Friday, February 27, 2009

What Factors Are Most Critical In Deciding Bandwidth Requirements For A Voice/Data Network Solution?

Generally speaking ... to answer the question you'd likely need to at least consider the business oriented, technology parameters, and application specific components requiring emphasis for the specific location(s) involved.

A good answer to the question requires a detailed understanding of the kinds of traffic the proposed network is intended to handle. For example, streaming video often requires high net bandwidth, but can use packet aggregation and may be able to accept the latency inherent in e.g. an asymmetrical satellite downlink.

In contrast, heavy multi-user VOIP might require symmetrical up and downlinks, in which per-user latency and the ability to handle many packets-per-second are much more important to performance than net bandwidth.

Or, you may have hybrid requirements in which part or all of the network has to handle multiple data types and amounts with varying latency requirements.

Once you understand the various network use scenarios, planning becomes largely a matter of understanding peak vs average use per node, as well as local vs pass-through data flows per node, ..... and designing node capacity, queuing, bandwidth shaping and limiting, and overall system requirements accordingly.

Yes .... every company is different hence every network is unique.

Sometimes, network requirements are driven by the applications, sometimes it is the other way around - applications are engineered to cope with certain network realities.

Here is a good example:

If a company has operations all across the world, round-trip delay will be at the top of my concerns. Since realistically the delay between US and China or India will be in the range of 300ms round-trip (or more), the applications will have to be designed with this in mind. For example interactivity across-the-pond is not going to work very well no matter how much bandwidth you throw at it.

To over simplify ..... some common factors will be number of users, criticality of time sensitive information, geographical spread/locations, types of applications, data only or data and voice. You also have to think about whether you are incorporating hubs or data centres. Last but certainly not least at present is what budget do you have to work with because knowing that might simplify some of your decision making.

The two countervening issues are cost and organizational applications demand/expectations.

Depending on an organizations priorities, start with one of the two issues above (i.e. if they're driven by cost start there since any application driven model will be unappreciated or ignored).

If starting with cost - you'll likely be building a network model that forces application needs through priority based networking filters to ensure applications are treated with the correct priority based on organizational need and priority.

If starting with applications, be sure to include anything needed during the future 12 months (i.e. don't use historical demand for anything but a starting point). Needs beyond the 12 month period should be considered to ensure the equipment and services choosen will allow future growth.

To start the process, meeting and discussing needs and expectation with all key stakeholders is critical. This includes IT, Finance, Sales, Marketing and Operations. Anyone left out of this early discovery will likely create gaps in the analysis that will come back to bite you later.

Bandwidth should also be segmented on need across the WAN, internal backbone, distribution network and access network. Also method of delivery is important (i.e. DSL, T1, DS3, OCx, Optical, copper, Wi-Fi). Breaking things out this way will also ensure you have the right technology, enough redundancy, and user flexibility to have a tight fit with the end user and organizational needs and expectations.

Equipment decisions flow from the earlier points and should be defined towards the end of the process. Adjustments to the plan can be made at this stage dependant on equipement capability - assumptions about equipment capability early on are a sure way to have your plan driven by the equipement vendors (not a good thing). For instance, a vendor I know of has some very powerful systems for using wireless at the primary access network ..... but many customer's made assumptions early on that this was not possible - the results being they over spend on wired technology.

Once a draft plan is created, this should be presented back to the same set of stakeholders you met early on to ensure you've captured everything and have one last chance to integrate any changes required since the 1st discussion. Also, this gives you a chance to explain options to the plan and gain buy in to the prefered options.

A common practice is to "find the bottleneck". In designing a bandwidth solution, you can only be as fast as the slowest component.

In practice it is best to map out two things:

1. Current data rate and maximum capacity
2. Desired data rate

From there you can look at the whole chain and make decisions around what you will do.

Do I need to change network service providers? How much throughput do I need to design in? There is no sense building a ferrari if you only have local driving at low speeds.

But to the other extreme, there is no use designing a small 4 cylinder engine to drive local streets if changing over to the expressway could get you there faster.

The bottom line is that you need to look at your resources from end to end in order to determine the best solution. If you need help you can get it at no cost via ..... Bandwidth Solution.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Take The "Save Money" Challenge .... Cell Phone, VoIP Phone, Land Phone

Here's a challenge for anyone looking for cheaper cell phones, VoIP phones, and/or land phones......

