Monday, May 30, 2011

Dedicated Bandwidth - - Whatever You Need .... We Have You Covered

WHATEVER YOU NEED .... WE HAVE YOU COVERED

Need a T1 Line? We have you covered.

Need DS3 Bandwidth? We have you covered.

Need an OCx circuit? We have you covered.

Need Business Ethernet? We have you covered.

Need metro fiber to the premise? We have you covered.

Need ethernet over copper? We have you covered.

Need a wireless solution? We have you covered.

Need SIP connectivity? We have you covered.

Need hosted PBX? We have you covered.

Need a point to point connection? We have you covered.

Need MPLS? We have you covered.

Need Ethernet WAN? We have you covered.

Need international WAN? We have you covered.

Need a Business VoIP Solution? We have you covered.

Need managed services? We have you covered.

Need service from a specific provider? We have you covered.

- We can access network solutions at the best possible price point from the following providers .... AND MORE.

AboveNet, ACC Business, Accel Networks, AccuConference, Airband, AireSpring, AT&T, Broad Sky Networks, Broadview Networks, Cavalier, Comcast Business, Covad, Ernest Communications, Global Telecom and Technology, Level 3 Communications, MegaPath, Mosaic NetworX, NetWolves, New Edge Networks, Nitel, One Communications, PAETEC, PowerNet Global, Qwest Business, ReaLLinx, Smoothstone IP Communications, TelePacific, Telnes Broadband, Telx, Time Warner Cable Business Class, tw telecom, USA Digital Communications, Vocal IP Networx, Windstream Communications, XO Communications

We've been selected the Top Master Agent by the Telecom Association for 2008, 2009, AND 2010.

So - - - - WHATEVER YOU NEED .... WE HAVE YOU COVERED!!

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* Dedicated Bandwidth

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

May Telecom Vendor News

Here's the latest Telecom vendor news for May ......

* AboveNet

o AboveNet, Inc. announced it has provided fiber connectivity into DuPont Fabros Technology, Inc (DFT) wholesale data center NJ1 located in Piscataway, New Jersey.

o AboveNet announced its successful completion of real world pan-European interoperability tests carried out by the European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC) across Equinix's Carrier Ethernet Exchange (ECEE) platform between London and Frankfurt.

* AT&T - AT&T Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG on Thursday filed applications with the Federal Communications Commission to approve AT&T�s $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA.

* EarthLink - EarthLink announced that it has completed the acquisition of One Communications Corp.

* Level 3

o Level 3 Communications Inc., agreed to buy Global Crossing Ltd. for about $1.9 billion to expand its network over three continents and reduce expenses.

o Level 3 Communications, Inc. announced that it is providing Verizon Wireless with backbone infrastructure and cell-site backhaul solutions to support its ongoing rollout of its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network.

o Level 3 in Europe can now offer Dedicated Internet Access services from all IP gateway locations and is presently developing a new VPN and Managed Services portfolio. In addition, these international enterprise services will leverage the NNIs available to connect customers to the Level 3 Network at over 17,000 new locations throughout Europe.

o Internet2 and Level 3 Communications, Inc. announced a new, multi-year agreement to build a national network with an unprecedented 8.8 Terabits of capacity designed to support more than 200,000 community anchor institutions nationwide.

o Level 3 Communications, announced an agreement with INTERNEXA, a leading telecommunications carrier with extensive regional coverage with more than 18,000 kilometers of fiber-optic network across seven countries in South America, to expand Level 3's content delivery network (CDN) services to Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Peru.

* MegaPath - Dan Foster is returning to MegaPath and will become their new President of Commercial Markets effective May 2nd. Bruce Chatterley, the former CEO of Speakeasy, who has served as President of MegaPath�s Commercial Markets since their merger, has departed the company to pursue other opportunities.

* PAETEC - PAETEC Holding Corp., announced that its newly acquired Intellifiber network and products are now available for PAETEC's channel partners to sell nationwide.

