Archive for month: May, 2019

5 Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best ISP for Your Business

5 Factors to consider when choosing an ISP for your Business - GeoLinks.com

How do you choose the best Internet Service Provider for your business?

With day-to-day business operations becoming increasingly reliant on the Internet, choosing an Internet Service Provider (ISP) is more important than ever. For those lucky enough to be in a market privy to a multitude of carriers, such as Los Angeles or Orange County, there are five primary factors to consider when either onboarding with or switching to a new ISP.

1. Reputation

One of the most reliable ways to vet a new telecom provider is by researching their reputation. Whether that be by reading through online reviews posted on Yelp or Google, or talking directly to the neighboring businesses in your area, understanding an ISP’s reputation is one of the most foolproof ways to really know what you’re signing up for.

That being said, make sure you’re being conscientious of what type of customer the reviews are coming from – i.e. are they from residential customers or from other businesses like yourself.

2. Service Level Agreements (SLA)

A service-level agreement (SLA) is a contractual commitment between an Internet Service Provider and a client. An IPS’s SLA should typically outline guaranteed service metrics such as uptime, latency, jitter, packet loss, and response/repair time. For example, GeoLinks’ SLA is fairly straightforward and offers the following:

SERVICE TARGETS

  • Response Priority: Critical: 4hrs or less
  • Network Quality of Service
  • Network Availability: Target of at least 99.999% uptime
  • Round Trip Latency Under 40ms
  • Jitter under 10ms
  • Packet loss target < 0.1%

On the other hand, some providers don’t offer a guaranteed service level at all. For example, there are a variety of providers who simply state:

“X company does not warrant that the service will be uninterrupted or error free nor make any warranty as to the results obtained from the use of the service. X company does not guarantee connectivity at any time, for any length of time or at any particular speed.”

Therefore, when deciding to onboard or switch to a new Business Internet Service Provider, make sure you carefully research the provider’s SLA so you know what service quality to expect.

5 Factors to consider when choosing an ISP for your Business - GeoLinks.com - Customer Support

3. Customer Support

While in an ideal world businesses would never have to engage with their ISP past service installation, unfortunately, that is just not the case.

Whether a client has billing questions, service issues, needs technical support, has upgrade inquiries or product add-ons, at some point or another, chances are a business will have to engage with an ISP’s customer support team. Therefore, research what type of support the company offers.

A larger carrier, for example, might make you sit through an automated phone menu, place you on a lengthy hold, and eventually transfer you to a contracted employee outside of the U.S. Alternatively, a medium sized ISP, such as GeoLinks, offers 24/7 in-house customer support; customers are even able to ask for customer support reps by name.

Another element to consider is overall responsiveness. If your business does experience a technical issue, how long does it take a provider to respond and address the issue? Time is money, so whether it be hours wasted on hold, or weeks waiting on a repair, how an ISP handles customer relations directly affects its business customer’s bottom line.

4. Agility and Flexibility

As a business grows and changes, its overall telecom needs will as well. For example, if a law firm hires 10 more associates, they will likely need to upgrade their overall bandwidth. Furthermore, if juggling multiple carriers and multiple bills becomes too large of a strain on a company’s accounting apartment, a business may wish to streamline all their telecom needs with a single carrier.

Some ISPs offer additional services such as VoIP and SD-WAN, while others do not. Therefore, when selecting an ISP, make sure to explore their entire product suite and offerings. Choosing an aggregator, (an ISP that is capable of reselling multiple ISP products and services) such as GeoLinks, ensures that no matter the growth or changes in a business, a single provider will be able to upgrade and adapt to evolving business needs.

5 Factors to consider when choosing an ISP for your Business - GeoLinks.com - Bandwidth

5. Bandwidth Availability

Do you know how much Internet bandwidth your company needs? If not, check out “Your Guide to Determining Bandwidth Requirements.