Try the Best Rate Calculator tool on this website ... and see if you can find a Telecom provider (land line phone or VoIP phone) from all those in the database who is cheaper than you're paying now.

Best Rate Calculator

Then come back and share your results as a comment/reply to this post.

There's also a search and compare portal for cell phones/smart phones too if that's what you're interested in. Again, feel free to come back and share comments on what you find with that also.

You should see an impressive selection and cost savings for all of the above mentioned services. Just remember to share your find by leaving a comment.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, February 23, 2009

What Bandwidth Backbone Makes The Most Sense For Networks In Africa, Middle East, And Latin America?

Given network infrastructure available in each region ... what bandwidth solution make the most sense (and why) for designing network solutions to meet business voice/data needs?

This is a difficult question to answer given the challenges faced by each region. The reality may be there is no easy answer. There is no "one size fits all" that covers all of these regions at once. So each must be treated seperately and distinctly to have any chance of success.

Some of the factors to consider likely deemed important would include business (e.g. type of business, number of locations in the network) technology (e.g. copper, fiber, wireless backaul) economic (financing, ROI of implementation, budget), political (e.g. stable governement, nationalized services, free market encouraged entrepreneurship), and regulatory (e.g. internal goverment restrictions, international connectivity limitations).

For example .... is a DS3 based solution viable for a multi-site WAN network in Nigeria? T1 for a single location in Brazil? Ethernet for a campus LAN in Bahrain?

These regions of the world are also commonly referred to as "developing nations", which is usually true of their infrastructure, and communcations infrastructure included.

Persian gulf emirates ..... and to some extent Brazil (in the big metro areas) .... are well developed and you can expect the same telecom services to some extent as in the USA and Europe.

Elsewhere, availability is scarce and inconsistent.

For this reason many developing nations are focusing on cellular communications intending to "skip" the development of wireline infrasructure altogether. For example basing it on direct satelite service, like VSAT. There is of course the issue of delay with this approach that will effect voice and high-interactivity, so if delay is an important factor you may need to consider use of Irridium (not sure what's became of them ) or some other low-orbit satelites.

Before digging into the technical aspects for a Middle East or African network infrastructure one should look into the political situation. Most of these countries still have their local phone companies government owned. At best they are a monopoly directed by political powers and local rich people. Once you tap into the right people, these countries are more adopting of leading and bleeding edge technologies. Customers in these regions are more prone to using the "latest-&-greatest" mostly for novelty reasons. In the end, it does not matter why customers subscribe as long as the business is there!

In Africa there have been some improvements in the terrestrial subsea connectivity but that doesn't help much in reaching specific locations and providing backhaul. Similarly VSAT has been the traditional solution in Africa and some other remote regions but the proliferation of WiMax is generating increasing problems of interference. This is compounded by the unpredictable nature of licensing and controls. In my view Latin America has improved quite significantly in general access provision but quality and cost is still difficult to predict and manage. In the Middle East a lot of investment has and is taking place .... but here the biggest hurdle tends to be regulatory and the lack of an open market for supply.

A true "answer" can only be achieved by detailed study of IT and telecom prospects and existing infrastructure availability in each region. To this end the following factors should be considered;

Technology .....

This type of pursuit all depends upon types of services to be offered (like voice “Fixed or cellular”, leased circuits for WAN, broadband, Triple Play, IPTV, etc), users (e.g number of users, individual or corporate, scattered or concentrated), service coverage and existing available backbone network infrastructure (e.g. OFC network with PDH, SDH, DWDM or MW via PDH, SDH) .... then we could be able to forecast backbone bandwidth, evaluate existing available infrastructure, plan enhancements if required, select technology, and estimate the investment. The short answer is that T1, DS3, and OC3 bandwidth make sense if line infrastructure is readily available for tie in. Fiber makes better sense (ethernet) if grid is readily available and supported. If none of these are reasonably available in quantity than VSAT will continue as solution of choice with tie in to minimal hard line structure "nodes" where present.

Business/Economic ....

To prepare a business model, the factors would include by neccessity CAPEX, OPEX, NPV, IRR, revenue based on ARPU for a specific offered service, taxes, licensing fees, Inflation rate, decline in ARPU due to expected competition, last mile connectivity for corporate customer, and unforeseen costs in licensing/approvals and project rollout. This category seems the most self limiting over any technology challenges.

Regulatory / Administrative (Political) .....

The administrative factors involved would be different for each region ..... like monopolized regime and political situations in Africa and partially de-regulated environment in most of the countries in the Middle East ..... normally getting a license is a tricky job in many countries.

