Author Archives: InfoStructure

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Solutions Becoming More Popular for Small Business Phone Systems.

virtual phone system

A new report by VoIP software analysis company, Software Advice  surveyed over 350 businesses and found that although small businesses still rely on both landlines and mobile phones, small businesses are shifting towards virtual phone systems. This report surveyed over 350 businesses with annual revenues of $190 million or less during 2013-2014 – the goal of the report was to try to determine pain points and reasons for purchasing a new small business phone system.

  • More than half of potential buyers were investing in business VoIP service for the first time.
  • Scalability and reliability were the primary concerns when evaluating new phone systems.
  • A vast majority wanted a hosted solution, not an on-premise IP-P­BX.
Traditional PSTN and mobile connections going to the wayside

The research concluded that 31% of small businesses were still using a landline and 13% relied exclusively on their mobile phones as their main source of business communications. Over half of buyers (57%) asked said that they were looking to invest in a VoIP service for the first time.

Reliability and scalability important factor

17% of the sample noted lack of reliability as the largest issue with their current business phone system. Issues with connectivity and dropped calls were frequent problems for the surveyed buyers. Other buyers noted that their system’s maximum capacity was not large enough to accommodate company growth – about 15%.

Top reasons for new purchases

15% of those businesses surveyed said that a system with a lower price was important, 14% said that increased functionality was another major incentive to switch to VoIP.

Support was a major pain point for many buyers. One buyer noted that every time he needed to make changes to the system, he had to call someone else to do it.

Surprisingly for telecom professionals, improved call quality was not a major concern. Only a few buyers reported audio quality issues such as “static.” This finding is congruent with the results of a recent survey conducted on public concerns about VoIP, which found that only 10% of consumers were worried about call quality with VoIP services.

Cloud-based systems popular with small businesses

The reliability and support concerns that were uncovered create a high level of interest in hosted (web-based) solutions. None of the small business owners that were surveyed wanted to purchase an on-premise IP-PBX. 77% of the sample wanted a web-based solution, while 23% did not have a preference. This suggests that many small businesses do not have the IT staff necessary to maintain an on-premise system. Buyers like this tend to prefer a hosted solution that maintains itself and also grants administrative and user access through an internet browser.

Most desired applications – Auto Attendant at the top

Most buyers surveyed wanted private branch exchange (PBX) functionality from their phone systems—and those who did not specify this preference probably wanted a PBX without knowing the word for it, since PBX functionality is the backbone of a small business phone system.

After the need for extensions and directories, an auto attendant was easily the most in-demand application among the buyers surveyed. The popularity of the auto attendant stems from its ability to make any small business sound like a larger enterprise – for example, a local pet store. One business owner noted that he wants an auto attendant to give the appearance that his company is larger than it really is.

Voicemail-to-email and number portability also important

The death of voicemail has been proclaimed for nearly a decade now but more buyers (28%) requested this feature than any other. Also, 9% of buyers expressed a high level of interest in caller ID and 7% in voicemail-to-email functionality. Another very popular feature is number portability (7%). A number of buyers insisted that keeping their original number was a requirement. Not having number portability was a deal breaker for many small-business owners.

Conclusion

Even though many still rely on landlines or mobile phones, the data shows that small businesses are shifting toward VoIP solutions. These buyers are interested in solutions that are scalable and reliable. They want to add users easily and inexpensively as their business grows. Few buyers surveyed have an IT background, so effective technical support and reliability is very important. Small-business owners are interested in unified communications solutions that offer features such as voicemail-to-email. Since 13% of surveyed buyers are reliant on their mobile phones for business communications, small-business owners are interested in remote access and control of their phone systems. As VoIP technology continues to advance, it will become easier for small businesses to integrate voice calling, video conferencing, email, voicemail and chat using technologies that were formerly restricted. If you are interested in VoIP as your small business phone system then contact InfoStructure today to find out how your business phone system can be upgraded to a hosted PBX at an affordable price.

