Thursday, December 30, 2010

How Do You Differentiate Between LAYER2 VPN And LAYER3 VPN?

On a high level .... L2VPN is only switching without any routing capability, so end customers still need to have a router facing the WAN SP, and manage their routing table. while L3VPN (MPLS vrf) allows the customer to outsource his routing responsibility to the SP, where he only needs a switch as the CE.

It only depends on the application of service/customer; there are customers who prefer to manage their routing functionality especially SPs (in a wholesale model), on the other hand L3 VPNs are mostly demanded by Banks, and SME corporates.

Specifically .... the L2 VPN would only be configured of VPLS IDs, VLAN IDs, VSI, and pseudo wire tunnels for switching, without configuring any L3 routing protocols or IP addresses for traffic routing within the MPLS network.

L3VPN, is a MPLS vrf (MBGP) cloud that is configured on the PE routers where the VLANs (L2) are binded to; so ideally, from the customer CE all the way to the PE router (through the Aggregator switch) is a VLAN that is binded to the L3 vrf with a /30 IP subnet. this is more scalable for many branches customers, or hub and spoke topology.


VPLS and IPLS are types of L2 Switching ....

VPLS .... Virtual Private LAN Service is basically adding two MPLS labels onto the customer Ethernet frames based on destination MAC address/port/VLAN information at the ingress node facing the customer CE.

The tunnel label is inserted at the top of the stack, which is then used by the MPLS network to reach the egress node. The VC label is introduced at the bottom of the stack is used by the egress node to deliver the frame to the destination network. The interconnected systems (usually LAN switches and the PE devices) must function as MAC learning bridges.

IPLS .... IP-only LAN-like Service is very rarely deployed, which is another L2 MPLS VPN, IPLS is a type of VPLS that is restricted to IP traffic only. the interconnected systems are not LAN switches, but rather are IP hosts or routers, so some simplifications are possible.

In IPLS, as in VPLS, LAN interfaces are run in promiscuous mode, and frames are forwarded based on their MAC destination addresses, but maintaing the MAC forwarding tables is done via signaling, rather than via MAC address learning procedures. In addition IPLS does not require flooding of ARP frames, and unknown unicast frames are never flooded as its the case in VPLS. Also, encapsulation is more efficient in IPLS because the MAC header is stripped while transported through the MPLS network.

For free assistance designing the right VPN-MPLS archetecture for your application requirements go to ...... MPLS Solution

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

IP Communications Business Giveaway Deadline by 12 Noon EST New Year's Eve 2010

First, I am really impressed with the growing list of interesting guest writers in the Broadband Nation Blog. I just noticed my friend Ilissa Miller from Jaymie Scott & Associates on board. Welcome!!

Second, can I get help in sharing the news that existing and planned IP communications companies can get a jumpstart or growth push by the VoipUsersConference VoIP Marketing Giveaway Package sponsored by DIDX. The winner will be drawn on New Year's Eve on December 31, 2010 during the VoipUsersConference talk. Need help getting this news out today!

Register now at http://resmo.wufoo.com/forms/didx-2011-voip-marketing-package/ to be eligible:
  • A full free conference pass to the Pacific Telecommunications Council Conference scheduled for Jan. 16-19, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Meet people like Reza of Yahoo!
  • 50 free Ohio, USA DID phone numbers from http://www.didx.net/ for 6 months.
  • Promotional video for your company from http://www.muntwo.com/
  • A podcast interview to be included on http://www.didx.net/podcast, http://www.techistan.com/, iTunes, Zune and more.
  • And upon proof of participation in PTC conference (to be discussed between the winner and DIDX VP Suzanne Bowen) a refund of up to $300 for lodging during the PTC telecommunications event
Be sure to participate in the VoipUsersConference every Friday at 12 noon EST in 2011! Other voip, IP communications,. social media and other technology-related events we recommend are at http://www.techistan.com/2009/10/15/techistan-recommends-global-events/.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Difference Between Virtualization And Cloud Computing

The basic difference is "virtualization" happens on your own hardware and "cloud computing" happens on someone else's hardware. At the lowest level they are the same.