For each of the regions cited (Africa, Middle East, Latin America) .... depending upon your analysis per the above factors .... you may find that a realistic solution may be that a hybrid of technologies would be needed. For example, VSAT can offer a worldwide network and be integrated into terrestrial networks (T1, DS3, OCx, fast ethernet) where feasible and available. In the end there is no single solution that fits every scenario ... you must be flexible and innovative to target the right solution for each situation on it's own merits.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Economic Stimulus (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) Contains Billions For Rural Broadband ... Good Or Bad Idea?

This $787 billion “stimulus plan” includes education spending, new military construction, spending for transportation and water infrastructure, expanded Medicaid payments, and some tax rebates. Proponents of the bill claim it will create or save 3.5 million jobs. If accurate, that would translate to a cost of $229,000 per job created. By comparison, the median wage in the United States is $24,325.

Congressman Randy Forbes (VA) had this to say about the bill .... “Just last year, Americans lost $14 trillion in total wealth. The fundamental question we have to ask is this – are we simply going to redistribute what is left or are we going to embark on a plan to rebuild what we’ve lost? I believe, and the American people believe, that we have a responsibility to our country and to our future generations to rebuild what we’ve lost. Unfortunately, the economic stimulus package we voted on today is nothing more than a redistribution plan. Americans know the answer to our economic situation is to grow our economy, not to grow our government. Americans deserve a plan that invests in real and long-term economic growth. Americans deserve better than what Congress gave them today.”

More to the point .... the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contains a targeted effort that fulfills an old dream of broadband boosters. It would offer substantial funding for high-speed Internet networks in corners of the country that still rely on dial-up connections or have only one broadband option.

The hope is that construction of these networks will create jobs, and that better access to broadband will spur all sorts of new economic activity. Yet not everyone agrees that broadband funding belongs in the stimulus plan.

Some critics of the idea wonder how many people will actually sign up for the new networks once they are built. Others question how many jobs broadband investments will really create. Even supporters debate whether Congress is going about funding broadband expansion the right way. The majority of those who don’t have broadband don’t really want it, according to research.

Now, I'm as about a fiscally conservative as they come, and there's much in the stimulus plan to hate... but IMHO this is actually a good idea.

It's an infrastructure enhancement that would actually do what stimulus is supposed to do. It will spur growth in the economy.

By bringing internet access to larger parts of the country, it will stir growth in telecommunications... reduce costs to consumers by bringing choices to the communications markets in their communities, while spurring growth in several sectors that have become interdependent upon the internet.

Retailers, who are increasingly branching (or moving) into the internet marketplace due to its inherent efficiency, will have a larger market in which to compete. Rural shoppers will have more choices as well, as all those e-tailers will be competing for their dollars, currently held hostage by the local general store.

Retail transportation costs will fall aside in favor of more efficient wholesale transportation, because shipping goods to a rural home is better for the environment than driving into town to buy things.

Educational industries, distance learning, and the primary/secondary educational benefits that are taken for granted by so many will be available to rural learners. from Highlights.com to University of Pheonix, new audiences will have new learning materials, and new opportunities.

Also, the explosion of small-cap and SOHO web-businesses will expand into these areas. Innovators and entrepreneurs live in the country, too, and not only do our country cousins want to buy stuff on the internet, they want to sell stuff, too.

Now what do YOU think?

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What Is T1 Bandwidth & How Can It Benefit Your Business?

First you need to ask the question "what is T1"?

To cut through the mystique, T1 is simply a designation for one particular digital transmission service offered by most telecommunications carriers. To be specific, T1 is a digital transmission link that can carry 1.544 Mega bits (1,544,000 pulses) of information per second. These bits can represent either voice, data, video, images or all of them combined. For voice transmission, the T1 circuit is channelized so it can carry 24 separate voice conversations simultaneously. Think of the T1 span as a pipe with 24 separate slots, with each voice call occupying one slot. For data, video, and imaging, the channels can be combined or segmented to create larger or smaller pipes within the T1 pipe. Thus, one could have 15 voice conversations, a video program, and a host of remote operator stations all communicating across a T1 span at the same time.

Physically, T1 is two twisted pairs of copper wires, one which carries the signal into your premise and one which transmits the signal out. Where one needs to have 24 distinct circuits to carry 24 analog conversations, T1 reduces this number to two twisted pairs when the conversations are converted to digital T1 format. This can lead to significant cost savings in your telephone bill.

