Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Phish Tracker Project

DSLReports.com maintains an ongoing database of phish investigations ..... seeded by members of their forum forwarding suspect phish emails they receive.

Please consider helping this project by joining DSLReports.com (it's free) .... and forwarding your phish emails (assuming you receive any).

More information can be found in the Scambusters forum and the phishtrack database page.

Here's the links:

* Scambusters forum

* Phishtrack database page

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nifty SIP Stuff

One thing that SIP promised is an open standard that allows for innovative products to be developed and will interoperate with the phone systems, handsets, and software – all based on SIP. There are several companies out there that have taken this to heart and come out with products that dazzle and charm with their usefulness and features.

1. SIP Phones Anywhere

When I first thought about it – I imagined a nightmare QoS issue and hideous compatibility issues, but after testing and implementing WiFi SIP phones from companies like Unidata, I have to say I am surprised at the ease and flexibility these phones offer. These compact and feature-rich phones will work on just about any SIP-based phone system or SIP service and can be used on just about any WiFi network in a matter of minutes. I recently took one of my WiFi phones to Taiwan with me and found open hotspots, connected my phone to the internet and made rather good calls over the Internet from my phone system in California. Sure, you get the quality you pay for, which at the time was nothing, but for a simple, cheap, easy solution, I could not argue. Vendors have all kinds of phones for WiFi and DECT that interoperate will and offer features like single registration for multiple phones, automatic base-station registration for roaming, and even a software phone that works on phones with both 3G and WiFi, offering you a SIP phone wherever and whenever you need it. Can’t wait until I can get a voice-activated SIP phone in a WiFi/Bluetooth headset so I can ditch my phone altogether! Anyone of you smart guys listening?

2. Lights, Ringers, Paging

One issue with SIP has been paging and replacement of night ringers and alert lights. With products like from companies like Cyberdata, that is a worry of the past. The paging gateway I saw gives you IP-based paging wherever you need it as long as there is data there. This fit right in for a customer I had that needed paging for a warehouse across the country where they only had IP phones off the main location. Popped one of the paging gateways in, connected it to the paging speakers, registered it up to the SIP server and now California can page the forklift driver in Indiana to go answer his phone at his desk. Next step is to give the driver a WiFi phone that he can carry around. Algo Solutions has some nifty SIP-based door phones, loud ringers, and altering lights that I quickly put in to a couple of manufacturing plants that just could not hear the anemic ring of their Polycom phones. Tired of getting analog lines for those door or gate phones? Try some of the new SIP-based ones – as long as you can pull a data line to the location or if you can’t use the Phybrige solution to provide data with POE up to 2500 feet over two CAT3 wires. Since all solutions support POE, you don’t even need power to run most of these devices, meaning you can position where you need with just a data cable instead of an electrical outlet.

3. Applications Galore

One of the real powers of SIP comes with applications that work supposedly seamlessly on the SIP standard.  Need a SIP phone for your iPad, there is an app for that.  Want to deploy a cost-effective conference bridge in your organization – load Quorum from  NCH Software.  Want a nearly free  jukebox for your music on hold, try the MOH player also from NCH.    How about a video soft phone for your laptop?   Eyebeam has one.  The best thing about all these applications is that most are inexpensive and nearly all offer trial versions that allow you to test in your environment before making the insubstantial investment.  With standards that are easy to follow and almost guaranteed compatibility, SIP software is the natural platform for creative developers.  These plug-in applications extend the capabilities of any SIP-based phone system to include things like Unified Messaging, Voicemail Transcription, Unified Communications, Collaboration, White Pages lookup, and other features that usually costs a lot on legacy systems.  Companies like Interactive Intelligence Next time you have a communications need, consider the world of SIP developers first. 

Using SIP goes well beyond basic all control and voicemail.  For the investments in a SIP-based system, the return is only going to be apparent when taking advantage of SIP equipment and software that will enhance the communications of your company.  The overhead management and implementation costs of soft PBX will probably never beat the legacy key systems, but for expandability, flexibility, and future possibilities, SIP is the way to go, no matter what your size – 10 users to 10,000 users. 

Robert Wakefield-Carl, QoS Telesys

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Michael Gottwalt Selected As A PHONE Plus Top Channel Manager

Michael Gottwalt is the first master agent channel manager to be awarded this honor.

Washington D.C. – Sept. 20, 2010 -- PHONE+ magazine, a resource for the telecommunications indirect sales channel, announced at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Washington, D.C., Monday that Michael Gottwalt of Telarus has been selected as one a Top 15 Channel Manager. The results of this contest are published today on the PHONE+ Web site at www.phoneplusmag.com.

PHONE+ is proud to honor Michael Gottwalt as one of the Top 15 Channel Managers. These telecom professionals were nominated by master agents, subagents and independent agents and selected by a poll of PHONE+ readers Aug. 16-27.

