Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What Netbook Should You Get?

I think that if you go with any of the major players ..... Acer/ASUS/HP/MSI/Dell etc. ...... you can not go far wrong.

ASUS seems to have bragging rights on battery life, Acer gives you a lot of bang for your buck, personally, I prefer the fine keyboard and non-glare screen that my HP has, but the differences from model to model are surprisingly minor, whatever you decide on, my advice is to physically check them out before deciding, if you do order one on-line, at least go to where there are a variety of models and check them out.

I would suspect that drivers should not be a problem? I can tell you that for the HP netbook, they have up to date drivers for Win 7, XP, and Vista easily available. Should be the same for the major brands out there.

If you are in the market for a netbook and here are a few insights I've gathered ......:

The 'standard' for netbooks at the current time are specs of::

- 10.1", 1024x600 screen, most are glossy, a few have matt finishes

- Intel Atom N280 or N270 cpu

- 1 GB RAM, can be upgraded to 2 GB, but none in this class come standard with 2 GB

- 160 GB or 250 GB 5400 RPM HDD

- Windows 7 Starter

- With a 6 cell battery, 7-9 hrs of battery life

Windows 7 Starter can be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium for about $76 using Windows Anytime Upgrade (WAU). An additional 1 GB of RAM require replacing the 1 GB SODIMM with a 2 GB that costs about $40.

Windows XP Home is on a few 10.1" netbooks. It can't be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium as easily or as cheaply. Windows 7 is said to be faster and gives you better battery life. If you're satisfied with the restrictions on Windows 7 Starter, or would rather have the customizability of XP Home, then there's no reason you have to upgrade.

The next step 'up' are slightly larger 11.6" machines with more varied specs:

- 11.6" 1366x768 screen

- usually 2 GB RAM standard

- 160 GB or 250 GB 5400 RPM HDD

- Windows 7 Home Premium

- With a 6 cell battery, 4.5-7 hrs of battery life

The 11.6" generally have nicer keyboards and larger, 2 button touchpads because they have more room to fit them.

A great deal right now (the netbook that I'm leaning toward) is the Acer Aspire AS1410, for only $400 from several online sellers, with the following specs:

- 11.6" screen

- Intel Celeron SU2300 dual core, or Celeron M 743 single core

- 2 GB RAM

- 250 GB hard drive

- Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

- great keyboard

Most of the latest generation 10.1" netbooks are $325-400. If the larger size and reduced battery life of a 11.6" is fine, this a no-brainer. The cost of the added RAM and Win7 upgrade alone are worth over $100. Then throw in the (much) faster CPU, bigger keyboard and larger screen and it's a gimme.

In the 10.1" class, the Toshiba Mini NB205-N325 would be my choice. $330 right now on Amazon with a 160 GB drive (the NB205-N330 has a 250 GB drive for $400). Solid build, nice keyboard, really large two-button touchpad. Most everything else is standard.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

National Broadband Plan Leaving Out WISPs?

Every WISP who is interested in continuing in business should look at the recent interview with Blair Levin, director of the team which is crafting the National Broadband Plan, at

National Broadband Plan

Note that the plan, in its current form, seems to be strongly biased toward fiber for all fixed deployment and the cellular companies for all mobile deployment. There was not the slightest mention of fixed wireless. There has been no mention of spectrum, support, or even a level playing field for WISPs.

The plan is due to be released in less than 60 days. WISPs, this is your last chance. If your industry doesn't weigh in heavily at the FCC ASAP, the government's plan for the broadband industry could well put you all out of business.

Personally I really don't see WISPs part of their plan. The Federal government likes consistency, not a rag tag collection of mom and pop operations all over the place that would be impossible to regulate, much less keep track of.

WISPs are most profitable as the last five mile mile solution in rural areas where you are not going to see fiber for at least the next several generations of WISP products (they are getting less expansive every year). So even if the telcos and cable companies did get a free ride of tax payer money to deploy, WIPS are still viable.

So what happens years from now? Do you think telcos and cable companies can meet your price points? Sure, you can get DSL and cable internet for as low as $19 per month...BUT, thats as a bundle, not naked lines.

