8 Things to Consider When Expanding Your Business

8 Things to Consider When Expanding Your Business - GeoLinks

Tips on How to Prepare to Expand your Business Seamlessly

Have you reached a point of growth where you’re considering expanding your business by opening another location? This could be your first expansion, or perhaps you’re going on your tenth location by now. Either way, expanding your business’s footprint and bandwidth is a big deal. So first, congratulations on your success thus far – you should genuinely feel proud of where you’re at! Celebrations aside, however, there are a multitude of items you must consider before you officially open shop. Whether it be a restaurant chain, an ad agency, an accounting firm, a boutique clothing store, or really any business type of that matter, there are foundational economies of scale that apply for any industry. Outlined below you will find 8 topics to carefully consider when scaling and growing your business:

1. Evaluate your expenses

Can you afford to expand? While it may seem like an obvious question, have you truly evaluated all the associated hard costs that come with opening another location? From leasing costs, to operational expenditures, to staffing, to infrastructure expansion, etc., there is an abundance of line items that can add up, quickly. A new restaurant will need appropriate kitchen appliances, a new POS system, tables, chairs, menus, the works! A new office location may need more phones, more computers, desks, office supplies etc. Does your current business insurance cover multiple locations? To evaluate your new investment, sit down, and make a list of all the items you first purchased to get your initial business up-and-running, and a list of current monthly recurring costs. Will all these items be needed for your next location? Narrow it down, get price quotes, and see if your current cash flow can truly support this new venture. Furthermore, if you’re a fast-growing business, anticipate that you may soon outgrow your space, so plan ahead and go a little bigger if you can afford it.

Tips on How to Prepare to Expand your Business Seamlessly - GeoLinks

2. Choose your location thoughtfully

Where your new site will be located can be make or break, both externally and internally. If you plan on migrating a portion of current staff over to this new location, have you considered their new commute times? Before GeoLinks opened its second office location, the company did a full assessment of new commute times for the employees that would be moving offices. You may be at a higher risk of employee turnover if this isn’t truly accounted for. Also, is the area and building itself conducive of company culture? Externally, does the location accommodate your targeted audience or customer base? If you’re opening a new coffee shop targeted at a working audience, are you near any business parks or office buildings? Remember, convenience is key. Furthermore, is there another coffee shop on your block that may already have a dedicated following? Just as you probably were selective in choosing where you live, be selective with where you open shop.

3. Know your “Ts and Cs” (Terms and Conditions)

Make sure the location you choose fits your business needs, and always read your lease! Make sure you fully understand the lease you are about to sign. For example, according to the lease, you might be on the hook for building repairs or other future expenditures. Based on what type of business you have, it’s also critical to discern the legalities and any permitting required in the city and county you’re moving into. Work with your city’s local chamber to ensure you’re set to do business in that area prior to signing any long-term lease. During your research you’ll be able to uncover if that city or county is more or less “business-friendly” than others. Take this into serious consideration before making any commitments.

On-premise PBX

4. Upgrade IT Services if Needed

If any part of your business requires having an Internet connection, it’s crucial to evaluate your current and needed IT infrastructure preceding any move. For example, is your current Internet Service Provider (ISP) able to service your new location? If so, integration will be far less of a headache. If not, you’re now looking at juggling multiple carriers and multiple bills. Furthermore, is the bandwidth available needed to support your business operations? Are your current systems prepared to integrate with a multi-location business? How about your phone system – are you operating on an on-premise PBX or a Hosted VoIP system? For ease of management, it’s worth considering onboarding with an aggregator like GeoLinks (a telecom who has both their own services/access to wholesale services of other carriers) who can provide all of your needed IT services under a single bill. With this, comes one support contact, and one project management team (AKA less contacts to juggle.)

5. Ensure your systems are equipped for expansion

Now that you’re going to have more than one business location, have you outlined how to seamlessly scale your current systems and processes? For example, if you have a warehouse at only one location that houses all your inventory, how will your outside location communicate and receive order requests? Is your customer service department now split? What software or CRM will you use to coordinate service tickets and feedback? If you’re a restaurant that has fresh produce delivered every morning, have you communicated with your supplier the need for a multi-location delivery? It’s highly likely that new systems and processes will be required to support current and future growth. That being said, establish a backup protocol in case system failures occur during the transition. Update all your mailing and billing addresses with outside vendors and utilities to the appropriate location, and don’t forget that anytime a business scales beyond current operations, there will always be some extent of trial and error.

6. Assess internal communication methods

Similar to organizing your systems and processes, it is absolutely critical you optimize your internal communication structure. Today, millions of organizations use softwares such as Slack, or Google Chat to streamline employee communications globally. Google drive and Dropbox are also popular resources to house company documents, all accessible online. (Which once again speaks to the importance of making sure your company has a strong and fluid IT infrastructure plan.) Sync up with your organization’s critical managers and team members to ensure they are fully aware and prepared for any new communication protocols.

Tips on How to Prepare to Expand your Business Seamlessly - GeoLinks.com

7. Have a marketing and PR Strategy

This may or may not apply to your business model. If it does, make sure you have a marketing and PR plan in place to help spread the word about your new location. Examples of simple ways to help spread the word can include sending an email blast to your customers, notifying your local paper, posting on social media, connecting with your city’s chamber of commerce, and even advertising in your founding location. Past that, decide if you want to market the locations under one main brand account (on Instagram for example) or have separate accounts unique to each location. For brands at this stage of growth, it’s worth considering onboarding someone in-house or bringing on an agency to help manage, formulate overall strategy, and implement (unless your business itself is a marketing or PR agency of course.)

8. Establish a “Business Continuity Plan”

Have a clear business continuity plan before making the move. In fact, this is critical whether you have one location or multiple locations. Outline a clear course of action that will ensure your business remains operational before, during, and after the move. For example, make sure your utilities are turned on before you move in. Have your IT services installed, and tested, weeks prior to relocating. Make sure your network is truly redundant. Double-check that all of your required business licenses and permitting are configured and live. Don’t put yourself in a position to get behind or fail, before you even begin. The more locations you open, the more visible your brand becomes to the public; prepare accordingly.

8 Things to Consider When Expanding Your Business - GeoLinks.com

Wrapping up

While the dozens of questions posed above may seem overwhelming at first, they are critical in ensuring your expansion is a success. Take it in strides, and ask for help where and when needed. Do your research, and learn from others. Acknowledge that not everything will be perfect, and unavoidably there will be a bit of trial and error involved. Be willing to pivot quickly. Support your team before and during the transition. Have patience, but work to keep overall momentum moving forward. Understand scaling requires change; be willing to adapt. Maintain a healthy work-life balance, for both yourself and your team. And finally, allow yourself to celebrate and feel excited for the exciting new venture that lies ahead!

 

Need or want assistance in understanding the IT infrastructure your business will need when expanding? Talk to a GeoLinks’ Client Consultant today!

 

 

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Should You Bundle Business Internet Services?

Should You Bundle Business Internet Services? GeoLinks

Why bundling Business Internet services is critical for ensuring business continuity

With modern businesses becoming progressively reliant on the Internet, ensuring business continuity is becoming a major operational priority. Just as businesses understand the importance of manning the phone during business hours, assuring internal systems remain connected and operational is essential to a company’s success. So, what does it mean to ensure business continuity? Furthermore, how can you guarantee business continuity? This article will walk you through the whats, whys, and hows, and ultimately explain why bundling your business Internet services is a critical part of your overall business continuity plan.

