Wednesday, December 31, 2008

T1 Bandwidth Or DSL .... What Is The Better Choice For Today's Small Business?

In today's technolgy environment every business simply must have a robust voice / data network to handle the myriad of requirements they face. Part of that equation is ensuring the right bandwidth backbone to run all those "neat functions" on ... without loss of time, product, or productivity. In fact ... the newtork must complement and leverage the conduct of those "functions".

So ... what is the better choice for that network foundation. T1 Bandwidth or DSL??

The primary reason businesses reject DSL and Cable technologies is reliability. It's not necessarily that they are bad technologies .... but they are hindered by politics and economics. You truly get what you pay for. I regulary ask if the client is okay with being down for a day or two .... or a week .... when recommending these different technologies.

Cost really isn't a factor anymore. Cost has been dropping for all manner of bandwidth solutions for some time. For example, T1's can be configured to be afffordable for most small business with as little as 5 employees .... and if they have more than 5 they shouldn't even consider DSL or Cable.

What many businesses neglect to evaluate is latency and other service level guarantees that business grade T1's provide. In a business environment latency is much more important than bandwidth ..... but we're all bombarded with very clever commercials geared at pitching speed=bandwidth only. A good consultant should evaluate the applications the business utilizes. Bandwidth is definitely more important for our most popular residential applications like video and audio streaming. These applications are usually blocked by your business network manager.

Many business applications will send a single packet from point A to point B .... requiring point B to respond that the packet arrived before sending the next packet. The time this packet takes to get from point A to point B is called latency. For example, an Excel spreadsheet would be transmitted this way.

Business grade latency guarantees on Internet T1's are usually under 100 milliseconds. I've never seen a DSL or Cable modem that would give you a latency guarantee.

So ... in my mimd. To really answer the question .... focus on latency. With that in mind T1 bandwidth should be the answer for every business .... unless you need more like DS3 bandwidth.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

VoIP Phone Services ..... Resource To Compare Providers And Plans

VoIP phone service (also called Broadband Phone) is the fastest growing Telecom service after cell phones in the market today.

With all the choices available .... for both provider and plans .... the task of finding the right VoIP phone service for you can be confusing at best. To make that task easier I suggest using the comparison tools and listings available at FreedomFire Communications.

You'll find a list of selected top providers including full description of services, features, pricing packages, and special offers. Part of the information available includes access to the providers actual company website. Everything you need to make an educated choice is right there for you.

Also available to you is a "Best Rate Calculator" to see just how these providers stack up compared to what you use now (land line or broadband phone) ..... with actual calcualtions using your specific use patterns and needs.

You can even order a plan you like right from this website .... price, security, and service guaranteed.

To take advantage of this amazing resource simply visit this website: VoIP Phone Services

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Is Triple Play Still A Viable Business Model ... For Both Provider And Consumer?

The bundling of High Speed Internet, Phone, & Cable TV was on the fast track in the public eye (US) .... is it still? Or is it being overtaken by "over" hyped marketing and economic issues?

How, why, and what do you see as reality vs perception. What does the future hold ... near and far?

Like a lot of advertising bundles "Triple Play" has gained a place in the consumers consciousness. But my perception is that consumers are frozen in place by the idea that they're contracting long term (1 or 2 years) for something they may regret in the not too distant future. There may be a slowing of adoption due to economic issues .... but a provider who can address price, quality and the concern over long term contracts should see a steady adoption of triple play services.

I don't think there is much of an issue with respect to the longevity of the bundles. What I think does cause a stir though is the price hike at the end of the promo period. If the pricing is right, people would renew and if the provider does their research, they could have competitive offers to retain clients. I think the model of having cheap service for a period with a looming hike later can be a big deterrent.

Another angle to look at it though is the customer service aspect. If people feel they'd be stressed trying to get different providers to take ownership of their issues if something goes wrong in an unbundled, multi-provider setup, that could be a reason for people to stay with the bundled service despite the cost.

Now yes .... it is largely marketing hype. But truly how many consumer's do you know that actually know the term "triple play"? This is largely a term for the industry itself. What is being marketed to the consumer is a "one bill and one payment" option for a plethora of services.

Here's a breakdown of the factors involved for providers, consumers, and the future of "Triple Play" itself.