“This year’s contest was especially competitive,” said PHONE+ Editor in Chief Khali Henderson. “There were 133 nominees and more than a thousand votes. The enthusiastic response is a testament to the value the channel places on the stand-out channel managers in the industry. PHONE+ is pleased to be able to recognize them for their excellence.”

“Telarus is extremely proud of Mike and the way he supports his agents with dedication and excellence,” added Adam Edwards, President of Telarus. “The real magic of Telarus is the personal and competent support that we provide to our agent partners. Mike takes a personal interest in the agents he supports. With many years as an agent himself, Mike is able to understand agents’ needs and offer them the level of service only a former agent could provide. We are proud to recognize Mike for a job well done!”

Michael Gottwalt and the other winners will be profiled in the November issue of PHONE+ magazine.

About PHONE+

PHONE+ magazine is the country’s leading publication for communication distribution channels. For more than two decades, PHONE+ has been the undisputed leader in providing news and analysis to alternate distribution channels serving the communications industry. It is the unrivaled resource for resellers, aggregators, agents, brokers, VARs, systems integrators, interconnects and dealers that provide network-based communications and computing services and associated CPE, applications and professional services. PHONE+ includes a monthly print publication, a Web resource (www.phoneplusmag.com) and a weekly newsletter.

About the Channel Partners Conference & Expo Hosted by PHONE+ magazine, the Channel Partners Conference & Expo is the telecom industry’s only event exclusively for the channel. The fall event is taking place this week in Washington DC. The spring conference is set for March 13-15, 2011, at the Aria in Las Vegas. For more information, visit www.channelpartnersconference.com.

About Telarus

Telarus is a leading master agent that caters to the needs of professional independent commercial telecom brokers. Telarus is contracted with the top carriers and pays top commissions to its partners, all while providing superior support and tools that enable sales growth. Established in 2002, Telarus has become a leading master agent in the telecom industry through its use of non-outsourced home grown technology, unsurpassed transparency, and the best people in the business. In short, we make selling more efficient and effective for our partners so they waste less time and get paid more. Today Telarus leverages GeoQuote, our patented real-time quote engine to provide near instant pricing for transactional services, allowing its sales support staff to focus on providing agents with assistance on large and complex solutions. Telarus, a privately held company with headquarters in Draper, Utah, was named the top master agent by the members of the Telecom Association in 2008 and 2009.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Introducing the New MegaPath!

On September 1, 2010, Megapath proudly announced that Covad, MegaPath, and Speakeasy have combined to form a single business, operating under the MegaPath name, that is now poised to better meet the needs of their Partners and customers. The new MegaPath offers an unprecedented variety and level of service based on:

* Covad’s nationwide facilities-based footprint
* MegaPath’s wide range of managed network services
* Speakeasy’s expertise in voice and data services

This merger opens the door to new options that they didn’t have as single operating companies, and it offers you services and solutions through a single provider utilizing over 4,000 COs nationwide. Starting September 14th and over the next few weeks, they will be doing Partner trainings covering a general Merger overview as well as specific product-based trainings on their access, voice, managed security, and MPLS solutions, and they would love to have Telarus agents join them.

The new MegaPath remains committed to serving the Channel. We know what managing a channel means, and we are dedicated to working with you to understand your business and your unique needs, no matter what size Partner you are. You can always feel confident in placing business with MegaPath.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

To SIP or PSTN

If you are in Telco like I have been you probably hear from the same 5-6 vendors a week I hear from that claim to be the “largest provider of SIP trunks in the US”, meaning that I have never heard of them and their claims are greatly exaggerated. I give each one of them 5 minutes to explain why a small business like my own would want SIP. After the normal “it saves you money” and “it will work with any system out there”, I start asking the hard questions. To date, not a single vendor has provided the answers to these questions:

1. Can you give me a concrete ROI for SIP over my current PRI?

In today’s marketplace, a PRI will typically costs $300 or so. With that, you get 23-channels (or 30 if you are lucky enough to do E1) of crystal clear conversations, Caller ID, DID’s, fast call setup and guaranteed compatibility with whatever carrier I go with. Most offer rates of 2 cents LD and usually throw in bundled minutes. With SIP on the other hand, to get the same quality, you can only get about 18 channels on a 1.5 mbps T1, and you have to insure you have good data between you and the carrier, a phone system that accepts SIP trunks, and licensing for those trunks. I usually hear prices of about $12 per SIP trunk thrown around with about the same price for usage. Let’s look at this in real numbers of RMC or Recurring Monthly Charges:

PRI:   23 Channels:  $300

SIP:   1.5 mbps Data T1  $300 +

            18 Channels SIP: $216

Need I go into details? Even if the SIP carrier can give you 1.2 or 1.5 cents per minute, it will be VERY hard to make up the extra $216 per month. Until someone comes out with data service and the 18 trunks with no per-minute charges, there seems to be very little chance of convincing me that SIP is cheaper.