Virtualization and Private Cloud Computing are inter-related yet clearly different from each other. Virtualization itself can take several forms, from server virtualization, to network, desktop and storage virtualization. In each case, and importantly, virtualization abstracts the resource, i.e. Windows or Linux server, from the underlying physical hardware. The most popular products for virtualization include VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, KVM and Citrix Xen.

Private Cloud Computing is the application of Cloud Computing concepts to a privately owned and operated data center(s). Thus, features such as on-demand provisioning, distributed redundant architecture, and self-service administration should be part of a Private Cloud Computing implementation. Companies such as VMware are expanding their Virtualization offerings to support buildout of a full Private Cloud.

“Virtualization is simply one of the elements that makes cloud computing, so cloud computing can happen without virtualization..

A private cloud computing environment is built on a virtual infrastructure. Many organizations have deployed virtualization by creating virtual servers on top of their existing networking, storage and security stacks. But with private cloud computing, you need to think about and design these technologies in conjunction with one another.
In other words, you built previous virtual infrastructures on these stacks, but you need to build a private cloud with these stacks." - serverwatch.com

Also, keep this in mind .....

1) The additional links that are required to the cloud. These must to TOTALLY robust, if your link to the Internet is down, your business is down. Note that virtualization projects often miss this point about internal network reliability too.

2) Security. Where are the data centres? Are they in the same country? Are there different laws? Who has access to the servers? Is the data encrypted? Does it need to be?

3) SLA's. Do you have the right SLA's in place with the cloud provider? What happens if they take your service down? Can they delete your data? What about backups and recovery? Do you have sufficient control?

4) Liability. Who is liable when something goes wrong? Does the cloud provider give you liability cover? What happens if an outage materially affects your business? What happens if a lapse in their security releases some sensitive data?

Hopefully you can see that Cloud computing is NOT a magic bullet, nor is virtualization.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Hosted Call Center Case Study

My friend Darren Prine of ConnectFirst recently shared his latest article which was just published online. The article is an interview with Linda Ruffenach, President of ACCENT, an international provider of integrated marketing solutions. Linda is incredibly intelligent and thoughtful. Her responses to Darren's interview questions are amazing.

If you have ever wondered why a company would want to move from premise based call center equipment to a hosted (cloud based) provider, then this is the article for you. In the interview, Linda covers why ACCENT moved to a hosted call center solution, the benefits they have experienced and improvements in their ROI/TCO.

Please check out the article and be sure to leave comments/feedback.

Hosted Call Center Case Study

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wireless Networks .... Gearing Up For The Backhaul Challenge

By now there’s no doubt about it. Mobile operators need to get their backhaul networks in condition to meet the burgeoning market for anytime, anywhere data access. Backhaul, once considered the humdrum side of an operator’s network, has become the topic du jour now that the mobile phone customers have shifted to smart phones and are taking advantage of data-hungry services in a big way.

Earlier this month, AT&T reported that its wireless data traffic has grown more than 5,000 percent over the past three years, largely due to smart phones, which are used by about 40 percent of its post-paid customer base. All operators have to contend with this growth, and quickly: smart phones should represent the vast majority (65%) of phones sold in the country by 2012, according to Creative Strategies, an analyst firm.

Operators are taking steps to prepare their networks to meet the expected demand, and the process of identifying specific backhaul needs and configuring the best solutions will force companies to bring the backhaul problem to the forefront of their infrastructure and business planning.

This ebook is a closer look at the available options and considerations operators must keep in mind as they prepare to build out this part of their networks.

Wireless Jumpstart

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 20, 2010

December Telecom Vendor News From Telarus

Here's the latest Telecom vendor news from Telarus ......

1. AboveNet .....

* AboveNet is extending its network capabilities through connections with CENX, Inc. The first connections are at CENX's New York sites where the AboveNet eXchange Hub service will be available to CENX's carrier exchange customers. AboveNet expects to expand to other CENX exchanges in top domestic and international metro markets.