1) FOR THE PROVIDER

If it is a legacy carrier that has to substantially upgrade its network in order to provide triple-play services, the business model would be a high risk one depending on all the variables in the market they're in (demographics, price point, positioning, competition, etc).

If it is a new provider than can take advantage of the various wireless broadband spectrum available that offer reliable TV service, then it would be a better situation since the network would be purpose-built for triple / quad play from the ground up. Depending on the wireless spectrum the carrier gets licensed for, this network can be deployed to cover large areas at relatively low costs.

It is a viable business model for the company only when the customer sees value in the wireline telephony component. Companies which correctly packaged and priced various triple play offerings have been extremely successful in growing overall subscriber units (not just phone customers), revenue, ARPU and operating cashflow. But the trend is definitely shifting. In the growing world of cord cutting consumers, more and more customers simply don't use or see value in wireline service for personal, practical and economic reasons.

Because of this rapidly evolving trend, telecom companies are less able to spread the bundle discount across three products and will need to develop a new pricing solution that is attractive to cord cutting customers in the very near future. The ideal alternative will be for those MSOs who are able to leverage a wireless solution as a third element alternative to the triple play. Ultimatey, femtocells or some other similar disruptive technology could provide the longer term solution.

In summary, triple play offers are valuable tools to the business arsenal of the telecom industry, but wireline's days as a substantial driver of triple play consumer behavior are likely numbered.

2) FOR THE CONSUMER

Many consumers are getting tired of the fact that triple play bundles do not live up to expectations. Many prefer the pricing and / or the quality of the individual services from other companies, rather than getting everything from one carrier for a single price. Carriers engage in constant price-based advertising and relentless marketing campaigns which only further cause confusion in the consumers' minds, and many just end up making a choice due to frustration. Triple Play is still a viable option for consumers who don't want the fuss of paying multiple bills, with the convenience of all services from one company. At the end of the day, all consumers want a good triple-play / quad-play service, but each individual service has to be of a high QoS.

A number of factors potentially come between "you" and "your" desire to get the cheaper rates that "triple play" offers:

a) Emergencies and Blackouts:

While you know there is a 911 (or E911) service available through cable, the fact that the cables don't carry current means that the phones will be down in the event of a power outage. Not very useful for, say, calling PSE&G to tell them there's a power outage. The fact that there's a short-life battery available to provide power doesn't really reassure me. Not sure how to work around this one.

b) Rate hikes at the end of the promo period. Not much more to say about this one.

c) Inertia + annoyance:

Right now many folks have cable and internet through their cable company, and phone through the phone company. Many endure their cable company calling them sometimes four times a week, and mailing at least once a week, trying to get them to switch. If you have to try that hard to sell something to "you", it's not that good. And even if it is that good, you're pissing people off with all the phone calls.

d) Reliability - not of the service but of the servicers:

I've had some good customer service experiences with cable companies, but often they've been much worse. If you're without TV for a day, or internet, you can deal. But if you need to have a phone, you need to have a phone. Scheduling something for next tuesday between 9 and 3 .... that you probably won't show up for anyway ... isn't going to help the customer when they're waiting for a job offer or a call about a sick relative.

e) Alternative sources for TV content:

Most people are not there yet, and neither is the industry (see IPTV). But I can see a future 5-10 years out in which we may get all or most of our programming from (legit) Web downloads. At that point, why would you need cable?

If you want to sell me a plan, this is the stuff (more or less in order of importance) that you have to overcome. So far, I'm not seeing cable companies doing that job.

3) THE FUTURE

With the advancements in wireless broadband technologies, triple play and quad play has already become the must-have for new ISP's and new telecom companies, especially in developing countries around the world. The technology allows for small telcos to become full service providers, and compete against much larger entities.

Overall .... Triple Play is a positive for providers from both a marketing sense and cost effectiveness of their networks. Delivering more than a hyped package .... but true quality at a reasonable cost is the key for consumers. As with most things both the provider and consumer needs must be mey for a viable future. But in the end .... the customer is king.

