Thursday, January 28, 2010

Moving To MPLS Network Architecture From WAN Architecture

You're tasked with investigating if moving your company's network from a point-to-point T1 WAN architecture to a MPLS architecture makes business sense.

The easy answer here is yes.

But .... why?

In looking at changing your architecture from Point to Point to an MPLS type of network I suggest starting with the business requirements and tying your network requirements to the business needs. In this manner, you'll have clear business outcomes which you can negotiate back with you're business when you start getting the cost vs benefits discussion in developing your business case for investment.

A robust Total Cost of Ownership model will be needed to understand what the TCO will be gonig forwards. Also, I'd suggest developing a strong understanding of the costs of doing nothing and also the potential savings or new revenue opportunities for your business so you can develop a Net Present Value (NPV) of your network options.

I would also recommend looking at the interfaces you're looking to support in the network. MPLS does enable you to have a common protocol across all your networks and you can effectively establish an MPLS Cross Connect in your network. This will rely on how your local service providers will provide MPLS services to you, if at all. So you would most likely need to purchase either point to point or point to multipoint based transmission services from your provider. We're seeing that many enterprises and service providers are heading towards ethernet ubiquity as a service interface and then offering multiple services ontop of the ethernet interface.

VoIP works well across an MPLS type of network, however it does depend on the services that you purchase off your service provider. As you're looking at MPLS, then I assume that you're looking at buying straight transmission services and then you'll use MPLS to aggregrate traffic into your WAN links. Hence, you're business case is going to be driven by arbitrage opportunities so capture as much traffic as possible onto your network and apply QoS at the edge.

From a QoS perspective, ensure that you can also apply policing to the traffic that goes onto your WAN traffic. I recommend applying Heirarchical QoS as this will enable you to dynamically share the bandwidth in your WAN links.

As you can tell, there are lots of issues and questions that need to be addressed so I'd suggest working closely with some trusted partners and driving towards an outcome based business drivers and commercial outcomes.

We have worked with many customers that have migrated to MPLS from old school point to point. There are a few reasons our customers did this, but let me assure you the #1 reason was cost. A good competitive carrier will offer an MPLS solution that is sometimes less costly than the old point to point type solution ..... with most of the same or more functionality.

But there are some factors:

1. If the point to points are crossing state or lata boundaries ..... or are fairly separated by miles .... you should enjoy considerable savings.

2. If you get a carrier that bundles MPLS with an Integrated Access type solution you will save big money (combination of voice, internet & MPLS delivered on one T1 with quality of service).

Here's some additional points that might help you.

1. Is it redundant? Yes, depending on how you design your network (we can help you of course) sites can network with each other over your wide area network for disaster recovery/ redundancy. Unlike the traditional point to point architecture where you might only be as strong as that single link. We helped a huge national company with a migration from point to point and frame relay to MPLS. The big reason was with so many sites there was an outage almost every day. The network was designed with redundancy as the main driver.

2. Does it work as well? It depends who you ask. Are you talking to a salesman? He will say yes. Let me give you my "consultant" opinion. It works ALMOST as well but there are so many benefits to MPLS that typically motivate a customer to change. For example, if you have Quality of Service (QoS) sensitive applications running accross your WAN then you should consider MPLS. MPLS is a private networking technology similar to the concept of Frame Relay in that it is delivered in the "cloud". The primary difference with MPLS is that you can purchase quality of service for applications across your WAN. During the provisioning process the carrier (or your agent-wink wink) will interview you in order to determine which appications are important to your business, they will then build a QoS template to service these applications on your WAN. These applications will be given priority over all other traffic in times of peak load. MPLS is by far the most costly solution between Frame Relay, VPN and MPLS .... but is the only technology that will support QoS!

But let's put the salesman aside and remember one thing. With MPLS we are using the carrier's private network which is infinitely better than creating your own VPN. But because of some "overhead" and the belief that all carriers over-subscribe somewhat I am convinced that it's ALMOST as good.

So if it's almost as good would it be worth migrating if you could enjoy cost savings & redundancy??? Maybe. But these are the things that are making MPLS the hot ticket now.