* AboveNet has expanded its Metro Ethernet and dynamic Core Wave services in the London metro market. The new solutions will help meet customer demand for dedicated, high performance and high bandwidth solutions and facilitate seamless connectivity between London's business and data hubs.

* AboveNet is planning a strategic expansion of its data network by deploying new fiber optic based express routes in the Chicago metro area that will give rise to the lowest latency routes between downtown Chicago and the western suburbs. After the expected completion by mid-year 2011, routes between urban and suburban business hubs will prove to be the shortest data path available with high bandwidth capacity.

2. Level 3 Communications ....

* Level 3 Communications announced that it has been selected to serve as a primary content delivery network (CDN) provider for Netflix, Inc. to support the company's streaming functionality and to support storage for the entire Netflix library of content.

* Level 3 Communications, Inc. announced that as a result of increased customer demand, it has added significant capacity and five new network locations to its content delivery network (CDN). The completion of the augment and installations has added 1.65 Terabits per second (Tbps) of globally available Level 3 CDN capacity. As part of the augment, Level 3 has also added two Canadian cities (Toronto and Montreal) and three European cities (Brussels, Munich and Hamburg) to its CDN.

3. PAETEC - PAETEC has announced three new cities with Ethernet over Copper coverage: Seattle, Denver and Phoenix.

4. Telx ....

* Telx and Interxion announced a strategic alliance designed to help colocation customers easily locate expansion space on the other side of the Atlantic. The alliance is focused on customers in the financial services industry, where the growth of electronic trading is prompting many players to seek a global footprint for their high-speed trading operations.

* Data center operator and colocation firm Telx announced on Friday that the first phase of its 13,500 square foot high-density expansion at its 350 E. Cermak facility in Chicago is now open for immediate occupancy.

5. tw telecom - tw telecom announced a major expansion of its fiber network in the metro Atlanta area. The expansion reaches more than 600 additional commercial buildings in business districts within the cities of Johns Creek, Suwanee, Duluth, Norcross, Emory University area, Decatur and Tucker.

6. Windstream ....

* Windstream announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with ABRY Partners to acquire Hosted Solutions Acquisition, LLC (Hosted Solutions) in an all-cash transaction valued at $310 million.

* Windstream announced the expansion of its unified communications services to nearly 100 new cities within Windstream's service area. Windstream's IP solutions combine voice, data and Internet services over the same connection. Windstream is expanding its VoIP and Data services to additional cities in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Georgia and Kentucky.

7. XO Communications - XO Communications has expanded its metro network coverage across Phoenix, part of an initiative the company says demonstrates its strategy to expand its presence in existing XO markets. The goal is to serve more enterprise customers with its IP-based communications, managed network solutions and exceptional customer experience.

To take advantage of any of the news and deals mentioned above go to:

Bandwidth Deals

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What Are The Top 3 Telecommunications Challenges Faced By Small & Medium Size Businesses When Buying IT Services?

Although there may be many challenges faced by small and medium size businesses when buying IT services .... most can be boiled down to these three:

1. Producing a ROI analysis that convinces the boss to move to an IP based / converged voice and data environment.

2. Deciding whether to go for a hosted/SaaS or premise-based solution.

3. Finding a provider that meets the company's needs.

Most small to medium businesses go right after the technical "glitz" without making a Business case of why they need a new or modified network, how it will improve their business and without a clearcut success measuring tools/methods. When you succumb to the fad and fancy without rolling up your sleeves and getting some homework done first .... you risk these challenges:

1- Lack of what, why and how knowledge

2- Too many choices to choose from

3- Budgetary constraints


Most people dread the thought of having to deal with the phone company! Why? Because they expect to:

■ Talk with four or five providers;

■ Compare pricing;

■ Get confused;

■ Become totally frustrated when they don't get what they expected!