What is Business Continuity?

By literal definition, “Business continuity is the result of proper execution of Business continuity planning and Disaster recovery.” Essentially, this means that your business will continue to operate regardless of potential outside disruptions. For example, if a massive rainstorm comes through your area and knocks out your company’s primary terrestrial Internet circuit, will your company still be able to operate without an Internet connection? If so, great – you have a proper business continuity plan in place; business is able to continue as usual. If not, it’s time to reevaluate, and make a plan. For details on the specifics that go into creating an overall successful business continuity plan, check out our blog post on Disaster Recovery Planning.

If we focus specifically on how to safeguard businesses’ telecom services, having true network redundancy, quick access to support, and routine systems backups all become essential.

How Network Redundancy is Vital to Business Continuity

When a network is truly redundant, it rarely, if ever, experiences a real or perceived outage. Instead, it’s engineered to failover to an alternative or backup connection when the primary fails (and so forth). A truly redundant network should integrate both air and ground technologies, such as a fixed wireless circuit and a fiber circuit. This prevents a single point of failure from potentially wiping out both circuits running through the same conduit.

Past that, it’s wise to have connections from multiple providers so again, if one experiences a network-wide outage, you can failsafe to the others’. However, the concept of managing multiple telecom contracts would make most bang their head against a wall (isn’t dealing with one major telco enough of a headache?!) Good news – there is a solution. Onboard your services with an aggregator, such as GeoLinks, so you can have multiple connections all managed by a single provider.

Benefits of Bundling Business Internet Services with a Single Provider

One Point of Contact for Project Management

Do you have a multi-location business? Project management can be an absolute nightmare. Office A may only have access to one telecom, while office B has access to another. Now you’re juggling not just one, but two providers. Want to have a backup circuit? We may be talking about juggling three or four at this point. When you onboard with an aggregator – a telecom who has wholesale agreements with other providers – they do the juggling for you. That way you only have to deal with one project management team.

One Point of Contact for Support

Having a problem with your network? Telecom companies are infamous for the blame game. It’s not me, it’s them. This consequently forces the client to call hop between, once again, multiple carriers. When you bundle with an aggregator, that headache and responsibility falls onto your provider to handle – behind the scenes. You, the client, then only have to work with a single point of contact, regardless of the issue!

One Bill

Past ensuring you have a redundant Internet connection, consider where you’re getting your other business services, like VoIP for example. Bundling with a single telecom provider condenses all of your business services onto a single bill. Trust us, your accounting team will thank you.

What Business Telecom Services should you bundle?

To ensure true business continuity, experts suggest bundling at least two Internet circuits, fixed wireless (air) and fiber (ground), and your business VoIP services. If you choose to onboard VoIP services, and have a redundant network, you’re assuring your business phone services stay connected when you need them most. Now, where do you find that magic aggregator?

Enter GeoLinks:

By cross-connecting with every major network in the country, GeoLinks provides truly redundant business Internet services. Understanding the importance of business continuity, GeoLinks offers business customers the ultimate IT disaster prevention plan – the GeoLit Bundle. Combining Flexible FiberOptic (wholesaled fiber managed by GeoLinks in-house), ClearFiber™ (GeoLinks’ proprietary fixed wireless network), and Hosted Voice services, the GeoLit Bundle streamlines and manages a businesses’ most important IT services. The result? Business continuity and peace of mind! Backed by a carrier-grade service level agreement (SLA), more and more businesses are getting GeoLit every day.

Yes, You Should Bundle Business Internet Services

All-in-all, today’s digital landscape is getting increasingly complicated and more robust. Day-to-day business operations and the rise of IoT are demanding more and more from our networks. Simultaneously, crowding of the airwaves and unavoidable natural disasters are becoming commonplace. To protect your business, it’s critical to have a disaster prevention and recovery plan in place. Bundling your business Internet services with a single telecom provider, specifically an aggregator, ensures effective and manageable business continuity.

Learn more about GeoLit Bundles toady!

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How Do I Know When it’s Time to Upgrade to a Business Internet Plan?


How Do I Know When it’s Time to Upgrade to a Business Internet Plan?

How to identify the signs that your company may need to upgrade to Dedicated Business Internet

Deciding when to upgrade to a Dedicated Business Internet plan is a key decision in any company’s growth. When your company’s Internet connection slows down, or worse, goes offline, it can cost you lost sales, harm your reputation, and cause operational delays. For example, when your business upgrades to a new CRM, or grows an in-house team adding new devices to your network, it’s not a given that current bandwidth and existing infrastructure are equipped to support the transition. Thus, it’s important to understand the network requirements your business needs to operate. Specifically, it’s imperative to realize when it’s time for your company to upgrade to a Dedicated Business Internet plan.

What is Business Internet?

When you upgrade to “Dedicated Business Internet”, you’re moving to a dedicated Internet connection. Unlike shared Internet circuits, a dedicated circuit provides private Internet access to a single location. This means bandwidth is delivered and accessible exclusively to the circuit owner guaranteeing they receive the bandwidth they sign up for. Keep in mind that upgrading may require switching telecom providers.

While shared Internet circuits may be adequate for residential or small business use, as businesses grow, the cost of downtime and inefficiency inherent in shared solutions becomes prohibitive. Research shows that companies on average experience 87 hours of downtime each year. This equates to an average cost of $42,000 lost per hour, for a total cost of over $3M/year. As multiple devices proliferate and companies come to rely on their employees’ ability to communicate and facilitate online transactions, (such as collecting payment) the impact and cost of slow or unreliable Internet access grows exponentially.

Benefits of Dedicated Business Internet

Dedicated Business Internet offers many benefits to companies that need more reliable connectivity.

  • Guaranteed Bandwidth
    When you don’t share your circuit with other companies, you know you will get the download and upload speeds promised. Not sure how much bandwidth your business needs? Learn “How to Determine the Amount of Bandwidth Your Company Needs”.
  • Faster Throughput
    Dedicated Business Internet gives access to to low-traffic backbones so connectivity is fast from origin to destination. If Internet access is like getting on the freeway, then Business Internet users get both faster onramps and a pass to the carpool lane because their Internet traffic is routed onto low-traffic backbone circuits that experience fewer delays.
  • Matched Upload and Download Speeds
    Unlike shared circuits which typically have inconsistent download than upload speeds, Dedicated Business Internet connections offer packages with guaranteed symmetrical upload and download speeds. This becomes useful for businesses that require robust file transfers, online streaming, and video conferencing.

Dedicated Business Internet Service Level Agreements (SLA)

Speed and performance for a Dedicated Business Internet connection are guaranteed with very specific, enforceable Service Level Agreements (SLA). Shared Circuit SLA’s typically claim to make their “best effort” to provide contracted services, without any recourse if the circuit gets crowded and performance drops. Dedicated Business Internet SLA’s list specific deliverables for service. As an example, here is the guarantees that come with GeoLinks’ Business Internet SLA:

  • 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%

Should You Get Dedicated Business Internet?

