Friday, July 29, 2011

VOIP PROVIDER IP5280 VOTED BEST COMPANY TO WORK FOR IN COLORADO

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., July 29, 2011 – IP5280 Communications, one of the country’s leading providers of hosted-VoIP and cloud-based communication services, was announced today as the Best Company to Work for in Colorado. For the sixth year, ColoradoBiz magazine joined with the Colorado State Council of the Society of Human Resource Management and Jobing.com to produce a list of the best companies to work for in the state.

“We’re extremely proud to be included on this prestigious list for the fourth year and to be among so many great Colorado companies,” said John Scarborough, co-founder and managing partner of IP5280. “Our employees are our most valuable asset. We know that happy and healthy employees translate into happy customers.”

To participate in the program, Modern Think, a workplace-excellence consulting firm, surveyed all employees regarding a variety of human resource concerns, including company leadership, management, benefits and strategy, and IP5280 ranked the number 1 in the small company category of 25 to 99 employees.

“We have some of the brightest minds working every day with the most advanced cloud-based technology in the industry. Is it any wonder that this is a fun place to work?” said Jeffrey Pearl, co-founder and managing partner of IP5280. “Our aggressive business VoIP rollout strategy has successfully transitioned thousands of Denver business users to our more affordable and feature-rich Internet phone service in only five years. We attribute this success to our exceptional team.”

For details, visit the SHRM Colorado State Council website at www.coshrm.org.

About IP5280 Communications

IP5280 Communications is a cloud-based global IP communication provider specializing in VoIP and converged IP voice, video and data services for business customers. Trusted by thousands of business enterprise users, communication agents, partners and wholesalers of IP managed services throughout the world; IP5280 offers carrier-class communications for businesses large and small, with significant savings over traditional phone company business services. Recognized by Inc. Magazine as a part of the prestigious 2010 Inc500 list as one of the country’s fastest growing companies, winner of the Technology Service of the 2011 CSIA Apex Awards, selected by ColoradoBiz Magazine as the Best Company to Work For in Colorado in 2011, and proudly ranked by the magazine as a part of the elite Colorado TOP250 Private Companies in Colorado, IP5280 provides businesses the most advanced IP solutions to meet a variety of networking and communication needs. See more at www.ip5280.com.



Thursday, July 28, 2011

How Does An IP PBX Work?

Private Branch Exchanges (PBXs) began life as cost-saving measures. Although a business might have many employees with many phones only a small proportion are actually on the phone at the same time. Thus the business doesn't need as many lines to the phone company as they have employees, they need some smaller number. They make do by switching the local extension of whoever makes or receives a call onto one of those lines to the phone company.

This was done manually at first: you may have seen the old images of a person at a switchboard, pulling cables and plugging them into sockets, actually physically connecting a business's local phone cable to a line that goes to the outside world and the phone company.

Later on, PBXs could be made to do this mechanically without a human to do it, then electronically. But at the end of the day it all worked the same way: plugging one of many local extensions into an outside line, making a continuous (if temporary) connected circuit.

IP PBXs changed this. Packet-switching technologies like IP don't connect a continuous circuit: points in the network look at packets of information and decide where each one should go, then a device on each end "rebuilds" them and delivers them in whatever manner they're meant to be delivered.

An IP PBX is now the connection between a phone company's public voice network and a business's data network. Instead of switching people's phone extensions to a phone company line, voice is encoded into data packets and then delivered, piece by piece as data, to phones that know how to interpret them and rebuild them as voice. An IP PBX therefore acts a bit more like a router, sending the data (which can be voice) where it needs to go (which can be phones).

Because everything is switched as data, though, you can now do many other things quite easily: conferencing, sending voie to your computer instead of your phone, storing voicemail as files, and much more.

Almost all modern large PBX's (more than 100 phones) are IP based – IP/SIP is the protocol that the parts use to talk to each other. The phones/devices on an IP based PBX may be analog, digital, IP (VoIP), soft phones (software that emulates a phone on a PC, smart phone, or other device), or Fax over IP (FoIP).

What the parts are exactly changes from brand to brand: some system have chassis (or cabinet) based systems that have specialized cards for functions (trunks, voice mail, digital phones, analog phones, message port, call processors, conference calling … ) some have routers or gateways with PSTN cards and other functions that are software based in servers (or banks of servers).

At the highest level - they work like PBX's always have. They provide connectivity to the PSTN for a bunch of phones or other devices. They connect to the PSTN through trunks - DS0, DS1/T1, PRI, BRI, SIP, Ethernet, and more .....