To make the entire process easier, ensure appropriate planning and design as a forethought, and save time & money comparing providers ..... I recommend using the free assistance available through DS3 Bandwidth

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 13, 2010

How To Build A Cell Phone Signal Booster

1. Learn the basics of how it all works. Signal Boosters (aka Repeaters, Amplifiers) all work using the same method. There is a booster connected by a cable to an outside antenna, which communicates with the towers. There is also a cable running from the booster to an inside antenna, which communicates with your device. Sometimes the inside antenns is built-in to the booster. The signal booster receives the signal from the tower with a higher sensitivity than your cell phone (or data card) and adds power as it sends the signal through to your phone. It also works the other way around, sending 4-6 times as much power to the tower than your portable device can by itself.

2. Choose the booster kit that best suits your needs. For a portable solution that you can carry your office, car and home, try the Wilson Sleek or Mobile Professional. To improver the signal in a room or a house, try the Wilson SOHO or DB Pro. There are many other options, but these are some very popular options. For more info, go to the Wilson Electronics website or call them.

3. Install the outside antenna. For portable antennas, this can be as easy as placing the magnetic antenna on a metal surface, such as a car roof or filing cabinet near a window. For home/building mount antennas, you can screw them onto the roofing trim/chimney or clamp it around a pole.

4. From there, run the antenna cable to where the booster will be placed. Usually near a power source, this can be on your desk, in the attic, in a closet, under a vehicle seat, etc.

5. Install the inside antenna. Often you can stick a portable antenna near the headrest or on the dash of your vehicle or just set on your desk or table at the office or home. For larger systems, like the SOHO or DB Pro, you can leave the inside antenna in the attic, mount it on the wall or in a closet.

6. Run a cable from your inside antenna to the booster. If the inside antenna is built-in to the booster, then of course this step is not required.

7. Now the final step - Connecting it all up. Plug the outside antenna cable into the booster where it says "outside antenna" and plug the inside antenna cable where it says "inside antenna". Connect the power cord into the A/C outlet or cigarette lighter plug and also into the booster.

8. The light(s) on the booster should be a steady green and you should see more bars right away! If that's not the case for any reason, there is probably an easy fix. Just call the tech support number written on the amp.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Android vs iPhone ..... Who Will Win?

In the battle of iPhone vs Android, it is hard to tell who will win in the end. But since Apple will never license its software (at least for as long as Jobs is alive) I am pretty sure they will both have a share.

The PC market explosion was driven by the cost benefits of standardizing hardware, which took PCs from specialized workstations to household items. But the mobile hardware market is already more or less standardized and prices aren't that high. I bet Apple could launch an "emerging markets iPhone" in terms of pricing, they just don't want to for the risk of cannibalization right now.

So Android's value proposition comes from the ability to vary the hardware configuration and user interfaces while maintaining a common platform. That could be attractive, but only if and when vendors other than Apple can find at least a niche where their portfolio of devices are better. Right now I am not seeing it, but I think its mostly due to poor execution, oversized organizations (the old mobile vendors) and inexperience with user interface differentiation (the PC vendors).

Maybe the most interesting aspect to the question is: what will become of the other operating systems? Windows Mobile, Java, Symbian, LiMo, Bada, Maemo, Blackberry, Palm WebOS come to mind. Can there really be a third and fourth platform when there is also the mobile web (HTML5 etc) to contend with? I think the line goes at max 3, and that puts them all at risk.

Domination has many different means but here's the Woz take on the matter (according to cnet.com):

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak thinks that the iPhone is tops in overall quality but also that when all's said and done, Google's Android platform will reign supreme in the mobile market.

"The Apple phone has very few weaknesses," Wozniak told Netherlands newspaper De Telegraaf in an interview (translation) posted recently. "When it comes to quality, the iPhone is leading."

Wozniak also said, however, that "Android phones have more features" and deliver more buying options for those who don't want to be limited to a single device. In addition, Wozniak told the publication that like Windows in the desktop OS space, Google's mobile platform will become the "dominant" option in its own market.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 06, 2010

Google is My Landlord?

My jaw dropped when I heard the news. 'Google Signs Deal to Buy 111 Eighth Avenue.' This is the second most sought after carrier hotel in the NYC market - some would argue that it has surpassed 60 Hudson Street in demand for space, due to the buildings ability to attract data and IP providers from back in the day. Google, who was a tenant of the building, has made its move to purchase it for $1.8 billion - making it the biggest real estate deal of the year. The company outbid more than a dozen other bidders.