Now that you know the benefits of moving to a Dedicated Business Internet circuit, how do you determine whether or not it’s time to upgrade. One of the first questions to ask is whether you are experiencing network problems on your current shared circuit. Here are a few examples of businesses that would typically require Dedicated Business Internet:

  • Hotels where broadband service is part of their offering to guests.
  • Medical practices where reliable communications and data access can literally be a matter of life and death. They may also be subject to regulation requiring them to maintain reliable connectivity.
  • Real estate offices and banks, both of which handle large volumes of electronic transactions and often transfer large files in bulk to support purchases or financial arrangements.
  • Restaurants or retail establishments with POS systems. If their Internet goes down, so does their POS system. This prevents them from collecting debit or credit payments.

If you’re currently experiencing any of the network issues mentioned above, or are in a business where reliable internet is essential to your day-to-day operations, then it’s time to seriously consider upgrading to Dedicated Business Internet. Still not sure if the benefits outweigh the hard cost? Calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) of upgrading.

How to Calculate the ROI of Dedicated Business Internet

The basic formula for ROI in any business is net gain/cost. Choose a time frame as the basis – with larger IT upgrades like this you’ll want to consider at least a year, if not more. Compare the costs associated with keeping your current shared solution. Then compare the costs or cost savings of upgrading. Keep in mind that some costs are hard, while others are less tangible.

Here are a few examples of hard costs and cost savings to consider:

Hard Costs:

  • Installation and hardware fees
  • Monthly recurring ISP charges

Cost Savings:

  • Improved internal and external communications
  • More reliable video conferencing, VoIP, and web access
  • Reduced risk of employee and systems downtime
  • Increased capacity for growth and expansion
  • How much would it cost you if your internet went down altogether for 1 hour? 1 day? 1 week? What would you pay for peace of mind?

Once you have costs and benefits of both scenarios, you can compare ROIs and also look at the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The final decision whether to upgrade to Dedicated Business Internet should take into account the tangible business benefits, ROI, and TCO as well as the harder to quantify benefits such as improving your business infrastructure.

Let’s Recap

Do your day-to-day business operations require reliable Internet access? If yes, it’s time to upgrade. Have you recently changed your company’s internal systems, such as onboarding a more robust CRM? It’s time to upgrade. Are you expanding your team or increasing the number of devices (such as computers) connected to your network? It’s time to upgrade. All in all, does it give you peace of mind to have a contractual SLA that you can rely on? It is time to upgrade.

To learn more about GeoLinks’ Business Internet Plans, chat with one of our team members today.

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What are the Best Rural Internet Options?

The Pros and Cons of Different Rural Internet Options

It is reported that more than 24 million Americans don’t have access to broadband Internet. According to a study conducted by Microsoft in 2018, 162.8 million people “do not use the Internet at broadband speeds.” Why? Whether it be due to inflated costs, poor availability, slow deployment, terrestrial restraints, misguided land and airwave regulation, or all the above, communities across the country, predominantly in rural America, lack adequate broadband infrastructure. The inequalities in finances, education, and social status, encountered by those without access to the Internet, versus those who do, has been coined the U.S. Digital Divide.

According to GeoLinks’ Co-Founder and CEO Skyler Ditchfield, there are “Five Crucial Steps Needed To Close The U.S. Digital Divide”. The final, and arguably most imperative item listed, is the need for America to adopt a technology-agnostic hybrid approach. While technologies such as 5G and Fiber were perhaps 2018’s most prominent buzzwords, Fixed Wireless, DSL, Satellite, and Cable, all play an equally vital role in closing the divide.

So, what technologies are available in rural America? Here are the pros and cons of various Rural Internet options:

Pros and Cons of Internet Options

Fixed Wireless Broadband

Fixed wireless provides high-speed broadband Internet access to a single location via radio waves. While capable of servicing both suburban and urban communities, Fixed Wireless Internet is most widely known for its ability to quickly reach and connect rural America.

Pros of Fixed Wireless:

  • Quick to deploy – Fixed Wireless networks can be deployed in a fraction of the time of competing wired technologies.
  • Cost effective – by avoiding costly trenching, fixed wireless networks are far less expensive to build and have a lower impact on the environment.
  • Widely available – because it uses radio waves, fixed wireless networks can reach areas “off the grid”, such as rural America.

Cons of Fixed Wireless:

  • Line of Sight (LOS) – because circuits require direct LOS, trees or large buildings in the connection path can cause signal interference.
  • Bandwidth can be more expensive than DSL, Cable, and some Satellite providers.

dsl-cable geolinks - rural internet

DSL Broadband 

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) broadband is a wireline technology that transmits data over traditional copper telephone lines already installed to homes and businesses. Because it operates on pre-existing phone lines, when infrastructure is present, DSL can be installed quickly.

Pros of DSL:

  • Accessible – because DSL runs through phone lines, it is more widely available nationwide. (According to broadbandnow.com, DSL has 90% coverage nationwide.)
  • It’s relatively inexpensive – the cost to install and maintain is less than many other broadband technologies, such as Fiber.

Cons of DSL:

  • Slow speeds – DSL speeds are generally between 128 Kbps – 3 Mbps.
  • Inconsistent network quality – because circuit quality relies heavily on the distance from an ISP’s central hub, a major problem for many rural areas, speeds and network reliability are inconsistent.

Satellite Internet Vs. Fixed Wireless - GeoLinks

Satellite Internet

Satellite Internet beams data from your provider to a satellite in space, and then back to a dish at a user’s home or business. Historically, the technology has been primarily used to connect rural areas that don’t have access to wired services.

Pros of Satellite Internet:

  • Expansive availability – because it transmits to a satellite in space, it’s available virtually anywhere on earth.
  • Decent speeds – delivering speeds up to 100 Mbps, Satellite is faster than DSL.

Cons of Satellite Internet:

  • Latency issues – Satellite has inherent latency issues – this is especially problematic with video conferencing and VoIP applications.
  • Unreliable – circuit quality is susceptible to moisture (weather) and objects, such as trees and vegetation.
  • High cost – Satellite Internet is one of the most expensive broadband technologies on the market.

cable geolinks - rural internet

Cable Broadband

Cable Broadband utilizes a modem to provide access to the Internet through the same coaxial cables that deliver pictures and sound to a user’s television set. Mainly used to service residential customers, cable networks are considered shared circuits.

Pros of Cable Broadband:

  • Easy and quick to install – because it uses existing infrastructure, it has the potential to be immediately available.
  • Capacity to be substantially faster than other types of broadband connections such as satellite and DSL.

Cons of Cable Broadband:

  • Unreliable connection – Cable connections are shared with nearby users causing performance issues, such as varying speeds, during peak usage times.
  • Rural limitations – due to the lack of infrastructure extending outside of urban communities, cable is often not available.

  cellular-tower-geolinks - rural internet

Cellular Mobile Broadband

Mobile broadband delivers Internet over a mobile network – the same networks utilized by your smartphone. Mobile broadband can be accessed via portable wireless hotspots and wireless modems from anywhere that has a cellular connection.

Pros of Mobile Broadband:

  • Easy access – assuming there is reception in the area, it has the potential to be immediately available.
  • Quick and easy install – the ‘plug and play feature’ of this technology eliminates the need for physical cables, phone lines, or an electricity source.

