CEO and founder of Tel-Save (Dan Borislow), which later became Talk America -- which as since been merged away -- was a pioneer in low-cost long-distance plans. He intends to do the same for Internet calling with something he calls the MagicJack, which plugs into a computer's USB port and can be used with any conventional phone.

The general premise for the big advantage of his system, other than price, is supposedly the ease of installation. Which Borislow says takes about 45 seconds. Word to the wise .... "your experience may vary".

These guys definitely are serious and did a lot of work upfront before release. They spent 2 years building a nationwide network of Internet gateways (including 31 session border controllers) AND spent the exhaustive and expensive time certifying themselves as a competitive local exchange carrier . But (and a BIG but) .... there continues to be a few glitches experienced by those brave souls currently using MagicJack.

Just peruse the comments at such places as DSLReports.com and you'll see the dichotomy of opinions. Issues with set-up, getting calls, call clarity, customer support, billing, and more are common. To be fair there are also folks who are absolutely in love with their MajicJack expereince. Again .... "your experience may vary".

If you have specific issues or want specific information .... it's best to go to the Unoffical MajicJack Forum to get what you need. You can use this link: Unofficial MajicJack Forum

The consumer side of MagicJack goes like this: Usersplug the USB end of the ‘jack’ into their Internet-connected computer, and then plug a phone into the other end of the device. The device then boots a softphone onto the screen you then can pick up the phone and start dialing. The MagicJack cost $39.99 for a jack with a memory chip (for the softphone), or $29.99 for one without memory (you can alternatively download the client and keep it on your PC). Yearly subscriptions thereafter will cost $19.99. You can also opt for a "5 year pre-paid deal" for $100.

The business side of MagicJack seems to come from the subscription plans as well as interconnect fees paid to MagicJack’s CLEC partner company (apparently called YMax Communications Corp.) whenever a MagicJack phone number is called. In my mind you'd have to sell a huge number of $20/year subscriptions to be financially viable. That would make me nervous as an investor or employee.

On the networking side, the MagicJack/YMax advantage is touted as coming from building a network that covers “80 percent of the U.S. population” with its gateways and SBCs. By connecting most of a call’s distance over the Internet between its own gear, MagicJack is purported to have far superior call quality to other VoIP providers (or even PSTN calls routed over IP) , who must traverse multiple equipment types and transports that can introduce latency and degrade calls. Sounds good in theory....but the proof is "in the pudding" as they say.

Additional features embedded into the product, like call forwarding, are still being developed/tweeked. So .... MajicJack is essentially a work in progress. Not completely mature yet.

Now there may "appear" to be a huge market for value-priced VoIP-based telephony .... but I'd be wary as a newbie just due to the apparent condition of the so called industry leaders Vonage and Skype as revenue-challenged right now. This isn't exactly a strong revenue environment at the moment ..... so anything is going to carry pretty high risk regardless of how well thought out and/or financed. I'd also be wary of the "5 year plan" offer being that MagicJack is still essentially just a start-up and has proven nothing yet.

The moral of the story here is to do your homework. It looks good. And some folks are very pleased. But .... there's enough unhappy users out there to make you stop and wonder. Make sure you know exactly what you're getting into .... and are prepared for any hiccups you may encounter. If you can weather the frustrations and issues you might face .... you may fall into the group who have a pleasant experience. If those issues and frustrations prove too much to handle .... you'll obviously become part of the MajicJack Haters Club. Which category you end up in .... is anybody's guess.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

"Network Neutrality" -- Life or Death For Independent ISPs

This is an issue to which every independent ISP -- wireless or not -- must pay attention. The regulations and legislation that are now being proposed will threaten the businesses of all independent ISPs. This is vital, folks! If independent ISPs don't get active on this issue, you may all be toast.

While WISPS are thankful that winter is over and are gearing up for spring, the FCC and Congress are considering regulations and laws that would put them out of business.