The PBX configuration is the main item that governs your line and trunk strategy, your calling cost structures, the integrated calling options available for the desk phone, cell phone, and full messaging integration on the desktop PC and traveling laptop.

1) Not all IP PBXs are hosted. In fact, most IP PBXs are not hosted.

2) Traditional PBXs were not all analog. In the beginning, that was true, but most PBXs built from the late 1980's on were digital and used a technology called TDM to operate.

3) IP is also transmitted over copper wires - the same CAT 5 copper wires that can connect you to the internet, but not all VoIP traffic resides on, or ever touches the internet. Most VoIP traffic actually resides on the user's LAN or private WAN.

4) IP PBXs are not always "relatively inexpensive" either. Price a cisco lately?

5) An "open source from Asterisk" is not necessarily a good starting point. IN fact, if you don't know anything about IP PBXs, that would be the worst thing that you could do.

A simplified answer would be this: an IP PBX converts analog sound waves (your voice or DTMF tones) into IP packets, labels the packets, and guides them to the proper destination where they are converted back to analog sound waves so you can hear them. The technology works in a similar fashion to the technology that you use view a movie from YouTube on your PC.

There is a lot of additional technology in place behind this premise. You need the correct network hardware in place to properly route and switch the packets. You need a connection to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) so you can talk to users outside of your PBX environment, etc.

For free help navigating through the maze to decide what is the right fit for your business I suggest the no cost assisstance availabe here .... Business VoIP Solution

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Monday, July 25, 2011

MPLS vs Ethernet WAN

Actually MPLS is a form of Ethernet WAN.

Ethernet just refers to the type of handoff. In this case, the provider is giving you a direct Ethernet handoff that can plug straight into your data network without further conversion. This would be compared to something like a T1 handoff that would need to be converted to Ethernet via hardware device or router NIC.

MPLS is a carrier managed service where you can request that specific traffic, be it based on IP or TCP port, can be given precedence over other types of traffic. This management is end-to-end, meaning that all of the carrier's routers and switches will maintain the integrity of QoS settings.

An Ethernet WAN is typically a VPN for city to city or possibly a simple point-to-point fiber connection in the case of building to build connectivity. The sort of connection operates at layer 2 only where you provide the IP addressing. With this type of connection the carrier has no perception into the traffic and therefore there is not QoS. This is typically the cheaper of the two.

I thought I’d post up some content on VPLS (Layer 2 VPN) and MPLS (Layer 3 VPN) as I’ve been asked recently about why an IT Manager would select one over the other. It was a client who had been told by the telco that provisioning layer 2 and layer 3 VPN’s would provide resiliency which isn't the case.

First it’s good to clear up that VPLS is actually an evolution of MPLS rather then a separate technology. MPLS (Multi Protocol Label Switching) is a protocol used for traffic engineering and performance increases across routed networks. So, if you think about a packet (data) traversing a providers network, pre-MPLS, the intermediate routers along the way would in the olden days (!) have to look up the destination of that packet and route it accordingly which added time (latency).

So, MPLS works on a concept called labels hence it’s name - so rather than the router having to perform a lookup at every point along the way, pre-determined paths are provisioned meaning that a packet follows a “label switched path” through the network increasing performance.

VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service) is now being offered by carriers as a method of extending LAN connectivity to each of your sites at layer 2. So, essentially you’re provided with Ethernet handoff at each of your sites effectively providing you with LAN connectivity. True VPLS is provided as any to any connectivity in the same way as a layer 3 private “MPLS” VPN. At any rate, VPLS is provided over a providers core MPLS network hence why it does not, as standard, offer resiliency.

So, why would you as an IT Manager or IT Director select one or the other? Well, the strong differentiator is the Layer 2 and Layer 3 difference on the OSI model. At layer 2, you have much more control of your network. So, if for example you have a legacy protocol which needs to be transported between your sites, a Layer 2 VPN allows you to control layer 3. These protocols may not be not be supported by a providers layer 3 MPLS VPN as standard which may force you down the VPLS route. At Layer 2, the network performs like the LAN so you have that layer 2 control. If you manage your own routers and CPE, a layer 2 VPN is also a good option since, again, you’re in control of the layer 3 routed element and can deal with requirements at layer 3 as they arise.

It is possible to mix and match - you could for example interconnect hosting sites via layer 2 and all other branch sites via layer 3.