2. Can I connect to your SIP service with my current phone system?

It is amazing how feature rich and compatible my 1994 Nortel Norstar is! Most vendor reps automatically say “sure, we will just connect it up to your system and your users will never know the difference. Yes, you can bring in SIP to a gateway and give an analog or PRI handoff, but that means one more piece of equipment that someone has to pay for. Even if my phone system supports SIP trunks directly, I know that Nortel (now Avaya) would not just give them to me. How long does that $1200 license for 2 trunks fit into the ROI mentioned above? We can all hope what everything will turn around and all companies start upgrading to SIP-based phone systems, but sadly today, the majority of systems out there do not support SIP or can so only with great expense.

3. What will your trunks give me that my current PRI does not?

This is where SIP is supposed to shine: flexibility, reliability, advanced features, making coffee. As a single-site, small business owner, how does sharing of SIP trunks between sites or diversion of calls to another location help me? How reliable can SIP trunks be if it relies on my internet connection, which I know for a fact is anything but reliable? What features do I need other than getting calls, knowing whom they are from, and making calls without guessing if it will make it to the other end? Even features like at-home ACD features or cloud-based auto-attendant probably would only appeal to a small portion of SMB customers out there. If the features don’t match a need for the customer, then all the marketing in the world will not make it fit.

4. Can I fax over the SIP trunks?

This is the real problem with most SIP carriers – true faxing to and from any fax machine. The answer most vendors reply with is that they suggest the fax machines remain on analog lines. I don’t have that problem with PRI’s. Why can’t the vendors just come out and say that Fax over SIP is still in its infancy and needs work? Some will say that they support T.38 faxing, but from experience that only means that they support it, not that it will actually work with anything over about 2 pages. What is worse are the vendors that offer an electronic fax solution instead, which is fine for inbound, but does not work so well when I have to sign a document before faxing or need to markup a document before sending. I have customers all the time asking how to get by the need for scanning paper when going to electronic faxing. The dream of a paper-less office is not a reality yet, but with the advent of touchpads and document signing, we might be closer to it. User still need to be able to print a document, put other material with it, sign it, and fax the entire lot off to contact at the other end and trust that connection will hold up to 20 pages if need be.

Usually by my second question, most callers are back-pedaling and letting me know they will Email some more information, never to be heard from again, but there are those persistent ones that do their best to fit their marketing blubs into coherent answers. Only a couple have actually come close to making me a customer. I know that with Ethernet over copper and Fiber services becoming widespread, we will see the data charges go away and SIP trunk prices will come down below $10 per trunk. That is the point where technology and ROI will converge for SIP trunking. If you come across the golden solution before I do, be sure to share it with the world.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Back up and backup!

This is my first post on BroadBand Nation as a guest, thanks to Michael/FreedomFire for the kind invitation.

Isn't it just so tedious to hear someone bleat on about how important backups are? Well, yes it is, until disaster strikes & you find yourself with CATASTROPHIC data loss and NO BACKUP... suddenly backups become very, very useful. I found myself in just that situation a couple of weeks ago, so here's my personal tale of woe and some advice to readers to prevent this happening to you...

I thought I'd be smart and install a webmin module to administer my Asterisk PBX. I've been casually looking for such a module for the last few years, ever since I first installed asterisk at my home office. My Asterisk installation is quite small, providing VOIP services over my ADSL connection. I have a handful of SIP extensions, a couple of SIP trunks, a wired SIP deskphone, a SIPURA FXS adaptor for a standard DECT cordless and a SIP client on my Android phone. Anyway, I came across the Thirdlane asterisk PBX manager module for webmin, so thought I'd give it a go. I happily downloaded it and installed it through the Webmin interface, and was quite un-impressed how it didn't seem to pick up any of the details of my existing Asterisk instalation. I was just about to start poking around in the setup instructions/README files when I noticed my SIP deskphone's normal display had been replaced with the lost-comms-with-the-server-message "Waiting for proxy server..." - oops!

A slow realisation of what might have happened gradually dawned on me.... I ssh'd into the Asterisk's Linux box and manually checked the /etc/asterisk directory.... Disaster! All my config files had been overwritten with default files from the Thirdlane webmin module! I began to sweat. Where was my backup??? I knew that I'd manually backed up the asterisk config a long while (couple of years!) ago, but was not confident I knew where the backup was. I knew I'd made several changes to the PBX in the mean time, several of them only recently, so I knew I was in trouble!

This quickly taught me 2 things: 1. the importance of backups and 2. Even without a regular backup, how I wished I'd backed-up manually before installing the webmin module! A little less haste would have saved hours of stress.