While it may seem obvious, when choosing an ISP, it’s necessary to ensure they can provide the speeds your company needs. Based on your location, and the type of Internet access you are looking for (i.e. Fiber vs Fixed Wireless vs DSL etc.) bandwidth availability may fluctuate from carrier to carrier. Furthermore, if it does appear the ISP offers what you are looking for, make sure you understand if it is a dedicated or shared circuit, as this too will impact the reliability and consistency of speeds.

Feeling overwhelmed? If you’re struggling to decide which ISP is the best for your business, consider contracting an IT consultant. Typically vendor agnostic, IT consultants are able to evaluate all the carriers available in your area, evaluate the above criteria, and present a business with its best option.

Curious if GeoLinks is the right ISP for your business? Call and talk to a Client Consultant today!

GeoLinks’ CEO Skyler Ditchfield Appointed to the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee

The Federal Communications Commission announces Skyler Ditchfield as a member of the newly re-chartered Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee

CAMARILLO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On May 16, 2019, Chairman Ajit Pai of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced his appointment of Skyler Ditchfield, Co-Founder and CEO of GeoLinks, to serve as an official member of the newly re-chartered Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC). Of the 39 listed appointees, Skyler Ditchfield serves as the only Southern California representative.

According to the FCC’s official release, “In its second term, the BDAC will continue its work to craft recommendations for the Commission on ways to accelerate the deployment of high-speed Internet access, or ‘broadband,’ by reducing and/or removing regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment and strengthening existing broadband networks in communities across the country.” The release continues by outlining the BDAC as an opportunity for interested stakeholders to exchange ideas and develop recommendations to the Commission on broadband deployment, to enhance the Commission’s ability to deploy broadband to all Americans.

Previously appointed to the Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group in 2017, and the Disaster Response and Recovery Working Group in 2018 (both BDAC sub groups), Ditchfield’s elevated appointment will enable him to provide strategic recommendations and influence action to close the digital divide on a national scale.

“I have been continually impressed by Chairman Pai, his administration, and all the work that they have done thus far,” stated Ditchfield. “They’ve truly worked hard to level the playing field for all sized ISPs. They’ve put forward significant new dollars towards broadband investment and are staying true to their promise of closing the digital divide. With GeoLinks’ founding mission being to close the digital divide, we have a multitude of case studies that have proven capable of closing the gap in California. Being that all of these projects demonstrate proven and transferrable methods, I am very excited to get to work with both the BDAC and my two designated working groups to cultivate the most realistic and feasible path forward nationally.”

The renewed BDAC will hold its first meeting on Thursday, June 13, 2019, in the Commission Meeting Room at FCC Headquarters, located in Washington, DC. The meeting is open to the public. The FCC will accommodate as many attendees as possible; however, admittance will be limited to seating availability. The Commission will also provide audio and/or video coverage of the meeting over the Internet from the FCC’s web page at www.fcc.gov/live.

The FCC’s official Public Notice can be accessed online via the following link: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-announces-re-chartered-bdac-membership-and-first-meeting

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact Lexie Smith, VP of Business Development, at [email protected].

About GeoLinks

Headquartered in Southern California, GeoLinks is a leading telecommunications company and competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) public utility, nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Digital Voice solutions. Ranked first in category on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America in both 2017 and 2018, GeoLinks delivers Enterprise-Grade Internet, Digital Voice, SD-WANCloud On-ramping, Layer 2 Transport, and both Public and Private Turnkey Network Construction expertly tailored for businesses and Anchor Institutions nationwide.

GeoLinks’ accelerated success is largely due to its flagship product, ClearFiber™, which offers dedicated business-class Internet with unlimited bandwidth, true network redundancy, and guaranteed speeds reaching up to 10 Gbps. Named “Most Disruptive Technology” in the 2018 Central Coast Innovation Awards, GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network is backed by a carrier-grade Service Level Agreement boasting 99.999% uptime and 24/7 in-house customer support. With an average installation period of 4 to 7 days, GeoLinks is proud to offer the most resilient and scalable fixed wireless network on the market.