For a quick and easy tool to see what options you as a customer have in your specific area .... use this convenient online search and compare portal:

Bundled TV, Cable, And Phone

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Business And Productivity Software

No matter what size or type of business you may be involved with (including small office and home office set-ups) ..... having just the right business and productivity software is a must. The right software will safe you time, effort, and money. The wrong kind will cost you more of all 3 ... and add frustration and stress you don't need.

A simple way to search for just the right business and productivity software that meets your needs is to use the listing and pricing service at Next Day PC.

You'll find business and productivity software inlcuding the full range of Microsoft Office products, Symantec Norton security, Adobe Creative, complete Corel offerings (graphics etc.), IBM Lotus packages, Lexmark forms, and more.

Listings include shipping time, prices, special deals, full descriptions, and more.

To use this resource go to Business And Productivity Software

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Monday, December 22, 2008

How To Find Special Deals On Blackberry Smart Phones

If you're looking for a BlackBerry Smartphone at the best possible price (e.g. BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry Storm, BlackBerry Curve, BlackBerry Pearl) you can get GREAT deals today. Deals you won't AND can't find anywhere else. HUGE savings.

You won't believe what you see ..... and I can't tell you much publicly ..... just stop wasting time and go here:

Deals On BlackBerry SmartPhones

I don't need to say anymore. Everything you want and need to know is right there.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Frame Relay Is Old News .... MPLS Is Now

Frame Relay was one of the earliest Virtual Private Network (VPN) technologies used to connect customer sites together to transfer data to each other.

Customer sites connect to a network provider's Frame Relay "cloud", commonly using leased line technology (64kbps - 2Mbps are common in the UK).

Once all of the customer sites are connected to the same Frame Relay cloud, the customer network is created in software using "virtual circuits". Each VC goes from the branch, to the head office or where the data application is hosted. You can create a VC for data and a separate VC for voice, each with separate performance characteristics (committed information rates).

Key things about Frame Relay - it was not very scalable and was expensive to manage (because of all the virtual circuits and back up virtual circuits). It would naturally be used to create "hub-spoke" networks with one main office and lots of little ones - which suited some businesses - even to this day. However the increase in traffic seen in customer networks throughout the 1990s and beyond has largely rendered Frame Relay obsolete.

However there are still a rump of businesses still using FR in the UK - particularly those with thin client or terminal applications with very low traffic demands, but high uptime requirements. Because access to the FR cloud was based on highly reliable leased lines, FR networks tend to be solid and unremarkable, albeit "low" bandwidth by modern standards.

In the US ... that's not so true. Frame Relay is rarely even discussed when looking into new networks or upgrading existing ones.

Frame Relay competed against ATM in the late 80s and early 90s, but has been superceded by MPLS (Multi-Protocal Label Switching) and Ethernet-based wide-area networks since then. For what you once considered Frame Relay for (application) .... look instead to MPLS first. If more bandwidth or robustness is needed .... and cost is an obstacle ... graviate toward an business ethernet based WAN. Either way you're better off than the old Frame relay.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What Is Your Definition Of IPTV?

IPTV is moving images sent over IP. After that it covers a multitude of different systems.

IPTV is encoded in either MPEG2, MPEG4, H264, or propriety protocols in either broadcast, multicast or point to point IP networks. It may or may not use IGMP, it may or may not have middleware protocols to manage the views.

It can be used for viewing normal television, VoD, special services, "Hotel room services", adverts, remote windows, anything.

There are open systems and closed systems. Some using signalling and control some being totally passive.

IPTV is just a very wide concept with many many applications.

My non-technical definition of IPTV is a question of perspectives.

From a customer point of view it is the ability to create custom channels that include the content they wish to view without the headache of being tied to broadcast scheduling.

From an advertising point of view it provides a means of providing targeted advertising based on detailed demographic information which will be more attainable when a user chooses to use an IPTV provider.

From a broadcasters point of view IPTV heralds the opportunity to generate revenue from re-purposed legacy content, revenue that may be lost through customers choosing to avoid advertising.

The term was coined, I believe, by Eli Noam at Columbia University in 1998. It refers to video programming (one way) delivered by Information Packet switching/Internet Protocol, regardless of source. The increased interactivity and addressablitily of IPTV affords the ablitiy to do multicasting, narrowcasting, VOD, etc. A related, often confused term is Television over the Internet (or Internet TV). The primary difference is that in Internet Television, the content source can be divorced from the network provider. Say, as opposed to getting video content from your cable TV provider, you get it from YouTube.