3. Does this work well with VOIP? Sure. You can get QoS like I stated above.

MPLS is an IP-based framing technology (at OSI layer 3) that inherently meshes your WAN (this is the redundancy you refer to above). MPLS has a feature called QoS or quality of service. This feature allows both your CPE router and the carrier's network to prioritize data based upon your settings or preferences (carrier's level of support of QoS can be broad) and gives you more "bang for your buck" with the bandwidth that you select for the local loop going to each office. MPLS is made for VoIP like RC Cola is made for Moonpies. Because true "toll quality" VoIP requires prioritization across a carrier network, you (or your provider) can tag VoIP traffic with high priority to easily address the jitter and latency sensitivity inherent in the service.

The other huge advantage you have is that you can add locations with a simple routing table update and maintain a fully-meshed architecture, where with Point to Point circuits, you would have had to add a separate circuit to each location you want to interconnect, making MPLS more and more cost friendly the more locations you add.

Finally, MPLS allows you (or your carrier) to configure network objects (such as servers, VPN concentrators, and Network-Based Firewalls) as nodes on your MPLS network. For instance, with a properly deployed Network Based Firewall, you can provide all of your locations with an internet connection over your MPLS network that doesn't rely on a single location to aggregate the traffic. Some carriers even offer redundant firewalls, meaning that you have redundant Internet connections fully meshed giving you more potential up-time in the case of a single failure on your network.

What do you need to consider? In my experience, the biggest things to keep in mind are:

- Stay away from MPLS enabled Frame/ATM networks with committed access rates (CAR), this committed access rate is often a lower bandwidth than your local loop bandwidth, which can degrade your quality and quantity of bandwidth across a carrier's network (its always in the fine print).

- QoS at the "Edge" and across the "Core" - choose a carrier with both.

- QoS recognition across the carrier network - some carriers will allow customers to mark packets with priority, but will not recognize and uphold that priority, don't fall into this trap.

- SLA guarantees - be sure to choose a carrier that provides acceptable service level agreements for the type of service you plan to push across your network

- Customer Service and dedicated sales rep - you want someone you can reach out to with questions that you can trust - this is the most difficult thing to find.

For FREE assistance designing the right MPLS configuration for your network .... AND sourcing the most cost effective provider ..... take advantage of the help available via:

MPLS Networks

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What You Need To Know About A MPLS Network

There's no one "MPLS Service". A lot of what you get will depend how the service provider has Engineered and built their core network. Bear in mind that many carriers don't own the whole network, but will piece together a service from other carriers networks, or will interconnect with other carriers to extend their reach.

Cell-mode MPLS was mentioned: basically this is ATM which has been retro-fitted with MPLS. Be careful with this for VoIP applications because it can use bandwidth very inefficiently.

MPLS can support QoS, but many services aren't engineered with this, or only with very basic prioritisation. Also the services are very often structured to reduce the potential complexity and to ensure the network can cope. Bear in mind a typical MPLS router can only carry a percentage of "high-priority, realtime" traffic. If everyone sends all their data as high priority then the benefit is lost, and the network may suffer. Usually QoS is provided as a small number of service classes, typically 3 or 4.

The biggest bottleneck in any such service is normally the tail circuit to each of your premises. If you move from a T1 mesh to a MPLS service then you will likely find that some sites need more bandwidth than others. Tracking the requirement for this bandwidth is usually your problem, although the service provides may give you some reporting tools to assist with this. I would avoid service providers who cannot offer this as it will make it very difficult for you to manage your bandwidths.

If you factor in multiple service classes then your management of these tail circuits gets more complex as you no only have to work out how much bandwidth is required for each tail circuit, but how much of it should be reserved for each service class.

Regarding resilience, within the service providers core, the service is normally highly resilient to failures. However, when failures do occur, very often (depending on how the service is engineered) the rerouting can take a second or two. During this network reconvergance you will lose packets. Depending on the protocol your traffic uses this can be unimportant or devastating. For instance, some VPN and VoIP services don't survive this well.

Normally resilience is not automatically provided all the way to the customer. Typically you will have one tail circuit and one router at each site. If either fails (or if the Service provider's PE router has problems) you will lose service to the site, totally.