Why buy such a huge building - taking up an entire city block near Manhattan's meatpacking district?
  • The building has 2.9 million square feet - more than the Empire State Building.
  • It is the third largest building in NYC
  • Sits atop one of the main fiber optic hubs in New York City (the Hudson Street Ninth Avenue 'fiber highway')
  • Massive telecommunications tenant list
I used to work for Telx, the Interconnection company. In 2007, Telx acquired the meet-me-room on the 15th floor from NYC Connect (owned by Taconic Realty Partners - one of the - almost previous- owners of the building). Telx now has space on the 3rd, 8th, 14th and 15th Floors of 111 8th Avenue - and all I can think of is 'Google is my landlord!'

Not only does Google control the rankings of websites positioned on the web - basically acting as a landlord for the Internet - but now the company is expanding directly into my backyard, my ears are perked and I'm listening.

In order to try to understand why they bought the building, I took a look at what data center facilities they already have. But that isn't an easy task. Back in 2008, Rich Miller of Data Center Knowledge, stated that Google is rather secretive about its data centers. No one really knows for sure how many facilities the companies have, though, Miller is aware of at least 12 within the US (now 13), three under construction in Europe and potentially five others. The company also leases space in 3rd party facilities across the US. Since the article was written, Google held a Data Center Efficiency Summit where it unveiled its Data Center Container, and a video tour of one of its data centers. Data Center Knowledge has dedicated a whole 'channel' to Google on its website - which you can visit here.

I am fascinated by the move. I assume the company has quietly been buying up network assets - because what's the use of a data center if you can't get in or out of it. And with multiple DC's across the world, the company will certainly need to connect them for redundancy, cloud computing, resiliency, content delivery and more.

So we know Google is a fabulous search engine, Google TV, Google Phone, Google Email, Google OS, Google Video - what's next? Google 3D?

Posted by: Ilissa Miller, Managing Partner of Jaymie Scotto & Associates. You can read more by visiting Telecom News Now at: www.jaymiescotto.com/jsablog

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Is Switching To A Virtual PBX System A Good Idea?

Today there are more hosted PBX companies than ever. The allure to starting these companies is low cost. It used to cost silly money to start a "voip" company but today you can for a few thousand dollars. So be weary of the good deal because the website looks good. There are some reputable carriers!

In the end these are some important questions to ask your potential provider:

1) What kind of redundancy do you have on your voice services on the back end? If that SIP or PRI connection goes down what happens to my calls?

2) What kind of redundancy to you have on your equipment? Redundant servers in different colocations?

3) Will you do a network assessment of my current set up? In other words is my bandwidth sufficient? Are my switches, routers, and cabling, etc sufficient?

4) If I have "no dial tone" will you assume 100% responsibility or do I need to call my internet provider first?

5) If my service stinks what type of "out clause" will you provide? I recommend my clients to ask for a 30-90 day period to make sure you like the service.

6) Do you offer a "down-turn clause" meaning if I need to downsize the # of phones I have I can without penalty.

Ordering a "virtual PBX" can be dangerous if you don't know what to look out for. But if you do negotiate a good product it can be an awesome experience. The flexibility of a good voip system is awesome--having every feature available to you at such a low cost is incredible. I would highly recommend it to some of my customers, but it all depends upon what your needs are.

For help navigating all the questions and concerns you'll encounter ..... take advantage of the free assistance available through Business VoIP Solutions

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 05, 2010

3rd-party Software = 3rd-party trouble!

Working in computers and telecom for so many years has taught me one thing – 3rd party software usually equates to 3rd party trouble.   Passing the buck, finger pointing, and not taking responsibility abounds when we attempt to bring a 3rd-party solution into the mix.  How effective is another piece of software or hardware is going to work for an organization depends on the features and integration that product will bring to the table.  Let’s look at this from the telecom perspective.