Do you think the cellular companies will offer more than 10 GB monthly service? I doubt that.

In one sense, the more WISPs are ignored, the less of a threat you appear. Thus less effort will be done to shut you out.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

How Do You Deploy Unified Communications In Your Business Environment?

Deployment of communications depends on a number of variables - and none of them are "rocket science." But having a methodology to help you make some distinctions about specific activities, can help insure success.

To simplify a few steps, you need to understand that deploying Unified Communications is a multi-step process which includes planning, designing, implementing and optimizing.

Before implementation …. planning and designing is half the battle. This includes understanding the underlying business need for voice and data convergence …. as well as discovering if the current infrastructure is capable of supporting the end solution.

Generally, most organizations have an existing infrastructure and PBX in place …. and will need a variety of upgrades to prep their network environment for Unified Communications including PoE switches and voice gateways. While this may be costly …. and require an greater upfront capital outlay …. the tangible ROI benefits are quantifiable.

If you are unfamiliar with the benefits, and/or need help with the process, I suggest contacting Bandwidth Solutions to assist you in your implementation.

Bandwidth Solutions

They can source UC equipment vendors such as Cisco … as well as help design the appropriate backbone infrastructure to ensure your network applications are fully supported.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In The Cloud Computing World …. Who Pays For The Telecom Infrastructure?

No doubt cloud computing, SaaS, web 2.0 & mobile devices are going to drive bandwidth that has inherent low latency, high bandwidth, high availability.

Now … in terms of Telco/ISP's vs application service providers …. The question is .... if all the VC money is following the applications - who pays for the infrastructure? The telecommunications industry needs to evolve to better support the current and future needs of SaaS, cloud computing et al.

That evolution means developing the business and technical capability to work with the over the top (OTT) applications in a meaningful way - i.e. being able to deliver the application-specific QoS required, being able to leverage their relationship with the subscriber to help OTT companies provide new value for the subscriber, and the telecommunications industry needs to be able to participate in the revenue model of the OTT movement.

Without the revenue-sharing component, the access service provider will have little motivation or even capability to develop the types of network services required for web 2.0 - never mind web 3.0.

Traditionally the infrastructure costs have been part of the service cost.

For a hosted application, for instance, the entity hosting the service has to buy the infrastructure required to host it on (servers, rackspace, firewalls, and Internet bandwidth, etc.) and will wrap this into the price they charge for the service. The bandwidth charges they pay will go to the Service Providers who use this to pay for their infrastructure.

SaaS which require higher bandwidth, lower latency, and high availability may have to be more selective of their bandwidth providers. The larger ones may have to start acting like an ISP themselves in order to get best service and coverage …. and to take advantage of the economics of Internet connectivity. To a large degree Google already does this.

One of the big problems is that, whilst the choice of supplier can have a significant impact on the quality of your internet service. Fundamentally the Internet is a multi-provider, best effort network. Any carrier will only have a limited influence on the end-to-end service quality it's users get.

ISPs (in general) have been working to upgrade their network and systems to cope with these newer services, but the inherent qualities of the Internet mean this is always going to be best effort.

And whilst ISPs need to adapt to this new environment, they will only do so if the incentives are there (meaning that direct or indirect revenue streams need to support it).

If service providers are willing to pay ISPs for a better service quality, this could be a driver. However, the nature of the Internet and the fact that any carrier can only provide very limited guarantees, I wonder if service providers will be willing to pay a premium.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

What Are The Best Solutions For Telecom Lifecycle Management?

So .... what ARE the best solutions for Telecom Lifecycle Management (TLM)?

To answer you must first understand that TLM (aka TEM, TAM, TIM) refers to the management of the planning, design, procurement, provisioning, payment and ongoing support of Telecom services.

Currently, this is one of the fastest growing segments of the managed service industry. However, as with most managed services, a close inspection of the offering is in order.

Many vendors offering this service are interested in the expense management (audit and payment of bills) segment of TLM without delivering on the other segments noted above.

