Monday, October 31, 2011

Who Is Smoothstone IP Communications?

Smoothstone IP Communications is a nationwide provider of unified IP communications services to mid-sized enterprises. Smoothstone delivers Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), IP trunking, unified threat management, MPLS networking, contact center solutions, messaging and advanced collaboration tools as a unified suite of managed services and cloud based applications. Smoothstone's scalable, on-demand applications & services can be integratedwith a customer's existing network and telecommunications infrastructure, operational processes and employee activities, enabling a customer to migrate to unified IP communications as their business requirements dictate.

What You Should Know About Smoothstone IP Communications

Smoothstone has built a nationwide private IP network for delivering voice, data, and video, and local dialtone. Smoothstone caters specifically to enterprises that need to extend IP communications to hundreds or thousands of employees, in multiple geographic locations.

Smoothstone was the first to introduce a converged voice and data service over an MPLS network. The Smoothstone platform as a whole has a distributed architecture, with different features being served from various facilities. Their MPLS services combine best-of-breed carrier networks to create a completely private, fast and flexible solution that lets you prioritize voice, video and data applications, while consolidating all traffic onto a single, easy–to–manage network infrastructure.

Smoothstone can integrate their services with an existing network, or help deploy and manage an MPLS network. Customers are spared the cost of purchasing, deploying, and maintaining the applications, and, to some degree, the infrastructure on which it runs. Second, all maintenance, management, and upgrades are handled by Smoothstone.

Smoothstone offers everything from TDM IP Trunking and SIP trunking to fully-hosted PBX and VoIP to the desktop. Their services include domestic and international calling plans with direct inward dialing (DID), unlimited local calling, four–digit on–net calling and E911. Smoothstone calls never touch the Internet—although they do offer their clients Internet access over the same circuit.

Smoothstone IP Communications Videos



To take advantage of what Smoothstone IP Communications offers .... simply request a free quote here:

Business Ethernet and More

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Telarus - Data, Voice, Cloud ... Mastered

Telarus specializes in telecom and managed service sourcing for enterprise sales organizations. Whatever your business needs for data, voice, or cloud managed services you'll find it with Telarus.

Below is a sampling of what they can offer any business ..... free quotes and low price guarantees from the listed providers on the following:

Mobility .....

* Expense Management - Advantix Solutions Group

* 3G Fixed Wireless - Accel Networks, Broad Sky Networks, EarthLink Business, Level 3 (Sprint 3G), MegaPath, XO Communications

* 3G Mobile Wireless - AT&T, EarthLink Business, TelePacific (Verizon)

* 4G WiMax - Accel Networks, Broad Sky Networks

Internet Access .....

* Business DSL - Broadview Networks, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, MegaPath, NetWolves, PAETEC, RealLinx, TelePacific, Telnes Broadband, Windstream Communications

* Cable Internet - Comcast Business, Time Warner Cable Business Class

* Data T1 - AT&T, ACC Business, AireSpring, Broadview Networks, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, Level 3, MegaPath, Mosaic NetworkX, NetWolves, Nitel, PAETEC, PowerNet Global, CenturyLink, RealLinx, TelePacific, Telnes Broadband, USA Digital Communications, Windstream Communications, XO Communications

* Satellite Fixed Wireless - Broad Sky Networks

* High BW Fixed Wireless(Mircowave) - Airband, PAETEC, TelePacific, XO Communications

* Bonded T1 - AT&T, ACC Business, AireSpring, Broadview Networks, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, Level 3, MegaPath, NetWolves, Nitel, PAETEC, PowerNet Global, CenturyLink, RealLinx, TelePacific, Telnes Broadband, tw telecom, USA Digital Communications, Windstream Communications, XO Communications

* Frac/Full DS3 - AT&T, ACC Business, AireSpring, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, Level 3, MegaPath, Mosaic NetworkX, NetWolves, Nitel, PAETEC, PowerNet Global, CenturyLink, RealLinx, TelePacific, Telnes Broadband, tw telecom, USA Digital Communications, Windstream Communications, XO Communications

* Frac/Full OC3/12/48 - AT&T, ACC Business, AireSpring, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, Level 3, MegaPath, NetWolves, Nitel, PAETEC, PowerNet Global, CenturyLink, RealLinx, TelePacific, Telnes Broadband, tw telecom, USA Digital Communications, Windstream Communications, XO Communications

* Ethernet over Copper (2M - 20M over copper) - AT&T, ACC Business, AireSpring, Broadview Networks, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, Level 3, MegaPath, NetWolves, Nitel, PAETEC (Cavalier Footprint), CenturyLink, Telnes Broadband, TelePacific, Windstream Communications, XO Communications