The issue: "Network Neutrality." Originally a benign concept which simply stated that ISPs should not leverage their positions in anticompetitive ways (e.g. the cable company blocking online video or the telcos blocking VoIP), the term has now been "hijacked" by vested interests who seek to impose regulations that would prevent ISPs from managing their bandwidth, blocking ports used by worms, preventing P2P from taking over their networks, or even selling different connection speeds at different prices!

What is amazing is that the FCC and Congressional aides have had little or no contact/discussions with any small ISP or WISP... and that they had been told repeatedly by advocates of "Network Neutrality" that competition for the cable and telephone companies was dead! They still apparently believe this, and are preparing to unleash regulations and legislation that will deal serious blows to cable companies and telcos but could very easily kill small ISPs and WISPs.

All independent ISPs, and especially WISPs, need to speak out on this issue.

WISPA filed no comments or reply comments in the proceeding, nor has it filed any ex parte memoranda in the docket. (You file an ex parte memorandum when you go to speak to staff or Commissioners at the FCC about an issue.) So, it does not appear to be lobbying at all on this important issue. The only ISP trade association that has filed anything is Part-15.org (Michael Anderson), and that filing was short, vague, and (based on comments from staffers within the FCC) insufficiently persuasive. ISPs and especially WISPs need to speak up on this issue. The proposed regulations would prevent you from throttling or blocking P2P .... allowing it to take over your networks and rob your bandwidth for the benefit of companies that use it to distribute content. They might also force you to charge by the bit, raising your prices and/or making it impossible for you to compete with wired services in areas where you overlap with them. One FCC Commissioner has stated that he wants the FCC to make up rules as it goes along, penalizing ISPs on a complaint basis without any prior warning of what behavior might be penalized. It's unfortunate that independent ISPs seem utterly blind to the fact that all of this is going on! That's why independent ISPs need to form a coalition to address this specific issue. If you do not, you'll likely be blindsided by regulations that make it impossible for you to continue in business.

Some of you believe that it is your job to provide bandwidth, not to decide what end users do with that bandwidth. To me, it is obvious that Comcast's practice of playing man in the middle with PTP traffic is wrong, immoral, and bad for the network. In markets where Comcast is the only option, it is understandable that users are screaming for regulation. If their network, or your network for that matter, is being taken over by PTP then they are selling too much bandwidth to their users at too low a price. Perhaps they should re-structure their service plans to include per-month bandwidth caps or fees for usage over $X. A move away from advertising insanely high speeds on oversold connections with a 1 to 100 over-subscription would be a win for all of you

On the other hand, Service providers need to be able to prioritize traffic in a uniform manner by type while being prohibited from managing traffic by source or destination. If you are prioritizing VOIP traffic to your own VOIP service, you should be required to prioritize VOIP traffic to any other destination.

Right now, there are a large number of organizations arrayed against you. An organization called the "Network Neutrality Squad" is advocating that the government regulate and micromanage ISPs. Some of its demands include that ISPs not operate caching Web proxies, not block Port 25 to limit SPAM, not prioritize traffic (even VoIP), and not limit bandwidth hogging by P2P.

The EFF, a group called "Save the Internet", and a number of commercial enterprises (e.g. Vuze, Inc. and BitTorrent, Inc.) whose businesses use P2P to dump costs on ISPs ..... have also been very active. And small, independent ISPs have been no-shows at the FCC hearing at Harvard, at the hearing two weeks ago before the House Judiciary Committee's Antitrust subcommittee, and in virtually every other forum on the subject to date.

The FCC will be having a second hearing at Stanford University in mid-April, and ISPs need to call the Commission and ask to be on the panel. You also need to file comments in FCC Docket 07-52 and visit with the Commissioners and their staffs. You also need to call your Congressmen and Senators, especially if they sit on the House Commerce Committee, and get in on the Congressional hearings. At this point, you must take immediate and strident action to turn the tide, because it is running very much against you -- mainly due to your failure to speak up.