Top 5 Ways to Speed up Web Browsing

speed up your internet1. Use passwords that are secure

If your browser offers a master password option, use it. If you are using one weak password with all your site logins, you could be jeopardizing your private data. Using a secure password system can fix that. If you’re using different browsers across different systems, you can keep your password synced with Dropbox, or take care of bookmarks as well with Foxmarks (Firefox only).

2. Use OpenDNS on your browser and/or router

With OpenDNS (a free service that can speed up your page connections) open pages from keyword shortcuts, operate with a parental filter, and avoid spam pages. This service provides detailed how-to instructions for both individual computers and routers, so it’s definitely worth a try.

3. Block Flash and/or JavaScript

If you are using Firefox, install the Adblock Plus and Flashblock extensions, and sites slowed down by Flash and huge display ads will load quite a bit faster. If you’re able to tweak your router, set up universal ad-blocking through it with the Tomato firmware, or use a solution specific to Chrome, on Internet Explorer through the Toggle Flash add-on or IE7Pro plug-in, and even on your iPhone or iPod touch.

4. Use RSS feeds and mobile versions instead of heavy sites

RSS feeds are great for getting a lot of reading done in a short amount of time. Google Reader webapp and NetNewsWire/NewsGator’s desktop clients are both great way to catch up on your regular web reading with a minimum of bandwidth or witout a connection whatsoever. You can run any site that is loaded full of news through the Google Mobilizer for a version that is fast enough for a mobile phone, and very fast on a desktop.

5. Tweak Connection rates on your home wireless network

Your wireless router can actually regulate bandwidth while watching your XBox, BitTorrent downloads, multiple laptops, and other web-connected apps and gear fight it out for a finite amount of bandwidth. Many routers let you negotiate connection rate using quality of service settings. Those routers that don’t have these settings can often be made to do so by installing DD-WRT or Tomato. The end result? You can let heavy video games run in the evenings, set BitTorrent free in the middle of the night and keep your browser quiet during the day.

InfoStructure Voices in on IP Phone Security

cyber pirateJust recently, InfoStructure employee Derrick Sisson came across this article in which a small business is now faced with a $166,000 bill for fraudulent telephone charges. Derrick says, “There are several ways fraud like this happens. Of course we all know the dreaded SIP hacks and VoIP weakness of being out on the internet, but that’s not the only way a customer is vulnerable to fraud….Once they have access they are able to do anything they want including  making International calls undetected by the customer…” We are aware of the risks that face IP Phone systems and below are some ideas that will help maintain the security of your IP Phone System.

Protect Your Voice!

Hacking into phone calls via IP Telephony (also known as VoIP) opens a veritable gold mine of valuable data and information. Large financial boons are at risk in government agencies, financial institutions, and professional services firms. Also at risk are call centers where health records, confidential account information and payment card data can get hacked. Hacking voicemail has also become popular as it exposes private business information and celebrity secrets. Toll fraud is also being committed by large groups of phone pirates who are committed to compromising the security of your phones.

Doing Nothing Can Be Costly

The risks in VoIP go beyond eavesdropping, toll fraud, and voicemail hacks. IP phones can also be entry points into your business network. VoIP calls and voicemail messages are data and can possibly get hacked. If you use a hosted IP phone service or a VoIP system, protecting these networks are similar to protecting a data network. The security policies and technologies can be complex, depending on the IP phone system you’re using, whether onsite or hosted. Following is an introduction to some IP phone security strategies:

Scrutinize Your Hosted VoIP System

Evaluate services such as user authentication, encryption, and VLAN configuration and also check the security of configuring and signaling methods. Also investigate any HIPAA, SOX, PCI, or other compliance guidance that apply.