Cons of Mobile Broadband:

  • Inconsistent coverage – If you live in a remote area, you may not get cellular reception, preventing access altogether.
  • Unreliable performance – Average mobiles speeds fall around 3 Mbps and fluctuate depending on location and the number of people connected to the network.
  • Capped data usage – To prevent network saturation, mobile broadband plans typically come with a data cap– go over and bills can get quite expensive.

flexible fiberoptic - geolinks

Fiber Broadband

Fiber broadband provides Internet access by converting electrical signals carrying data to light and sends the light through transparent glass fibers. It is one of, if not the most requested broadband technology on the market.

Pros of Fiber Broadband:

  • Speed – Fiber is capable of delivering multi-gig speeds making it one of the fastest broadband options on the market alongside fixed wireless.
  • Scalable and flexible bandwidth – once installed, bandwidth can be increased or decreased almost on-demand.

Cons of Fiber Broadband:

  • Not available everywhere – Fiber is currently available in only 25% of the country.
  • Expensive and slow to deploy – fiber optic cable is extremely costly to deploy and requires trenching (which is often stalled by lengthy permitting processes.)

While there are advantages and disadvantages to each Rural Internet option, when used together, these technologies can create a ubiquitous solution capable of delivering multi-gigabit bandwidth to all communities across the country. If the U.S. can collectively adapt to building out technology-agnostic hybrid networks, we can one day close the digital divide.

Want to see if GeoLinks’ Rural Internet Option, ClearFiber™, is available in your community?

 

 

 

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What Does a Fixed Wireless Internet Installation Look Like?

Fixed Wireless Internet Installations – What to Expect

 Fixed Wireless Internet Installations – What to Expect - GeoLinks

Fixed Wireless Internet provides high speed broadband access to a single location via radio waves. Capable of delivering gigabit speeds with identical jitter and latency as fiber, Fixed Wireless Internet circuits can be installed in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost of competing technologies. Want to learn more about Fixed Wireless Internet? Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8GvGOKCpnk

So, what does a Fixed Wireless Internet installation look like?

Prior to Circuit Installation

In order to deliver high speed Internet access, a Fixed Wireless Internet service provider must first confirm a client’s location has an express line of sight (LOS) to a nearby Base Station (telecom tower). While different providers may administer varying methods to confirm LOS, most wireless internet service providers (WISPs) encounter situations where a site visit is sometimes needed to confirm serviceability. Typically, a roof access form (RAF) is required from the building owner or property management company prior to conducting a site visit. Assuming access is granted, onsite techs can then confirm LOS and test signal strength from the intended installation point.

Not sure how much bandwidth your business needs? Check out our simple guide by clicking here. 

Installing Fixed Wireless Internet Circuits

Every WISP has its own unique installation process and preferred equipment. For the purpose of this post, we will specifically examine GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ Fixed Wireless Internet installations. Fully insured with coverage that meets property management and owner requirements, all GeoLinks’ installations are done by our team of experienced technicians that take into consideration visual aesthetics, and building and city code compliance.

Fixed Wireless Internet Installations – What to Expect - GeoLinks

GeoLinks Installation Equipment

Subscriber: When installing a ClearFiber™ circuit, a “Subscriber” unit, also referred to as Customer Premise Equipment (CPE), is placed on the roof of the client’s building. While Subscribers can vary based on the service ordered and location of the customer premise, the average GeoLinks’ Subscriber dimensions measure 24 – 36in in diameter and weigh between 5 – 20lbs. The Subscriber is responsible for transmitting the wireless signal from the Base Station to the customer premise, and vice versa.

Non-Penetrating Roof Mount ­- The Subscriber is mounted directly to a non-penetrating roof mount. This is a 36in self-supporting, square angle steel frame with a 60in x 2in diameter mast designed specifically for antenna installation. It does not damage or require any mounting to the roof.

Rubber Mat and Blocks – Included as part of GeoLinks’ installation is an outdoor anti-skid rubber mat, placed directly under the non-penetrating roof mount. This outdoor weatherized mat is used to protect the roof and measures 36in x 36in x 1/8in. Depending upon Subscriber height, 6in x 8in x 16in concrete blocks are placed evenly around the base to stabilize the roof mount. The average install requires 6 to 8 bricks with each brick weighing about 30lbs.

Cable – Once the Subscriber is installed and secured, an exterior outdoor rated Cat5e cable is run through a pre-existing vent or access point of the roof directly to the customer’s network room. This cable is plugged into a Power Over Ethernet (PoE) power supply that powers the subscriber and delivers service to the customer.

How Long Does it Take to Get Installed

Just like most business services, Fixed Wireless Internet installation periods vary from provider to provider. GeoLinks prides itself on having one of the industry’s shortest installation periods. Our expertly trained technicians can connect businesses in as little as 24 hours. For larger circuits, we average between 7 to 10 business days.

Questions?

GeoLinks in-house Client Consultants are available to assist with any questions you may have regarding your business installation or service. To speak to a GeoLinks’ Client Consultant call (888) 225-1571 option 2.

Want to see if GeoLinks is available in your area?

Check Availability Here

 

 

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Does Weather Affect Fixed Wireless?

Does Weather Affect Fixed Wireless? GeoLinks

Can Weather Affect a Fixed Wireless Internet Connection?

The majority of businesses today have become intrinsically reliant on the Internet. From serving as an accessible means to communicate globally, to hosting e-commerce stores, to conducting online credit transactions and transfers, it has become paramount for businesses to have a reliable, high-speed Internet connection. From DSL, to Copper, to Fiber, to Fixed Wireless, there are a variety of broadband technologies to consider when shopping in today’s business marketplace.

When exploring fixed wireless connections, there may be a variety of questions that come to mind. For example, Is fixed wireless reliable? Is fixed wireless affected by weather? Does fixed wireless perform just as well as a wired connection? To answer these questions, let’s first take a step back and ask the foundational question, what is fixed wireless?

what is fixed wireless - geolinks.com

What is Fixed Wireless?

Fixed wireless provides high-speed broadband Internet access to a single location via radio waves. By utilizing antennas, towers, and an express line of sight (LoS) to transmit point-to-point and point-to-multi-point signals, fixed wireless technology can be deployed in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost of terrestrial fiber. Unlike a standard WiFi connection, fixed wireless networks can be directionally focused to produce dedicated speeds of up to 10 Gbps. With the ability to operate over licensed or unlicensed wireless spectrum, when configured correctly the technology can withstand extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain, high winds, and severe temperatures, both hot and cold.

Why has Fixed Wireless Developed a Bad Reputation?

Although trusted and utilized by global militaries and law enforcement for upwards of a century, over the years of perfecting fixed wireless for commercial use, many small carriers deployed inexpensive equipment operating across only one frequency. This caused a multitude of problems, including interference from other links in the surrounding area. The result? A deceiving reputation for being slow, unreliable, and inferior to wired networks.

Another common misconception that has been tagged to the technology is that it is equivalent to satellite Internet. Notoriously known for its high latency, it’s important to note that satellite Internet operates by transmitting signals from a dish to a satellite orbiting more than 20,000 miles above sea level. This is drastically different than a 20 mile point-to-point fixed wireless link.