You need to speak up, as most lawmakers are totally oblivious when it comes to the internet and are apt to propose, and even pass, inane laws and regulations. However, you should take a long look at your own practices and advocate what is right over what is best for your business model.

See this "Seven Principles" document for one person's take on what's reasonable to demand of ISPs and what is not -- as well as the reciprocal responsibilities of users and content providers.

I'm concerned that so many WISPS are ignoring this potentially dangerous legislation. You can NOT ignore these issues and assume they will go away or evolve into a reasonable and logical determination that will support you. You MUST be proactive and your comments MUST stay pointed and on topic.

Or you can just blindly go about your business and let things happen to you.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Great Savings On Broadband And Telecom Services

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* Metro Ethernet - Try out the world's only business ethernet tool.

* Enterprise VoIP - Find the best IP-enabled PBX system for your business.

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To see the complete list of products offered .... including all of the above and 1-800 Toll Free, Conference Calling, Calling Cards, Dialaround, Prepaid Cellular, Domain Names, Web Hosting, Home and Business Security Systems, and Computers .... simply visit here:

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Telecom Consultants, VARs, and Master Agents: How To Determine How Much Bandwidth Your Client Needs For Their Business Network Architecture

When determining the amount of bandwidth a client needs, you first have to understand why the client needs internet/WAN connectivity. Initially you want work with the client to develop an idea of what the client wants to get from the internal network, in other words develop a list of business drivers.

Does the company require....

- Use of VOIP
- Are they using Voip now
- Will the use it in the future
- How many trunks do they currently support and how much bandwidth is currently being used at the core by those trunks
- Use of IP Telephony (voice to the desktop)
- If they are using IP telephony, are they using only SIP or are they using other protocols and other applications of the feature set on the phones and what are the manufacturers recommended guidelines on bandwidth consumption
- If they are not using IP telephony, do they know what protocols and applications of the feature set on the phones they will use, and what are the manufacturers recommended guidelines on bandwidth consumption
- What internal applications do they use currently
- What are the bandwidth requirements of those applications currently
- What are the manufacturer or developer's guidelines on how much bandwidth to use
- Does the client plan to add additional applications they know are heavy on bandwidth usage?
- Does the client use any security scanning that may take up resources?
- When do the scans occur and are those during peak time
- Do they plan to add security scanning, and if so where (the core or edge or across aggregation points)?
- Does the client currently use QOS, and if so have they manually queued traffic or are they using difserv?

* These are a good sample of questions, but in short, you are conducting a workshop to identify the business and technical drivers of the organization

You will also want to examine the current network design, identify current bandwidth usage across the network, identify bottlenecks, and where T circuits are being employed, where they are using MPLS or metro-e circuits, where they are using dark fiber, if any.

Ultimately you want to understand where their current problems lay from layer 1 and 2 perspectives based on the current design ..... and then you will need to break the network down logically at layer 3 and 4 examining what protocols are being used and how they are being broadcasted across broadcast domains which can create sluggish communications. Is the client using VOIP and not using QOS, is the client using a lot of DHCP relay, are there multicasts being broadcast that are creating superfluous traffic, etc...

Once you have a clear picture of the current network configuration and you have base lined the network, and have identified their current issues via a gap analysis then you can move on to identifying "how much bandwidth they need" internally.

From an external perspective you need to simply perform a firewall analysis of inbound and outbound traffic and match that against the CIR of your ISP pipe(s). You may also want to extrapolate any new data gleaned from your research into the forecasted use of applications for additional bandwidth usage in the future.

So to summarize you will need to use the following methodology:

1. Identify the business requirements and drivers
2. Understand the technical requirements
3. Identify how data is being transported currently
4. Conduct an OSI based network analysis
5. Develop a Gap analysis with suggested solutions
6. Develop a high level plan and provide the customer with an estimated bandwidth requirement based on evidentiary matter obtained in steps 1 - 5.

