Category Archives: Telecommunications

Competitive Edge of Small Carrier

Businesses Bandwidth and the Need for Speed

It may be tempting to believe that information comes out of thin air, but the infrastructure of internet communication is not magic. Rather, data runs on physical lines and through network devices that can only carry a finite amount of traffic. Given that business functions are increasingly turning over to web applications, customers are using the internet as the primary point of contact with a business, and phone lines are increasingly being replaced with voice over IP (VoIP) systems, a company cannot neglect its bandwidth needs.
It is not uncommon to hear the results of dropped packets due to bandwidth constraints when using web applications such as Skype. Audio calls, video conferencing, media streaming, employees running media from third-party sites, and other bandwidth intensive uses compete with traffic needed by applications that handle primary business functions. There are some general guidelines for how much bandwidth a business may need:
• 2 megabytes per second will cover medium to low-definition video chat, social media, limited voice calls, and most inter-office text communication such as IM and email.
• 5 megabytes per second will cover all of the above plus high definition video and medium file transfers.
• 10 megabytes per second will enable large file transfers and most of the other intensive, high-tech needs of a modern business.
A business should consider high-speed internet and its network capabilities with as much thought as its business plan, its recruiting/talent retention, and its sales/marketing efforts. In order to ensure that your bandwidth capabilities are up to par with the strategic vision of your company, contact your trusted service provider.

Business VoIP Success Stories

Business VoIP is on the rise since it is a scalable and cost-effective option for leveraging telephone communications across an organization. Advocacy for VoIP services is all over the world of telecommunications not simply because of the hard data produced to support it, but because there are many real case studies of business VoIP success:

• NuVo Technologies, a Hebron, KY producer of high-end audio equipment, would have 20 – 30 callers hang up while on hold with its traditional phone system. With no abilities to project how long callers would be on hold or any real abilities to monitor the hold queue, the situation cost the company business. After transitioning to a VoIP system, NuVo can better analyze call patterns and field customer needs. Furthermore, the system aids in telecommuting which helps business continuity and emergency management.

• The Mennonite Mission Network, a religious outreach group which supported four offices and as part of its mission had nearly 30 long-distance employees and staff traveling all over the world, needed an effective replacement for its aging phone systems. Due to the need for mobility in missionary work, it was decided that as much flexibility as possible was needed in the solution. Ultimately, the MMM saved $15,000 to $18,000 a year with the new system and recouped its investment in 25 months.

• Sportsman’s Warehouse, a national chain of outdoor retailers, was achieving a 50% annual growth and had a phone system that could not keep up with that growth. The company needed a centralized phone systm to keep up with the rapid growth and new locations popping up across the country. Their goal is always to have customers in the store within two weeks of occupying a new building, a goal which the easy setup of a VoIP system helps achieve. With its new system the company is able to manage 2000 phones with an IT department of just 22 employees.

These are just a handful of business VoIP success stories. Contact InfoStructure and we will explain how we have assisted our customers in making this winning transition.

Exciting Trends in IP Business Communications for 2013

The Emerging Mobile Majority
The rapid adoption of mobile devices in the workplace continues to enhance productivity and efficiency. A recent report by Forrester observes, “A full 66 percent of employees now use two or more devices for work every day including desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets.”

Integrating Public and Private Clouds
The emerging mobile workplace requires an ability to switch between public and private clouds, and to do so both securely and seamlessly. Companies will be challenged to enthusiastically and competently embrace change and support cloud-based applications.

In 2013, in excess of 60 percent of companies will have instituted cloud computing to some degree, according to a recent Gartner report.

Security Initiatives
The need for cloud-based security is no longer just good business, it is essential. The need to protect proprietary data is self-evident. So is the need to keep customer information secure as well.

Also, legal mandates are as substantial as ever. Current initiatives include health care clouds to address privacy requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The public sector is looking to cloud-based solutions to maintain compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act. Finally, the payment card industry’s rapid emergence in mobile device-based transactions creates a host of new security needs in the cloud.

IP Traffic Growth — 29% per year
The pervasiveness of mobile devices and cloud-based computing will be driving forces in 2013 and beyond. The Cisco Visual Networking Index projects annual compound growth in IP traffic of a dramatic 29 percent through 2016. Consumers and employees alike will increasingly expect smart and secure networks to enhance their productivity and their lives.

About Us
InfoStructure is one of a new generation of IP business communications providers that is creatively harnessing the internet’s power and potential. In 18 years, we have grown from an Oregon-based ISP provider to a company with a fully redundant IP network that enables an array of IP voice and data services, including business VoIP. For information on how we can assist in the growth of your enterprise, contact us today.

Is EOC a Good Fit for You?