Today’s Commercial High-Speed Fixed Wireless Technology

As with all types of broadband connections, speeds and service will vary from provider to provider. From technical equipment upgrades, to improved and simplified network management through software, commercial fixed wireless networks have advanced over the years. Top that off with the ability to combine and switch between more diversified spectrum links, both licensed and unlicensed, when deployed properly, modern fixed wireless networks can deliver gigabit connection speeds rivaling fiber connections.

weather and fixed wireless - GeoLinks.com

Fixed Wireless and the Weather

When we think of our Internet connection transmitting data wirelessly, the effects of weather can be a natural concern. Thus, it’s no surprise why fixed wireless providers are often asked, “Does weather affect fixed wireless?”

The answer? Yes, it can – and that is one of the primary reasons the technology gets overlooked. However, with informed engineering and experience, fixed wireless networks can be unaffected by weather. For example, before building out any wireless network, GeoLinks’ in-house engineering team first looks at an area’s terrain, historic weather patterns, rain fade, and thermal ducting. Then, based on the data collected, and considering the distance of the shot and required bandwidth, they choose the best frequency or frequencies and carrier-grade equipment for that specific region and build. Creating multiple failover paths, every GeoLinks network eventually connects to a fiber optic backbone to ensure true network redundancy. The result? A stable high-speed fixed wireless network designed to withstand the elements.

GeoLinks Case Studies – Proof of Concept

Does weather affect fixed wireless? GeoLInks.com

Multi-site Location:

A great case study to prove the potential of a well-constructed fixed wireless network is GeoLinks’ project with a global coffee distributor. In 2016, the distributor was slated to open a series of new locations in Southern California in just 20 days and needed more than 30 circuits to support both their public Wi-Fi and POS systems. The company initially contracted to provide a terrestrial connection was projecting massive delays and restrictions of available bandwidth. In order to meet their quickly approaching deadlines, the company looked to contract an outside local provider to administer a temporary solution–enter GeoLinks.

GeoLinks successfully delivered more than 30 redundant circuits to all of the new store locations in just 14 days, enabling the stores to open as planned.

Although originally hired to serve as a temporary backup solution until their copper network could be installed, with the promise of further delays and all locations running seamlessly on GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network, the distributor canceled their copper installations all together and made GeoLinks their primary provider.

Furthermore, Southern California was hit with a massive storm in the Spring of 2017 causing outages across the state. California’s poor irrigation caused underground reservoirs to flood for nearly two weeks straight. As terrestrial cables live underground, many of the client’s pre-existing locations operating on copper experienced ample outages and downtime. All of their ClearFiber™ locations, on the other hand, remained unaffected and avoided any outages or downtime.

Catalina Island - Does weather affect fixed wireless? GeoLInks.com

Santa Catalina Island:

Santa Catalina Island is located more than 20 miles off the coast of California, consequently making it an ongoing problem to secure reliable high speed Internet access. Before 2016, the majority of island residents were forced to live with either using an unreliable satellite or cellular connection or simply having no access whatsoever. At one point in time, the island commissioned an outside network builder to try and deliver a fixed wireless connection that would solve this problem. Unfortunately, however, the design was dramatically impacted by weather and atmospheric ducting causing consistent drops, outages, packet loss, and high latency. All in all, island residents and businesses were still left with an unsustainable network.

In 2016, GeoLinks was brought in by an affiliate partner to design a custom solution that would deliver Catalina its first ever reliable and redundant multi-gigabit network. By understanding the inherent issues of thermal ducting and rain fade, and by examining weather 50 years of weather patterns, the GeoLinks team, lead by CTO, Ryan Hauf and CEO Skyler Ditchfield, were able to conceptualize an innovative network design in under two weeks’ time.

Having ample tower coverage supported by fiberoptic backbones throughout Southern California, GeoLinks’ team of expert engineers were able to construct a fully redundant network in just 60 days. By using multiple paths over various frequencies to deliver long-haul middle mile, the network was built to seamlessly failover when rain or packet loss was detected, preventing the island from ever experiencing a perceived outage.

GeoLinks – The Best Fixed Wireless Internet Provider

So, let’s answer our initial questions. When engineered properly, fixed wireless is a reliable technology that can withstand extreme weather conditions and perform equal, if not better than, a wired connection. With innovative companies like GeoLinks building businesses and anchor institutions multi-gigabit networks that guarantee ultra-low latency, virtually no jitter, 99.999% uptime, fixed wireless may very well be the best Internet solution for your business.

Not sure if you’re within the GeoLinks coverage area? Inquire here.

 

Check out: Disaster Recovery Plan – The Only Way to Ensure Business Continuity

 

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Round Up – Industry Experts share their 2019 Telecom Predictions

From the emergence of fixed wireless and hybrid networks, to the predictive realities of 5G, telecom experts share their 2019 industry forecasts.

Please note that the views and opinions expressed in this article do not represent nor do they imply endorsement of my personal views or my employer’s views and opinions. They are unique and independent to the individual contributors listed as the statement’s source.

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From the roll out of new Artificial Intelligence (AI) integrations, to the highly anticipated future of 5G, in 2018 we saw the telecommunications industry generate some pretty innovative trends and thought-provoking headlines. With the new year just around the corner, I thought I’d turn to a variety of diverse industry experts to learn about their 2019 telecom predictions. Here is what they had to say:

There will be a lot of providers deploying 5G, but monetization will prove a challenge

Nathan Rader, Director of NFV Strategy, Canonical

There will be a race to see who can market 5G the quickest and who will have it as standard first. We’re already seeing tests from multiple providers across the world in isolated areas, and the speed and size of rollouts will only increase as providers look to gain the upper hand.

However, this race could be a costly one. Consumer need for 5G isn’t as great as it was for previous generations. 4G can handle most consumer use cases (such as streaming, gaming, browsing etc.) fairly comfortably with reasonable speed.

5G’s main benefit is providing increased capacity, not speed and latency, making it more of a technical development. Being the first 5G standard network will be a marketing coup, but may not come with the consumer kudos and demand it once did.

Further widespread adoption of Fixed Wireless

Phillip Deneef, Chief Strategy Officer, GeoLinks

We’ve seen fixed wireless technology evolve and improve drastically over the last decade, concurrently beginning to debunk “wireless anxiety”. During the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) CAF II Auction in 2018, we saw federal acceptance and adoption through the distribution of significant funding to WISPs, such as GeoLinks. This culminates to my prediction that in 2019 I believe we will see a drastic spike in both businesses and community anchors being connected via fixed wireless. While I do think fiber will still remain top of mind for many key stakeholders, I foresee anchors, rural health care facilities as a specific example, better understanding that EoFW is the most cost effective and time efficient way to get these critical care facilities the speeds they need. Taking guidance from both the FCC and overall industry adoption, on a state level I predict that those governing RFP fund distributions will also be more open to fixed wireless solutions. This will directly result in the United States making substantial strides in closing the digital divide.

Competition in Hosted VoIP market will heat up

Marc Enzor, VoIP Consultant & President, Geeks 2 You

Hosted VoIP phone systems are the hottest thing right now in telecom. Even the SMB and Medium size businesses are starting to become aware of what it is, and to gravitate towards it. In years past, we would spend most of our sales pitch educating customers as to what it is, how it works, and why they should use it. In recent months, customers already are aware and ready to purchase immediately. The sales cycle went from multiple meetings to single meetings now. It has become one of the hottest products we sell.

Going into 2019, it’ll only become even more “standard knowledge”, which means the competition in the hosted VoIP market will heat up. I predict several of the biggest names will start to buy the competition out and a true industry leader will emerge. This will have to happen as the top companies now will start to rely on their current growth models and will need to find ways to replace the lost growth as competition gets bigger.