* Ethernet over DS1/DS3 (1.5M - 45M over serial) - AireSpring, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, Level 3, MegaPath, NetWolves, PAETEC (Cavalier Footprint), PowerNet Global, CenturyLink, TelePacific, Telnes Broadband, Windstream Communications, XO Communications

* Metro Fiber Ethernet (100M - 1G over fiber) - AboveNet, AT&T, ACC Business, Broadview Networks, Integra Telecom, Level 3, NetWolves, Nitel, PAETEC, PowerNet Global, CenturyLink, TelePacific, Time Warner Cable Business Class, Windstream Communications, XO Communications

* Gigabit Ethernet (1G-40G over fiber) - AboveNet, AT&T, ACC Business, Broadview Networks, Level 3, PAETEC (Cavalier Footprint), PowerNet Global, CenturyLink, Time Warner Cable Business Class

* International DIA - AboveNet, Accel Networks, Global Telecom and Technology, Level 3, CenturyLink, tw telecom, XO Communications

Integrated Products ....

* Integrated (SIP Handoff) - AT&T, ACC Business, AireSpring, Broadview Networks, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, Level 3, MegaPath, PAETEC, PowerNet Global, CenturyLink, RealLinx, TelePacific, Telnes Broadband, tw telecom, Windstream Communications, XO Communications

* Integrated (PRI Handoff) - AT&T, ACC Business, AireSpring, Broadview Networks, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, Comcast Business, Level 3, MegaPath, PAETEC, CenturyLink, RealLinx, TelePacific, Telnes Broadband, tw telecom, Windstream Communications, XO Communications

* Integrated (Analog Handoff) - AT&T, ACC Business, AireSpring, Broadview Networks, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, Comcast Business, Level 3, MegaPath, PAETEC, CenturyLink, RealLinx, TelePacific, Telnes Broadband, tw telecom, Windstream Communications, XO Communications

Voice Products .....

* POTS Lines - AT&T, Broadview Networks, Comcast Business*, Ernest, Integra Telecom, PAETEC (Cavalier Footprint), CenturyLink, TelePacific, Time Warner Cable Business Class*, Windstream Communications

* Hosted PBX (SMB) - Airband, Broadview Networks, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, MegaPath, PAETEC (Cavalier), RealLinx, Vocal IP Networx, Windstream Communications

* IP-PBX Equipment (SMB) - PAETEC (Allworx), Broadview Networks,

* Hosted PBX (Call Center/Enterprise) - Vocal IP Networx, Smoothstone IP Communications

* Local Voice - Airband, AT&T, ACC Business, AireSpring, Broadview Networks, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, Level 3, PAETEC, PowerNet Global, CenturyLink, TelePacific, tw telecom, Windstream Communications, XO Communications

* Dedicated LD (In/Out) - ACC Business, AireSpring, Broadview Networks, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, Level 3, NetWolves, PAETEC, PowerNet Global, CenturyLink, RealLinx, TelePacific, USA Digital Communications, XO Communications

* Dedicated Voice (Call Center) - AireSpring, NetWolves, PowerNet Global, RealLinx, USA Digital Communications

* SIP (Local/LD Trunks) - Airband, AireSpring, Broadview Networks, EarthLink Business, Level 3, PAETEC, PowerNet Global, CenturyLink, RealLinx, TelePacific, USA Digital Communications, XO Communications

* SIP (LD Buckets) - AireSpring, Bandtel, Broadview Networks,

* Voice over MPLS - Level 3, MegaPath, NetWolves, USA Digital Communications 3 Days
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) XO Communications

* Audio/Web Conferencing - AccuConference, CenturyLink

Networks Carriers ....

* Point to Point USA Domestic (1.5MB - 1GB) - AboveNet, Airband, AT&T, ACC Business, Broad Sky Networks, Broadview Networks, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, Level 3, MegaPath, Mosaic NetworkX, NetWolves, Nitel, PAETEC, PowerNet Global, CenturyLink, RealLinx, TelePacific, Telnes Broadband, Time Warner Cable Business Class, tw telecom, USA Digital Communications, XO Communications

* Point to Point (Microwave) - Airband, Broad Sky Networks

* Point to Point (International) - AboveNet, ACC Business, Level 3, CenturyLink, XO Communications