Take advantage of features on your VoIP system that enable security. Essentially:
  • Place network restrictions on types of calls by device, user, and other criteria.
  • Control voice network access by user name and password and/or device certificate.
Apply physical and logical protection, such as:
  • Install OS updates and limit software loading on phones.
  • Lock voice servers for administration. Use domain restr­­­ictions and two-factor authentication for administrative access, including signaling data, configuration files and credentials.
  • Set up a firewall and intrusion prevention system (IPS) to regulate authorized and unauthorized VoIP traffic and to track abnormal voice activities.
Use VLANs to Segment Voice Traffic and Separate It from Data Traffic
  • Some voice systems and switches support device discovery protocols and automatically assign IP phones to voice VLANs.
Sensitive Voice Traffic Should Be Encrypted
  • Encrypt your Internet gateway with Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) over Transport Layer Security (TLS).
  • Apply encryption by segment, device, or user; indiscriminate encrypting can result in excessive network latency or introduce operational overhead and complexity.
  • Encrypt the media (packets) with protocols such as SRTP.
  • Use VPNs for network connections by remote phones. This is important when SRTP or HTTPS is not available.
Implement Strict Security Policies with Users
  • Communicate your phones’ built-in security features to users.
  • Apply strong passwords to access the voicemail inbox. Immediately change the default password to a strong password, then change it as often as your company’s policy dictates for changing login and email passwords.
  • Delete sensitive voicemail messages as soon as users have listened to them. Not storing voicemails is the easiest and most effective way to protect them.
  • Immediately report anomalies. You may not know a phone has been hacked until an employee reports an odd occurrence, such as a saved voicemail message that has been deleted or forwarded to an unusual number.

Don’t let cybercriminals find your IP phones and voice systems accessible to attack. Equip yourself with tools that protect your sensitive data files today.

 

InfoStructure Honored as Best Small Business at Medford Chamber’s 2014 Excellence in Business Awards

InfoStructure Owners Jeff Rhoden, Scott Hansen and Chad Cota

InfoStructure Owners Jeff Rhoden, Scott Hansen and Chad Cota

Medford, Oregon – September 11, 2014 – InfoStructure is honored to accept this year’s, “Business Excellence, Small – Sized Business” award.

The Medford Chamber’s Excellence in Business Awards and Annual Meeting features those honored by the Chamber of Medford/Jackson County for exhibitions of leadership, community support, individual and community based excellence as well as those aspiring new members that have dedicated thier time, goods and energy to enhancing our community and the valley we live in.

Photo by Gerry Katz.

Porting Rules

CSR and LSR Submissions:

  • All requests must be submitted to our company via email. The address to submit CSR requests and LSR’s to is: csrlsr@infostructure.net .
  • Submissions to any other email address or by any other method will meet with significant delays in processing or may not be processed.
  • Please include a copy of your signed LOA with your CSR request.
  • LSR’s must be properly filled out and contain the Auth Name on the LSR form; the same person who signed your LOA.

Porting Intervals:

  • Simple Ports (1 TN) – May request 2-3 business day port date.
  • Standard ports (99 TN’s or less) – May request 3-5 business day port date.
  • Project Ports (100+ TN’s) – Requires an additional 2 business days to reconcile account records before FOC is issued. Suggested minimum of 5 -7 business days for a requested port date.

Response Time:

  • We will make every effort to respond to all properly submitted requests within 1 business day, however sometimes there are delays due to unforeseen circumstances. Our normal business hours are Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm.
  • All submissions received after 3pm local time (PST) are considered to have been received “the next business day”. Please take this into account when requesting status updates (see Escalations process below).

Escalations:

  • If you have not received a response to your status request 2 days after submission of your original CSR or LSR, please have your Customer info or PON ready and contact our porting department directly:

1st Escalations Contact: Send an email to csrlsr@infostructure.net requesting status update on your submission, response will be issued within 1 business day.