Say you have a phone system and you need to have logging or recording, but the phone equipment manufacturer does not provide this as a standard feature.  You or your vendor are left with finding a 3rd party product that integrates with the current environment.  Then the question – do you need line-side or station-side recording?  Do you need to have CDR information to be recorded with the call?  Do you have the need to monitor the calls in real time through the phone or a computer?  How do you manage what is being recorded and can it be based on the programming of the phone system?  Once you begin asking the questions, the gates of ignorance are opened!  After you do select and install the 3rd-party logging system, then the real fun begins – who do you call when it does not work?  The recording people say it is due to the way the PRI is sending the data, the manufacturer says it is because the software vendor did not write to the latest release and the customer says take it all back until it works.

While you have to admit, a company that only does one thing like call logging from VPI probably does it very well and has a plethora of features for most any application.  They also have experience working with many manufactures so they should know how to deal with the issues that arise in implementation and debugging.  One part of the equation that is always left out is the requirements for more hardware or software licensing on the phone system side to add these solutions to the current environment.   

The flip-side of this is finding a product like the Interactive Intelligence platform that has all the feature sets you need built-in.  While these features will be comparable to the 3rd-party app in 90% of the implementations, you have to assume that the phone system manufacturer will not be able to address every need of every customer, but will hit probably 100% of the features that 80% of the market needs – the old 20/80 rule of any piece of software.  One huge advantage of finding these solutions is that you have a single source and a single person to blame.  If it is broke, only the manufacturer is involved in finding and fixing the problem and no one else can be made responsible for their own software. 

While this scenario is simple, extend it to Call Accounting, Call Center, or Unified Messaging.  As the features become more complex, finding a vendor that can do it all “in skin” is difficult, and usually comes with a price proportional to the features offered by the phone vendor.  Bottom line – how much headache will you put up with to get the features you want and how much do you trust your vendor to integrate everything correctly?  Remember, that neither the phone manufacturer nor the 3rd party vendor will help you to make this all work together. 

Robert Wakefield-Carl, QoS Telesys

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Cloud .... System Administrator vs. Network Administrator –Who Wins?

Excellent Article From Jack Bezalel at Professional Mastermind ..... "The Cloud: System Administrator vs. Network Administrator – who wins?"

One of my friends told me once, he uses a small little secret to tell whether a person he is talking to, is a network administrator or a system administrator.

He would ask them to tell him the details of most important computer in their network. If the answer was something like “oxygen.mycomp.com” he would know this is a system administrator and if the answer looked like “150.144.100.100″ then a network administrator.

Well, why would it be important to know this?

It seems each one belongs to a different technological and emotional world.

Network Administrators deal with cabling, ISP pricing, physical limitations of the equipment as well as the nature of geography. They live in the world of small bits that serve a massive operation.

System Administrators deal with users, applications, operating systems, databases.

Sure, both System Administrators and Network Administrators care about all of those components, but their daily activity and focus is different.

Maybe one analogy could be describing the computing environment as if it is a car. We could then claim the System Administrator would be driving the car which the Network Administrator has built.

And this difference in the world view, can cause friction.

I have seen many cases in the past 27 years where the network administrator team was almost at war against the system administrator team and vice versa.

Publicly the arguments were about uncontrolled bandwidth usage (said the network administrator) vs. user needs and computing power that require the proportional network capacity.

Of course there were other topics on board, but we’ll summarize it by saying, many times the user would feel like the abandoned kid of a couple that are going through divorce – as in the movie “Kramer vs. Kramer”.

The Cloud presents a huge need for computer systems as well as networks.

Looking at the cloud implementation I am involved in, one of the main subjects is how to provide seamless and quick access to the data and applications on systems running in many different locations.

One very prominent need is for additional Network Capacity. The whole Server Consolidation game actually means that users will need to go through the Wide Area Network to get the same service they were getting locally.

So the system administrator would be asking for additional network bandwidth while the network administrator would be asking for process optimization, pointing to the considerable cost of the WAN and the physical and geographic limitations while trying to push more data via the WAN.

Who do you think will or should win this battle?

What are your major networking challenges?

How can both system administrators and network administrators find the path to the solutions for server consolidation the challenges of the cloud?

Labels: , , ,