If this is an issue, you need to factor in dual connections. There's multiple ways of doing this, and different service providers will offer different options. Make sure you get your Network Engineer involved as the devil is in the detail here, and some options which sound like they provide a fantastic level of resilience may not be as good as they sound, depending on how your internal network is configured.

And, of course, the key to all of this is SLAs: what do they offer? What happens if they break them? How do they report them to you?

Generally speaking, MPLS services are a great way to run a multi-site data network including VoIP services. I have seen many carriers and their customers doing this successfully for years.

Strictly speaking MPLS does not provide QoS. QoS is done by prioritising traffic, and most IP routers, even those on the backbone of the Internet, can do this. The difference is whether they are configured to do this or not. In an MPLS network MPLS is provided by standard router features. MPLS technology (specifically Traffic Engineering) gives the carrier better control over how this traffic is prioritised and routed (and restored in case of network fault). All this does is give them the confidence to support SLAs.

As I mentioned, "QoS" is provided as a set of "service classes". Typically these are things like "real-time", "high-priority" and "everything else". Mapping actual traffic into these classes can be done in a few different ways, but this is largely up to you to control. For instance, you could quite easily put web-browsing traffic into "real time" although this would normally be a dumb thing to do.

I would suggest the case for MPLS in terms of performance, cost and continuity against 'traditional' or 'legacy' data networks is now pretty robust, i.e. MPLS provides significant advantages in all 3 areas.

The key considerations when migrating include provider selection, access media (e.g. using Ethernet rather than SDH/SONET), the decision on procuring a managed or unmanaged service (often called wires-only) and the providers ability to map their CoS/QoS to the applications you need to support. This is especially important if you are operating any proprietary applications.

There is also an increasing trend to use WAN Optimisation/application management solutions either as a value added service from the provider or from an alternative integrator or indeed doing it in house. This is important say for voice or applications such as CITRIX.

MPLS providers also now offer a whole suite of value added services such as integrated internet, managed network based firewalls and remote user support. If these are important to you make sure the providers demonstrate how this is achieved.

In selecting your provider ensure they have good geographic coverage in your areas and experience within you market segment. I always recommend taking up 3 references. Equally I think it is wise to understand how important a client you will be to the provider; it's all well and good using the market leader (say according to Gartner) but you'll often get a better service from a provider who values and really wants your business.

For FREE assistance designing the right MPLS configuration for your network .... AND sourcing the most cost effective provider ..... take advantage of the help available via:

MPLS Networks

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

What Is A MPLS Network?

The MPLS network is a VPN ( Virtual Private Network or Private Virtual Network ) that makes use of a shared network infrastructure cheaper and reliable, similar to Frame Relay or ATM networks, but by make using of MPLS ( MultiProtocol Label Switching ) technology n the IP Backbone.

MPLS is a technology that makes the IP network safer, reliable, and easy to administrate and customize, eliminating the IP network deficiencies at same time keeping its advantages, with quality gain in the classification (CoS) and priorization(QoS) of the data, voice and video, making possible the coexistence of multimidia and other critical aplications on the corpoarative network.

The IP/MPLS is perfect for companies of all sizes that needs to interconnect their matrix, affiliates and partners with quality, security and flexibility for future aplications, afforded by the simplicity of IP protocol allied to the security of the MPLS (MultiProtocol Label Switching) technology.

This technology permits the data, voice and video transmission with security, reliability, flexibility and perfomance guaranteed through QoS(optional), what makes IP/MPLS networks suitable for enterprise companies.

Some additional features I see provided by the use of IP/MPLS:

- QoS (Quality of Service)

- Security: All the traffic isolation is implemented and done on the IP/MPLS backbone.

- Costs reduction: The use of MPLS structure guarantees the formation of a secure network with low costs, because the distance among the points of the VPN or its configuration does not cause impacts on the total cost, guaranteeing the best price and benefit in the netwrok upgrade. The use of QoS(optional), besides it permits the traffic of voice, data and video over IP, it optmizes the resources fulfilling the network expectations and accomplishing the traffic treatment per application.