* Smoothstone

o West Corp., a voice and data provider based in Omaha, Neb., has agreed to buy Smoothstone IP Communications for $120 million

o Smoothstone IP Communications announced the launch of the Mobile Connect application for Android phones. Mobile Connect is an app that allows enterprises to extend the reach of their corporate communications services to mobile employees by connecting their mobile phones to the enterprise IP network.

* TelePacific - TelePacific Communications announced that it has received regulatory approval for and completed the acquisition of NextWeb, Inc., dba Covad Wireless, a broadband fixed wireless carrier operating in California, Nevada and the Chicago, Illinois area.

* Telx

o Telx, announced that iRiS Networks, a leading wholesale telecommunications provider headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., has joined the Telx Ethernet Exchange. Deployed within Telx's data centers in Atlanta and downtown Chicago.

o Telx announced the deployment of its award-winning Ethernet Exchange service at its data centers in Clifton, New Jersey, and Dallas, Texas.

o Telx announced that it has entered into a strategic alliance with CoreLink Data Centers, a national provider of state-of-the-art data center hosting facilities and services for the management of mission-critical business applications.

o Telx announced that Pinpoint Network Solutions, a national provider of fiber optic and microwave transport, has joined the award-winning Telx Ethernet Exchange.

* Time Warner Cable - Time Warner Cable Business Class has rolled out an online backup service for businesses across its entire footprint.

* tw telecom - tw telecom has won a multi-year contract to provide Core NAP last-mile Ethernet services that will allow the data center provider to expand their reach in the Austin, Texas market.

* XO Communications

o XO Holdings, Inc. President and CEO Carl J. Grivner has resigned, the telecommunications company announced Friday.

o XO Communications announced an expansion of its metro network across the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area, more than doubling its addressable market across the metropolitan area.

If you want to take advantage of any of the above offers ..... simply ask for whatever you want here:

* Dedicated Bandwidth

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Monday, May 23, 2011

What Voice/Data Network Solutions (e.g. T1, DS3, Ethernet) Make The Most Sense In Today's Economic Environment?

Given today's economic contraints (actual or perceived) .... and the hypothetical situation that "you" are looking for a bandwidth solution for the backbone of your network infrastructure for a multi-site business .... what would you gravitate toward and why? (e.g. T1 based ... such as MPLS, DS3/OC3/Sonet based, Ethernet based, other).

In reality there is no universal answer for this.

I'd recommend a three step process:

1) Determine your bandwidth and performance needs.
2) Get quotes for various services, from various vendors that meet your needs.
3) Pick the lowest cost solution that comes from a vendor you trust.

In my opinion MPLS always makes the most sense (when available), because it's very cost effective and redundant (new or replacement). However, like anything else, it depends on the scenario. We have many different deployments of MPLS, DS3, T1's, OC3's, and in some cases E1's (outside of North America). However, no matter which pipe works for your particular deplyment, any sort of shared resource/cost model will always be more economical.

The answer is not quite that straightforward. The answer would depend on the size of the company, the number of offices, their geographic locations, the amount of bandwidth needed between offices, and the number of dollars they want to commit to the project.

If they are in a large metro area metropolitan ethernet may well be the cheapest form of connectivity. It's very easy to attach to the LAN at each location and as a Layer 2 transport supports any and all Layer 3 and higher protocols. It would also allow you to prioritize traffic and make priority changes as you desire. As implemented by most carriers, metropolitan ethernet is "layer 1 agnostic", meaning it doesn't care if it's running over a DS1, DS3, OC3, OC12, etc.

If they are spread across a wider geographic area MPLS would most likely be your best option. But it will require additional expertise at the router level and additional dollars to spend for routers and IOS software that support MPLS traffic. But again as a Layer 2 transport it supports almost any and all Layer 3 and higher protocols. And depending on the carrier selected, it too should allow you to prioritize traffic and make changes as you desire. As implemented by most carriers, MPLS (like metropolitan ethernet) is also "layer 1 agnostic".

If they are a small, financially conservative company with a dozen offices spread across a state or region a high quality site-to-site VPN may be the best option. It's very low cost, easy to set up and maintain and very well understood technology.