2nd Escalations Contact: Victoria Koski
Email: vkoski@infostructure.net
Direct: 541.492.3022

InfoStructure Equipment Manuals

Polycom Manuals
VVX_500_600_UserGuide_UCS_4_1_2
VVX_400_410_UserGuide_UCS_4_1_4
VVX_300_310_UserGuide_UCS_4_1_4
SoundPoint_IP_650_User_Guide_SIP_3_1
SoundPointIP_450_User_Guide_UCS_v4_0_1
spip_320x_33x_User_Guide_SIP_3_2_1RevB

Aastra Manuals
6730i
6731i
6735i
6737i
6739i
6753i
6755i
6757i
6757iCT

Linksys/Cisco Manuals
SPA2102_QuickStartGuide
spa8000_quick
spa232d_ag_78-20305

Adtran Manuals
Adtran_Internet_Configuration_Guide

OSX Dial-up Setup

1. First click on the Apple and choose system preferences

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2. Find and click on the Network icon, click the PLUS + in the lower left

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3. Select your modem – in the example we are setting up a bluetooth dial-up modem

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4. Enter the phone number, if you need the local number for your area please call our support department.
Also enter your email address and password then apply the settings

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Windows XP Dial-Up Setup

1. First click Start and Control panel, in the control panel window open Internet Options

dunxp1

2. Click the tab that reads Connections and click the Setup button

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3. Click Next on the first screen

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4. Leave the radio selection on Connect to the Internet and click next

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5. Select the second option that says Setup my connection manually and click next

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6. Leave the radio selection on Connect using a dial-up modem and click next

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7. Enter a name for the connection, this can be anything, we called it InfoStructure and click next

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8. Enter the phone number you got from our support department, if you do not have the local number for your area please call support, click next

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9. Enter your full email address and password, confirm the password and click next

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10. If you want a shortcut to the connection on your desktop click the check box then click finish

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Salem

On-netCoverageMap

Oregon’s most advanced and newest network is avaliable in Salem!

We know that you have a lot of options for Internet Service in Salem. We also know that the ability to pick up your phone and get someone locally to respond to your question or issue is very important to many of you.

Today’s technology evolves faster than products can be purchased and implemented and certainly long before any ROI is realized; technology capital investment purchases may soon prove to be a thing of the past. We provide next generation voice, data, internet, hosted, cloud and colocation solutions requiring little to no upfront investment keeping your business on the forefront of technology. Always up to date and maintenance free, your Salem Oregon business can compete without fear of unexpected costs outside your budget. InfoStructure makes the investment of “best in class” technology solutions, delivery, support and customer service. InfoStructure is the next generation provider of business communication and technology solutions.

High Speed Internet
Ethernet over Cable
99.999% Reliability
3 Diverse Paths
100% Redundant Fiber Ring
Tier 1 Internet
No single point of failure
QoS Enabled
Service Level Agreements
ON-NET Services include: Cloud Communications, EOC (Ethernet Over Copper), Bonded Broadband, T-1, SIP, VoIP, POTS & more.
Other areas served: Portland, Oregon City, Hillsboro, Woodburn, Eugene, Albany, Corvalis, Redmond, Bend, La Pine, Roseburg, Medford, Grants Pass, Ashland.

Roseburg

On-netCoverageMap

Oregon’s most advanced and newest network is available in Roseburg!

We know that you have a lot of options for Internet Service in Roseburg. We also know that the ability to pick up your phone and get someone locally to respond to your question or issue is very important to many of you.

Today’s technology evolves faster than products can be purchased and implemented and certainly long before any ROI is realized; technology capital investment purchases may soon prove to be a thing of the past. We provide next generation voice, data, internet, hosted, cloud and colocation solutions requiring little to no upfront investment keeping your business on the forefront of technology. Always up to date and maintenance free, your Roseburg business can compete without fear of unexpected costs outside your budget. InfoStructure makes the investment of “best in class” technology solutions, delivery, support and customer service. InfoStructure is the next generation provider of business communication and technology solutions.

High Speed Internet
Ethernet over Cable
99.999% Reliability
3 Diverse Paths
100% Redundant Fiber Ring
Tier 1 Internet
No single point of failure
QoS Enabled
Service Level Agreements
ON-NET Services include: Cloud Communications, EOC (Ethernet Over Copper), Bonded Broadband, T-1, SIP, VoIP, POTS & more.
Other areas served: Portland, Oregon City, Hillsboro, Woodburn, Eugene, Salem, Albany, Corvalis, Redmond, Bend, La Pine, Medford, Grants Pass, Ashland.