IPTV is a promising media broadcasting method which is used more and more for end users for live and (VOD) Video On Demand broadcasts. Almost anybody can now become a media broadcaster/provider and integrate their information services with this technology. I envision that this technology brings many commercial and technical opportunities and challenges for providers and end users.

IPTV is enabling a whole new paradigm for "video watching". No more broadcasting, no more "what's on TV tonight", no more government controlled TV networks or tregulations. It's what Internet in general did for information, now for video. Anybody can play, anybody can access, anybody can "mesh-up" and enjoy.

Online, offline, wireless, wired, handheld, wallsized. Look what, where, when, how and with whom you want.

The issue with customers of this technology is its still too new and still too foreign for the non technical to understand. The issue with those technologically advanced to understand it comes from a point of the underlying protocols and their often instability. So lets put this to the test and nail this coffin shall we? IPTV is all the rage a million people sign up for the concert of the century. Bono, Prince, Madonna, Springsteen, and all other heavy hitters agree to appear for this one time extravaganza. The curtain falls and guess what? Fiber cut So much for that concert. No wait... Peering disputes, two backbone providers disconnect There goes your business model. Something will always come along at present time and spoil IPTV.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Medical Imagery Bandwidth Solution

A series of questions need to be answered before you can really get close to a "final" solution.

First question you need is to determine your scale. Some typical questions are:

1) Average File Size to be sent
2) Number of files sent / time (day, hour, min)
3) Time Critical Nature of transmission (Immediate, Few Hours Late, Day Late)

This will give you an understanding of your bandwidth needs both from a Max Size and Total Volume standpoint.

After you've determined that, you need to outline the geographic nature of your sites. Are they regional in nature or national. This will help identify whether a Local provider (ie Cable/MSO or Small CLEC) or a National provider is a better fit. Local providers are usually less expensive, but you run into challenges in using them nationally (b/c they are usually going to have to use 3rd parties for the backhaul/transport) especially when it comes to outage management. Local providers are often less likely to have systems to verify SLA'a and be able to give you an end-to-end view.

Next set of questions to be answered relate to the capabilities of the IT organization supporting these sites and the CPE. If they are bare bones, then you want either a relatively simple solution (ie Ethernet focused). If they are more advanced, then a TDM solution may be acceptable.

Finally, once you've determined the answers to the above, now you can consolidate those into a set of requirements for bid. My recommendations follow for 2 scenarios:

Case 1 .....
- Medium Sized Bandwidth needs (<10MB ave file size, 100-200 files/day, hourly delays acceptable)
- Regional Focused with limited IT resources.

Recommendation: Business Class Ethernet/Metro Ethernet offering from local Cable/MSO or CLEC

Case 2 .....
- Large Bandwidth Needs (500 MB file size, 1000's of files/day, real time transfer). - National Focused with well skilled IT resources.

Recommendation: DS-3 or similar Fiber Based Bandwidth solution from National CLEC or ILEC.

What I have found is that the best solution for any company has to be specific to their needs. How big the facility is, in the case of a hospital, how much of their records are currently and in the future will be digital, must they send MRI and X-Ray images out to other sites, etc. Do they use VOIP for their phone system. All of these can determine what the best solution for their specific needs. If they use a lot of bandwidth, like an average of 80 to 90mbps right now, then fiber optics is the way to go. If they currently have a single T-1 but project that in the next 1 to 3 years they will need to have 5 T-1's then I would recommend upgrading to a DS3. If fiber is available and easy to get access to, then that is always the best route, as it is far easier to scale it up to higher bandwidth needs than you would find with traditional copper (T-1/DS3).

Transmitting images over a network backbone is all about speed. If fiber optic is available in the area, that would be my first choice for medical imaging applications. Fiber is very scalable and the prices are can be dirt cheap compared to copper lines, such as T-1.

Although slower, the T1 lines come with an SLA (service level agreement) and regular line monitoring. You may need to check if the FTTH comes with a similar SLA.

High resolution image files are the the most common larges files used in medical imagery. Are these files being moved across a WAN? This is the usuall set up. What is the baseline usage for this link or links? What is the criticality for real-time viewing, in other words do you need this to be viewed by other persons as the images are being produced .... or can you move the images during less bandwidth intensive periods?