No matter which of these 3 you pick, they all have the potential for built-in redundancy which allows for traffic re-route around a cut line or other network failure. If you were going with a large deployment of MPLS (say national or international coverage) I would suggest implementing MPLS on 2 different carriers to protect you against carrier outages as well.

If you're looking at MPLS nationally, AT&T and Global Crossing are probably your best choices. They both understand MPLS very well, and both have it deployed in their own backbone networks (and have for 7+ years).

A key question to ask is whether or not the site equipment is being upgraded (i.e. Legacy PBX to VOIP-PBX) as well or just the backbone.

There exists the following possible scenarios:

1) If you are upgrading Legacy PBX's to IP-PBX's, then the infrastructure is simply an ethernet backbone for both voice and data.

2) If you are keeping the Legacy PBX's in place, you need an infrastructure that supports both T1 (or E1) for legacy voice and ethernet for data services.

a) Simplest way is to implement separate links for T1 (for the Legacy PBX's) and ethernet link for data services.

b) You could implement an all T1 solution for both legacy voice and data services. You would need an additional piece of equipment that maps Ethernet onto T1 (or E1) via EoPDH protocol.

c) You could implement an all ethernet solution for both legacy voice and data services. You would need an additional piece of equipment that maps T1 (or E1) from the Legacy PBX onto ethernet via the SAToP or CESoP protocols.

Of the above proposals, #1 and #2C are the preferred options.

For multiple sites, MPLS is a very good approach for VPNs. You can also use single VLANs (802.1q) or stacked VLANs (802.1ad) based equipment for creating VPNs.

Ultimately .... the answer would depend on the size of the business and the typical office set for the multi-location scenario to determine the most economically viable solution.

For a large Enterprise account or even an SMB the convergence of voice and data networks is the key in my opinion. Get more out of your wireline for less. The solution could be a hosted VoIP solution using a network based carrier that can overlay MPLS for data application sharing with a hosted VoIP product that offers QoS on the voice side. For a larger account where hosted may not work it could be IP enabled PBX at an HQ with all voice traffic funneling through there to remote offices using IP sets.

In either a hosted or premise based PBX scenario you can reduce costs by reducing copper lines as well as per minute usage charges by implementing the VoIP model. If it is a premise based solution the MPLS with QoS for voice for IP calling between locations is the critical piece.

Some carriers offer a high bandwidth solution at a low cost using EFM (Ethernet over First Mile) that can povide you with the same capabilities of a T1/DS3 from a network (or WAN) infrastructure standpoint in terms of high speeds, and overlay with MPLS, VPN, etc, while still being able to honor CoS requirements and provide QoS for voice calling to give you a converged solution.

Dynamic bandwidth (single or bonded IP backbone delivery broken up for voice and data) can be used in a converged solution in a bunch of different scenarios. But in today's world, as much if not more business is being done via the internet than over the phone. Therefore, maximizing the companies utilizations in the right way is the best way to determine what solution is best for them. Be it a network upgrade or new network construction/design, getting "the most for less" is critical with today's economic constraints.

To me the answers are always dependent on the true business requirements AND the flexibility and scalability your business plans call for.

For a new network ..... I would think you would especially gravitate to what you perceived to be the most scalable, both upwards and downwards. However, you also have to make a decision on the network availability your business requires. Do you require 99.999% availability? If so, then what providers have demonstrated this level of availability and what contractual remedies do they provide? Obviously, these are just a couple of examples that makes the selection process extremely dependent on your business requirements.

For upgrading or replacing your network ..... you have the "benefit" of having a very real track record of your business history and therefore your network infrastructure performance and dependencies in my specific environment.

However, the evaluation/decision criteria is the same.

In both scenarios, by now, you have a fairly good idea (based on your product and services) the impact the economy is having and will have on your customers .... and therefore you have scenarios based on "what if". This dictates and drives your decision process on how you can have a dynamic network infrastructure to serve your current needs .... and a network provider that has contractual conditions you are comfortable with in meeting your needs for "dialing up" and "dialing down" those needs.