Contacts

Media Inquiries:
GeoLinks
Lexie Smith, VP of Business Development
[email protected]

Get to know GeoLinks’ General Counsel and VP of Government Affairs and Education Melissa Slawson

Melissa Slawson - GeoLinks

1. Let’s start with the basics, what’s your role at GeoLinks?

My official title is General Counsel and V.P. of Government Affairs and Education. I handle all legal and regulatory matters, which includes tracking policies and legislation that may affect GeoLinks’ business and advocating for GeoLinks’ interests before various regulatory bodies (including the FCC). In short…I’m the lawyer, and I make sure we follow rules and the rules work for us.

2. What’s your favorite part about working for GeoLinks?

I love how fast-paced everything is. There’s never time to get bogged down in the weeds of an issue because a decision usually has to be made quickly. It has made me good at thinking on my feet, researching issues efficiently, and trusting my experience.

Melissa Slawson - GeoLinks - Jerry Brown3. What got you to the position you are in today…what came before GeoLinks?

I’ve been practicing law in the telecommunications regulatory space for over 11 years (wow…that sounds so long when you type it out). I started at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as a regulator, then entered private practice at a law firm specializing in regulatory work for a variety of telecommunications companies (cable, wireline, wireless, etc.), and then was GC for a small wireless company. The breadth of my legal experience and seeing the telecom world from multiple perspectives really prepared me for my role at GeoLinks. I understand the business side but also understand how regulators and lawmakers see the industry. That’s invaluable when trying to traverse the sometimes rocky legal landscape of providing telecom services.   

4. What government related project are you most passionate about?

I have always tried to make sure that the work I do is also doing good. I started my career as a public servant and while I have moved to the private sector, there is still good to be done. Specifically, I am passionate about connectivity for all. All people, rich or poor, urban or rural, etc. etc. etc. should have access to telecommunications services. This is an issue that I have worked on in some capacity throughout my entire career, and I am so happy to be working for a company with a founding mission to close the digital divide.  

5. Outside of work…what is your favorite pastime or hobby?

Melissa Slawson - geolinks

I started taking Improv classes last May and have started performing fairly regularly. Otherwise, I spend my non-work time doing crossfit, spending time with friends and my dog, Logan, cooking…and watching TV. I love TV.  

6. What’s something most of your coworkers don’t know about you?

I’ve never had a cavity. Thanks, Mom!

7. Alright pressure is on….give us your best or favorite motivational quote?

“Wherever you go, there you are.”  It’s a simple statement and really, quite painfully obvious, but I take its meaning to be pretty deep. Wherever you go in this world, no matter who you meet, what job you are doing, etc., you are still you. It is a constant. It is a center. And if things get hard or weird, you can fall back on knowing who you are and move forward from there. And by the same token, it means to be true to yourself, your beliefs, and your values no matter how the world around you changes. I strive to be me all the time.

8. You are allowed to do anything you want, anywhere in the world, for one whole day…what do you do and where do you go?

Be a rockstar.  I want a full sleeve of tattoos, crazy hair, and to sing in front of a stadium full of screaming fans. Sounds amazing!!!

9. Congratulations on recently being elected onto the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition’s (SHLB) Board of Expert Advisors. So, what exactly is SHLB and how do you contribute?

I’m excited about being part of the SHLB Board. SHLB is doing some amazing work to close the digital divide by connecting anchor institutions (schools, libraries, hospitals, etc.) which are cornerstones of so many communities. It’s just another piece of the puzzle that is getting connectivity to all Americans. Being part of the board means helping shape the path that SHLB will forge in its efforts over the next few years. It also means having direct input into how companies can help (and be incentivized to help) SHLB’s mission.