For more information and free assistance to help you decide what the right solution would be for your business network .... take advantage of the no cost support available here: MPLS and Business Ethernet

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

What Is The Difference Between VoIP And VoLTE

VOIP .... Voice over Internet Protocol (Voice over IP, VoIP) is one of a family of internet technologies, communication protocols, and transmission technologies for delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. Other terms frequently encountered and often used synonymously with VoIP are IP telephony, Internet telephony, voice over broadband (VoBB), broadband telephony, and broadband phone.

VoLTE .... VoLTE (Voice over LTE) initiative was formally announced on 15th February 2010. In establishing the VoLTE initiative, GSMA has adopted the work of the One Voice Initiative as the basis of the work to lead the global mobile industry towards a standard way of delivering voice and messaging services for Long-Term Evolution (LTE). Using IP Multimedia Subsystem specifications developed by 3GPP as its basis, GSMA have expanded upon the original scope of One Voice work to address the entire end-to-end voice and SMS ecosystem by also focussing on Roaming and Interconnect interfaces, in addition the interface between customer and network.

VoIP used to be initially offered through DSL (even dial-ups) and other low bandwidth IP Backbones. Later on with the advent of MPLS IP backbones and other high bandwidth options along with good compression equipments, Voice started to get the much needed bandwidth resulting in voice quality enhancement.

VoLTE would be delivering Voice on the LTE media which can be 3G or 4G,eventhough LTE is marketed as 4G as of now.This is as of now on 3GPP(3rd Generation Partnership Project).

As far as business is concerned, it is like any kind of innovation and new enhancement always cannibalizes the good old technology. In the same way, VoIP with its limitations can be widely replaced by VoLTE, which is more of a GSM based or ease of use standard. However, with more high bandwidth IP backbone on offering nowadays, VoIP can also co-exist.

For help deciding which approach is best for your business application(s) take advantage of the free assistance offered here .... Business VoIP Solution

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cell Phone Broadband-Not Just For Cell Phones Anymore!

Today I had the pleasure of experiencing a new twist on an established wireless product in the business segment. Recently, Sprint wireless announced agreements to sell a Linksys WIFI router. Big deal, you might say, but in reality it is. What this router can accomplish is integration with their EV-DO high speed cell network by being able to plug a wireless data card that Sprint currently sells into it. So what does this mean? Basically, it allows you to bypass paying a DSL, cable modem or fractional T1 for your business' data connectivity. This is a great solution for companies that need connectivity right away and can't wait for a service provider to install service and it is also great as a backup, redundant link as well. Rev A, their newest protocol is promising download of 2.4Mbit/s to 3.1Mbit/s and a new uplink around 1.8Mbit/s. This is a very affordable and convenient solution for any small business or for a branch/satellite office that requires low cost, fast deployment and reasonable data speeds.

I find it very interesting that cell phone carriers won't be just for cell phones any more. This is a step in the direction of offering new and competitive last mile solutions to compete with the Baby Bells such as Verizon, Qwest, Bell South and SBC Communications. It probably won't completely replace landline service, but it does give an attractive alternative.

In conclusion, this is the beginning of a new dawn in the continuing evolution of data connectivity and the Internet, enjoy the ride!


Joe Diviak, Telecom Ninja

Monday, July 18, 2011

July Telecom Vendor News

Here's the latest news for select Telecommunications vendors for July ....

AboveNet ....

* AboveNet announced that it will connect to the Cervalis data centers located in Stamford, Connecticut and Totowa, New Jersey.

* According to an announcement made in the New York Post, Westchester-based fiber-optics company AboveNet has received a binding offer from a yet-to-be disclosed private equity firm. According to the article, AboveNet has been asking for a minimum bid of $80 a share, or more than $2 billion in a JPMorgan Chase-run auction. Yesterday, the company closed up 54 cents at $73.23 a share.

* AboveNet will soon connect to the Montgomery Westland Data Center in Alabama known as The Bunker.

AT&T - says it is on track to receive regulatory approval of its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA by March 2012. AT&T General Counsel Wayne Watts said that the company has provided a second round of information requested by the Department of Justice and that meetings with the Federal Communications Commission are going as scheduled, the Washington Post reported.

Level 3 ....

* Level 3 Communications, Inc. announced that it has added points-of-presence in Ljubljana, Slovenia and Zagreb, Croatia, giving customers in these areas a central point of secure and direct access to Level 3's highly scalable global network and a robust portfolio of IP-based communications solutions.

* Telx announced that Level 3 Communications is expanding network services into Telx's 100 Delawanna Ave. data center in Clifton, New Jersey.

PAETEC - announced it has selected Ditech Networks' PhoneTag platform for voicemail-to-text transcription services. Using Ditech Networks' best-in-class transcription service, PAETEC Visual Messaging customers can read transcribed voicemail messages from their smartphones and mobile tablet devices just as they would with an E-Mail, making communications simpler than ever before.