- Traffic treatment: The QoS( quality of Service) main function is to optimize the network resources, it means, with up to 12 different classes, the company can choose which applications shall be treated or not, thus it guarantees: voice over IP ( VoIP) and videoconference with quality, independent of the links occupation by data traffic. Use of the corporative apllications without the concerns regard the bottlenecks in the links, through the optmized use of the network resources.

- Management: The MPLS simplifies the management by the customer, reducing the network complexity.

- Scalability: The MPLS was developed to support the expansion of the companies and the use of the networks, including new types of applications, without cause impact on this upgrade..

- Quality: The Service Level Agreement assures the quality of the IP/MPLS backbone, guaranteeing the network will work properly and in conformance to support customer applications.

-Topology types: This technology permits the conformance of the logical VPN topology to the traffic profile in each point of the customer network, be it full mesh, hub-and-spoke or mixed, with bandwidth economy and the possibility of higher internal control of access and security.

To simplify .... advantages of MPLS are: safe costs, prioritize traffic, optimize and economize bandwidth use, scalability, flexibility, customize usage, and security.

There is a lot of crap talked about MPLS by people who dont really understand the technology, and therefore don't really understand its application.

To be honest it's not really a choice you need to make as an end user any more. MPLS is the network of choice for all decent carriers - they either have it, have had it for ages and are bringing in their second generation, or are implementing it.

To the carrier it allows them to put in a core network which is resilient, allows them to use traffic engineering to define which network path is preferred for each customer, utilizes all available capacity and uses fast re-route if there is a failure.

Nowadays all decent MPLS networks will be built on a transport network using fibre and something like DWDM for maximum performance and flexibility.

For you the decision is really about does your provider offer you the features you need. Basically it is a piece of string, so all IP apps will work on it - the issue is do they support features that will enhance your apps - so will they give you QoS for your voice etc, will they allow muticast, can they offer L3 VPNs and L2 psuedowires etc). You need to know how the resilience works (fast reroute should take micro seconds).

QoS is another subject much misunderstood - what you need to remember is that QoS doesn't deliver any packets faster, it decides which packets to drop if you have over-subscription on a link. In many cases over-provision and redundancy is much better (depending on cost). The best MPLS networks may over-provision therefore not use QoS on the core.

If or when SIP enters into the discussion - something to look out for here is multi topology routing.

So basically, if the price is right, go for it - you may find that a lot of "point to point" services are already provided on an MPLS core.......

For FREE assistance designing the right MPLS configuration for your network .... AND sourcing the most cost effective provider ..... take advantage of the help available via:

MPLS Networks

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bandwidth Requirements For Video Conferencing

Most of today's companies are maximizing their travel budgets and communication requirements by making smart use of videoconferencing as an alternative to face-to-face meetings. With this decision to implement enterprise-level videoconferencing comes a requiremnt for bandwidth requirements which are reliable and cost effective.

Videoconferencing can leverage the existing public telephone network, a private IP network or the Internet. The target bandwidth for interactive video communications is in the 300K to 400K bit/sec per stream range. This includes audio and video as well as control signaling.

The H.323 protocol does not require that two or more endpoints in a session send the same data rate they receive. A low-powered endpoint may only be able to encode at a rate of 100K bit/sec, but, because decoding is less processor-intensive, it could decode a 300K bit/sec videostream.

Nevertheless, in videoconferencing, bandwidth is assumed to be symmetrical. In full-duplex networks such as ISDN, Ethernet, ATM and time division multiplexed networks, capacity is expressed as bandwidth in one direction, though equal bandwidth is available for traffic in the opposite direction.

You need to estimate the number of simultaneous sessions your network needs to support, and figure out if your network has bandwidth end-to-end.

A T-1 bandwidth circuit offers 1.5M bit/sec in each direction and would be ample bandwidth for two 512K bit/sec or three 384K bit/sec videoconferences, depending on the amount of simultaneous traffic on the network. Also, make sure that you have 10/100 switched Ethernet throughout the LAN segments where videoconferencing traffic is expected.

Multipoint conference bandwidth (with which three or more locations can see and hear one another) is calculated separately from point-to-point sessions. Multipoint can be conducted in either IP or ISDN environments, and some conferencing units will support both network types.