After 30 minutes of searching old backup disks, I eventually found the most recent backup - which was dated Feb 2008! Oh dear. This was going to be fun. I over-wrote the /etc/asterisk directory with this old version & set to work. Lucky really that I had made some changes in the last couple of weeks, so I had a pretty good picture in my head of what the config should be, so I was quite quickly able to get the PBX back into shape.

To prevent being left without recent backups in the future, I knocked up a quick shell-script to be run by cron that zips up the /etc/asterisk directory and scp the resulting zip file to another machine that is also running dropbox, then from there dropbox does its magic and copies to a couple of other machines (one at another location) and also backs up to the cloud.

Disaster averted but it chewed up a couple of hours of my time that could have been better spent!

So I guess the moral of the story is threefold:

  1. Make sure you have a backup regime in place that backs up both locally and to another physical location (i.e. "The Cloud" or another off-site location). A golden rule of backups is that it's not really a backup unless it exists in two physically seperate locations!

  2. Make sure you're notified if the backup process fails for whatever reason.

  3. Bite the bullet and try and restore a backup. It's no good saving all that data unless you know it's good! This isn't as onerous as it sounds, virtualisation packages (like VMWare, virtualbox etc.) are invaluable for creating test instances of systems that you can try and restore data onto...

After all that, and to add some more to my pain, in my haste to install I hadn't noticed that the Thirdlane PBX manager module for webmin that so kindly overwrote my asterisk config was only a trial-licenced version, and would only work with less that "4 lines". So it wouldn't interact with my config at all. Thanks. A. Lot.

So, once more, back up & BACKUP!

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Telecom Association Voting Ends October 31, 2010

Thanks to our incredibly loyal (and awesome) agents, Telarus has a commanding lead in the "Best Master Agent" category. With only 3 weeks left to go, we have 149 votes - with the nearest competitor at 25.

Now it's time to help our carrier partners win an award that will be marketing gold for them for the next 12 months. Please take a moment to vote in other categories! Here are the other categories that are up for grabs (Telarus-affiliated vendors in parenthesis):

* Overall Carrier (Telnes, XO, TelePacific, AireSpring)

* CLEC (TelePacific, One Communications, Windstream, AireSpring, Broadview, PAETEC, Qwest, XO)

* Compensation (Telarus, Windstream)

* Data Internet (Telnes, Accel Networks, MegaPath, New Edge Networks, Level 3, Smoothstone, Windstream, XO, Nitel)

* Disaster Recovery (Accel Networks, Broadview, MegaPath, New Edge Networks, PAETEC, TelePacific, Windstream)

* Hosted PBX (MegaPath [SpeakEasy], Broadview, Smoothstone)

* Integrated Access (just about everyone)

* IP PBX (PAETEC)

* Managed Services (Telnes, Accel Networks, MegaPath, New Edge Networks, Smoothstone, Windstream, XO)

* Multi-Location Services (Telnes, Accel Networks, Ernest, AireSpring, MegaPath, New Edge Networks, Smoothstone, Windstream)

* Reseller (AireSpring, PowerNet Global, Nitel)

To cast your vote, please follow these easy steps:

1. Go to www.TelecomVote.com
2. Select the appropriate vendor
3. Select the appropriate category
4. Assign a score to your vote ('5' gets the recipient more credit)
5. Add a comment (this must be completed in order for the ballot to be valid)
6. Add your contact information and you're done

You will have to repeat this process for each category you vote in. Thank you in advance for taking the time to make sure our carrier partners get the recognition and praise they have earned. You have 20 days left to make your voice heard!

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Friday, October 15, 2010

The Intersection of Technology and Children Safety

What a week it has been. With more and more attention to cyberbullying and other harmful online activities, it's been the most appropriate time for my partner and I at Jaymie Scotto & Associates to begin a relationships with Web Wise Kids, an organization that focuses on educating school age children about how to be good online citizens through Internet safety education.

I am dedicating this blog to Web Wise Kids, not only because it's time appropriate but relevant to the technology sector that we all work so hard to build and develop.

As a 'messenger' in the global communications world, we focus on building and enabling Internet connectivity to everyone. What we don't always realize is in doing so there are consequences - both good and bad. The good consequences are obvious. We shrink the world to gain access to global intelligence allowing easier access to information and resources to make our lives better. But the negative consequences exist by those who exploit the Internet's ubiquity for harmful gains.

We are all too familiar with Tyler Clementi the Rutgers University student who was a victim of a secret dorm sex tape that caused him such internal angst that he jumped off the GW Bridge. It is this exploitation of the Internet that Web Wise Kids helps teachers educate children about not only the dangers of what 'lurks' on the Internet but the ramifications of such harmful actions.