Keep in mind that to find the best solution you'll need to determine your detailed set of requirements --

What is your application? Voice & Data? Just Voice? Just data? And by data, is your requirement for internet connectivity alone or inter-site data transmission? What are your bandwidth requirements? How concerned with quality are you? Do you need specific SLAs? Do you have mission critical data? Do you need redundancy? If so, at what layer? Where are your locations? (urban, suburban, rural, very rural, international?) Are the sites relatively close together? What are your latency and jitter requirements? Do you have specific security requirements? Lastly - what's available?

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As a Telecommunications Consultant, my job is to figure out what makes the most sense for each company on an individual basis. It's not a one size fits all world.

As a Telecommunications Consultant, I ask the necessary questions about business processes to determine what the bandwidth requirements are.

There are numerous scenarios from security, regulations, network usage, type of usage (video, VOIP, VPN), etc. that will define a solution for each client. It is rarely the same in all instances.

It also depends on Location. Ethernet is not available everywhere. Not every location has more than two choices. (It's called a Duopoly for a reason).

As a Telecommunications Consultant, the client is looking to me to ask the appropriate questions and design a solution for their specific needs.

That's what I do.

For no cost assistance working through the above to find the right solution for YOUR specific requirements .... simply provide some information to get us started here:

Bandwidth Solution

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cyber Safety Non-Profit Web Wise Kids Endorsed by Celebrity Elisa Donovan

In today’s digital and online world, cyber-bullying and children’s online safety are issues that need to be brought to the forefront of society’s attention. Organizations, parents, and celebrities alike are coming forward to speak out against these problems. Elisa Donovan, best known for her starring role as Amber from the movie ‘Clueless’ and Morgan Cavanaugh from the WB TV-series ‘Sabrina, the Teenage Witch’ has teamed up with Web Wise Kids to educate children, parents, and teachers about online safety.
Web Wise Kids (WWK) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to “Promoting a culture of safety, responsibility, and respect to youth and families in this digital world.” WWK has helped reduce child online victimization by providing tools that are innovative, effective, and perhaps most important for children; tools that are interesting.
WWK uses the unique approach of creating online games for youths that effectively communicate internet and cell phone safety. “For years I have been talking to teenagers about personal health issues driven by peer pressure, self-esteem, and bullying,” says Elisa Donovan. “Web Wise Kids, an organization that focuses on educating kids about online safety, provides another opportunity for me to help encourage kids in a positive way.” WWK’s school approved crime-prevention programs have already prepared over 10 million youths to proactively be aware and defend themselves from online and cell phone danger.
It doesn’t take much to get involved with Web Wise Kids and each donation goes a long way towards making a difference. Every donation goes directly towards helping a school receive WWK programs as well as training resources for teachers to help implement these tools. Donations are accepted online, corporate partnerships are encouraged and tickets to the Web Wise Kids dinner auction and dance, Dancing Under the Stars, being held on September 15, 2011 in Orange County, CA will be available for purchase at www.webwisekids.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a good example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In practice it is best to map out two things:

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

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

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

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

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

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Primer For Businesses Evaluating DS3 Bandwidth

Before deciding on a bandwidth solution for your business there's basic fundamental questions you must be aware of. Not just what they are but also how the answers will impact your network application(s)... and most importantly the impact on potential cost of implementing that network.

Part of any business plan for installing or upgrading a computer network infrastructure is estimating potential costs .... with bandwidth requirements an obvious big chunk of the deliberation. To do this appropriately you need to know what you're getting into first. Overlook these factors ..... or make assumptions on their affect to network installation, management, and performance costs means you may end up paying more than you expected.

Here's a scenario to illustrate the message .....

You are intending to upgrade your company's computer network in the coming months basing the infrastructure on DS3 bandwidth. You are getting several quotes for adding another upstream provider, as well as trying to price new accounts. You want to know what are average costs of a DS-3's (full 45 Mbps)to end users and 100 Mbps connections?

First, there are three components of cost for upstream bandwidth that you must be aware of...