* MPLS - AT&T, ACC Business, AireSpring, Broadview Networks, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, Level 3, MegaPath, NetWolves, NetWolves, Nitel, PowerNet Global, PAETEC, CenturyLink, RealLinx, Smoothstone IP Communications, TelePacific, Telnes Broadband, tw telecom, USA Digital Communications, Windstream Communications, XO Communications

* Ethernet WAN - AboveNet, AT&T, ACC Business, EarthLink Business, Integra Telecom, Level 3, PAETEC, CenturyLink, Time Warner Cable Business Class, tw telecom, Windstream Communications, XO Communications

* VPLS - AboveNet, AT&T, ACC Business, Level 3, PAETEC, CenturyLink, tw telecom, USA Digital Communications, XO Communications

* International VPLS - AboveNet,

* International WAN - Global Telecom and Technology, XO Communications

Managed Services ....

* Colocation - Broadview Networks, EarthLink Business, Level 3, Mosaic NetworkX, CenturyLink, TelePacific, Telx, USA Digital Communications, Windstream Communications, XO Communications

* Google Apps for Business - Windstream Communications

* Managed Firewall - Airband, Broadview Networks, MegaPath, NetWolves, TelePacific, Telnes Broadband, XO Communications

* Microsoft Exchange - XO Communications

* SSL VPN - MegaPath

Any business wanting more information on any of the services and providers listed above can request a free quote here: Telarus

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Monday, October 24, 2011

"Business Class" vs "Residential Class" Internet Connections

Why in the world would a business choose a T3 over much cheaper alternatives and what is the difference between "Residential" class and "Business" class?

This is a real question asked recently.

Here is how I think of it, when answering the reliability question...

T1 or T3 line is "powered" by the phone company, the phone company is very good about keeping all there equipment powered even when there is a disaster or major power outage because all their equipment is actually run by battery banks. These banks can run the equipment for 8+ hours, and are kept charging when line power is available. Because a T1 or T3 may carry voice traffic, such as 911 calls, up-time is important. Even if there are ground vaults or other devices that require power between the phone company's central office (datacenter) and your office, these are all treated with the same battery banks, and pre-terminated trailer generator connections. Phone tech's will tell you that T1 and other Hi-capacity lines usually get fixed first, POTS (or a single analog line with 1 number) will get fixed last. In many cases (but not all) you can consider a line from the phone company a "home run" to your location - as in, it's dedicated to you (your business) all the way from them (the phone company central office).

The cable company however (like Comcast) requires many, many, more powered amps and splitters along the coax line. Sometimes these are aerial (on the line up near the power pole) and sometimes these are on the ground, either way they require power usually taken from the nearest power pole, and only sometimes do these get a UPS system (usually a cabinet that says Alpha on it, at least in IL) and this UPS is only good for about 6 hours (at least in my area, IL) When a cabinet is run out of battery, that's it, there is no pre-terminated generator connection, nor do they think it important to bring one. On the rare case that they do, I've seen them take your standard construction site little gas generator, chain it to the power pole, and hard-wire it into the Alpha cabinet, leaving the front panel off so the cord will run in. :-/ Obviously if a large area is without power, they can't afford or keep doing this to the hundreds of Alpha cabinets in the area - they just "give up" and wait for power to be restored. Beyond the power issue is the "shared" issue, the coax line is shared by all customers off the local cable plant, when one splitter needs to be replaced, or put in-line, they don't think twice about cutting everyone's service out to do it. Similarly when one amp needs replacing, it cuts off everything else further down the line.

Supposedly, "Business class" cable modem service is supposed to get better throughput than Residential, and in most areas it's true, but you have to remember both are part of the same, single, coax cable run through your community, so one cannot really be considered more reliable, and any SLA is really only intended to make you "feel good" or give you better credits for downtime, there is nothing physically different about the service. The exception is when Comcast can offer you a fiber line, or their equivalent of Metro Ethernet, which is not coming into your building over coax - this is much pricier.

The actual data part, in terms of routing is pretty similar between the two - in both cases the routing and Internet redundancy is done back and the central office, not out at the street level.

Regardless of your connection type, within your company your should have the modem/router/CPE connected to your own, long lasting, UPS.

You need to decide how important your phone/data service is, and have a backup plan (call forwarding) if it goes down.

As an example, when major storms came through this summer, and many were without power for days...

- My customers on cable modem did OK for anywhere from 4 to 7 hours after the loss of power (Alpha boxes were still powering the line, but were then depleted) This is about the same as why traffic lights blink red for awhile after the power outage, but then eventually go dark)

- My customers on T1 or T3 lines never lost service however

...if your not concerned about such extreme cases, maybe paying significantly less for monthly service is acceptable - more often then not that's what small businesses choose.