Smoothstone ....

* Smoothstone has launched Awareness Messaging and Presence (AMP), a multi-channel (voice, chat and collaboration) platform.

TelePacific ....

TelePacific Communications - announced a definitive agreement to acquire Tel West Network Services Corporation (Tel West).

Time Warner Cable ....

* New York: Time Warner Cable Inc., the second largest US cable television operator, agreed to buy cable systems in Kentucky and western Tennessee from NewWave Communications for about $260 million (Dh955 million) in cash.

* Time Warner Cable Business Class has launched Business Class Mobile, its 4G / 3G -based high-speed wireless data service in Wilmington.

To take advantage of the these and other news and offerings from the leading Telecommunication vendors in the world simply use the free assistance available here:

DS3 Bandwidth, Carrier Ethernet, MPLS, And More

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

The"Hot Technology" In IT/Telecom In 2011

Mobile devices without a doubt. The explosion of new form factors for mobile computing is staggering to behold. Smartphones and tablets are changing the face of information technology.

Smartphones have been a challenge for the enterprise for several years now. Starting with the Blackberry and then moving through Windows Mobile, ios and now Android, end-users are demanding mobile access to corporate resources with their personal equipment and businesses are being forced to support them. It's not just rank and file information workers either, executives have bought in to the productivity gains to be had by delivering high-quality mobile products on the smartphone platform.

Regarding tablets, some consider them just a larger form factor smartphone, but they're only partly right. Many consider them mainly entertainment devices, but that's only the start. Tablet computers (iPad and now Android and maybe Microsoft Windows 8 and the Playbook) are a new type of device with many of the capabilities of a full desktop or notebook computer, but that run an embedded "system on a chip." This category of device is changing how operating systems are developed and delivered. Trying to understand how having a single-chip appliance with all of the capabilities of a desktop computer will change information technology is going to be a full time occupation for R&D analysts for the next several years.

Mobile technologies are the place to watch this year. They're rapidly maturing after being in the marketplace for several years now. Businesses are in the process of determining how they can harness their capabilities and as we see new products come to market that take full advantage of the mobility that we've been granted by them there's going to be a massive change in how people interact with their information technology systems.

For a taste of how "hot" mobile is check out the articles linked here:

1. A cnet article mentions that almost 20 BILLION apps have been downloaded from the Apple and Google marketplaces. Apple developers alone have made over $4.5 billion since the release of the Apple App Store in 2008.

App Downloads

2. Susan Fogerty at TechTarget wrote a great article about the surging popularity of tablets today. According to their research, tablets lead even smartphones as the mobile technology of choice for 2011. Both technologies far outstrip traditional notebook computers in their survey.

Tablet Growth

3. Gartner analyzes tablet use in the enterprise in the final link. Gartner says that tablets are neither "better laptops" nor "better smartphones" but will compliment and enhance both.

Tablet Use

Keep your eyes on mobile technologies in 2011 and 2012 and you won't be disappointed.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

What Issues Do IT Managers/Staff Face When Choosing A New ISP?

This is primarily directed at those who buy "high-end" Internet connectivity, whether it be managed DSL, leased lines (e.g. DS3 bandwidth or Business Ethernet), VPNs etc. You will experience pain points in the buying process when changing your Internet connectivity supplier, installing a network for a new location/business, or expanding the infrastructure for an existing organization.

What problems do you face when trying to choose a supplier? What part of the process is most time consuming? How do you avoid "buyers remorse"?

There's a few things to consider both on the technical and business front. The first is IP addressing since they will either have an allocation from an existing service provider or may own provider independent IP addressing. If it's the former then they will need to consider the re-addressing of hosts on the network and any down time that may be associated with that task. DNS is also a consideration depending on whether, again, they own their own IP addresses or will be receiving a new allocation. If the IP addresses are changing, they’ll need to be updating DNS.

Then there's some considerations such as geographical coverage as well and whether or not they will be running apps across the Internet for VPN or hosting servers. As an example, if they’re hosting their own servers and traffic is coming from all over the world they’d want to consider a Global ISP to try and ensure traffic remains on one network for the most part.

I’d also consider contracts, service levels, support, change requests and more as often they are the weakest part of any service provider.

To go further, you’d want to consider resiliency, load balancing and more depending on their requirements and connectivity.

To help you work through all the myriad of decsions in the fastest time possible and with the least effort .... I suggest using the services of an independent Telecom consultant. They can do all the leg work and narrow down your choices to what makes business sense for you .... based on the requirements you set forth for what you want. This will save you a ton of time, effort, money, and headache.