Multipoint conferencing products may be software-based or accelerated with special hardware, and their configuration can produce different bandwidth consumption patterns as well as different user experiences. For example, when an endpoint is used to host a multipoint conference, the maximum bandwidth for any single participant is the bandwidth allocated to that host divided by the number of locations participating. When you need to have more than four locations on a call at the same time, network-based products are recommended.

If you decide that your IP network can't handle the additional traffic associated with live video sessions in a merged or converged network deployment, your options are to rely on circuit switched networks or to deploy additional IP bandwidth capacity. To assist in determining and acquiring the exact bandwidth to meet your requirements...it's strongly recommended to make use of a free technical consulatation service such as is available via Bandwidth Solutions.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

What All Is Involved In Getting A T1 Line??

If you are a potential customer, don't even bother wondering what is behind the curtain. The telecom companies take care of the infrastructure, and you take care of the bill -- that's how it works. It doesn't matter if the "big tan telephone company cabinet" is involved or not -- you just want the service. Sure, it's interesting to know how stuff works, and it would be fun to drive by some box in the middle of some cornfield and know that your electrons are running through it, but it really doesn't matter, right? If the price is too high, you're not buying regardless of how the service is provisioned.

To answer the question, a T1 typically is nothing more than two copper pairs which are converted from analog to digital, with special conditioning (and signal repeaters if the distance requires them). If your location could get two additional regular phone lines, then you could probably get a T1 circuit without additional construction or trenching. If such additional work would be necessary, it's quite possible that you would not be charged for that work. In our industry, special construction costs are identified after the order is placed, and the customer can cancel the order with no penalty if the additional costs are not acceptable. It's not likely that construction costs can be identified prior to an order.

Most responsible internet providers will give you a dedicated internet connection at the full 1.5M speed. There are local "tier 2" providers that will purchase a certain bandwidth from an "upstream" provider, then resell it and oversell it. For instance, "Joe's Telecom" might buy a 45M DS-3 of internet access from AT&T. A DS-3 has enough bandwidth to support 28 T1 circuits. Joe will recognize that not every one of his customers will be using the full 1.5M at all times, so he will sell more than 28 T1 circuits -- this is overselling. So long as he watches his circuit utilization, and orders more bandwidth before the customers start crashing into each other, then all is well. But if he's like Comcast, and severely oversells, then customers' circuit performance will suffer. So you will want to know if your T1 circuit is dedicated access all the way to the internet backbone, or if it goes to Joe's concentrator where it is shared among his customers. If the service you get is from AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Business, Global Crossing, Qwest, Savvis, Internap, Level 3 and a few others, then you're dedicated. If it's from a local provider with a limited service area, it's probably shared bandwidth, and the pricing should be lower than from a dedicated provider. But....the quality defined by a Service Level Agreement (SLA) and QoS (Quality of Service) will also be lower.

Relative to a router, in your quote requests mention that you want "managed" service, which tells telecom companies that you want the T1 router to be included as part of their package. The T1 router is different than a typical "broadband" router one would get at a local electronics shop. T1 routers have built-in CSU/DSU functionality which assists in the synch up of the circuit. Some typical T1 routers are Cisco 1841 and Siemens 5940.

A free quote source I highly recommend for fast, quality, personal service can be found at:

T1, DS3, and OC3 Bandwidth

You must provide accurate information (installation address, email, contact phone number)....otherwise they'll ignore you as a bogus request. If you're serious take advantage of what they offer. If you're not serious....go elsewhere.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Building a Wireless ISP Network

In the US, most of the people have one or more broadband access services to choose from - variations of DSL from multiple vendors and cable.

In the rural areas of the country, the selection is limited. Satellite is available to anyone, but between dial up and T1 there are no options for many residents. Satellite suffers from latency, making it unsuitable for VoIP and some other real time Internet services. Some applications that should not be sensitive to latency (email, Web forms) will perform poorly or fail due to the increased packet time.