For assistance with making the right choice on a bandwidth solution for your business .... at no cost to you ... simply request a free quote here:

DS3 Bandwidth

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Broadband Fiber vs Coax

Is "slow" fiber better than "fast" cable?

The cost of 5x5 Mbps fiber Internet is higher because of a few reasons:

[1] it's "dedicated" just for your use (not split off and shared with others nearby)

[2] it's symmetrical (which usually also connotates FULL duplex, instead of half duplex, ie: download and upload can occur simultaneously)

[3] bandwidth is truly UNLIMITED, no hidden caps

[4] includes a Service Level Agreement (SLA) which guarantees uptime/performance/throughput.

Generally speaking, symmetrical type bandwidth is considered "commercial grade" and tends to be used by the SMB/Enterprise market VS. consumer/residential end users. All because of the reasons I listed above, plus it lends itself to work better in a LAN environment- as the circuit is robust, efficient, and quite reliable, etc. You really get what you pay for. Finally, if you have applications that require real time traffic, such as: VoIP, SIP, and video conferencing + Citrix, VPN, heavy file transfer- commercial bandwidth (T1, DS3, Metro Fiber Ethernet) is essential.

Anyone else care to comment on the relative advantages of fiber vs coax?

In other words why would the much higher cost of fiber be worth it?

Weigh in with your thoughts .....

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Monday, October 17, 2011

October Telecom Industry News

Here's the news for October from the Telecommunications industry. Get the latest from vendors such as AboveNet, AT&T, Broadview Networks, Integra Networks, Megapath, XO Communications, PAETEC, Level 3 Telecommunications, Telx, and Time Warner Cable.

AboveNet - may not be offering cloud services in the classic sense, but its new agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to become an AWS Direct Connect Solution Provider illustrates how its fiber network can be an enabler for the cloud services market.

AT&T ....

* AT&T will officially launch its faster LTE wireless service on Sunday in five cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

* In a move to salvage its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, AT&T has reportedly approached smaller competitors to sell spectrum and subscribers.

* Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky has asked the FCC to hold off on its decision on the proposed AT&T-Mobile merger until the Justice Department's antitrust suit is settled, preferably a negotiated settlement with telecom companies.

Broadview Networks - rolled out key enhancements to its flagship cloud-based OfficeSuite(TM) hosted IP phone service. OfficeSuite(TM) is now even more user friendly, provides more ubiquitous access via mobile and web applications, and includes a new set of options and features that let companies realize faster the benefits of the system while lowering their total cost of ownership.

Integra Telecom - introduced a cloud security services suite of managed, networked-based security products for companies that rely on the Internet for their business and need to protect their network from unauthorized and malicious access and content. The first available product is Cloud Firewall Service, a network-based unified threat prevention service that provides secure inbound and outbound Internet access without the need for on-premise equipment or additional staff.

Level 3 ....

* Level 3 Communications, Inc. announced that it is now offering a new wide area networking (WAN) solution for enterprises. The solution offers a comprehensive approach to enterprise networking needs, including an integrated portfolio of Level 3's advanced services, to better enable enterprises to optimize the performance of critical business applications.

* Level 3 Communications Inc. said Tuesday it completed its acquisition of Global Crossing Ltd. in a stock swap valued at about $2 billion. Both companies operate long-distance telecommunications networks.

MegaPath - is expanding its use of Adtran Ethernet-over-copper gear to create a nationwide Ethernet footprint that will reach 680 Central Offices (COs) by June 2012.

PAETEC - PAETEC announced the nationwide launch of the cloud-based Advanced Application Reporting (AAR) solution as part of its comprehensive portfolio of data and cloud solutions for enterprise businesses, universities, and government institutions. Using the system, IT leaders and administrators can monitor IP-based traffic by application across their entire network to improve performance with near real-time reporting in five-minute intervals. IT management may then use that information to support their end users, troubleshoot network issues, and plan for future growth and new application deployment.

Telx - announced the successful completion of SSAE 16 compliance in 12 data centers.

Time Warner Cable - is pumping $15 million into a new Wi-Fi network in the Los Angeles area that all TWC high-speed data customers will be able to access for free. The New York City-based cable giant also plans to offer a pay-as-you-go, fee-based service to non-customers and visitors to L.A.

XO Communications ....

* XO Communications announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Laura W. Thomas, XO's Chief Financial Officer, to lead the company as interim Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Ms. Thomas will also retain responsibility for the company's financial leadership as chief financial officer at this time.

* XO Holdings, the telecommunications provider backed by billionaire Carl Icahn, has become a private company.