With this in mind I strongly recommend the no cost services available here: DS3 Bandwidth

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Cost Of MPLS .... Fact And Fiction

The cost of providing MPLS VPN is usually less than providing leased line coverage. You can save your business a significant amount on the cost of your voice/data network by opting for a MPLS solution.

There are two aspects to an MPLS network which contribute to this.

Also bear in mind that end-user costs are not always directly related to the actual cost of deployment. Very often a service differs from another purely in how it is billed and that companies will do clever bundles to attract customers to use a service in a particular way.

However, comparing MPLS with a mesh of leased lines, there are genuine differences in cost base.

With MPLS you are sharing a lot of the infrastructure with others. Apart from the tail circuit to each site (which is typically a "last mile" dedicated circuit) everything else is shared bandwidth and equipment. This is unlike a leased line where (even though you are multiplexed onto shared equipment in the middle) you have dedicated bandwidth from end to end. With a leased line the service provider has to provide the full bandwidth to every circuit whether it's being used or not. With MPLS and other shared network technologies, the Service Provider aggregates all of the traffic and looks at the actual usage, and only has to provide enough bandwidth for typical peak usage.

Compare this with the telephone network where the telephone company does not provide dedicated bandwidth for every user to contact every other user. they provide a shared infrastructure which is dimensioned to cope with peak-time usage. Occasionally this doesn't work and your call cannot be placed. In the data world, your packets will be delayed, but this is normally not important unless your application is very delay sensitive, in which case you can pay for this traffic to be prioritized.

The other thing to remember is that, in general with an MPLS type network, you only need a single connection from each of your sites to the service provides local point of presence. Typically this is a lot shorter connection than providing a dedicated connection between offices on (for instance) opposite sides of the country and, as I said, you only need one connection. Compare this with typical leased line networks where, for more than two sites, you will need multiple connections at some or all sites. For a fully meshed 5-site leased-line network you will need 10 leased lines between offices. With MPLS you will need 5 short access circuits to the local PoP, which is clearly cheaper.

If you only have two sites, or if all your sites are fairly local to each other, it's possible that MPLS doesn't make sense, but in general if you have multiple sites and they are a good distance from each other, MPLS is more cost effective than leased lines. The greater the distance and the more sites there are, the better the saving.

To take advantage of the cost savings using MPLS for your network infrastructure, simply request assistance and a free quote here: MPLS Solution

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Monday, July 04, 2011

What's The Most Reliable, Cost-Effective, Small Business Virtual Phone System?

We recently had a small business ask us the question above about virtual phone systems. Their experience was as follows:

"Skype's recent "enhancements" have caused voicemail to stop working, have made it close to impossible to efficiently get voicemail when it does work, and have taken down account management access. We have also tried voip.com/PhonePower.com. Although many of their features are wonderful, we have found the softphone application to be unstable in various environments (dropped calls, app crashing). We have also tried Google voice, however, there is a limitation on phones that can be connected to this service and there does not appear to be a web-based call log anywhere. We do not currently own our own server which takes out a lot of other options".

Here's our answer .....

First, I wouldn't recommend Skype for a small business for the reasons stated, plus some more serious ones involving security with wireless interactions.

Please keep in mind that the Telephony system is just one piece of the puzzle. The "phone" system is not quite as critical as the transport platform it travels over. Remember ... we're talking VoIP here. Most of the performance risk comes from the transport platform not the "phone" system itself. Although the "phone" system is not without questions as you so aptly painted with your Skype experience. The bottom line there is you need a T1 line at least to ensure the level of reliability and performance you need for business purposes. DSL and cable won't cut it. You need a dedicated bandwidth backbone .... not shared.

That said, the real answer to "what is the most reliable, cost-effective, small business virtual phone systems is .... it depends. What's best for "you" may not be best for someone else .... and vice versa. To make that decision I simplify things and encourage focusing on understanding 2 things intimately .... the usage load/rate and the system requirements. Then decide based on what does best addressing those.

Given the above, I always recommend Packet8 (aka 8X8) for SMBs. They've been awarded numerous industry awards for their virtual systems specifically designed to support SMBs .... impressive feature sets, very cost effective, flexible packages, top rated reliability, and consistently positive customer care experiences.

Look through the link provided below. There's a number of vendors listed and compared (including 8X8) .... covering pricing and feature descriptions.

Virtual Phone System

For larger enterprises I suggest using the free help available via Business VoIP Solution

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