Only edge computing / edge networking and AI will show true growth

Alan J Weissberger, ScD EE, IEEE Communications Society, techblog.comsoc.org

Only two areas in the telecom/networking space deserve the attention they are getting: 1] edge computing/edge networking and 2] Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Edge computing/edge networking is needed to off load the processing that takes place in cloud resident data center computers and also to reduce latency for critical real time control applications (especially for IoT).

AI and deep learning will be embedded into software-defined architectures in telco networks and the cloud to do analytics, predict failures, and move a lot of the human manual processes into automated operations. The long-term goal is to move from automated elements to closed loop automation and finally to autonomous control of networks.  I believe AI will be critically important to progress emerging telecom services and enabling new ones.  Examples include: 5G, Industrial IoT, autonomous vehicles, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, etc.  It will be also very useful for more mundane things, like keeping up with WAN and Internet bandwidth demands due to increased video streaming by cord cutters and pay TV customers (like this author) that increasingly stream sporting events (e.g. MLB TV, NBA League Pass, NHL Center Ice, boxing, etc).

All the other new technologies are hyped to the infinity power and headed for a train wreck.  That’s especially true of 5G, but also includes “Software Defined” networks (SDN and SD-WAN), Network Function Virtualization (NFV), and LPWANs for the Internet of Things (IoT).  All those suffer from the lack of inter-operability which is due to either the lack of standards, too many specs/standards (LPWANs) or proprietary implementations (e.g. SDN from AT&T, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc are not interoperable with each other. They each use different specs, with many being proprietary while others are based on open source software).  None of them will make much money for any company in the coming year.  Perhaps a few SD-WAN start-ups will be acquired and investors in those companies will profit, but that’s about it.

Enterprises cut the cord with LTE

Hansang Bae, CTO, Riverbed

For enterprises, 2019 isn’t a forecast of all doom and gloom. The year will also bring freedom from the persistent “last-mile” telecommunications problem. With the advancements in LTE, the technology will finally reach a point where the physical cables that connect end-users to their Internet Service Providers will no longer be a necessity — or a handcuff to a particular ISP.

The “last-mile” problem has long been the most critical and most costly component of an ISP’s network, as well a speed bottleneck. But now, on the heels of widespread adoption, LTE will allow enterprises to forego the last mile of physical cable for a reliable and robust connection.

Purpose-built Security Software will emerge

Don Boxley, Co-Founder and CEO, DH2i

Making smart products, IoT devices, is the new product differentiator — today, even ovens have IP addresses. Companies that have been investing in IoT initiatives understand that the IoT gateway layer is the key that unlocks a high return on those IoT investments. IoT gateways manage device connectivity, protocol translation, updating, management, predictive and streaming data analytics, and data flow between devices and the cloud. Improving the security of that high data flow with a Zero Trust security model will drive enterprises to replace VPNs with micro-perimeters. Micro-perimeters remove an IoT device’s network presence eliminating any potential attack surfaces created by using a VPN.

Likewise, many organizations are pursuing a hybrid strategy involving integrated on-premises systems and off-premises cloud/hosted resources. But traditional VPN software solutions are obsolete for the new IT reality of hybrid and multi-cloud. They weren’t designed for them. They’re complex to configure, and they give users a “slice of the network,” creating a lateral network attack surface. A new class of purpose-built security software will emerge to eliminate these issues and disrupt the cloud VPN market. This new security software will enable organizations to build lightweight dynamic micro-perimeters to secure application- and workload-centric connections between on-premises and cloud/hosted environments, with virtually no attack surface.

Hybrid Networks become more common

Louis Fox, CEO & President, CENIC

In terms of widespread internet connectivity, the low-hanging fruit has long been picked. To achieve a complete mesh across the state, and thereby to include all of our communities and lift all boats, private-sector technology companies will need to work more collaboratively with government and nonprofit community organizations to approach an underserved geographic region with a comprehensive strategy that stitches together fiber, fixed wireless, unlicensed spectrum, TV whitespace, and more. We can no longer deploy in a series of one-offs if we are ever to serve some of the hardest to reach places.

More Internet Networks deploying IPv6

John Curran, President and CEO, ARIN

The Internet has grown remarkably over the past few years and as a result we now have over four billion people online. The Internet will continue to grow at a remarkable pace to meet the requirements of broadband, mobile, and Internet-of-Things (IoT) growth, and this will only increase pressure on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to deploy the next version of the Internet Protocol (IP version 6, or IPv6) — just as many broadband and mobile providers have already done today. The good news is that the IPv6 transition happens in the “lower layers” of the Internet, so this behind-the-scenes upgrade to the Internet will continue to happen without any noticeable change for Internet users.

Public and Private Clouds will be much more accommodating of each other

Jai Menon, Chief Scientist and IBM Fellow, Cloudistics

[In 2019] only about 5 viable general-purpose public cloud vendors will survive. This is because successful public cloud vendors will need to spend a lot of money, and few can afford to spend as much as the Top 2 — AWS and Microsoft Azure. [Furthermore] Public and private clouds will be much more accommodating of each other. More and more of the services provided by a public cloud vendor, such as their AI services, will become accessible to apps running elsewhere, including on private clouds. At the same time, there will be more and more examples of private cloud capabilities extended to the public cloud — such as VMware Cloud on AWS. Finally, federated orchestration and management of workloads across private and public clouds, all from a single, easy to use, portal will be commonplace.

Political turbulence and possible decrease in network investment

John Windhausen, Executive Director, Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition

2019 could be a turbulent year in the telecom/broadband space. If the FCC approves the proposed Sprint/T-Mobile merger, and if the court allows the AT&T-Time Warner merger, that could encourage even more consolidation in the marketplace. Of course, more consolidation among big players also opens up more opportunities for smaller, more nimble players to increase their market share. But there are increasing signals of an economic slow-down in 2019, which could mean belt-tightening and reduced investment by all players. The tariffs on Chinese-made equipment could mean increased prices for telecom gear, which could also lead to a pause in network investment. These trends may give a boost to the idea of a grand broadband infrastructure spending bill that both the President and Hill Democrats are trying to get in front of (assuming the government shutdown does not ruin the chances of bipartisan agreement forever.) Such legislation would only have a 30% chance of enactment but could be exciting to watch, as there are so many industry players that could benefit from government funding, especially in rural markets. I expect net neutrality to continue to percolate because the court is likely to remand the case to give the FCC another chance to justify its decision. Congress could and should step in, but there is no sign of compromise on the issue and likely will remain gridlocked. For anchor institutions, work will continue to get the E-rate and Rural Health Care programs running smoothly, but I do not anticipate major structural changes.

Do you agree or disagree with any of the above predictions? If so, feel free to visit the original article here, and leave a comment.