Melissa Slawson - GeoLinks - SHLB

10. What’s next…what are you most excited for when you think of your future with GeoLinks?

With our recent Connect America Fund award, all of the work we’re doing to connect anchor institutions, and other opportunities we’re engaged in to help connectivity in California, I am so excited to see how GeoLinks can help change the digital landscape in California and beyond. In just a few short years, GeoLinks will be providing high speed broadband services to areas that may have otherwise never had more than dial-up speeds. (If that!) We are doing good while being successful in business. THAT is my American dream.

A BORDERLESS WORLD: THE FUTURE OF FIBER OPTICS AND 5G

Read entire original article on JuicedSystems

There’s no doubt that the world has become increasingly smaller and smaller. The physical distance among different countries and continents seems to matter less as one can communicate and even engage in commerce, wherever we are, all with just a click of a few buttons. The development of the internet is already a feat in itself, but humanity’s insatiable quest for better and more efficient ways of conducting life activities has led us to another accomplishment: the discovery of fiber optics.

Fiber-optic technology uses light pulses to transmit digital data through thin long glass fibers that are bundled as cables and usually installed underground. This method of transmission promises high-speed data transfer that is less likely to suffer from electrometric interference or long periods of latency. Using fiber optics also reduces the occurrence of electrocution, fire, and other hazards that copper and similar cables are vulnerable to.

Those reasons alone provide enough impetus for certain industries, states, and countries to gradually integrate fiber optics into their ICT systems. However, the cost and the expansiveness of the project of rewiring the entire digital world pose a challenge in achieving such a lofty ambition.

What will be the impact of using fiber optics and 5G networks on the internet of things and on businesses everywhere around the world? Twelve IT experts share their thoughts on this important question, and their responses are sure to ignite an interesting discussion. Use these quick links to go directly to your favorite experts, or you can get comfortable and start scrolling (since they’re all epic responses anyway)….

Lexie Smith, GeoLinks

“While different technologies, I do believe fiber and 5G share a commonality when we look towards the future. Neither technology is a “one size fits all solution.”

Fiber is great—but it’s incredibly expensive and slow to deploy, making it an unrealistic solution for much of rural America. 5G’s promise to deliver higher bandwidth, lower latency, reduced packet loss, and overall increased system capacity than its 4G and 3G predecessors, is still generating both high expectations and severe skepticism. There are still countless issues with the technology, such as your hand or body blocking the signal.

Ultimately, when we look towards the future of broadband and IoT, all existing technologies—from fixed wireless, to satellite, to fiber, etc.—have advantages and disadvantages. However, they all solve a need and, when used together, can eventually close the digital divide.”  

About Lexie Smith:
Lexie Smith serves as the VP of business development, leading public relations, marketing, and business development at GeoLinks, California’s fastest-growing Telecom, and Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing WISP in America.

Read: “Is 5G Worth All the Hype? Industry experts weigh in on the global telecom debate”

How Can Latency Affect Your Business?

How Can Latency Affect Your Business? - GeoLinks.com

What is Latency? Why Does Latency Matter? How Can You Reduce Latency?

Have you ever found yourself frustrated because it’s taking forever to simply load a website? How about uploading a document into an email; do you feel like you might as well watch paint dry? Perhaps you’re in a rush to pull up a customer’s ticket information in your company’s CRM system, and it simply will not load; meanwhile you’re live on the phone with said customer and your conversation becomes a painstaking exchange of delayed echoing – ever been there? There are a multitude of factors that contribute to this all too common series of events. One of the primary culprits? High latency. Latency has a direct effect on internet-based business applications and operations. So, what exactly is latency?

What is Latency?

In networking, latency is defined as the total round-trip time it takes for a data packet to be transmitted from a point of origin, or a single node, back to its source. While there are a variety of factors that affect latency, a foundational component is the physical type of Internet connection a company employs. Satellite Internet, for example, is notorious for having high latency (long round-trip travel times) due to the sheer fact that data has to transmit across tens of thousands of miles into space. Because latency involves speed, the quality of network devices (such as a router) and the quantity of such that data must traverse, also significantly dictates latency.