If you'd like some free help to apply these principals .... and get just the right solution for your client .... take advantage of the no cost rate quote evaluation offered by DS3 Bandwidth Solutions

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Monday, March 17, 2008

How To Determine How Much Bandwidth Your Business Needs For Your Computer Network Infrastructure

The process for deciding how much bandwith your company's computer network really needs doesn't have to be complicated. Here's a simple guide to walk you through the process

Could I suggest a path which is easier to say than to do? The first step is an inventory of what you have, the second step is a measure of the QoS you are getting in real terms... and if you can do one and two then three should be to figure out what you really need to improve or eliminate.

I have noticed that throwing bandwidth at problems is a very typical NA approach whereas in Europe bandwidth has always been more expensive so enterprises have tended to be more efficient.

One area you may care to consider is that if you have T1, E2, fractional, DS3, OC3, MPLS etc (oh let's throw in cellular, VoIP, TDM and any other part of the alphabet soup) ...... you probably don't have a network architecture and you certainly don't have a central "entity" responsible for optimising it.

So, inventory, contract review, shorten/lengthen contracts to achieve co-termination and use this time to build a real solution and an effective competitive RFI (ask the vendors for their best ideas) an RFP (marry the best ideas of all vendors) and a final contract. Bearing in mind the 80:20 rule of using a "wild card" supplier to keep the main vendor under some degree of competitive control.

The other piece of the puzzle that has to be consider also is the use of WAN acceleration equipment at each branch office. For your private WAN infrastructure (VPN, MPLS or other), most companies are either evaluating, deploying or have already deployed WAN accelerator appliances. These appliances are really changing the IT landscape so they are a necessary technology for most IT environments these days.

So without getting off topic. In our experience, "most" businesses leveraging WAN acceleration technology with branch offices that have less than 60 users can get away with only installing a T1 private WAN connection. Even with VoIP and other big apps being pushed out to the edge. Most host locations or disaster recovery locations will usually require NxT1 or partial to full T3 connections.

Please understand that there are a ton of variables here that relate to:

-types of users
-applications
-backup
-replication etc.

To break it down just follow this checklist:

1 - Baseline your network so you know what is applications are running on it and how much bandwidth each is using.

2 - Identify critical applications and determine the bandwidth need for adequate performance for each.

3 - Identify the "trash" applications such as "Weather Bug", internet radio, etc. which can be limited to little or no bandwidth.

4 - Filter your outgoing as well as your incoming traffic on all firewalls.

5 - Write ACLs for your routers or L3 MDFs and which log violations to you management console and analyze the results.

6 - Instigate QoS

7 - Build a Lab that represents the hardware and software infrastructure of you LAN/CAN/MAN/WAN/WLAN and test new applications to verify how they will effect you current bandwidth configuration.

8 - Be proactive as you monitor the bandwidth use and it is growing at a more or less constant rate recommend and add additional bandwidth before you create a bottle neck.

Armed the information above .... and with patience and focus ..... you should arrive at a solid answer for the best bandwidth solution for your network. If you would like free help with the process.....you can get it at DS3 Bandwidth

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Friday, March 14, 2008

.Mobi Domain Extensions.....How To Reach Mobile Phones Via The Internet

Domains With Us now offers .mobi extension domain names for purchase. The cost for the registration is $24.95 a year.

Specifically designed to be accessed and browsed via the smaller screen display of a mobile device, .Mobi is the first and only top level domain designed to let consumers know "This site will work on my phone."

According to Gartner Research, 1.3 billion users will have Internet access on their mobile by 2008; 36% more users than PC-based Internet users. There are currently about 3 billion mobile phones and devices worldwide according to the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA).

Many memorable and highly desirable .Mobi names are still available. You can easily and quickly improve your online experience to this huge and growing market.