As a PR professional, our firm video tapes interviews and press conferences on a regular basis. We use the Internet to make these videos available in real-time. We also do SKYPE conference calls - all for the purpose of educating, sharing and connecting. With the advent of the Internet over the past 15+ years, there must also be the development of programs to encourage online safety, protection and advise of the hazards that lay hidden. With its 10 year anniversary approaching, Web Wise Kids, together with its generous sponsors, have developed FUN programs that educators and parents can use to help teach Internet Safety without forcing difficult topics onto children - often making them feel uncomfortable.

Web Wise Kids help children face the fears and ramifications associated with cyberbullying, online predators and more. It's not too late to get involved, educate and make a difference. It's real - it's relevant - we can all help.

Thank you to those who care:
  • Anschutz Family Foundation
  • Bank of America
  • Congressional Funding
  • Ducks Care, a fund of the McCormick Tribune Foundation
  • Entertainment Software Association
  • Fieldstead Foundation
  • The Martin Agency
  • Pacific Life Foundation
  • Symantec Foundation
  • Toyota Motor Sales USA
  • Verizon Foundation
  • Weibe Foundation
  • Wells Fargo Foundation
Become a community partner, a corporate partner, learn about the Web Wise Kids programs, use their classroom resources, choose to know more. http://www.webwisekids.org/

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

October Telecom Vendor News

Here's the latest news on what's up with Telarus vendors for October ......

1. AboveNet - AboveNet is expanding its international network to key European markets with growing demand for dedicated, high performance and high bandwidth services. Customers will be able to connect seamlessly between the U.S., London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris.

2. ACC Business - ACC Business now offers international MPLS in over 150 countries around the world.

3. Airband - Airband Communications announced at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo that channel sales have doubled since January as a percentage of Airband’s overall monthly sales (thanks to Telarus).

4. AireSpring - AireSpring announced at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo the launch of its new Managed Voice over MPLS product (VoMPLS). Available nationwide across three tier-one networks.

5. AT&T - AT&T Inc. has decided to launch its 4G LTE service by the middle of 2011, covering 70 million to 75 million PoPs by the end of the year.

6. Broadview Networks

* Broadview Networks' OfficeSuite service was recognized as the "Product of the Year" by both Communication Solutions and Unified Communications magazine. OfficeSuite was also awarded with the NGN Leadership Award by NGN Magazine for "Outstanding Innovation in Hosted VoIP Arena," and it was named as the business VoIP services leader for the second consecutive year by Infonetics (News - Alert) Research.

* Broadview Networks has rolled out its 50,000th station in service on OfficeSuite, the company’s hosted IP phone solution.

7. Cavalier

* Cavalier has joined the Session Initiation Protocol bandwagon with the recent expansion of its SIP-based services.

* Cavalier has been purchased by Paetec Holding Corp. for $460 million in cash, seeking to boost its fiber-optic-network business amid surging broadband use in homes and offices.

8. MegaPath

* MegaPath, Covad and Speakeasy announced regulatory approval and the completion of their merger, creating a next generation Managed Services Local Exchange Carrier (MSLEC). The combined company will be called MegaPath and will operate one of the largest end-to-end facilities-based IP communications networks in the country.

* MegaPath is adding a comprehensive set of security-as-a-service offerings to its managed services portfolio.

9. New Edge - EarthLink, the parent company of New Edge Networks, announced the purchase of DeltaCom. The transaction is valued at approximately $516 million, including assumption of $325 million in debt.

10. PAETEC

* PAETEC opened new rate centers last week in Florida, New York, and Iowa.

* Telecommunications company Paetec Holding Corp. has agreed to buy regional rival Cavalier Telephone LLC for $460 million in cash, seeking to boost its fiber-optic-network business amid surging broadband use in homes and offices.

* PAETEC Holding Corp.opened a new data center in Houston, Texas. In addition to serving Houston, the company plans to increase capacity out of the site, and will be able to offer additional high bandwidth services to San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas by the end of the year.

11. TelePacific

* TelePacific Communications (Booth #3007), a CLEC serving California and Nevada, announced at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo it is rolling out new Ethernet over Copper service in locations across California and Nevada. The service is for sale through its Telepartners.

* TelePacific has officially released their equipment leasing program, helping agents finance the cost of their client's equipment.

* TelePacific Communications announced at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo it has expanded its Extended Reach MPLS Private IP Network services through a new partnership with Global Crossing Ltd.

* TelePacific Communications announced at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo TelePacific Mobile, which is available for sale by TelePacific’s Telepartners. For more info, please click here.

12. Windstream - The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday said it has given Windstream Corp. of Little Rock a $7.3 million grant to extend broadband Internet access into unserved areas of rural Arkansas. Windstream will match the grant with $2.4 million of its money, according to a company spokesman.

13. XO Communications

* XO Communications announced an expansion of its metro network presence in the Los Angeles metropolitan market.