Their offerings suggest the notion that most phone bills contain errors which can be remedied using their service. The reality is actually nearly the opposite. Most errors (nearly 90%) on phone bills are actually the result of phone carriers not charging enough for their services. This is validated through Qwest Communication's recent offering of TEM software to their enterprise customers.

So why do some companies offer this service? Simple, money. TEM services are in essence a loss leader that allows the service provider complete access to network inventory. This allows them a huge advantage when it comes to placing service orders for the customer’s voice and data services, of which they receive ample commissions for from the carriers.

Additionally, TEM providers make money by generating interest on the float the customer’s telecom spend represents (similar to payroll companies).

For further ideas on the subject I recommend reading the following article:

TELECOMMUNICATIONS: MANAGED SERVICES SAVE YOU MONEY

For help finding a service provider in your local area I recommend using the search portal available at:

Managed Service Providers


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Friday, December 18, 2009

Real Time Rate Quotes For T1 And DS3 Bandwidth ..... And More

You're looking for pricing on dedicated bandwidth (e.g. DS3 Bandwidth) for your company's voice and/or data network. It may be T1, DS3, OC3 or ethernet based. It could be for fractional, bonded, burstable, point-to-point, PRI, integrated, or MPLS. Whatever you're need is ... the search experience can be frustrating and painful.

The traditional method of finding a price on bandwidth is to call all the carriers individually, play telephone tag trying to find the right person, get pricing in several days, then compile all the information. This process can literally take WEEKS. Or alternatively, simply call the LEC (Local Exchange Carrier, aka the phone company) and get a price.

Are you seeing the two major problems with this traditional approach? The first problem is that the price being quoted is most likely "sticker price". Argh! If you are shopping for a car, do you base your purchase decision on the price tag in the window? Hopefully not, because that is RARELY the price you need to pay to get that car! The other problem is TIME. Where or how are you going to "write off" the 40-80 hours of time that you spend just trying to get pricing from multiple carriers, where the pricing is not going to be "bottom line" pricing anyway?

Here's the solution .... get real time quotes from multiple providers (over 30) all at the same time. With our low price guarantee. Including additional in depth research and support to ensure you're getting the most cost effective solution for whatever application requirements you're targeting.

An official pricing proposal can be generated within minutes with down-to-the-nickel pricing, including detailed information such as the cost of IP's, installation charges, loop costs, per-minute costs for intrastate and interstate calls (if a voice or integrated circuit), router (if not included), etc.

TIME IS MONEY, and any astute business person realizes this. So if you trade 40-80 hours of non-billable manpower without a low price guarantee for a few minutes of time with us, and end up with a pricing proposal that contains detailed information complete with a Low Price Guarantee which states that this is the lowest price that these carriers will offer for this circuit, are you seeing the benefit this has for you?

We're talking the base definition of "no brainer".

So .... simply request your quotes here: Bandwidth Solution

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bandwidth Requirements For Medical Imaging Systems

Medical imaging systems are requiring higher bandwidth. With the emphasis on real-time performance and higher resolutions, the amount of data processing needed may soon reach staggering levels. Using input sensors to receive large amounts of information along with digital signal processors (DSPs) to turn that analog input into digital data, medical systems are leaning toward backplane-based chassis with high performance. Traditionally, many systems use standards-based architectures like CompactPCI bus or VMEbus. But with backplane performance hitting the limitations of standard architectures, medical industry system designers are looking to new switched-fabric technologies that offer high performance and high reliability at a reasonable cost.

Medical imaging systems—such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scanning, and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning—are the most in need of higher performance. The intrachassis traffic between the processor boards, communications boards, display, sensor device, and storage is vast. For real-time information and clearer, higher-resolution images, the data need to travel at high speeds without errors. Not only is the data rate important, but the processing must be reliable. With redundancy and inherent reliability, the system can be highly available, with up to 99.999% uptime.

In many medical applications, latency and throughput are important requirements. In an ultrasound system, latency is critical because the technician uses the real-time image to properly position the transducer. Latency is less critical in CT scan equipment, although it is still an important factor. Both systems require the performance to scale as processing elements are added to a system. If all of the processing boards are contending for a common bus, performance could actually degrade as the number of processing nodes increases.