To register a .mobi domain name, simply go to Lowest Domain Rates and initiate an order. Then choose Register Domain from the drop down menu under Domain Services.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Telarus, Inc. Wins 2008 Telecom Association Members Choice Award

Telarus' Wave of Awards Continues with Telecom Association Member's Choice Award for Top Master Agent

DRAPER UT, March 12, 2008 - Telarus, Inc., premier telecom master agent and creator of ShopforT1.com, ShopforEthernet.net, and VARNetwork.com, today announced that it has been voted the Top Master Agent for 2008 by members of the Telecom Association. The award is the Association's highest honor in the Master Agent category and is a direct result of votes cast by eligible members of TA, including agents, consultants, and VARs - who distribute telecom solutions to small and medium-sized business clients.

The TA Member's Choice Award comes on the heals of the Gold 5-Star designation that Telarus received in the 2008 VARBusiness Magazine Partner Program Guide, a guide that acknowledges the commitment and strength of a vendor's partner programs for its Channel resellers, IT integrators, and technology consultants.

"I feel like we've won the Super Bowl and World Series, all in the span of one week" commented Adam Edwards, president of Telarus. "Many people have asked the secret to our recent success; as though Telarus became successful overnight. The fact is, we've been executing on our unique business model for well over 4 years, quietly attracting new partners and finding new customers both online and offline. Likewise, our agents work extremely hard and they are extremely loyal. We work as a team, not individuals, and we reward our team with new technology that allows them to process more orders in less and less time. It's just that simple."

Telarus was nominated for the TA Members Choice Award for Top Master Agent for the first time in 2007 and was awarded the President's Award for "Program Innovation". After another year of double-digit growth, voting members of Telecom Association gave Telarus the nod for the Top Master Agent award.

"On behalf of the Telecom Association I'd like to congratulate Telarus and the other candidates for an outstanding vote" added Dan Baldwin, Founder of Telecom Association. "Telarus is somewhat unique among master agencies because they attract telecom business leads through Internet-enabled affiliates and then distribute the leads to their high-end telecom agents to close - a model that requires a great deal of technical innovation to work. Kudos to Telarus for investing the resources necessary to bring a successful new marketing model to the industry and for becoming the 2008 winner of Telecom Association's Master Agent category."

"Winning this award is a major coup for Telarus" said Lance Akins, VP of Sales. "It shows just how committed we are to our agent's livelihoods. We really do lose sleep over how to help them become more successful and they return the favor by leveraging our technology to increase their own productivity. We hope that this award will increase public awareness that there is a master agent who can write software, integrate with all of its carriers for real-time quotes, deliver internet leads to its agents, and wire accurate commissions on-time each and every month."

About Telarus

Telarus is a premier master agency whose goal is to make agents and VARs more successful than they can be on their own or with any other master agency. Telarus provides agent tools, automation, and superior support in an atmosphere of cooperation and ethical community. One example of the tools Telarus provides its agents is real-time voice and data price quoting through its patent-pending GeoQuote technology. GeoQuote makes it possible for business shoppers to access instant pricing and availability information for over 30 broadband data and voice service providers which include ACC Business, AireSpring, AT&T, Cavalier, Covad, Level3, MegaPath, Network Innovations, NewEdge Networks, Nuvox, PAETEC, One Communications, PowerNet Global, Qwest, TelePacific, Telnes, Time Warner Telecom, UCN, and XO Communications.

If you are interested in becoming a Telarus Master Agent, or becoming a Telarus Var....you'll find more information here:

Telarus Var Network

Telarus Master Agent

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Checklist For Evaluating A VoIP Solution For Any Business

When looking at a Business VoIP solution, here's a checklist of 20 items your company should use to guide you through the selection process.

1. How can the business benefit from it?

2. Is senior management ready to invest and allocate the time for the employees to maximize the benefits? This cannot be done on the fly and require some dedicated time.

3. There are many hosted and premise based solutions that are available in the market? Which makes sense for the business?