You can have as much bandwidth as what you want to pay for. But if you only need it to be at a new location the next day .... then your options are increased and become BOTH application and bandwidth based.

I would not bother beginning such a project without a realistic estimate for the amount of traffic the link(s) will need to support, and drafting SLA requirements. Data size, reliability/DR requirements, and SLA metrics will drive the technical choices.

In practice, if you need to link small clinics to a data bank ..... especially if the remote locations will accept best-effort link ..... than a "business" T1 should provide enough bandwidth for transfers.

If you need to link large sites or data banks, try as much as possible get ethernet (metro) links .... if those aren't available at a minimum look for a DS3 bandwidth or Sonet solution (e.g. OC3 bandwidth).

Generally speaking .... the best method for medical imagery applications depends on volumes of information and timescales for transmission, storage, processing.

Any organization which spans multiple continents would do well to chose the optimum solution for each geography .... and either the operators interconnect via NNI or the medical organization can do the same (chose carrier neutral facilities to achieve this cost effectively).

The advent of VPLS raises the question as to who should offer / own the connectivity.

Because VPLS supports multiple Layer 2 logically separate interconnects, it is possible for medical imagery to be just one of many applications available.

Therefore other applications can run "for free" across the same connectivity. Patient management systems, GPs (local doctor surgeries) can easily be added ..... even interconnects with public telephony and video applications so that patients can be visited by friends and relatives from home.

It will be interesting to see whether the medical imagery networks that are extending outwards also get used for other applications. Or whether networks for patient information and similar applications get upgraded to also support the medical imagery.

The answer is going to depend largely on the type of image. Each image type has different characteristics. The worst 'offender' in terms of bandwidth will be cardiology type images which offer essentially full motion video of the heart at very high resolutions. Secondly, it depends on what is being done at the site - diagnostic reading requires the absolute highest resolution where as consulting can often be done through a web server with lower resolution.

Finally, understanding reading patterns are key. In a large organization where the reading may be done at a different location than the image acquisition, a cloud type of network may be desirable rather than a traditional hub/spoke.

The problem with PACS is that once users start using it, the usage will increase and the usage patterns will become almost completely unpredictable unless you have very detailed information on referral patterns within the organization.

In general, metro ethernet is a relatively cheap solution that can allow for scalable bandwidth. Some providers are also providing Metro E over DOCSIS which can be very appealing for small sites.

For help in walking through all of the questions, options, pros and cons .... saving you time, effort, and money ..... I suggest taking advantage of the free support offered through: Dedicated Bandwidth Solutions

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Blackberry Storm ..... The Good And The Bad

I'll offer just a few comments about the "new" Blackberry Storm .....

While the tactile click on the touchscreen is better than nothing, it is not as good IMHO as other solutions such as those used by Samsung and LG. The touch screen is not as good as what I would have liked - they have a longgggggggg way to go before they can compete with iPhone on that front.

On the other hand my techie brother loves the touch and click and the other features that come along with the phone. The only thing that bothers him about the phone is the lag. But that should be taken care of with the software upgrade coming out soon. At least I hope it takes care of the lag, but I can't say for certain that it will. Other than that he said that the screen is very accurate ..... and the click and touch makes navigation on the web easy.

If you'd like to see more about the Blackberry Storm .... including specifications, functions, cost, etc ..... check out this website: Cell Phone Comparison

Now .... I'd like to know what YOU think about the Blackberry Storm. Please feel free to leave a comment (hint hint) .... what you like, what you don't like, personal experience, whatever. Don't hold back.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Review Of Cricket Wireless .... Cell Phone Provider

Cricket Wireless is a regional cell phone service provider that is expanding its market in many states throughout the US, and provides cell phone users an alternative to providers that require lengthy contracts. Cricket Wireless is a pay-as-you-go alternative that provides unlimited talk, pictures, text, and data with their premium plan.

Although Cricket is regional, customers can purchase additional roaming minutes for times when they are not in a Cricket service area. This can be beneficial, yet confusing for the average cell phone user to say the least.