Bus-based architectures are running out of bandwidth for today's medical imaging solutions. The migration to switched-fabric systems is the natural evolution path. It is important that a switched-fabric architecture already have all of the necessary hardware and software components. A switched-fabric system should also be compatible with PCI-based systems, so that much of a manufacturer's previous investment in the system can be preserved. Regardless....sufficient bandwidth for operating the total facility system (all applications) is critical. At a minimum the system load will require DS3 bandwidth or OC3 bandwidth .... in larger medical facilities even an OC12 or OC48. To assist in determining exact requirements it's highly recommended to engage the services of an independent technical consultant such as DS3 Bandwidth. The support provided by DS3 Bandwidth is no cost ... and will save you time, effort, money, and aggravation.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

The Best Articles On Today's Broadband Issues....Right Here

Below are links to some very informative articles on various broadband and bandwidth related issues you should find helpful and informative. I may be a bit biased [wink] but I think they're some of the better resources available on the topics they focus on.

Feel free to share these....that's what they're for:

* Wireless.....

Building a Wireless ISP Network....The Opportunity

How Do You Become a WiFi Hotspot?

WiMAX - Broadband Wireless Access Technology....The Nitty Gritty

* VoIP......

Comparing VoIP Providers For Small Business Solutions

How To Set Up A Business VoIP System

The Straight Scoop On Business VoIP

* Evaluating Bandwidth.....

Evaluating Bandwidth Choices - ADSL vs SDSL

Evaluating Bandwidth Choices - Frame Relay vs VPN

Evaluating Bandwidth Choices-Fractional T-1 vs T1

Evaluating Bandwidth Choices-Fractional DS3 vs DS3

Evaluating Bandwidth Choices-OC3 vs OC12 vs OC48

* Bandwidth Applications......

The Basics On T1 Line Solutions For Small Business

Applications For DS3 Bandwidth

What's The Difference Between DS3 And T3 Bandwidth?

OC3, OC12 & OC48 Bandwidth-Ideal Solution For High End Users

Gigabit Ethernet Applications-Is It A Fit For Your Organization?

* Video-Conferencing and Multi-Media.........

Getting The Right Bandwidth For Your Video Conferencing Applications

Plan Ahead - Determine Your Bandwidth Requirements For Video Conferencing Early

Smart Business: How To Manage Bandwidth Requirements For Multi-Media Applications

* Supply Chain Management.......

Meeting Your Bandwidth Requirements For Supply Chain Management Applications

More On Meeting Your Bandwidth Requirements For Supply Chain Management Applications

* Medical Imaging.......

Bandwidth Requirements For Medical Imaging Systems

* Broadband Test & Measurement Tools.......

Broadband Tools To Measure System Performance And More

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Designing A Global Ethernet Based WAN (Wide Area Network)

First, the final network design depends very largely on what locations you need to cover. Very few providers have complete coverage in every single location - most have 'gaps' in some countries. Most providers can/do provide connectivity everywhere but may be expensive .... as they may need very long local loops to their nearest POP - which may also lead to long latency as well as higher cost. Keep in mind too that although cost may vary .... selecting solely on cost is not wise. Performance, reliability, repeatability, SLA, QoS, etc. are much more important from a business viewpoint. Who the provider partners with in each country is also important.

Most important is an upfront review of your organization’s current network design and issues, and goals for future network strategy. Be sure to define upcoming business needs including organizational and structural changes that could affect WAN capacity planning, traffic flow, and application performance. For example, Ethernet transport is ideally suited for high bandwidth sites like data centers with converged services, while IP VPN transport is better suited for larger quantities of smaller bandwidth sites with TDM access. By understanding goals and requirements, you can then craft a complete and cost effective global WAN solution.

For help in accomplishing this design .... at no cost to you .... I strongly recommend taking advantage of the services offered through Bandwidth Solutions

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

What Is A Business VoIP Solution?

Business VoIP means all business Telephony needs use the IP protocol.

First ..... this means that a business VoIP service does NOT use the Internet or as little as possible. Or if you are a major Internet provider, a secluded segment of that Internet cloud that uses smart routing to limit the number of hops.