1. access, sometimes called the local loop, is the circuit between your physical location and the carrier POP (Point Of Presence)

2. port speed, which is essentially how many megs you're buying

3. equipment to interconnect between the carrier and your network.

Access price will depend on your various locations and where you can take delivery of the service. Some carriers will have "lit" buildings that will be less costly for them to serve. Generally, the farther any location you want serviced is from a POP the more your loop cost will be. The closer it is the less your cost will be. This is the most often overlooked component of any pricing exercise .... and the one that can up your costs quickly and drastically. Here's a tip ..... if you're within a reasonable distance for their POP many providers will waive the loop cost. So make sure you ask about that.

Port speed will vary by carrier, by product type, and by any specific vendor promotions ongoing at the moment. These costs are generally on the decrease overall so you should make out here .... but still ensure you compare multiple providers and negotiate for the best cost. Also make sure that provider port speed promises include a SLA (Service Level Agreement) and QoS (Quality of Service) commitment which penalizes the provider for non-compliance and protects your financial investment. Getting less bandwidth reliability than you need will impact on the performance of your intended application(s). If you learn this too late you will end up paying more through the lost productivity to your business.

Equipment costs turns to zero if you take an Ethernet connection, but typically you have to be in a "lit" building to take advantage of that. Otherwise to hang a router on a DS-3 the carrier may charge a few extra hundred dollars per month. If Ethernet connectivity is available .... grab it. It will cut your expenses dramatically. Also ask if the provider will "give" you a free router. Many do so today as sales incentive.

There you have it. The basics of what to ensure is incorporated into any deliberations on your computer network bandwidth requirements. Gloss over any of these and you will end up paying more than necessary. There are of course some more complicated and technical considerations your IT staff will ponder. But to make business sense at least the above must be your starting point.

Should you like to save even more in the deliberation process (time, effort and money) I suggest using the services of a no cost consultant such as DS3 Bandwidth who can navigate the maze on your behalf. They'll do all the research and negotiations for you .... and simplify your involvement to a less stressful approve/disapprove. That just makes even more business sense.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Introducing Advantix Solutions Group .... Wireless Optimization & Management

Advantix is a premier wireless optimization and management firm. The ideal Advantix client has in excess of 200-300 (minimum target 80+) mobile devices across multiple wireless carriers and business locations.

Advantix Services include .....

* Wireless Optimization & Analysis:

o Three month review of billing and spend for mobility accounts across rate plans, features and behavior spend. Expected savings of between 25-35% annually.

o Billed as a percentage of total savings with target of 35% and minimum of 10%. May also be billed on a monthly basis per device.

* Account Management Solution (multiple configurations available):

o Includes: dedicated administrative support (with helpdesk optional), monthly analysis and plan optimization, customized reporting, asset management,
procurement and moves/adds/changes. Reporting & analysis only option available.

o Minimum price per managed device ranges from $4.00 to $5.25 depending upon package selection

* Specialized consulting services:

o Contract negotiation, application security, development, RFP management, carrier consolidation, policy development, MDM and more.

o Minimum hourly rate of $60.00 with target of $100.00.

To find out how Advantix can help optimize your business's wireless network and mobile device use .... simply ask here:

Business VoIP & Wireless Network Solutions

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Golden Frog’s CTO Describes Personal VPN Services and Why They are Important (Blog 2 of 2)

Last week I wrote about my conversation with Golden Frog’s Chief Technology Officer, Phil Molter one of the developers behind Golden Frog’s VyprVPN solution. In my conversation, I learned a lot about what a private corporate network VPN is versus a personal VPN. I particularly enjoyed Molter’s explanation, “think of a trusted area like a castle surrounded by the enemy. With a corporate VPN, the business' sensitive information is behind the castle walls and the corporate VPN allows you, outside the castle, to slip by the enemy undetected to get access to that information while keeping the enemy out.” In this scenario, a corporate VPN protects its data against prey or unwanted visitors by creating encrypted tunnels that transport the data. With a personal VPN, Molter continues, “you're inside the castle, but you want to get out to the world without the enemy detecting you. The VPN allows you to slip out undetected from your castle, safe and secure.” A disguise, if you will, so that the enemy, snipers and other Internet obstacles don’t get in your way or hinder you from accessing information that you need access to.