Over the holiday weekend, this reviewer left Austin, TX to head to the southernmost tip of Texas for familial obligations. As I had just recently switched over to Cricket for its flexibility, I thought I would see how this phone worked on the 300-plus mile journey.

Since my plan is based out of the San Antonio and Austin area, I had impeccable service for the first hour and a half of the trip. After leaving the greater San Antonio area, however, I noticed that I was on digital roam. This, of course, was to be expected.

Knowing that I had purchased 200 roaming minutes as part of my plan, I didn’t think too much of this, because I knew Cricket was available in my destination town of McAllen, TX. Little did I know that I would be roaming the entire trip.

Day one in McAllen consisted of a flurry of phone calls to arrange meetings between friends and family. Receiving phone calls was no problem, but each time I dialed out, I was greeted with a message that told me to wait while my call was being made through Cricket’s Nationwide Roaming Service.

This wouldn’t have been so bad, had I not been passing a Cricket store at the time. I don’t understand how I can be roaming, all while being within a Cricket service area. Needless to say, I spent the holiday weekend with sketchy service at best and didn’t receive several voice mails until I returned to Austin.

In all, I was quite dissatisfied with the service provided by Cricket, and it feels as though this is just another example of how a cellular provider has figured out a way to charge people for something they have seemingly already paid for. The service is decent when at home, but not the least bit road worthy.

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This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of dial up internet deals. She invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Vonage Sucks Still .... This Company Deserves To Die

Yep .... I still think Vonage sucks. Plus the story just keeps getting worse.

Vonage hasn't turned a profit since day one ..... and don't even think of calling in to cancel.

A common experience for dissatisfied users attempting to cancel Vonage service results in months of continued billing after service ended (when you finally get them to turn it off). In many cases former users report that Vonage starts billing them again, sometimes up to a year later! Vonage has even sent collectors after these former users (legitimately cancelled now) for not paying this phantom reinstall/botched uninstall AND puts a negative entry on their credit reports that Vonage will not remove. How's that for serving the public?

Another issue too often repeated occurs when you actually try to cancel. The "retention" agents are horrible and abusive. After asking nicely no less than a dozen times ..... one individual was finally forced to start yelling at the @#$! "I just want to cancel" over and over and over before the jerk finally got it through his thick head. This doesn't appear to be an isolated case either. Virtually everyone I've talked to who had cancelled had to run the same gauntlet. Some of them might have considered going back to Vonage if their next provider didn't work out. But with that level of abuse, no way.

Ridiculous! Vonage continues to make it harder and harder to cancel their services. They rely on providing a high level of customer frustration (not service) to wear you down. Pathetic!

I've also heard of Vonage refusing to port numbers and holding you hostage until you called in to chat with their friendly retention folks.

Here's more alarming news (from the Vonage Forum) .......

"On 9/30/2008 the Account Management department, also known as Retention pulled all but TWO agents off the phone to reduce Churn and avoid any customer cancelation request. Obviously these two agents left on the phone could not handle a large number of calls waiting to cancel their service. It piled up to the hundreds and hours of waiting time for Vonage customers, In an attempt to reduce churn for the 3rd quarter Vonage corporate office in Holmdel, NJ would NOT let any of their customers disconnect their service. Not by trying to persuade the customer into staying by offering free months of credit or a lower rate plan, they simply let their customers wait on hold until they eventually were forced to hang up!

So, any customer that was on their last day of the 30 day money back period and tried to call in today they will be forced to stay or pay a Rebate Recovery Fee for the device ( up to $79.99) and a $39.99 disconnection fee to cancel"

This is proof to me that Vonage is in some serious trouble."

Also, I REALLY do not like that you can add any service you like from their web interface with ease, but if you want to cancel you have to call in. That is BS.

Here's a suggestion ..... a letter followed by your prompt refusal to pay will get the account ended quite nicely. Just remember to remove your credit card from their billing system. I bet it costs them more to open and process your written request than it does a web request (which they don't have) or a phone request.

I don't care what any TOS statement says. Your WRITTEN and MAILED statement/letter to cancel is going to trump their illogical & broken cancellation, I mean, retention system.