To learn more and take advantage of any of the services mentioned above simply request a free quote here ....

DS3 Bandwidth, Business Ethernet, and More

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cable Pulling Ahead of Telcos Globally .... IPTV Doing Well, Cable Broadband and VoIP Doing Better

TeleGeography directs your attention to their latest report, which notes that while phone companies are doing a good job luring users to new IPTV services, cable operators are doing a better job luring broadband and Internet voice customers. According to the research firm, global IPTV subscribers passed the 50 million mark, while cable operators now stake claim to 100 million broadband subscribers and over 65 million voice subscribers on their networks.

Read more from Karl Bode here ....

Cable Pulling Ahead of Telcos Globally

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Monday, October 10, 2011

National Broadband Map Updated ... Still Omits Real-World Speeds, Price

Back in February the government launched the nation's first ever national broadband map. Unfortunately, the map was met with significant criticism due the fact the data collected from ISPs drastically overstates speeds, doesn't include price, and the map often tells users ISPs serve their area when they don't. While the government insisted the $300 million map would improve given constant updates, the first update to the map since its February launch arrived this week. While the update increases the amount of data collected from 1,650 ISPs to 1,731, the map still appears to have a strong tendency to overstate speeds and hallucinate competitors.

Read more on this observation by Karl Bode here ....

National Broadband Map

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Comcast Metro Ethernet - Now Available!

Comcast is the owner of the country's largest Fiber network and has a large number of lit buildings, including most data centers.

Here are four products available to you (10MB to 10GB):

* Ethernet Dedicated Internet (EDI)

* Ethernet Private Line (EPL)

* Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL)

* Ethernet Data Network / Meshed Network (EDN)

All products are regular, business-grade, symmetric, fiber products built specifically for Enterprise. None of their enterprise traffic touches any piece of their residential network - the two are completely and totally separate. In fact, the Enterprise network is less than 2 years old and has the BEST, NEWEST networking equipment on the market. Their prices are unbelievably inexpensive - in the few quotes we've already run we've seen 1GB pipes go for $5000. Talk about "disruptive"!

To request a fiber quote, simply do so from this website:

Business Ethernet

Comcast can also deliver PRI service over Fiber (customers receive a $100 MRC discount for every PRI over Fiber). Comcast pulls more Fiber than any other carrier in the country, creating new opportunities for your business to save every day.

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Monday, October 03, 2011

Hosted PBX - Good Business Choice?

A hosted PBX solution may not be right for every business application. But if you do your due diligence you may find it's a good business choice for you.

One key is that when you talk about hosted PBX (VoIP) .... it can mean different things to different people.

The intent of hosted PBX / VOIP is to provide the service at a fixed monthly cost rather than taking in the capital cost of a purchased solution. It can also be used to invest in a more feature rich solution than would otherwise be affordable (renting a piece of a very expensive system vs buying a lesser system)

There are two types of hosted providers out there - on premise and off premise. On premise providers bring in the equipment to YOUR site and install it - you just pay for it monthly (think fully managed lease).

Off site providers use private WAN or Internet connections to provide phone services for your organization.

One of the biggest problems you will face with the number of users and simultaneous phone calls will be in the connection between you and the hosted datacenter. With say 200 - 300 phones .... and an average use of 10% for normal businesses .... that's 20-30 phone calls. Depending on the codec in use that's between 900 Kb/s and 2Mb/s. That would only cover 1-2 T1s of usage. Depending on the platform interoffice calls may also be routed via the hosted platform - so that should be a consideration as well. If cost savings is your primary concern - then this could be an issue (depending on the price of bandwidth in your area and whether its on premise or not).

Many organizations can see benefits from hosted including reduced capex, organizational efficiencies, productivity enhancement and much lower maintenance and management costs. However I would caution you to avoid platforms that do not provide QoS throughout the network. There's a big difference between the soho / smb product lines and an enterprise grade service; and QoS over the network (not just the LAN or at the edge) is one of the biggest. Additionally, you should have a consultant perform a LAN assessment to determine the ability of your LAN to handle the VoIP traffic without degradation. It may require upgrades, adding to the expense.

I'll be the first to say that this solution is NOT right for every customer application.

VoIP in all forms is viable depending on the needs of the customer and how it is engineered. There's a difference between enterprise grade and consumer/smb/soho offerings. I suggest you spend some time with a qualified and objective consultant. For a relatively small investment of time they can educate you and help guide you to a decision. For this I suggest you take advantage of the no cost assistance offered through Business VoIP Solution.

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