Now .... how can T1 help you save?

There are many ways T1 can be used to reduce telecommunications costs. Two of these ways to save are cost reduction and cost avoidance.

Local Loop Cost Reduction: For a business with six or more telephone lines connected to the central office, it can make economic sense to replace these with a T1 circuit. Let's use an example of a business with 20 trunks and just suppose these trunks are each costing you $50 per month, for a total of $1,000 per month. Your local telephone company quotes you a monthly T1 charge of $200 plus a switching fee (usually called a DACS charge) of $10 per line, plus an installation charge of $500. You will have to add some equipment to your site to allow access to the digital T1 (such as a channel bank or a T1 card). Suppose you can lease this T1 equipment for $180 per month. Your total monthly charge has just been reduced to $580 per month (T1 cost plus DACS charge plus channel bank lease) saving you $420 per month or over $5,000 per year!

This T1 can carry inbound DID traffic as well as inbound and outbound calls. Since the actual number of lines to break even is different in each location around the country, the key is to be sure that you understand all the charges associated with the T1 so you can make a rational economic decision.

Cost Avoidance on Long Distance Calls: Did you know that Access Fees make up to 45% of the cost of each long distance telephone call? Access fees are the charges that the long distance carriers must pay the local carriers for the privilege of using the local network for delivering the long distance telephone call. Dedicated T1 access to your long distance carrier can greatly reduce your long distance per minute charges. Most carriers will reduce your per minute charge by approximately 30-60% for having a T1 connection directly into their POP (point-of-presence, which is where you connect to their network). In theory, this T1 by passes the local carrier so they cannot charge the access fee to the long distance company. The long distance company then passes some or all of these savings on to you. T1 to a long distance carrier is also a good way to connect inbound 800 calls, by passing the local carrier and avoiding the access fees.

These dedicated T1 spans can carry up to 24 voice conversations at once. Unless you have a T1 digital phone system, T1 conversion equipment, such as a channel bank, is still required. You will also pay a monthly T1 circuit fee for the T1 connection. This monthly circuit fee can usually be offset by reducing the number of lines to the local carrier, which were formerly used for long distance traffic. Voilà, your monthly phone bill is magically reduced.

Dedicated point-to-point T1: The economics and managerial problems associated with an acquisition of additional physical plant locations improve greatly if you could answer all the calls at your existing location. A dedicated point-to-point T1 provides the perfect solution. This dedicated point-to-point T1 can carry up to 24 channels of traffic (or 48 with compression) at a fixed monthly fee. You pay no per minute costs and have no restrictions on the traffic the T1 transports.

Thus, the T1 allows you to transfer all the inbound DID traffic from the acquired business to be answered at your home office. Further more, your home office can draw dial tone for call-out lines directly from the remote location central office, saving you even more on toll charge calls to your newly acquired customers. You can also save on office space. You only need to have an "equipment closet" in the new city to house a channel bank. You will also need to add some channel bank equipment at your home office.

This call transport is completely invisible to your new clients. With the exceptional quality and high speed of the T1 transmission system, your new clients will not realize their calls are now being answered hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

By the way, for any long distance point-to-point T1, it really pays to shop all the long distance carriers which may service your area. T1 charges can be $300 per month from one carrier and $1000 per month from another, depending on the location of each carrier's POP. Don't assume that because one carrier is high they all are going to be.

In today's competitive world, reducing operating costs and shortening payback time on investments is paramount. Implementing digital T1 can help you do both. For help in finding the most cost effective solution for your specific applications and location(s) ..... I recommend the no cost support provided by T1 Bandwidth.

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nortel Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

I think that it is sad to see a company file for bankruptcy, which also is a strong indicator of how Telecom equipment dealers are performing in the industry now. I have spoken to numerous partners and I have heard similar challenges facing the Telecom industry.

Nortel has been struggling for awhile and this current economic downturn has unfortunately put them in this position. They had too much consolidation in their customer base and were outperformed by Cisco and others.

Businesses today are seeking on-demand solutions and hosted options that involve less costly infrastructure. Thus competition is definitely more intense today in the world of telecommunications .... and those who offer advanced cost-effective solutions will be the winners.

If you have any thoughts on Nortel's bankruptcy experience .... similar potential outcomes with other telecom companies .... or contributing factors in the health or lack thereof in the telecommunication industry as a whole .... please fell free to leave a comment.