The traditional carriers (RBOC) and resellers face a cost issue in bringing broadband service to outlying areas. Without a concentration of users the per user cost at published rates causes either a poor or negative margin. The way cost accounting is done in larger corporations makes the business case worse for a large carrier. Cost allocations between departments for such things as floor space, personnel, and backend support end up as added costs rather than leverage opportunities. Traditional wired service will not reach outlying residents unless mandated by law, and the trend is against this happening in the near future.

So the opportunity is open for a business offering Internet broadband access service to outlying residents.

Therein lies a tremendous opportunity.

Now....just how to you go about taking advantage of this opportunity, filling a need, and building a wireless ISP network?

For those considering such a venture I strongly recommend you jump over to a discussion forum at the Ryze.com business networking community devoted exclusively to this issue.

Be sure to pay attention to the following discussion topics AND contribute your own thoughts when/where you can.......

* Business Continuity Planning - This isn't the technical side of the business, the backup systems, redundant pathing, fail-over and restore, or alternate location stuff. Here you're looking at subjects such as Legal Structure, Personnel Insurance, Asset Insurance, and Process and Procedure.

* Revenue and Profit - Covers where nad how to create your income including installation, basic monthly service, custom access service, volume or corporate pricing, other services, business partnerships, usage based service, civic service, and tower leasing.

* Security Issues - There's much to consider in this arena. Don't overlook it.

* Bandwidth issues - The access line to your tower(s) is likely the critical factor to success. First off, it probably represents your single largest operational cost. Next, it determines the maximum quality of service you can provide.

Quotes you receive will probably be very different in terms of cost and performance guarantees, and should cover Performance Standards, Service Availability, Mean Time to Respond, Mean Time to Repair, Latency, Packet Loss, and Jitter. To help you search for the best match provider for your bandwidth requirements....I recommend utilizing the services of an independent broker by submitting a RFQ request to Bandwidth Solution.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

What Is The Future Of The Telecommunications Industry?

The future of the industry is simple. Look at what has happened over the last say 2 years.....we have had an outstanding amount of devices and applications directed towards being able to connect with others.

If its going to be wireless vs wireline then its wireless hands down. But going deeper in to that I will have to say that the future will not be in just cell phones or BlackBerry's or the iphone. I think you have to look deeper into it, think of a world with readers, tablets etc ...... but at the same time being able to still connect your ever day life into these devices. The industry is evolving and a wind of change is coming too.

The telecommunication industry will go to another NEW ERA with new high speed data services enabled by LTE/WiMax/IMS, IP end-to-end. For the end-users it will mean more information to exchange, for the operators more money to make, and for the equipment vendors (Infrastructure/handset..) it will mean more complex equipment to design and deploy.

Welecome to the information age.

The ex IBM CEO, Louis Gerstner, was asked once about the future of computing. He gave a very interesting analogy as a means to answer the question. He said .... before the invention of the electrical motor, factories used to have steam engine rooms outside the plant with shafts connected to the machinery inside. After the invention of the electrical motor, all machines have their motors embedded in them.

He said .... in today's world, there are computers everywhere serving specific functions. In the future, he predicted, computing capabilities will be embedded in everything from clothes and wall paints all the way to big robots and apparatus. I don't recall if he specifically mentioned nano technology as the enabler for this evolution. But I believe it is.

Let’s take this analogy one step further and deduce the future of telecommunications. If computing is embedded in everything and connectivity becomes everywhere, then we can imagine a world in which communication devices are less visible and information flows less intrusively.

If we look at telecommunication, the primary intent has been to communicate across a distance.

From just standalone voice and data communication, the industry has over the past few years evolved to provide communication backbone for multimedia - voice, data, image and video.

To do so the initial battle between, wired (copper and optical) and wireless (multiple technologies), cable has now become a driver for convergence and coexistence.

The business will be driven by the value that is available through seamless connectivity. It is very likely that connectivity will be taken for granted in fact like any commodity could become free (see the cost of voice communication going southward).

Different industries like health care (seamless access and connectivity for health care), entertainment ( mobile access to movies, music and games), financial institutions (secure and mobile access to money transactions, shares), manufacturing (seamless access to the supply chain) would drive telecom technologies and solutions.

The requirement of seamless access would vary from very small distances (the tele part of telecommunication) to across the globe would be another driver.