Why Does Latency Matter? GeoLinks.com

Why Does Latency Matter?

Simply put – it affects Internet speed.

People commonly mistake Internet speed with Internet bandwidth. Bandwidth is the physical amount of data that can be transmitted over a connection in a fixed amount of time. Internet speed, however, is impacted by the relationship between both bandwidth and latency.

For example, the figure below demonstrates three different Internet circuits. Circuit C has the highest Internet speed because it has low latency and high bandwidth. Oppositely, Circuit B has high latency and low bandwidth and consequently has a severely lower Internet speed.

how can latency affect your business - geolinks

How Can Latency Affect Your Business?

As outlined above, latency directly affects a company’s network performance. Thus, high latency can negatively impact everything from the loading of a webpage, to uploading or downloading an important document, to the overall efficiency of internal systems. Furthermore, if a business has adapted a VoIP phone system, inbound and outbound call quality can largely be compromised. If not quickly resolved, all these items can culminate into a significant loss of company productivity, reputation, and revenue. Find a few real-life examples of such claims below.

Loss of Productivity:

A team of analysts are tasked with researching a competitor’s newly released product. Intuitively they first head to the Internet to begin seeing what information is readily available. The team quickly discovers that the task is going to take far longer than anticipated due to the simple fact that every web page they visit is taking what seems like forever to load. What could have been an hour project, has now occupied an entire day.

Compromised Reputation:

An e-commerce brand launches a new product line, and it goes viral. Orders are pouring in left and right. While most would think said company would be celebrating, instead they are in sheer panic. Why? The network is encountering the perfect storm – high latency, low bandwidth, maxed throughput – consequently, the company’s backend online order portal crashes. Without an adequate backup circuit, the portal remains down for multiple hours. Those few hours massively delay the company’s internal operations and lead times preventing them from delivering in the promised 48-hours. End result? High call volumes and unhappy customers.

Loss of Revenue:

More and more business transactions, both internal and external, are moving online every day. For instance, look at any restaurant with a POS system. POS systems, used to input orders and process payments, require an Internet connection. Slow Internet = delays = long wait times = customers choosing to go next door to your competitor = lost revenue.

So, How Can You Reduce Latency?

While technically speaking latency can never be fully dissolved, there are ways business owners and IT Directors can decrease delays.

Choose Your ISP Carefully

The simplest way to reduce latency is to transfer the responsibility onto your business Internet Service Provider (ISP). Avoid Satellite connections, upgrade to a dedicated Internet circuit, and only onboard with telecoms that have a strong Service Level Agreement (SLA) that assures low latency. GeoLinks’ SLA, for example, guarantees round trip latency under 40ms.

Establish a Business Continuity Plan

We’ve already established that ensuring internal systems operate as efficiently as possible is essential to a company’s success. Thus, what do you do if your primary circuit is experiencing high latency (despite your ISP’s SLA)? Ideally, you switch to your backup circuit operating on an entirely different network. Onboard your services with an aggregator, like GeoLinks, and your provider can manage both connections seamlessly.

Invest in SD-WAN

SD-WAN (Software Defined Wide Area Network) is a software-based approach to managing Wide Area Network (WAN) connections to more effectively route all network traffic between headquarters or data centers, remote and branch offices, and the cloud. Not only can SD-WAN issue automatic failover to an alternative or backup connection, the technology is able to define network policies based on business intent and steer traffic intelligently forgoing additional hops. The result? Reduced latency and overall higher application performance.

SD-WAN - GeoLinks.com

For the majority of consumers, the difference between 168 milliseconds and a single millisecond merely equates to convenience. For a modern and connected business, on the other hand, latency can be far more impactful. So, if application performance and Internet speed play an important role in your day-to-day business operations, reducing and preparing for high latency is paramount.

Want to learn more about SD-WAN, GeoLinks’ SLA, Business Continuity, or Shared vs Dedicated Internet access? Talk to a GeoLinks’ Client Consultant today!