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 13, 2009

Compare Google's G1 Android Phone vs Apple's iPhone

Disclaimer: I don't own either phone. I have friends that own each and have used theirs and asked them questions about their experiences.

My take on the current situation is that Google has done a tremendous job of putting together a platform for mobile development. The phone itself (the G1) strikes me as a slapped-together "we need to get a physical product to market" that demonstrates the power of the platform. I'm excited to see what other phone-makers will do with the platform, but for now, the G1 is a bit clunky and awkward.

The iPhone, on the other hand, seems to have taken another approach. The goal was to produce a phone that was absolutely slick and changed the way people used their mobile devices. They have an SDK, but I think a lot of talented developers will be hesitant to invest development time onto the platform while there's no guarantee their software will even make it onto a phone (since it has to be "blessed" by Apple via their store first). I wonder why a corporation would invest money at all in writing software for the iPhone without a prior written agreement with Apple approving the model.

As for features I'd like to see:

On the G1:
a) multiple browser windows;
b) a less awkward form-factor;
c) a little more horse-power;
d) more android-based phones (greater selection)

One the iPhone:
a) a more open development model

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

FreedomFire Communications.....Real Choices For Voice, Data, And Internet Services

At first glance, choosing a telecommunications service may seem like an afterthought to businesses and consumers alike. Typically, this decision is made by simply using the same service of the previous office or home occupants. Does it make sense to risk all channels of communication on what worked for a previous home or office? Michael Lemm and FreedomFire Communications are matching customers with ideal telecommunications packages, all for free!

Personal History

Michael Lemm proudly served in the United States Navy prior to starting his company. His military experience and being able to travel the world exposed him to the global demand for Telecom and IT technology services. This also afforded him the opportunity of professional networking amongst individuals and businesses around the world. One particular relationship led to mutually exploring opportunities for putting the experience and knowledge gained to good use. This resulted in a friendship and partnership that's covered 10 years and is still going strong.

Company History

In 1998, while still on active duty, Michael started FreedomFire Communications. Due to the demands of the military, he was only able to work on his business part-time. The first few years, he described, were a “learning and gradual growth experience.” But today, they are doing business all around the world. For example FreedomFire Communications has done business throughout the United States from coast to coast, Australia, Hong Kong, and even Africa.

Services They Provide

FreedomFire Communications offers diversity, variety, and cost efficiency for voice, data, and internet services.

* From choices of "Best Rate" phone service, cellular phones, calling cards, high speed internet, bundled phone/internet/TV, international (GSM) mobile phones, and SIM cards. Re-direct toll free 800 service, web hosting, website development, audio/video conferencing, broadband phone (VoIP phone), video-surveillance security systems, satellite TV, and computer hardware/software. See FreedomFire Communications

* Business VoIP, IP PBX, and complete dedicated voice/data network support for - T1, bonded T1, fractional/full DS3, OC3, OC12, OC48, OC192, MPLS, GigE, Ethernet from 5mb to multi-GB, point-to-point, and MUCH more. See DS3 Bandwidth

In other words, through their affiliation as agents for about 30 top tier and first tier telecom carriers (voice/data networks), plus their affiliation with over 3000 VAR partners, and their association with 100s of specialty Telecom and IT providers, FreedomFire can offer the customer virtually anything in terms of circuits, products, solutions, hardware and software relating to telecom. There is no other Master Agency on the planet with such diverse offerings. Additionally, they offer a $500 Low Price Guarantee on any of the voice/data circuits (sic T1, DS3, OCx) from any of the carriers they represent.

Bottom line, they can provide telecommunications circuits for anyone, anwhere on the planet.

Their Customers

Everyone, residential and business, is a potential customer for FreedomFire Communications. Michael has worked with consumers, small businesses and large businesses. Residential and small businesses are more likely to benefit from the product/service portfolio on FreedomFire Communications. While medium to large businesses are more likely to benefit from the voice/data network solutions offered through DS3 Bandwidth.

For the business customer, they do not "sell" but offer education and consulting at no charge. They take the time to understand what the business customer wants to accomplish and what problems they are trying to solve in terms of their telecom requirements. Then they EDUCATE the customer via their many years of telecom experience to suggest and recommend products and services that will meet those needs, both today and as the business grows.

Since they represent almost 30 first tier and top tier carriers for telecom, they are totally unbiased in their recommendations and focus on the most cost-effective solution for the customer.