4. Scale of support needed and provided by the providers?

5. Would it make business sense to use a provider(in case of premise based) that offers a hybrid solution(allows both PSTN and IP in their solution)?

6. What kind of technical expertise is needed for administration in-house?

7. What about future feature upgrades?

8. How is reliability addressed: Power failure? Network failure? DoS attacks?

9. What are the security risks of web-based administration?

10.How is e911 and 911 handled for multi-site distributed organization?

11. When considering a hosted solution, has the company outsourced other applications before?

12. Age/condition of the data network? Is it ready for VoIP?

13. Financial stability of the providers? Whether they are hosted or premise based, how well are they funded? Will they be around 2,3 5years from now? This is a question that needs to be carefully looked at and addressed by the company.

14. Quality Service - How about a SLA (Service Level Agreement)?

15. Great Support - Real people that you can understand and are helpful.

16. Features - PBX features like RingCentral.com or Packet8 Virtual Office.

17. Price - Competitive.

18. Ability to set an "after-hours" greeting or handler.

19. Ability to ring through to your cell phone during certain hours or when you're enable that feature.

20. Reliability.

Answer each question paying close attention to how each provider you're considering meets each item. To make your evaluation measurable ..... assign 5 points to each of the 20 items .... and rate each provider on a 1-5 scale for each individual question. Tally up the scores .... and then compare each provider against each other with 100 as the potential perfect score.

There you go. The questions to ask yourself and the providers you consider....and a way to rate your evaluation to arrive at the best VoIP solution for your business. For more help I recommend taking advantage of the FREE support provided here: Business VoIP Solution

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Friday, March 07, 2008

DSL, T1, Or DS3 Bandwidth .... What's Right For YOUR Business?

When would YOU choose DSL, T1, or DS3 Bandwidth as the network solution for your business .... and why/why not? What are the pros and cons for and against each bandwidth ttype in a business setting?

In general .....

The answer to these questions is truly related to your application requirements. If you run applications that are latency or Jitter impacted, then DSL may not provide you with the service levels you need.

An additional extension of that would be your requirements for uptime. MTTR (Mean Time to Repair) is typically greatly improved with DS1 and DS3 circuits.

The size of the business is not nearly as important as your application requirements. Many large organizations can survive with DSL or in some cases dial-up, but a small organization that has streaming application traffic, mission critical traffic, or small latency or jitter requirements then DS1 or greater connectivity would be required.

Lastly, though often primarily, cost helps determine your choices.

To be more specific ....

T1s and DS-3s give the same offering except for capacity. T1s give 1.5Mbps upload and download speeds per line. DS3s give 32-45mbps upload and download speeds.

ADSL typically give asymmetric upload and download speeds (ADSL) typically 1.5, 3.0 and 6.0 Mbps download speeds and somewhere between 128 -768Mbps upload speeds.

Symmetrical DSL (SDSL) gives the same upload and download speeds, typically 384, 512 or 786Mbps upload and download.

Cable offerings vary with providers and location. Doing a comparison with cable would be impossible without knowing your provider and market. Not who your provider is and your location .... but knowing how your provider is in that particular market. Ask a local expert for that detail.

T1 and DS3 are very reliable with high MTBF (mean time between failure) and low MTTR (mean time to repair). Cable and DSL on the other side.

T1 and DS3 expensive, Cable and DSL more affordable.

If you do not have a need for high upload speeds, (VPN, VoIP, high Data transfer for backup/co-location, ftp streaming media or other high bandwidth services hosted in-house, etc) then an asymmetric connection is not evil. DSL/Cable may be a good choice in that case.

If you need high speed upload then T1/DS3 is needed.

Fro growing needs, T1 or fractional T3 is a good choice. After some point in growth, a full T3/DS3 becomes more economical.

For mission critical networks, two providers from two different physical points-of-entry may be necessary depending on the natural disasters you are likely to face.