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The 7 Best Business Resources in Los Angeles

The 7 Best Business Resources in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California is a vibrant and diverse city. While most known as the subject of many iconic songs, movies, and TV series, it is not just the entertainment industry that thrives in this famous cultural melting pot. Industries such as tourism, high-tech, fashion, real-estate, and even aerospace also enjoy plenty of success. Add in the sunny weather and miles of beaches, and it’s no wonder why 1 in 10 Americans live in California. If you just moved to Los Angeles and have an entrepreneurial spirit, you are in luck, because the city has a lot to offer for your next big idea. Here are 7 of the best business resources in Los Angeles.

muckercapital website - los angeles business resources

Photo from www.muckercapital.com/press/

1. Mucker Capital / MuckerLab

MuckerLab is ranked as the United States’ number two most successful accelerator. Mucker gets its name from Thomas Edison’s legendary laboratory that gave us both AC and DC electricity. They like to get involved early on with companies, not just with funding, but with mentoring, coaching, and setting up new ventures for success.

Mucker believes that Los Angeles and Silicon Beach is beginning to rival Silicon Valley in funding and talent. Do you believe your big idea is ready for funding? Then contact MuckerLab – they even get involved in “pre-seed” stages.

 

hollywoodbusinesssource - Los Angeles Business Resource

Photo from hollywoodbusinesssource.com

2. Business Source Centers

Every new business owner needs a helping hand. The most successful individuals almost always have a mentor or life coach that gave them the tips and confidence to succeed. That’s what MCS Business Source is all about. They offer the following:

  • Free training for entrepreneurs and small businesses to improve operations
  • Free consultation and counseling on obtaining funding, including help with completing loan applications
  • Business plan development, including financial planning, and marketing strategy
  • Access to capital
  • Obtaining business licenses and permits

You can find Business Source locations around Los Angeles by visiting: https://business.lacity.org/resources/service-centers.

WeWork Los Angeles - Business Resources

Photo from wework.com

3. WeWork Co-working Spaces

With the mission to, “create a world where people work to make a life, not a living”, WeWork provides private office spaces, lounges, shared workspace, conference rooms, and event spaces all under a common roof. The communal design provides occupants an excellent opportunity to network, collaborate, and truly be part of a diverse business community. Whether it be a single entrepreneur, or a team of 100, WeWork is a great alternative to leasing a traditional office space. Membership includes access to high speed Internet, coffee, business printers, office supplies, a front desk service, daily cleaning, craft beer on tap, mailing services, and ultimately an innovative and thriving business community.

To find the closest of the 19 based Los Angeles WeWork spaces near you, visit: https://www.wework.com/l/los-angeles–CA.

Shopify Los Angeles Business Resource

Photo by Shopify

4. Shopify’s Los Angeles Space

Shopify is known for its easy-to-use e-commerce platform. It supports thousands of e-commerce businesses by providing them with free website templates and easy integration into, for example, payment gateways.

So, what does the office in Los Angeles offer? Shopify’s space in LA is a destination for current and aspiring business owners seeking to learn, experiment, and build with Shopify. The location offers 1:1 “Guru Appointments”, educational sources, community events, and retail consultations. You can reserve a spot in their “Getting Started with Shopify” class for free online by visiting: https://www.shopify.com/local/los-angeles/products/getting-started-with-shopify.

SCORE LA Business Resource

Photo from SCORE LA Facebook

5. SCORE Mentors LA

SCORE is an excellent resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners living in Los Angeles. Most of what SCORE offers is either free or is offered at a very affordable price. They provide:

  • Free mentoring – you can find a mentor that understands the area of expertise that you need help with. Plus, some mentors can offer you a “way in,” since most are respected members of the community
  • Workshops – SCORE offers workshops for managing all aspects of your business, such as marketing, accounting, and finance
  • Templates –why reinvent the wheel when you don’t have to? SCORE offers templates for business and financial planning

Mentorship has proved vital in building some of the world’s most successful individuals. Give SCORE a visit to take advantage of this amazing and accessible resource.

 

Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Business Resource

Photo from Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Facebook

6. Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce

One of the most impactful networking and business resources in Los Angeles is the local chamber of commerce. Representing more than 235,000 businesses in L.A. County across 35 industry sectors, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most influential business association in the county. While membership does typically come at an annual fee, chamber members gain access to:

  • More than 40,000 direct referrals to member companies
  • 120 plus business and professional development programs
  • More than 25 advocacy and signature events
  • Nearly 100 graduates participating in our civic leadership programs
  • More than 10,000 job opportunities and internships for L.A. youth

Outside of the Los Angeles Chamber, there are 60 additional city chambers that offer similar resources. See a full list online at: http://www.seecalifornia.com/business/los-angeles-county-chambers-of-commerce.html

Business Internet Provider in Los Angeles

7. GeoLinks – Dedicated Business Internet Provider in Los Angeles

To support the high-demand, high-bandwidth applications that fuel today’s mission-critical business operations, you must have a fast and reliable Internet connection. And while the city of Los Angeles is home to a variety of different carriers, the vast offer unreliable, shared connections. GeoLinks is the fastest growing Business Internet provider in Los Angeles. The Company offers:

  • Rapid installation – Average 4 to 7 business days
  • Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) – Learn more about the difference between a dedicated and shared Internet connection here: https://geolinks.com/shared-vs-dedicated-internet-access/
  • Industry’s leading Service Level Agreement – this means guaranteed 99.999% uptime, ultra-low latency, and virtually no jitter or packet loss
  • 24/7/365 local in-house customer Support. Almost every business owner knows all too well how difficult and frustrating it is to worth with a major telecom company. With GeoLinks, you can actually develop a relationship with a team member, and call in and ask for them by name. This has contributed to why GeoLinks has some of the highest reviews of any provider in the area.

Often referred to as “The City of Dreams”, Los Angeles is a fast growing and thriving place to start and own a business. And while yes, there will always be challenges that unavoidably come with entrepreneurship, the city is equipped with ample accessible business resources.

Want more tips and tricks?

5 Tools to Help an Online Business Succeed

20 Essential Resources For Entrepreneurs and Inventors in Los Angeles

 

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Migrating from on-premise IP-PBX to Hosted IP-PBX

 

Telephony services have come a long way since Alexander Graham Bell’s (and others) initial invention back in the late 19th century. Past revolutionizing the way the world interacts and communicates socially, they have completely transformed the way we do business. In modern day, for example, it is no longer a necessity to have a dedicated resource in-house to manage and maintain the network, ultimately enabling businesses to see immediate benefits when they migrate to a hosted IP-PBX system. But before we get into modern IP-PBX systems, let’s quickly go through its history.

Quick History of the PBX

PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange. However, before the PBX, there was the PABX (private automatic branch exchange). PABX was invented in the 60s and allowed internal traffic within a company to occur without any (human) operator “switching” traffic manually. It seems job automation has been occurring for a long time, way before the invention of artificial intelligence (AI).

Many companies invested heavily in their own internal infrastructure and were not ready to embrace the new PBX system, despite the many features it provided. So, that forced PBX manufacturers to be more innovative by making it easier to integrate with older telephony systems. It goes without saying that the PBX (of the 1980s) revolutionized the call center.

Features of PBX Systems

The auto-attendant feature was one of the first features of the PBX system. Furthermore, the PBX was connected to PCs, which made call handling even simpler. It allowed call centers to speak to customers one to one while other calls were being routed to their required destinations.

Many companies, both small and large, began installing the PBX because it allowed them to increase revenue through increased pre-sales and after-sales activities. PBX manufacturers re-invested these profits into research and development, and by the 1990s, we had digital PBXs performing more functions than ever before – until the arrival of the IP-PBX (Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange).