Why is FreedomFire Communications Successful?

Their business success primarily stems from being based on offering choices. In contrast to their competitors who often present just one option, most every service/product type they offer lists a number of potential vendors to choose from for the best match. They also offer a wide variety of products/services tailored to the needs of their customers. For example our cell phone section shows all types (including smart phones), all plans (including family plans), all providers, and even accessories and ringtones.

In addition, they employ cutting edge technology to show comparisons of providers, rates/plans, etc. by specific location on our websites. "Best rate calculators" are available for most every product/service (see landline phone or VoIP phones on as examples). The real time quote capability available thru OC3 Bandwidth is patented too. No other competitor does real time bandwidth quotes.

Through their global networking connections, FreedomFire Communications is able to stay intimately in tune with vendor deals and specials that others do not know about. Their vendor relationships provide this inside knowledge and ability to offer savings others cannot. Often, as in the case of voice/data networks, this means the inside sales staff of the provider themselves. These central relationships ensure they stay abreast of what is new in the Telecom industry and what is most in demand by their potential market. This enables them the opportunity of constant innovation by adding or deleting products/services as the industry advances.

Most importantly, is customer service. For network solutions (e.g. bonded T1, MPLS) they do not stop when the ink is dry but stay on top of it throughout the life of the contract. Based on the volume of business with their carriers, they have a direct line into senior management. Allowing them to make things happen for the customer and ensure things do not fall through the cracks. They keep in contact with their customers to monitor how things are going, to be around when their business is growing, and to keep them updated as they are nearing contract expiration. It’s all about customer service.

Customers Should Know...

Essentially, Michael Lemm operates as a Master Agent with associations and relationships with a number of providers/vendors in the Telecommunication industry. This allows him to function in an unbiased manner and always search for, find, and offer what best suits the client, not what makes him the most commission. This approach creates trust and credibility with customer and provider/vendor alike.

They put themselves in the position of being a partner with the customer so that the most cost-effective options can be suggested, quoted, and even explain why something is most cost effective. Most customers appreciate this perspective instead of just trying to be sold to.

They don’t just “sell” products and services, but feel very strongly about “giving.” So they also publish two blogs sharing resources, tips, insights and news they feel their customers could benefit from. One focused on the Broadband Nation – and the other on Small Business Resources .

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, February 09, 2009

What Is The Best Teleconference Service?

I never bash another competitor and wouldn't do so here, but there are downsides to using a free service. The first and most obvious reason is that they're always a long distance toll call for participants. For higher attendance to your event, toll-free is always going to be appreciated by your participants. So toll free is the way to go.

Another limit on "free" services is that there is a chance some of your callers might get a busy signal, or locked out. A risk you have to take. For recording, it seems to work well, but it is only 1 recording at a time. If these are factors that don't impact your business, then a "free" service might be the best way for you to go. But you are taking a huge risk .... likely NOT risks you want to take if you want to remain in business.

As for pay services, the things to look for (outside of price) is quality and service. You want crystal clear transmission without drops. You also want personalized service. As in a dedicated account manager. So if there is anything needed, you can always get a hold of whoever your manager would be. The same person you deal with instead of 1 of 1000 people. New services or access codes, technical problems, scheduling operator assisted calls, help with recording or any training, all run through your account manager.

With the above considered, I'm partial to AccuConference as I've a number of friends and clients who use it .... and are very pleased. Feature rich, cost effective, and great support. Covers video and audioconferencing.

More more information visit: AccuConference

Labels: , , ,

Friday, February 06, 2009

Tips For Using VoIP For Your Home Phone

For residential, if your cable or internet provider provides service, go with them since it's one point of contact for troubleshooting (internet connection and broadband phone) - if an issue may arise - especially since it may be cheaper to get internet and phone in a bundled package.

However, if it's not cheaper, and you can foresee yourself moving around or traveling, than shop around. You'll find a recommended list of VoIP providers including a Best Rate Calculator here: VoIP Providers Compared

Here are some observations and recommendations:

1) Decide what features you really need to help you determine which VoIP provider to use.

2) Decide if you need to be able to transfer your existing phone number. Some VoIP providers don't allow you to do this although most now do.

3) VoIP service is highly dependent upon the quality of service of your broadband network to which you connect to the Internet. This has nothing to do with the VoIP provider but your DSL or Cable Internet provider (unless they also provide the VoIP service). Some have had better experience with Cable while I have heard from others that their DSL service worked fine.