Second ..... it is good to keep in mind that about 10% of any VoIP or IPT solution is telecommunication. The other 90% is IT application management.

Third ..... all major vendor solutions have their pluses and minuses. Currently Alcatel Lucent seems to be a bit ahead of Cisco in fixed to mobile convergence, but is somewhat more expensive per subscriber and a bit less scalable.

Centrally hosted is less expensive per user and allows for standardization. Decentralized is more expensive but can more easily allow for continuous operation when a WAN link is interrupted. I am thinking of an Ethernet TLAN or an MPLS Voice Class. Not Internet.

As complicated as deciding what the best business VoIP solution may seem .... it doesn't need to be. You can get free help evaluating your options and deciding the best course of action here ......

Business VoIP Solution

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Monday, December 07, 2009

What Is A Poken .... Social Networking Fad Or Next Great Thing?

By now most people must have seen or heard about Poken. Those "cute" little technology gizmos with cartoon like faces and a "hand". Some may think a Poken looks a bit cartoonish .... more for the younger crowd (teenagers. college students, and 20 sometings). But .... that's not entirely correct.

You can get more information from the Poken website here:

Poken Information

We all tend to get trapped into the physical appearance of things. It something looks silly and childish, it must be silly and childish. These silly-looking funny-face gadgets serve a very real and important purpose - the gathering of contact information at the touch of two devices. Why get all twisted up in how something looks? Perhaps that is why Poken came out with the Poken Pulse. It does pretty much the same thing as the standard Poken, but has more memory and can function as a regular flash drive for the transfer of files. But, it has a distinctly professional appearance. It looks more like your standard flash drive than anything else...although perhaps a bit more attractive.

However, please keep in mind that the REAL value on the Poken is not so much found in the transfer of information from one Poken to another, but in its maintenance once the information is uploaded to your Poken cloud in cyberspace. The Poken is compatible with more than 30 Social Media sites and computer programs like Microsoft Outlook. The real value of Pokens is that it can forever alter the way in which you gather and maintain information.

Mark my words, you will soon start seing third party applications for Pokens just as you do Twitter. There are cell phones which can do similar feats of transfer with Bluetooth technology. But, I have yet to see any cell phone that can equal - let alone surpass the number of Social Media sites associated with Pokens. Also, I have yet to see a cell phone that collects such data set up to store this information in a cyber cloud.

If you find the funny face Poken a little embarrassing, get yourself instead a Poken Pulse. No one laughs when they see that level of class and distinction.

The technology behind Poken is going to one day replace the traditional business card - especially at business mixers. What is it you have to do after you exchange business cards at a mixer? A lot of folks place them into business card folders or take time to input the contact information into a computer. Well, Pokens are a better idea. You simply touch your Poken device to another Poken device - shake hands you might say - and you have automatically exchanged contact information. Now, all you have to do is insert your Poken into your computer and upload that information to your cyber Poken account.

This is the smart way to manage contact information. And, why is that? Because it is not just your name, address, phone number and email address. It's also all your social networks - including Skype. Now, you have the ability to Poken and not really share your information. There's a special way to do that. You also have the ability to have up to three Poken accounts. So, you can actually share different information with different groups of people.

However, once you get into the habit of using a Poken, you can get out of the habit of keeping track of such things as address and phone number changes of your contacts. So long as each Poken contact takes care of his own information, your information will ALWAYS be correct. Why? Because through the Poken system you're virtually connected.

As most folks will tell you who are familiar with Pokens, these little devices have not reached "critical mass." They are still a few years away from being a household name. Perhaps that is because they were created in the Swiss version of Silicon Valley. Pokens are a lot more popular in Europe than they are in the USA. However, savvy tech people - including IBM - are jumping onto the Poken bandwagon.

A Poken is not going to work any magic for your business unless you know how to work the Poken so that the benefits are indeed achieved. If you don't watch the videos and you don't own the product, you can kiss those benefits of being a Poken owner good-bye. This is really the way it is with just about any device. If you do not really understand how to use it, you are not going to reap any benefits from owning it. Of course, if you happen to be one among many folks who own the device, chances are you can tap the collective intelligence and get your questions answered.