You know what they always say – time is money. Well, the reason they always say that is because it’s true. When your time is your most valuable asset, you don’t want to waste any of it waiting on inadequate connection speeds or dealing with interrupted service. If you need fast, reliable internet service at affordable prices, Ethernet over copper (EOC) might be the best business internet solution for you.
If your business is growing to the point that you’ve outgrown traditional DSL, then Ethernet over copper is an affordable way to take things to the next level. EOC can offer higher bandwidth that is easily scalable and extremely reliable. Depending upon your business location, it offers bandwidth speeds up to 45 Mbps, while remaining less expensive than a T-1.
EOC uses the existing copper telephone wires already in place, so the installation time tends to be relatively quick. Ethernet over copper combines that infrastructure already in place with new technology to bring greater reliability to your internet service. EOC uses multiple wire pairs, so if one pair goes offline, others can be accessed.
Is EOC the right choice for your business? If you need more bandwidth and faster network speeds, along with disaster recovery solutions and redundancy to protect your information assets, take a close look at EOC. Deployed on the best EOC technology available, InfoStream EOC is designed for businesses like yours.
Gain the bandwidth you need to save your business time and money. Contact us for information on pricing and availability in your area.

SIP Trunking: What Is It and How Does It Support My Business

Cutting costs and increasing productivity is the mantra of most businesses today. Taking advantage of new telecom technologies is a prime way to increase communication and collaboration inside and outside the organization. To take full advantage of your business telephone services consider utilizing SIP Trunking.

In traditional telephony a physical circuit is need to connect the telephone system (PBX) to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). If you have various locations connected to your PBX, you are probably paying for a T1-PRI (Primary Rate Interface) to each, or if your capacity is larger than 23 channels you may have to purchase additional PRI circuits. With SIP trunking you eliminate the need for the physical circuit and receive telephone service over the data network instead; voice simply becomes another service running on your data network. The SIP trunk can carry voice, data and video all at the same time.

There is more to the cost efficiency of SIP trunking. As mentioned above, PRI is sold in increments of 23 but with managed SIP trunks you only pay for the lines or bandwidth that you need and add additional capacity when necessary. SIP trunking can also include all of your local and long distance telephone usage allowing you to predict and control your monthly communication expenses better than ever before.

An added benefit and one that can be crucial, is the disaster recovery capability of SIP Trunking. When utilizing direct trunk overflow you have the ability to transfer inbound calls to an alternate location (phone number). This can be invaluable if for any reason connectivity to the PSTN from a location is lost. This will allow you to continue communicating with your clients and employees until the situation is resolved.

At InfoStructure we know what it takes to leverage the most out of your business communication investment. With our InfoSIP trunking solution you have the flexibility of our national plan or local plan with free installation for either. Check out our FAQ page then contact us for a complete quote or help in determining what solution works best for your objectives.

High Speed Internet is a Win-Win For Consumers and Retailers

There’s no doubt that access to high speed internet has changed the way we do just about everything. From streaming movies and games to working from home, the internet continues to change the way we work and play.

Now with the holiday season upon us, many will turn to shopping online rather than venturing into the maddening crowds of brick and mortar shops. And why not? Today’s breakthroughs in high speed internet enable consumers to shop smarter and faster than ever before.

In fact, according to a report from the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), consumer savings from online shopping increased from 12.2% to 13.5% annually. This was attributed to consumers having high speed internet access.

It’s no surprise that high speed internet access allows smart shoppers to save money. Through the internet, shoppers can do fast and easy price comparisons among competing stores, have access to greater inventory, and realize savings on car expenses since they never have to leave home.

Founding IIA co-chairman, Bruce Mehlman believes that “transitioning to next-generation networks is crucial for all Americans to be able to make the Internet part of their financial strategy.”

The average American family can save substantially on entertainment, travel, as well as services such as bill paying through using the internet. Many have come to realize this as Cyber Monday 2012 saw a big jump in online purchases over last year. According to a report in Internet Retailer.com, IBM reported online sales up 30.3% over last year.
Don’t be left behind without high speed internet.

Contact us for information on how our high speed internet solutions can get you and your business on the information highway quickly and easily.

What is SIP?

Our telecom industry just loves acronyms, which roll off our tongues in steady streams as though a different language is being spoken. Take “SIP” for example. SIP has been around for over a decade, but the term is still an enigma among small business managers, despite the fact that SIP and other modes of business VoIP are approaching mass market adoption. Perhaps the main cause of the confusion is the fact that SIP is often given other names within the industry or maybe because it’s represented in unintelligible “techie” terms. Hopefully we can briefly clarify the meaning and application of SIP and answer some of the most commonly asked questions.

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is the signaling format of Voice Over the Internet Protocol (VoIP). SIP and VoIP are terms that are often used interchangeably, even though VoIP technically has a much broader application. SIP is a proven method for using an Internet connection for the purpose of voice transmission. The virtual paths over which SIP calls travel are most commonly called “SIP trunks” and “call paths.” They’re also less formally referred to as “VoIP phone lines” or just “Internet phone lines.” In the final analysis, they are economical alternatives to office phone lines and no more complicated to use than POTS…oh, that’s another telecom acronym that stands for “plain old telephone service.”

You don’t need to have an IP phone system to install SIP. If you do have an IP PBX with a VoIP-ready interface, you’re ready to go. If not, you can keep your existing phone system and still use SIP, in which case, you would need a network device that converts the phone signal to IP. These network devices vary in price, depending upon the number of required trunks, QOS and network security, but they are usually much less expensive than the typical PRI cards and other premise equipment used with a traditional PBX. If you’re in the market for a new IP phone system, you can purchase one from Cisco, Avaya or Shoretel, or you might alternatively choose a “hosted” VoIP PBX solution like our InfoTalk Pro, which is offered as a managed service.