4) The quality of the echo canceller and codec technology used in your voice gateway (provided by the VoIP provider), your IP phone (if you don't use an analog/POTS phone) or your SIP client on your PC will have a large affect on the service quality. This affect things like hearing long echos which make it impossible to have a conversation or speech clipping which causes your voice to break up. The problem is often unidirectional so the voice quality you hear may sound great but the person you called is having trouble understanding you. The technology continues to mature and improve so it is best to read user reviews of equipment.

5) Use a UPS to provide power to your router, DSL/Cable Modem and VoIP gateway. Get a 250VA (or larger one) to power this plus your PC and other office equipment to justify the larger UPS expense. If power goes out at home, your Internet connection often does not so with a UPS powering your equipment, you can still make phone calls for as long as you have backup power. A cell phone will also act as the backup phone service.

In summary, your quality of experience will really depend upon who your VoIP provider is and a given service provider may offer excellent service in some markets and very poor service in other markets. Also, the size of the company providing the service is not commensurate with the quality of service. I have had many tell me that they have had very poor VoIP quality of service from their incumbent tier 1 cable operator. Therefore, you may need to try out a few VoIP service providers before settling on one or you may luck out on your first try.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

International Circuit Opportunities .... Special Deals For Voice/Data Networks In Europe, Asia, Middle East, South America, And More

Are you in need of a bandwidth solution for your companies voice/data network(s)???

Is your need in an international location?

I don’t just mean US, Canada and/or Mexico, but I am talking England, Europe, Asia/Pacific, the Far East, Middle East, Australia, South America, Latin America/Carribean, and yes even Africa?

This would not be just simple T1 lines, but large circuits .... especially point-to-point, MPLS, international collocation services ..... all through a company that would handle the circuit from soup to nuts.

Like providing the required routers, extending the demarcs, managing the circuits, essentially providing a total *TURNKEY* operation, all done with our Low Price Guarantee.

Covers all facets of T1 Bandwidth, DS3 Bandwidth, OC3 Bandwidth thru OC148 Bandwidth, Ethernet, and more.

Bottom line ..... we now can provide circuits anywhere on the planet.

To see what we can do for you simply enter your requirements in this web portal:

DS3 Bandwidth


=============================

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, February 02, 2009

What Does The Future Hold For Nortel????

There are a lot of Telcos that depend upon Nortel - what is going to happen to Nortel and what will happen to their customers?

I think that the bankruptcy will ultimately force the company to re-think eliminating and streamlining a variety of product lines, of course the layoff’s that will follow with those decisions too.

I also think there may be a number or Telco, Network Consulting, Systems Integration and After Market resellers (to fight for what Nortel will lose) in the way of some past to current customers.

There could also be some acquisition of top talent at Nortel in strategic areas recruited to companies like Microsoft (using OCS and Unified Messaging) and other companies that tout virtual workplace solutions with VoIP. Especially with an ever more growing need to go virtual and reduce/eliminate travel costs/time and to consolidate and unify….voice/data/video platforms….to work with older and newer software and hardware.

We will see what the markets will bear and who will be strong enough to make the best strategic plans and how they can best be executed to the field in Q1/2 ’09 and beyond.

Nortel has no future. It will not be able to restructure and rearrange its affairs under bankruptcy protection any more than it was able to do so before.

Nortel is a completely mismanaged company, under a different set of managers, ever since it became a public company. It was the R&S arm of Bell Canada and then spun off. It has never ever produced a profit since it went public. What does that tell you.

Whenever it has faced challenges, it has made knee-jerk lay offs which have never been sufficient. And in order to win business, it constantly underbids, thus never turning a profit.

It will be no different now under current management. The company simply has no management and marketing ability, and its technology is no longer competitive, if it ever was.

So despite all the management blunders, such as Roth's leveraged buy-outs in the dot-com boom era, and the outright fraud by the next CEO, this is an incompetent company that simply does not know how to manage its affairs effectively.

Nortel should and will fail. So will Alcatel-Lucent.

The future in this space belongs to Huawei and other low-cost Chinese producers, with which Nortel and A-L will never compete.

As to their equally-dinosaur telco clients, there is an abundance of supply, and they will obtain whatever they need from Huawei.

This entire industry in USA-Canada and Europe is extremely badly managed, from telcos to gear makers. They have been slow and in great extent have never transitioned to the new world, and many will deservedly fall by the wayside.

Labels: , ,