Features of IP-PBX Systems

As a natural progression from analog to digital, then the Internet age, IP-PBX began to rely heavily on software. That meant that voice calls, emails, and faxes could now be streamlined into one system. The IP-PBX system is extremely efficient, allowing everything to be easily programmable and set up by individual users. Users could ask their calls to “follow them” to certain locations within their company, or even be routed to their mobile devices. Voicemail could be delivered as a transcribed email. And even though installing and maintaining an IP-PBX on-site became cheaper and more streamlined, it wasn’t long until cloud services began to become a dominant force with the option of having a hosted/managed IP-PBX system.

The Cloud and Hosted Services

Today we have many software companies offering their services over the cloud. The cloud just means your software is managed/accessed over the Internet and not from within your organization. Salesforce, for example, was one of the first successful Software as a Service (SaaS) companies. But cloud services, in general, took a long time to catch on. Most companies were against the concept of not having critical software and data stored and accessed on premises.

The concept of shifting costs from Capital Expenditures (CAPEX) to Operational Expenditures (OPEX) became a topic of debate. And while larger companies still debated this move to the cloud, many startups and small businesses embraced the cost savings of managed and hosted services over the Internet.

Now, small and large companies alike can take advantage of managed IP-PBX services. Automated services can ask customers where their calls need to be transferred, and it can all be set up and managed with ease. If an agent is busy, the call can be sent to the next available one. Call back options have also been added whereby customers are called back according to their place in line instead of waiting painfully for the next available agent.

GeoLinks Hosted IP-PBX Services – Hosted Voice

Companies like GeoLinks are offering hosted IP-PBX solutions to businesses large and small, saving them money and streamlining their operations. Most commonly bundled with the GeoLinks ClearFiber™ network, businesses who sign up for GeoLinks’ hosted IP-PBX service, Hosted Voice, can expect:

  • A total cost savings of up to 30% – largely due to eliminating on-premise equipment costs, install, and ongoing maintainance fees.
  • An extension of service use through a desktop phone and mobile app.
  • Unlimited calling across North America (the US, Canada, and Mexico).
  • A fully-managed solution built to grow and increase seamlessly as your business scales.
  • Enterprise-grade features such as an auto attendant, conference calling, follow me, music on hold, voicemail to email, fax to email, and much more.
  • True QoS.
  • 100% uptime with 4G LTE failover.

To support the high-demand, high-bandwidth applications that fuel today’s mission-critical business operations, it’s no longer a luxury to have a high-functioning network and optimal voice solution, it’s a necessity. Want to learn more about how your company can migrate from on-premise IP-PBX to Hosted IP-PBX? Call and talk to a GeoLinks’ team member today!

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Personal Field Account from GeoLinks CTO, Ryan Hauf

Neither Snow nor Rain nor Heat nor Gloom of Night

GeoLinks CTO Ryan Hauf

As we delve into winter, field operations as a service provider can be tough, even grueling in some cases. Long hours, the cold, and sporadic weather can often present challenges in maintaining a state-wide network. Nonetheless, GeoLinks takes great pride and goes above and beyond in upholding its service uptime commitment to each and every one of its clients.

The following account is told by GeoLinks Co-Founder and CTO, Ryan Hauf.

After receiving word that a rural school in Redding that we had connected through GeoLinks’ partner CENIC had lost connection, the GeoLinks team, lead by Co-Founder and CTO Ryan Hauf, immediately set off to restore connectivity.

Matt Murphy [GeoLinks’ Lead Infrastructure Technician] and I left immediately Friday afternoon [in my personal work truck]. We arrived in Redding, California about 1:30am. Just before we pulled into the hotel, I found that I couldn’t get the manual transmission into gear. Coasting to the side of the road we noticed there was a LOT of heat radiating from the transmission, and we came to the conclusion that it had leaked out all its oil. After allowing it to cool for a little while it went into gear again, so we removed the shifter and dumped in about a quart of 90w gear oil (we could not install it the conventional way since that requires a pump which we didn’t’ have.) We were able to drive the rest of the way to the hotel.

After coming all the way we weren’t about to give up, so the next morning we decided that since it was still derivable, we’d give the hill ascent a try. We drove gently to the base of the hill and all seemed okay. About 1/4 of the way up the hill, I slowed down for a washout that was about a foot deep, when I pressed the clutch, it fell to the floor… Uh oh, the problems were getting worse! Of course the engine immediately stalled because I wasn’t prepared for the clutch not to disengage. We were now sitting, stuck in gear, with our front wheels in a washout. We figured we could restart the engine in gear if wheels were free, so we used a high-lift jack to lift the front of the truck. I started it, and let the truck “start/drive/roll” off the jack, which Matt pulled out of the way so we didn’t immediately run it over. We were off again, stuck in first gear, with no clutch, no way to shift gears, and potentially no way to re-start the engine if it stalled, depending on the location.

GeoLiks - Ryan Hauf - Redding

We continued to drive this way and the conditions got worse, deeper snow, very deep washouts, including one that was about 2′ deep, which the whole left side of the truck dropped into for about 200 feet. There was mud and snow flying everywhere from the tires; I had the engine redlined so it wouldn’t stall.

Some parts where the snow was deep it took us 10 minutes just to go 50 feet or so. Tires spinning, we’d slowly chew our way through the snow enough to get traction to drive up the incline.

Eventually, about half-a-mile from the top of the hill, we were in snow about a foot deep and the left side of the truck had fallen into a rut. Eventually we ran up against a rock or something hiding under the snow and we were stuck. At this point I called Steven (the repo man) to bring a truck and trailer up because we would be needing a tow home (and possibly off the mountain.) From there, we hiked the rest of the way to the site and repaired it (Matt actually hiked it twice since he went back to the truck for a replacement radio.)

We swapped the antenna and radio at the site, cleared the ice off the solar panels, applied rain-x to them to hopefully help with future icing, and then we headed back down to leave. It was about 3pm by this point. Once we got back to the truck, we jacked up the front to get it out of the hole it was in. We used a heavy duty ratchet-strap to “winch” it forward just enough to relieve tension from the transmission enough to get the shifter out of first and into reverse. Once in reverse, we started it as it fell off the jack again, and backed down the hill to a point we could do a 3-point turn around, which for obvious reasons was very tricky (no clutch). [Nonetheless] we got turned around and headed down the hill.
geolinks_redding

We limped the truck over to the school because it was still not connected, even though the tower was fixed. We assumed it was an alignment issue. Arriving just after dark, before long a few people from town showed up asking what we were doing there at night, on the roof… They were great and very helpful. Also very surprised at the extent we were going to in order to get their Internet repaired. We troubleshot at the school for a couple hours and they offered to take us to a hotel in town so we wouldn’t have to lip the explorer there with no clutch. We were stuck at this point – we  eventually got dropped off at the hotel around 11pm.

Steven (repo man) arrived at the hotel later than expected. 4:30am, to be exact, due to a fuel leak he had to fix on his truck on the way up at a truck stop gas station in the middle of the night with Macgyver parts. We left the hotel around 8am, and went to South Forks to retrieve an un-needed radio to be used as a replacement radio for the one at the school, which we had determined was bad.

Upon arriving at the school it seemed to be one issue after another, but finally, we were out of there by about 3:30pm, with connectivity successfully restored, against all odds and challenges!  We arrived back in town at 4am.

GeoLinks - Headed Home
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