On another note ..... why on earth would anyone believe that Vonage had any long term viability "built in"? Their "business model" is completely flawed, which is again why they're neck-deep in debt. To break that down in laymen's terms .... the Vonage business model is based on paying huge dollars to acquire each new subscriber (exorbinant marketing costs .... Vonage TV "ads" and mailings) and hope/pray that they'll stick around for 2+ years to complete the payback.

I've noted Vonage's financial problems in previous articles here on Broadband Nation. You should take note of those for more background to arm yourself with.

HOW is Vonage alive still? DIE all ready . This story is getting very old. If it means I won't have to see those smug, smarmy commercials all over the place anymore, I say let 'em die.

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Friday, December 05, 2008

What Is The Difference Between SIP Trunking And VoIP?

In simplest laymen's terms the answer would go like this .....

1, VOIP "voice over IP" is a generic term used to cover all voice traffic over the internet protocol.

2, SIP trunking is simply voice over IP, using the SIP signaling protocol, but instead of using a single SIP user the service provider is providing many. Basicly like a T1\E1 link... but using voip with multiple trunks.

The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is an application-layer control (signaling) protocol for creating, modifying, and terminating sessions with one or more participants. It can be used to create two-party, multiparty, or multicast sessions that include Internet telephone calls, multimedia distribution, and multimedia conferences.

Voice over Internet Protocol, also called VoIP, IP Telephony, Internet telephony, Broadband telephony, Broadband Phone and Voice over Broadband is the routing of voice conversations over the Internet or through any other IP-based network.

SIP in some cases is a Type of VoIP...

Since SIP is Session Initiation Protocol, and is a form of VOIP ..... it is used as a digital voice emulator/PRI replacment.

It gives VOIP service more capabilities, such as DID's (Direct Inward Dial numbers) The benefit of this service on the commercial level is the ability to avoid buying a PRI card (down the road--not right now in all cases) and just plug straight into the phone system.

Essentially, the power of PRI without the cost or limitations. SIP is only limited by your bandwidth, and carriers are coming up with some pretty interesting options.

This will be an area that many will need to become more familiar with, especially in the call center world.

For free assistance in finding a SIP or VoIP solution for your business I recommend the no cost services at Business VoIP Solution

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

How To Get Special Deals On A Family Cell Phone Plan

The culture of the cell phone continues unabated....with the most popular cell phone plan becoming the family cell phone plan. This shouldn't be a surprise considering the many choices available .... and the great deals a multiple phone plan can offer today's family .

Ensuring that every member of the family can be instantly connected .... via voice and/or text .... has gone beyond the basic need for emergency communication. The downward trend in pricing opens up more possibilities for features that were previously considered luxury's. Now .... just having the basics isn't enough. Nor does it need to be.

It seems that every cell phone model can be had as part of a family plan. Plus .... every cell phone provider is offering deals that make outfitting the family more affordable than it's ever been.

To make the process of finding just the right family plan .... including the best combination of both cell phone model AND provider plan .... you no longer have to hunt and peck online or hop from one mall kiosk to another.

Now there's an online tool available to you where you can find pricing details for every cell phone available in your location .... specials, rebates, family plans, and so on .... and take advantage of the deal you find by ordering right there. This free online tool evens shows accessories (Chargers and Batteries, Cases and Holsters, Bluetooth, Memory and Data, Faceplates & Covers, Headsets, Value Bundles, Wireless Signal Boosters, and more). It's as simple as searching by your zip code.

To get started using this amazing cell phone search and compare tool yourself .... simply click here.... Family Cell Phone Deal

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Is T1 And DS3 Bandwidth Pricing Going Down??

With the current state of the economy does anyone foresee the prices on T1 and DS3 bandwidth coming down any more?

Short answer .... maybe.

Relative to pricing trends, there really are two markets for T1 and DS3 bandwidth services: inside or outside of certain carriers' footprints.

For example ..... if you're within those service areas, then you can get obscenely inexpensive internet T1s, sometimes less than $300/month. If you're outside their service areas, then you'll be at least $500/month for T1 Bandwidth.

Will these prices come down anymore? They might ... and they might not. T1 and DS3 prices have already dropped significantly the past few years. Hard to tell if they'll drop any more ... or by how much if they do.

The best course of action .... if you are looking for T1 or DS3 bandwidth ... is to use the free services of a broker such as this one: DS3 Bandwidth

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