* XO Communications can now deliver MPLS IP-VPN and Private Line services to customer locations in the following European Union countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

* XO Communications announced the successful interoperability testing and certification between XO SIP and the ShoreTel 10.2 IP PBX for use with Ingate SIParator 4.8.1.

* XO Communications announced that it has expanded its Ethernet over Copper (EoC) network by more than 30 percent, increasing the company's coverage in 39 existing markets and launching availability in Charlotte, N.C., Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y. This growth is due to XO Communications' recent deployment of new EoC-enabled local service offices (LSOs), bringing its count to more than 400 LSOs across the U.S.

* XO Communications has announced an expansion of its metro managed network presence in the Atlanta metropolitan market.

To take advantage of special deals through Telarus for any of the vendors listed above .... simply request a free quote through Bandwidth Solution

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sip What is it ?

SIP … WHAT is it ?

SIP (session initialization protocol) is a buzz word around Voip (voice over internet protocol).

What is it ?

SIP is simply the ability to set up and tear down a call path over a data connection using QOS (quality of service).

Why do I care ?

Sip allows virtual movement of call paths from essentially virtual phone numbers that can be pointed to different IP (internet protocol) addresses. This allows the phone call to be directed to wherever and whatever device the person being called chooses.

Who benefits from SIP ?

Many users who mix multiple devices such as desk phones, cell phones, etc can benefit from SIP. In addition those who need an phone line and have a data connection but dont wish to pay for an added line can add SIP and use the data connection as an extra phone line.

Who can use SIP ?

Basically anyone who has a device capable of SIP on both ends of a data connection, and a data provider who supports SIP.

Call me if you want this functionality for your company, it is not as expensive as you think and in many cases we can re deploy other assets to decrease the overall long term cost to your enterprise !

James J Dimmer III

Business Development

E4strategies.com

888.352.6563

Monday, October 11, 2010

What Happened To Them All?

Recently, I attended IT Expo West, supposedly THE show for telecommunications in the US. Fanfare billed it as the show for all telecom VARs and carriers to attend, bringing all the world of telecommunications together for conference sessions and exhibits. While not the smallest show I have attended, it definitely was less than I expected. The first thing I notices was there were almost no phone system vendors there – no Avaya, no Cisco, no NEC, no Toshiba, no Panasonic, no Mitel/Intertel. About the only ones I found outside of the open-source guys were Interactive Intelligence and Shoretel. The entire floor was filled with carrier billing companies, SIP Trunking vendors, resellers of all kinds of services for telecom, and a large number of booths with more acronyms that I know existed but no mention of what they were actually promoting. I had to ask – Where are all the phone vendors?

True, the past few years have seen a consolidation in the marketplace like the PC vendors experienced in the late 90’s. Were there used to be 15-20 big name vendors, we now only have about 4-5 and then only a few others that really compete with them. You would expect with all the SIP talk at the show that there would be at least a small presence for Microsoft’s Lync or Cisco UC products, but there were none. If Avaya owns something like 75% of the SMB market after acquiring Nortel, wouldn’t you expect them to have someone there to prove they still care about the marketplace? I saw plenty of products and services for phone systems, but not very many system vendors. I guess one reason might be the continuing slowness in the economy and very little purchasing of new systems going on, but there are companies looking for new equipment or at least upgrades to support all the nifty toys and products that the other innovative companies were displaying.

Coming out of the show, I got the feeling that the world is going hosted and we will be returning to the Centrex scenarios we had in the 70’s and 80’s. Central office control and billing with only handsets at the customer premises. AT&T and GTE had everyone on these services and it looks like there will be more choice, but little variety in the new SIP world that this show seemed to portray. As a hardware vendor, it was sobering to realize that the hardware market may be going way. I have heard it said that voice has become just another application on the data network and that rings true with the promises of vendors I talked to. If phone vendors don’t see the writing on the wall and focus more on applications, services, and support, they will very quickly find there is not much left for them to sell.

Hopefully the economy will get better and companies will start purchasing new equipment again, but until then, it does not bode well for customers that have legacy systems and few VARs to turn to when problems arise. Perhaps communications as a service or CloudComm is the wave of the future, but for the millions of customers out there with phone systems on the wall, there still needs to be support for their current technology from the companies we have grown to love and hate.

When Is A Channel Bank Necessary .... As Opposed To A PBX?

A channel bank is a seperate device that can be provisioned for almost any DS0 or data service. In the old days you did it by placing the correct type channel unit in a slot of the channel bank .... but now everything comes in one box. Hook a DS1 or two to the box and provision voice and or data out of the other side. Unlike the old days when a sub changes services you don’t need to send someone out there to swap out or recover a card .... you provision it remotely and send the sub a bill.