Case study one: a company had a fractional T3 coming in from the East and another fractional T3 coming in from the West. Flooding and a sinkhole cut one T3. The network slowed down but stayed up.

Case study two: a company in South Florida lost its T1s and failed over to a Satellite link. Certain services were crippled by the latency of the system but their mission-critical applications kept running.

Which brings us to Satellite: usually asymmetric with extremely fast downloads (depending on service level) but typically slow uploads (but varies depending on service level). Has an intrinsic latency due to the speed of light and the distance of satellites. Advantage: natural disaster resistant, reliable, available everywhere and no last-mile issues.

In short...here's the 3 most important factors to consider.....

1- Link Speed and Committed Rate

T1 or DS3 can be purchased as dedicated point to point bandwidth. You will get the advertised speed guaranteed from point a to point b. KEY POINT if you are purchasing access to the internet and using the Internet to provide connectivity (VPN etc) then you are buying an on-ramp, the traffic on the "highway" after you get on could slow you down. Just because you bought a DS3 to the Internet doesn't mean that you will have DS3 access to everything onthe Internet.

2- Link Symmetry

T1 and DS3 give the same bandwidth in both directions when configured as point to point. Different flavors of DSL provide different up and downlink speeds.

3- QOS

T1 and DS3 are configurable to support TDM voice (straight out of your PBX). They can also support VoIP. If you are doing everything with VoIP it may not matter. If you are keeping some TDM voice it matters a lot.

For more help to find EXACTLY the right solution for your business network .... take advantage of the free services provided here: DS3 Bandwidth

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Telarus VAR Network Hailed by Leading Technology Publication

Telarus, Inc., premier telecom master agent and creator of VARNetwork.com,today announced that it has been recognized by CMP Channel's VARBusiness as one of North America's top information-technology (IT) vendors for its VAR Network.

Telarus was certified as a Gold 5-Star Overall Winner in VARBusinesses' 2008 Partner Program Guide (PPG), a guide that acknowledges the commitment and strength of a vendor's partner programs for its Channel resellers, IT integrators, and technology consultants.

"This award is huge recognition for our company," said Adam Edwards, president of Telarus. "We work very hard to make telecommunication carrier sales easy for equipment and IP networking VARs through our proprietary real-time quote technology and in-house CRM tool. Allowing our VAR partners instant access to complex carrier pricing information has allowed them to succeed in an area of business that instantly adds to their bottom lines."

Of the hundreds of vendor program entries reviewed for this year's guide, Telarus was one of only ten Gold 5-Star Overall Winners chosen in this 14th annual VARBusiness Partner Programs Guide survey. Telarus was also certified a Silver 5-Star Winner in the Partner Profitability, Communication and Partner Recruitment categories.

"The quality of a vendor's partner program reflects the true commitment they have to the thriving Solution Provider Channel, and this years 5-Star Partner Programs Guide winners are the cream of the crop of Channel-friendly vendors," said Robert C. DeMarzo, vice president and editorial director, CMP Channel.

"The Telarus VAR Network is second to none" added Robert Butler, director of the Telarus VAR Program. "We are the only telecom master agent who has invested substantial time and money into creating software to support a truly unique and streamlined program whose sole focus is making carrier sales easy for VARs. In the past year we've released The guide appears in the March issue of VARBusiness and can be found online at www.channelweb.com.

About Telarus

Telarus is a premier master agency whose goal is to make agents more successful than they can be on their own or with any other master agency. Telarus provides agent tools, automation, and superior support in an atmosphere of cooperation and ethical community. One example of the tools Telarus provides its agents is real-time voice and data price quoting through its patent-pending GeoQuote technology. GeoQuote makes it possible for business shoppers to access instant pricing and availability information for over 30 broadband data and voice service providers which include ACC Business, AireSpring, AT&T, Cavalier, Covad, Level3, MegaPath, Network Innovations, NewEdge Networks, Nuvox, PAETEC, One Communications, PowerNet Global, Qwest, TelePacific, Telnes, Time Warner Telecom, UCN, and XO Communications.