With InfoStructure’s SIP, you don’t need to obtain new phone numbers when converting from a non-VoIP application. Your existing phone numbers can be “ported” by most SIP carriers. You can also order new numbers local to your area or “virtual numbers” – phone numbers with area codes and exchanges outside of your local area, whatever works best for your business. In addition, you receive one free phone number (DID) per SIP trunk. If you require more numbers, they’re available at only $1.00 each per month. Also included are caller ID with name, call hunt groups, and call detail reports via web portal.

A commonly asked question is regarding the size and type of Internet connection needed to accommodate SIP. A reliable Internet broadband connection is a prerequisite for any VoIP service, regardless of whether it’s DSL, wireless, Ethernet over copper, or fiber optics. The amount of bandwidth is definitely a consideration, and it depends upon your unique business needs for both voice and data. The bandwidth per SIP trunk varies with the type of compression used in the SIP carrier network, but as a rule of thumb with our SIP, you can conservatively estimate 80 Kbs per call, including overhead. So eight concurrent calls, for example, will use up to 640 Kbs of bandwidth.

The time that it takes to install SIP depends mainly upon what is needed to fulfill your specific requirements. A simple installation can take only a couple of days after your order is placed. A larger, more complex installation requiring multiple locations and network equipment installations could take up to two weeks or longer.

We hope this helps to remove some of the mystery surrounding SIP! For information on SIP pricing, check out our SIP product, InfoTalk Plus, available in special rate plans with both unlimited and metered usage. If you have any questions, please call us. Our Oregon call center is open 7 X 24 every day of the year with friendly and knowledgeable service reps waiting to take your calls and answer your questions.

Top 10 Predictions for 2012

2012 It’s a new year and exciting opportunities abound for all of us. Despite some ominous claims to the contrary, we envision 2012 to be lots of sunshine and blue sky! Yes, there will be the on-going challenges of a less-than-stellar economy and the typical jitters of a presidential election year, but overall, we see our cup as half full, and it’s with a cautiously positive outlook that we make our top 10 predictions for 2012.

  1. By year end, Amazon will be a major force in the smart phone industry.
  2. The New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers will play in the 2012 Superbowl, and the 49ers will win.
  3. After a long retreat, gold and silver prices will soar to new highs.
  4. Facebook will have one billion users by year end.
  5. Gigabit wireless (802.11ac) will begin to replace Ethernet.
  6. The debt crisis of Europe will slow down the economic recovery of the US.
  7. In the laptop world, Intel’s Ultrabook will exceed Apple’s MacBook Air in popularity and sales.
  8. Mobile applications will continue to surge.
  9. Apple will release the iPhone 5 and despite a sluggish economy and a saturating smart phone market, the new iPhone will have enough new features to make it exceed all expectations in sales.
  10. InfoStructure will be setting new highs in business VoIP growth in consecutive quarters throughout the year.

WE AT INFOSTRUCTURE WISH YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Season of Gratitude

During this magical time of year, we have the opportunity to reflect upon all that is good and count the many blessings with which we’ve been bestowed. It’s a time for an opening of the heart and being grateful for the gift of life exactly as it has been given to us. Through that opening, we exit this year and enter the next one renewed.

We at InfoStructure would like to express our deepest gratitude to our customers, fellow employees, and partners, and we wish you a Merry Christmas and a blessed new year!

Webinars Made Easy

WebinarAdvancements in technology often come with a price, including a long learning curve in user adoption. Such is not the case with InfoConnect – a new web conferencing platform designed for quick set-up and ease of use, and it’s loaded with the most advanced features!

Smart mobile phones with full browsers and built-in cameras, social networks, IPTV, video compression, webcam innovation, and high speed Internet networks have all contributed to a new world of visual web communication, serving both business and consumer interests. It’s no surprise then that visual web applications continue to outperform traditional modes of communication, like voice and print, especially for collaborative, group purposes.

Web conferencing is part of this trend. The audio conference bridge of yesteryear is being outpaced by webinar technology which, not many years ago, required an IT employee to operate. But things have changed. With the latest webinar platform advancements, like those of InfoConnect, just about anyone can easily set-up and conduct a webinar like a pro! And with the economies of scale created in hosted webinar solutions, prices have remained very affordable.

Whether you need to address your sales team in weekly meetings or launch a new product with your customers, InfoConnect web conferencing can handle both your basic and sophisticated requirements. Below is the InfoConnect toolkit that will make your webinars a success:

  • Video – launch up to 12 webcams instantly
  • Adobe Flash platform – no downloads required to operate
  • Record live meetings
  • Conduct PowerPoint presentations with annotation tools
  • Desktop screen sharing with remote control
  • Share files between users
  • Whiteboard presentations
  • Play streaming video or audio clips
  • Chat and other feedback tools
  • Personalize meeting with images, logos and contact information

For pricing information on InfoConnect, call us now at 800-419-4804.