A channel bank converts a voice T1 circuit into 24 analog phone lines. Typically, to need a channel bank, you'll have an analog PBX with a voice T1 circuit from your long distance carrier (or local phone company) which is in digital multiplexed formats. The channel bank does the analog to digital conversion, and the 1 to 24 multiplexing. If you have a digital PBX, with a digital interface card, you won't need a channel bank.

A digital interface card will connect the voice T1 to the digital PBX. Channel banks are nearing the end of their life cycle as enterprises large enough to require a PBX will be purchasing digital PBX, not analog PBX. Channel banks can be used to hang analog telephone sets -- I saw that once in a phone room selling magazine subscriptions: T1 into channel bank, then 24 phones at desks for staff to make telemarketing calls. Channel banks are also used to connect to analog auto dialing equipment -- probably lots of them used in political campaigns. What's left of the telemarketing business will be migrating to SIP trunks and IP calls ... ultimately relegating the channel bank to the status of the 8-track tape player!

That said .... I wouldn't write off the channel bank any time soon. There are hundreds installed daily in small and medium sized business's. Mostly due to cost considerations but often also limitations and restrictions from existing wiring and/or hardware.

In these cases you basically install one small box such as the Adtran 850 channel bank .... connect a T1 .... and provision voice and data out of that single box. One box, one bill, one subscriber .... CLEC's love these things.

Now why would anyone choose a channel bank over a PBX? Besides the aforementioned cost and wiring/hardware limitations.

Personally, I wouldn't say you would choose a channel bank over a PBX, more like you would use a channel bank with an older (or newer) PBX. Older PBX's don't always support digital interfaces and would need a channel bank if you were to get a PRI to feed your PBX. Likewise a channel bank can take multiple analog circuits and output them as a digital interface for connection to a PBX or whatever you want to do, especially if that newer PBX only has digital interfaces and you only have analog coming in (for who knows what reason).

Another use for a channel bank would be if you had two PBXs to support but only one PRI. You could use a channel bank to split that single digital connection into two or more digital connections with any number of individual circuits to each. I suppose you could get a PRI (they are cheaper than buying 23 separate POTS lines) and use it for analog calls or for data use (modem or fax) and would then need the channel bank to break the PRI down. Of course you don't always need the channel bank for that either. I've a friend with a Cisco AS5200 at home that has two dual port T1 cards in it for it's dial-in connection. If you don't know what an AS5200 would be used for, think dial-up ISP; although they might have larger versions and lots of them.

If all of this is making your head spin .... and you are seriously looking for a voice/data solution for your business (any size business) .... I strongly recommend taking advantage of the free help available through Network Solutions . They'll do all the heavy lifting to find you a solution that makes the most business sense .... including costs with a low price guarantee.

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Friday, October 08, 2010

Telmex acquires Embratel in Brazil

Embratel (Empresa Brasileira de Telecomunicacoes S.A.), the second major Brazilian telecommunications company, (owned by the Mexican telecommunications giant Telmex), has finally finished the acquisition of almost 70% of the preferential stock of NET SERVICIOS, for US$1970 millions.

Since Embratel already had 35.8% of the common stock of NET and 5.4% of the preferential stock, now it will have the absolute control of the company. NET will still be run by the GLOBO Group since Brazilian law does not allow for more than 49% ownership on any telecommunication company in the country. The complete transfer of ownership will be done once the law is modified which is currently being debated by the Brazilian Senate.

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

DS3 Bandwidth Strong Backbone For Corporate Data Networks

When looking for a dedicated bandwidth solution to power your data network... any corporation would be well served to give DS3 bandwidth strong consideration. A DS3 line is one of the fastest and most robust options available to you. Capable of transmitting and receiving up to 45 Mbps at the same time, a DS3 circuit delivers the kind of transfer rate, stability, and performance every company requires.

For illustration think of it this way. With a dedicated bandwidth line-up based on a DS3... your network has all lanes of the highway with no contenders. Therefore whatever applications are being run have the maximum achievable capacity of the link... all to themselves.

A dedicated DS3 circuit gives you more lanes on the highway (bandwidth) although it doesn't necessarily increase the speed of the individual cars traveling on the highway (throughput). For example, you have a 12 lane freeway instead of a two lane freeway. You still have the same speed limit for each car, but you can have more cars moving along the road at the same time.

Put in business terms, this allows you to execute more simultaneous downloads without compromising any one traffic flow. In other words, it takes more effort to approach the limit of network congestion because you've got more space to do more things.

Remember also that data transfer rates are constant because the speed of light is constant. But, bandwidth is variable and is a function of the link capacity. With a DS3 line your capacity is much more robust than say a simple T1 set-up... single or bonded. With DS3 you get the equivalent of 28 T1 lines, which is a LOT more capability. Now picture the increased work output your company can achieve with such a robust and stable network at your disposal.