If you are interested in making Telarus your Master Agent, or becoming a Telarus Var....you'll find more information here: Telarus Var Network

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Monday, March 03, 2008

What Every Business Should Know When Shopping For DSL, T1, Or DS3 Bandwidth

The most common bandwidth solutions businesses choose today center around DSL, T1, and DS3 bandwidth. But to make the right choice for your business there's a few facts you must get straight.

"T1" is a telephone company term that describes a 1.54 Mbps capacity Internet connection. It also implies that the connection is "business class," and includes a guarantee.

The term "DS3" is also a "business class" guaranteed Internet connection. It should not be put together with "DSL," because in general they are not similar. However. many business customers confuse the 2 leading to some avoidable mistakes during the quote and purchase process.

Years ago, a business class T1 connection was very expensive, in excess of $1000 per month, and was designed to provide reliability to businesses whose use of the Internet was critical (they were willing to pay more for guaranteed reliability). Back in the early days, the alternative was dial-up. T1 prices have come down to the $400 per month range today.

Most other connection "speeds" (more accurately, capacity) offered by the telephone company are a "bundle" of 1.54 Mbps lines. A 3 Mbps link is also referred to as a "bundle" of 2 T1's. Similarly, DS3 is a nickname for a 45 Mbps connection, and is simply a bundle of 30 T1's. Since the cable TV companies began retrofitting their systems to deliver Internet access, these nicknames (T1, DS3, and others) have been borrowed, although the "speeds" originally were derived as a function of the limitations of the telephone company copper wires. Cable company equipment on the other hand can be throttled to any speed for the end user.

Around 2000 companies like TowerStream (beginning in New England, and now nationwide) began deploying business class Internet connections using equipment that, for the first time, was not retrofitted, but designed for the purpose of bidirectional data delivery. These systems also have infinitely variable throttles. TowerStream, for example, delivers a guaranteed T1 speed connection, but they also offer a 2 Mbps, 3 Mbps, 8 Mbps, and other ranges of speeds not offered by the phone companies, and their "DS3," instead of being throttled at 45 Mbps, is rounded off to 50. These connections are also unique because they completely bypass the phone and cable "copper" infrastructure.

It is confusing to many folks why someone would pay $400 per month for a business class link. The answer is in the small print.

I've heard Verizon on the radio offering "up to 8 Mbps" for twenty dollars a month. At the end of the ad, the guy with the really fast voice came on and stated "speed and uptime not guaranteed." That's the small print, radio version.

What this means is, exactly what it says ... "up to 8 Mbps." Maybe, maybe not. Maybe it'll crawl along at a terribly slow speed. Maybe it'll stop working completely. Maybe it'll go 8 Mbps. Maybe. They provide no guarantee. You certainly can not call and complain if it goes slow. They only said it might go 8 Mbps.

Less expensive connections, like DSL and cable modem, usually residential (and often small busines too), are not guaranteed. It's important to know. Usually the more expensive connections do provide an "SLA," or Service Level Agreement, which spells out the minimum speed, latency, uptime, and other measures of performance, which are guaranteed.

In addition, business class links (like T1's) usually allow the customer to host a server inside his location, and he gets public IP addresses, as well as other means of support, which are generally required for Internet intensive and Internet commerce-based businesses, and businesses which have outside users working from remote locations who need to be able to access the office. Residential type services (the less expensive services) will not provide business support, and often will cut off a customer who attempts to circumvent the basics.

It's all in the small print. Is it guaranteed? Are public IP addresses provided? Is there an SLA? Are these things important to you? They may or may not be ... but the business class of service is the lifeblood of businesses of all sizes these days, and should be expected to be for many years to come.

Should you want assistance helping navigate the questions and decisions involved in choosing the right business bandwidth solution for your company....take advantage of the no cost consulting offered at .... DS3 Bandwidth

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