This blog is a continuation of my conversation with Molter regarding Golden Frog’s VyprVPN solution and about what we should be concerned about when browsing the Internet.

Question (Ilissa Miller): What issues should concern Internet users when accessing from a public Wi-Fi spot?

Answer (Phil Molter): Generally, public Wi-Fi hotspots are not secured because, by their very nature, they want to be open to everyone. Wireless traffic is a broadcast medium, though, so all of your unsecured packets are sent to anyone around who can listen for them (the wireless router being only one of those listeners). Anyone with a radio antenna can listen to that traffic, just like a wireless router.

In addition, wireless networks are often big LANs, where every computer can see every other computer. Try opening your Windows Network Neighborhood while connected to a wireless hotspot. You might see a bunch of other machines. If you can see them, they can see you.

All of this traffic is open and insecure. Other people can do things as innocuous as know you exist or as malicious as download your data and represent themselves as you.

Question (IM): In your opinion, exactly how public is the Internet?

Answer (PM): The Internet, by its nature, is completely open and public. Various sites on the Internet may be firewalled, but the design is that, by default, anyone can talk to anyone else and the majority of that communication is through simple, human-readable text. If you want privacy on the Internet, you have to make a conscious choice toprotect yourself. In the past, people didn't pay attention to all this public traffic, but now, everyone from marketers to data thieves looks at this data for their own purposes.

Question (IM): Am I able to buy enhanced security from my ISP?

Answer (PM): Generally, no. ISPs generally cater to the lowest common denominator, and enhanced security isn't the first thing people are looking for. In addition, more and more ISPs today are looking to manage their bandwidth to save money on new infrastructure. They limit traffic that's used by a small percentage of their population in order to prevent complaints while holding down usage. To do this, they have to look at and know what kind of traffic you're sending, and traffic with additional security prevents them from doing this.

Question (IM): What other issues are out there that are not as well known to the public as they should be regarding usage of the Internet?

Answer (PM): More and more of our everyday lives are conducted through the Internet. Many services that have become available over the past couple of years are from small startups that are looking to grab users and grab them fast. Securing your data is not as important as getting basic features in place to drive user growth. Time and time again, we hear about private information being exposed or stolen because companies don't take basic security precautions with user data sent across the Internet.

I learned a lot by talking with Phil – particularly about the vulnerabilities we all face as we browse the Internet. Let us know your thoughts and if you found this information helpful. If you are interested to know more about Golden Frog and VyprVPN, please visit www.goldenfrog.com. Drop them a note – perhaps they’ll give you a free trial ;)

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Monday, May 09, 2011

Review of Mozilla Firefox

As it is with other things in the world today, there is a large number of web browsers to choose from, but the Mozilla Firefox software appears to be taking the world by storm, thanks to the many user-friendly features and also the ease of accessibility that the web browser has become. Needless to mention, as the name implies, this is a free web browser for all to use and has significantly gained in popularity among web-developers and internet administrators.

As stated, Mozilla Firefox incorporates a lot of wonderful features, features which makes this web browser unique from the rest with the likes of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. The following are a few of the many features you are going to experienced when you opt for this user-friendly Mozilla Firefox.

Particularly, Mozilla Firefox supports all web standards, at least the basics like XML, XHTML, HTML, CCS, DOM, SVG, XSLT, JavaScript, XPath, and MathML among numerous others. To many, especially web-site designers and web developers, this is great news as they can have the ability to customize the browser to suit their needs. Also accompanying your Mozilla Firefox is the capability to use a profile or whatever platform you select since a similar profile format is maintained irrespective of the platform. What this consequently means is that whether you have stored your profile on the FAT23 division or on an NTFS via FUSE, you can rest assured you will access it whether you are utilizing a USB flash drive, Windows, or Linux. This feature of the Mozilla Firefox also comes as good news to people with the habit of dual-booting their computers.