The increase in capacity offered by a DS3 Bandwidth based solution makes perfect sense for corporations with applications requiring movement of sizeable pieces of information. For example, large remote worker population accessing files, call centers, organization wide VoIP and IP PBX systems, Internet service providers, universities, research labs, video conference centers, and software development companies would all benefit from the capacity available through DS3 level service. Probably one of the most common uses is to meet the need for high speed electronic data transfer between geographically separated industrial sites or offices. Especially multi-national corporations. Another viable use is to support heavy multi-media applications such as Medical Imagery, Broadcast Video Transmission, Surveillance Cameras, and CCTV Systems.

Since prices have been dropping drastically in recent years you should have no problem finding reasonable deals for DS3 circuits. Do be aware though that pricing is still somewhat dependent on your location. The reason for the location dependency is that pricing is basically distilled down to two simple components; local loop and port. The local loop covers the cost charged by the Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) to transport the signal from the end user's central office (CO) to the point of presence(POP) of the carrier. The port covers the cost to access the telephone network or the Internet through the carrier's network (essentially connecting ISP's server and your building). Typically, the port price is based upon access speed and yearly commitment level while the loop is based on geography. The farther the CO and POP, the more the loop costs. Thus why DS3 price varies slightly by location where the circuit will be installed. However, some providers today may consider waving the loop cost just to get your business.

Should you not necessarily need a full DS3 line you can still take advantage of DS3 transport via a fractional DS3 (starting at 10Mbps), which gives you a portion of full ds3 bandwidth at a lower cost. This is a very cost effective way to get the performance of a DS3 without paying for a complete circuit. Conversely, you can also increase your capacity as DS3 lines are also available in multiples to increase bandwidth, similar to bonded T1 service.

Although a simplified non-technical explanation, you should now have a healthy basic appreciation for the possibilities a DS3 circuit affords your organization. Armed with this knowledge you're more likely to make a more informed decision about your network design requirements.

Michael is the owner of FreedomFire Communications.... and also authors Broadband Nation where you're always welcome to drop in and catch up on the latest BroadBand news, tips, insights, and ramblings for the masses.

For quality Dedicated Bandwidth service, protect yourself and your investment by comparing amongst 30 first and top tier carriers where you have a Low Price Guarantee. For more information about Dedicated Bandwidth and finding your best deals and options, please visit DS3 Bandwidth Solution.

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Monday, October 04, 2010

Why Choose Paetec?

Below is a list of just a few of the many good reasons for choosing Paetec for your broadband provider.

At a minimum I'd strongly recommend checking out their Equipment for Services (EFS)program ..... This exclusive program enables PAETEC to subsidize some or all of your equipment purchases in exchange for network services. Their program allows you to receive PAETEC services and upgrade your infrastructure with little to no expense.

To take advantage of what Paetec has to offer simply request assistance via this website:

Dedicated Bandwidth Solutions

WHY CHOOSE PAETEC? ............

Customer Care - When you call PAETEC Customer Care, you speak directly to our representatives – not to automated prompts or recordings. Our highly trained professionals provide exceptional customer support and deliver one of the highest levels of first-call resolution in the industry.

Account Management - Commitment to our customers doesn’t end with the sale. PAETEC’s dedicated account teams are involved in developing our customers’ communications strategies and planning future requirements. With other carriers, the install/transition process from a previous carrier may have been troublesome; with PAETEC you have a dedicated account team that coordinates your installation with you.

Personalized Solutions - Our philosophy of personalizing business solutions is at the heart of what PAETEC does. We take pride in supplying the most appropriate solution for each customer based on their individual needs. Our dedicated service professionals will diligently work to ensure your complete satisfaction.

Equipment for Services (EFS)- This exclusive program enables PAETEC to subsidize some or all of your equipment purchases in exchange for network services. Our program allows you to receive PAETEC services and upgrade your infrastructure with little to no expense.

Business Continuity - When disaster strikes, how you plan for it can save your business. Preparing for a disaster is critical; your logistical plan for restoring your operations determines whether you meet the challenge with success or failure. PAETEC will set you up for success with solutions such as Direct Trunk Overflow (DTO), Data Backup & Recovery, and Network Diversity Engineering.

PAETEC Online - This Web portal offers online management of circuit utilization reports, account information, and the ability to personally change your ring-to numbers for 800 service and account codes. All of this is accomplished without the need to contact your PAETEC representative directly, giving you the freedom to manage your account on-demand.

Billing - A notable feature of PAETEC is our easy-to-read invoice. Our simple design makes it easy to access important information. Other carriers may have a very complicated invoice, which makes it difficult to determine if you are being accurately billed, or to detect fraudulent charges.

Executive Leadership
- PAETEC’s Senior Executive team leads by example, and their influence is key to forging a dynamic employee community that generates outstanding customer results. Their forward thinking offers PAETEC customers world-class service combined with state-of-the-art technology.

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