Critical mass is what any product hopes to achieve. Granted, Pokens have not achieved critical mass status in the USA ..... yet. But, they are quickly approaching that status in Europe. Can the USA be too far behind? Do you think IBM would give Pokens even a consideration if they did not see the technology as viable?

For more on the "phenomenon called Poken .... read this news piece:

Poken In The News

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Friday, December 04, 2009

DS3 Bandwidth ..... The Best Connection Configuration For A New Data Network

If your company finds itself in a situation where you are designing a new ..... or even replacement or expansion of an existing high capacity/high load data network .... a logical decision is to consider DS3 bandwidth for your network backbone.

However, to be confident in that decision I recommend first doing the math for the files you project to move ..... and then pick the technology that will work. Even though you need a lot of bandwidth, do you need it continuously or in bursts? It may be that you can transfer files over time instead of all at once so you won't have to get such large pipes. However, it may also be that you need massive files *right now* so you will have to go for the bigger connections. By bigger I mean DS3 bandwidth or possibly OC3 bandwidth.... instead of say a full or fractional T1 line.

So, approach this network analysis with an equation like:

Let's say you have 50 1GB files that need to be transferred every day from point A to B. That's 50 GB in a 24-hour period.

50GB = 400Gb = 400,000,000,000 bits

1 day = 86400 seconds

400,000,000,000/86400 = ~4700000 bits/sec = ~ 5 Mb/sec

Of course, that would be going full bore 24 hours a day with no protocol overhead, so you are realistically looking at doubling that number. Then, you could put in some additional QOS mechanisms to make sure that bandwidth was available for other applications.

If you are in a local metro area where providers can service your building(s) with ethernet service to all your offices ..... that may be cheaper than getting a TDM circuit such as a DS-3 line. If they cannot serve all your locations with "on-net" ethernet service then perhaps you can look for a burstable DS-3 or tiered pricing plan to save costs ..... and only pay for the bandwidth you will be using on average.

Also look into using MPLS VPN service instead of a dedicated point to point. It is typically a more cost effective solution to establish IP connectivity between "x" number of offices.

Since you likely will have large files to move such as 3D modeling, CAD, or medical imagery ..... if the data transmission is TCP based, then I also suggest to look into some WAN acceleration appliances such as Riverbed, Cisco WAAS, or Juniper WX. This will allow you to take advantage of the pipe (bandwidth) size you have. It will also allow you to cache commonly transmitted bits to save bandwidth costs and utilize your WAN circuits efficiently ..... while improving end-user application performance over the WAN. Since those appliances simulate LAN performance with the built-in algorithms.

If all that explanation is making your head spin .... there's a way you can make the entire process much simpler. To accomplish this I recommend taking advantage of the free consultative services available to you here:

DS3 Bandwidth Solution

The no cost service provided by DS3 Bandwidth Solution will save you time, effort, and money by doing all the leg work and heavy lifting for you. This includes finding the absolute best and most cost effective network design solution that guarantees optimal perfomance of your data network ..... with full and reliable support for any and all applications your company intends to run on the network.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Solutions For IP Transit Delivery

Increased demand by businesses for high quality Internet access continues to grow .... as more critical applications rely on Internet Protocol (IP) technology.

One such critical application in the business world is the increasingly widespread adoption of voice over internet protocol ..... typically called VoIP or IP Telephony. Performance of business VoIP systems depends mightily on reliable internet connectivity. Meaning not only the software involved in voice packet transmission across internet boundries .... but the very circuittry involved in that network connection. The key dynamic here is the bandwidth backbone installed to support this application. Depending on the size of the business (number of users per say) ..... and the frequency, duration, and volume of voice traffic needing to be transmitted ..... the likely basis for this backbone would be T1 lines or DS3 bandwidth. In very large system designs it's possible that OC3 bandwidth would be the better choice.

Whatever the design requirement needed for constructing an IP network for transmitting voice ... I strongly recommend taking the hassle and worry out of the process by taking advantage of the NO COST assistance available through:

Business VoIP Solution


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