So these are exciting times for any one who can create innovative that provide tangible benefits to the end user who now has access to varied options of multi media connectivity.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Is A VoIP Phone Up To Business Level Use?

Whether use is from a traditional brick and mortar business location ... or the growing movement for remote work such as from home ... is a VoIP phone a viable alternative for small and medium business applications?

Short answer ... yes, but.

VOIP will either suck really bad, or work like a charm, depending on a few variables.

1.) Your internet connection (Cable, T1, PRI etc..)

2.) The QOS ability on your Internet Connection

3.) Your VOIP provider

Here's a quick list of considerations that should guide your decision:

1.) Are the remote workers integrating with an existing phone system at the central office? (If so, that limits your choices a bit. This also means you may need to issue custom configured routers and handsets to the users that automatically establish VPN tunnels to provide dialtone.)

2.) Are you giving users routers that come preconfigured, or are you hoping to just use existing Linksys/Netgear/DLink home routers? (as mentioned previously, QoS matters a TON. Many enterprise VOIP deployments fail because QoS isn't set up properly.)

3.) Are you expecting users to use home phones, or business class phones for work? (Business class phones generally have better electrical components that offer noise cancellation, higher sound quality, better speakerphones, headset support, etc.)

4.) Are you having your employees send you a series of speed tests of their home line to quickly determine their remote feasibility? (Internet upload speed is easily the #1 concern for quality of VOIP @home)

These are the most common areas to focus on.

Before we deploy these solutions you must do a few things.

1. You need to do a trace route to ensure that there is not too many hops from your location to your provider's server. If there is more than 20-25 hops then the service is probably going to be bad.

2. Conduct a ping test from location to see what the packet lost is and to determine the quality of your internet connection. Run the ping test for approximately 10-20 minutes.

3. Run a speed test to see if you are getting the speed that you are paying for.

4. Sometimes the quality of your line can be degraded from lightning strikes and when your are surfing the internet and checking emails you will not notice it until you are using Voice over IP. That is something your internet service provider can repair. You might also ask if they can monitor your connection and run a constant ping on your modem.

5. If you are using a SOHO router for your voice you may want to consider upgrading to an router that provides QOS(Quality of Service) to manage the connection better.

I strongly suggest looking through the list of business and home VoIP service providers recommended here:

Business VoIP Providers

I'd also take advantage of their "Best Rate Calculator" tool to search and compare VoIP providers in your area.

For more robust business communication systems I recommend using the free services available from Business VoIP Solution

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Free Quotes & Special Pricing On MPLS, PRI, SIP, Ethernet, T1, & DS3 Bandwidth Solutions

We've added more special low price packages for MPLS, SIP, Metro Ethernet (GigE etc.), T1 (all flavors), DS3 (fractional, full, and bonded), OC3, and OC48 bandwidth solutions from multiple providers (over 30 Top Tier sources).

Simply identify your requirements and installation location(s) ..... providing the details here .....

Bandwidth Solution

[note: Please provide COMPLETE, detailed, and accurate information. Incomplete or bogus RFQs will be ignored.]

At a minimum the providers covered will include: ACC Business, Aire Spring, AT&T, Broad Sky Networks, Covad, Level 3, Megapath, New Edge Networks, Network Innovations, Nuvox Communications, One Communications, Power Net Global, Qwest, Splice Communications, TelePacific Communications, Telenes Broadband, Time Warner, UCN, US LEC, and XO. Others will be included depending on your needed location(s) and your intended/required application(s).

We'll provide a preliminary assessment via email immediately. Then follow-up with more in-depth detail and special pricing.

We'll be in immediate contact to discuss the details, help determine exact application parameters and needs, suggest best fit solution, confirm the best pricing available, and assist with the acquisition process.

We'll negotiate on your behalf, ensure the best SLA (Service Level Agreement) and QOS (Quality of Service), do the paperwork, monitor provisioning and installation, and even run interference for you with your chosen provider for the life of the contract.

We guarantee you won't get a better price going to the provider directly yourself.

By the way .... our service is NO COST to you.

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Friday, January 01, 2010

Family Cell Phone Plan ..... How To Find The Best One For You

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....

Find A Cell Phone Plan

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