Whoever said the best things in life are free was probably thinking about Mozilla Firefox because despite the fact that it is free of charge, it doesn’t dissatisfy security wise. So many security features happen to be integrated to guarantee users of the highest level of safety they will ever need online. Notable security measures incorporate a phishing detector, sandbox security model, external protocol whitelisting, same origin policy, and ability to clear private data like browser history and cookies. Further, Mozilla is an open source software meaning the source code is available for all to view giving you the chance to review your source code if you are having security threats, whether legitimate or not.

While Firefox is a bit slower than Chrome these days, there are hundreds of great, mature Firefox plugins available for you to choose from. These plugins can help turn Firefox from an ordinary browser into a browser that can do all sorts of things, including block pop-up ads, hide other ads, download photos and videos, and much, much more.

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) Is Perfect For High-Speed Data & Digital Voice

MPLS Overview ....

MPLS, or Multi Protocol Label Switching, is quickly replacing frame relay and ATM as the technology of choice for carrying high-speed data and digital voice on a single connection. MPLS not only provides better reliability and increased performance, but can often decrease overall costs through increased network efficiency. Its ability to assign priority to packets carrying voice traffic makes it the perfect solution for carrying VoIP calls.

MPLS Basics ....

MPLS is a form of protocol, rather than a specific type of service. It can be used to deliver any type of circuit that a customer needs, from IP VPNs to optical connectivity.

Packet Labelling ....

The key to MPLS is its ability to label data packets. In traditional IP networks, packets are routed based solely upon the data's network-layer header. The arrival of each packet forces a router to "decide" where it should go next with no regard for its actual content.

The Need for Speed ....

MPLS greatly speeds up the routing process by labeling each packet as it arrives on the network. Each network router stores information on how to handle different packet types, as indicated by their header label. This directly translates to higher efficiency by lightening the load on an organization's routers and freeing up needed resources. Speed of packet transmission is increased as the load on network infrastructure is reduced.

Not All MPLS Traffic is Crated Equal ....

The inherent advantages of MPLS are most noticeable in situations where real-time traffic is configured to be given preference over data packets that do not require the same amount of speed or priority. With a traditional IP circuit, all traffic is treated equally. This becomes a critical problem when demand for bandwidth temporarily exceeds the capacity of the circuit. The only form of prioritization on most traditional IP networks is "first come, first served", with no special treatment being given to real-time sensitive traffic like voice and video conferencing.

Priority Treatment ....

As an example, a large e-mail attachment of personal photos being sent to an employee's personal mail account would normally receive the same network priority as a real-time video or audio conference being held by company executives. The result can be phone calls or video transmissions of inferior quality, as the two sources battle against one another for priority. An MPLS network on the other hand will instantly assign a high priority to real-time voice and video. E-mail traffic and other connections that are not as likely to be affected by latency will be pushed to the back of a router's queue to make way for high-priority traffic. This noticeably improves the performance of real-time applications and has a minimal effect on lower priority traffic such as e-mail, where a delay in milliseconds is almost impossible to detect.

Life, and Networks, Require Proper Priority ....

In a nutshell, MPLS puts your high-priority, mission critical IP traffic in the fast lane to its destination. All of this is done seamlessly, with absolutely no interaction needed on the part of the customer and with no significant changes to their network infrastructure. It's like having a network engineer inspecting each and every packet on your network, and deciding how to load balance the circuit based upon the data's importance. MPLS is truly a value-added service that can pay for itself each and every month.

For help designing the right MPLS solution for your network .... take advantage of the free assistance available here:

MPLS Solution

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

VyprVPN’s CTO Describes Personal VPN Services and Why They are Important


I recently sat down with Golden Frog’s Chief Technology Officer, Phil Molter who has been developing software and applications for the Internet since 1996. Phil is one of the developer’s behind Golden Frog’s VyprVPN solution which providers Internet users a secure connection from any location and any device. VyprVPN in essence is a personal Virtual Private Network (VPN) that offers users additional privacy and security when browsing the Internet, thus protecting their data from deep packet inspection and geo-marketing by keeping the user’s location private, protecting connections from hackers or data sniffers and allows users to bypass restrictions.

There were a number of items we discussed in our interview which helped bring to light a number of questions that not only did I have, but the marketplace have in regards to the VyprVPN solution and the importance of this product to Internet consumers. But before I was able to jump into the solution, I needed to understand what a personal VPN offers that is different from traditional corporate-based VPN’s.

According to Molter, a corporate VPN allows secure access to a private corporate network. Whereas a personal VPN allows secure access from a specific, trusted network such as your home network or computer into a remote location. Molter paints this picture, “think of a trusted area like a castle surrounded by the enemy. With a corporate VPN, the business' sensitive information is behind the castle walls and the corporate VPN allows you, outside the castle, to slip by the enemy undetected to get access to that information while keeping the enemy out.” In this scenario, a corporate VPN protects its data against prey or unwanted visitors by creating encrypted tunnels that transport the data. With a personal VPN, Molter continues, “you're inside the castle, but you want to get out to the world without the enemy detecting you. The VPN allows you to slip out undetected from your castle, safe and secure.” A disguise, if you, will so that the enemy, snipers and other Internet obstacles don’t get in your way or hinder you from accessing information that you need access to.

The fact that a personal VPN can protect a user by hiding their location, encrypting their data and providing a secure connection is very important. However, not everyone knows how vulnerable their data and information really is over the Internet.

We’re careful not to share too much information publicly or provide personal information without security assurances, but what is there that we don’t know – that we’re not told about – lurking behind the Internet than can compromise our data, personal information and make us vulnerable to prey?

In my conversation with Molter, we explore what Internet users should be concerned about, and how ‘public’ the Internet really is, while opening up trying to understand and identify issues that are not as well known to the public.

In my next blog, I will explore and share my conversation with Molter and Golden Frog’s VyprVPN solution, that will help us all understand what we don’t know about the security of our data on the Internet.

For more information about Golden Frog and VyprVPN, please visit www.goldenfrog.com or email pr@goldenfrog.com.
About the Author
Ilissa Miller is Managing Partner of Jaymie Scotto & Associates, a PR & Marketing firm for the telecommunications and IT industries. For more information about Ilissa and JS&A please visit www.jaymiescotto.com.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Top 5 Reasons To Move To MPLS

MPLS is a smart choice for any business's high speed internet and/or digital voice network. Here's just 5 of many reasons why you should move your existing network to MPLS.

1. Cost savings. Depending on the specific mix of applications, and network configuration, MPLS-based services can reduce costs by 10% to 25% over comparable data services (frame relay and ATM). As companies add voice and video traffic, cost savings can rise to as much as 40% networkwide.

2. QOS enablement. One of the primary benefits of MPLS-based services is the ability to support QoS, particularly key for companies that are rolling out voice and video.

3. Improved performance. Because of the any-to-any nature of MPLS services, network designers can reduce the number of “hops” between network points, which translates directly to increased response time and improved application performance.

4. Disaster recovery. MPLS-based services improve disaster recovery in a variety of ways. First and foremost, data centers and other key sites can be connected in multiply redundant ways to the cloud (and thus to other sites on the network). Secondly, remote sites can quickly and easily reconnect to backup locations if needed (unlike with ATM and frame networks, in which either switched or backup permanent-virtual-circuits are required). That’s why several benchmark participants listed “flexibility for business recovery” as a key justifier behind their MPLS rollouts.

5. Futureproofing the network. Most companies have come to the conclusion that MPLS represents “the wave of the future.” Investment in legacy WAN services (ATM, frame) has pretty much come to a standstill: Virtually no companies plan to invest in ATM or frame services within the next six to 12 months. As a result, companies increasingly say they’re planning to migrate to MPLS primarily to avoid being left behind.

Top 5 list courtesy of Network World. Reprinted under fair use.

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For help moving your network to a MPLS solution use the free help available here:

MPLS Network

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