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From POTS to VoIP – A Look at Today’s Top Phone Systems for Business

Pros and Cons of Hosted VoIP Phone Systems (Hosted PBX) and On-premises IP PBX Phone Systems
January 5th, 2021 [UPDATED]
Originally Published on July 24th, 2018

The Pros and Cons of Hosted VoIP Phone Systems (Hosted PBX) and On-premises IP PBX Phone Systems

The modern-day analog telephone service – commonly referred to as a plain old telephone system (POTS) – can be accredited to numerous individuals throughout history. But it was Alexander Graham Bell who, in 1876, was the first to patent the technology as an “apparatus for transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically.” Fast forward to today, and many small businesses still use this archaic technology. However, the good news is that while a portion of society has yet to venture away from this 144-year-old system, the world has progressed, and far superior options are available in the marketplace.

These options include on-premises private branch exchange (PBX) phone systems and Hosted VoIP phone systems (also known as Hosted PBX services). To get your business familiar with these communications system service offerings, GeoLinks has put together this walkthrough on the pros and cons of each service so you can decide what’s right for your company.

What is an On-premises PBX?

 
What is an on-premises PBX?
 

An on-premises PBX resides physically on-site at a business. We’ve provided a more detailed overview of PBXs and other phone systems here. Still, for a quick definition, dictionary.com defines a PBX as a “manually or automatically operated telephone facility that handles communications within an office, office building, or organization and that is connected to the public telephone network.”

Many of today’s on-premises PBX systems are IP-PBX systems. The primary difference between a traditional PBX and an IP-PBX is that in an IP-PBX, the signaling is internet protocol (IP)-based, and routing and features are more software-based than hardware-based. Voice calls are managed via “voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP),” which converts voice into digital signals, allowing businesses to make voice calls over networks using IP. VoIP is used both in private company networks and in telephone services delivered over the public Internet.

The Pros and Cons of On-Premises IP-PBX

On-premises IP-PBX Pros:

  • Control – Customization and flexibility over your phone system
  • Integration – Integrates with company software programs such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems
  • Fixed Price – No risks of fee increases after the installation (though maintenance and upgrade costs can add up)

On-premises IP-PBX Cons:

  • Costs – Upfront costs are typically steep
  • Maintenance – Maintenance costs are your responsibility, and some businesses may not have enough internal IT resources or the budget to make difficult, expensive, or highly customized changes
  • Slow Setup or Repair – Initial deployment time or repair may take longer
  • Reconfigurations – Adds, changes and removals are your responsibility
  • Consumes IT Personnel and Resources – Ties up valuable internal IT resources in routine maintenance
  • Costly Outages – Outages can take down all sales and service operations.

What is Hosted Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and How Does it Compare to a Traditional or IP PBX?

Hosted VoIP delivers PBX-level services over the Internet. For this reason, the term “Hosted PBX” is often used to describe Hosted VoIP. The terms are interchangeable.

The Pros and Cons of Hosted VoIP / Hosted PBX

Hosted VoIP Pros:

  • Cost Savings – Lower initial equipment cost and setup costs than an on-premises PBX. Plus, leading hosted VoIP providers, such as GeoLinks, can save companies up to 40% compared to traditional phone lines
  • OpEx vs. CapEx Benefits – Many companies value the ability to treat their communications as an operational expenditure instead of the long-term depreciation treatment of an on-site PBX as a capital expenditure
  • Always Up to Date – Software updates happen automatically, so your system is always up to date
  • Ease of Use – Hosted VoIP is simpler to install, configure, and maintain than premises-based services
  • Mobility & Remote Work Enablement – With Hosted VoIP’s ability to support Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), a user can make and take calls from anywhere with an Internet connection on a standard office phone, a computer, tablet, or mobile softphone. Increases in remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in 42% of the U.S. labor force working from home full-time (which Hosted VoIP enables). Accordingly, some businesses will permanently adopt remote workforce models to reduce or avoid altogether the costs associated with maintaining in-building offices
  • Enterprise-grade Features – Modern, up-to-date and always-improving features without needing to upgrade your phone system. Examples include enterprise-grade features such as call queues, auto-attendant, call forwarding, music-on-hold and unified communications, to name a few
  • Outsourced Maintenance – Your provider shoulders all the work, risk, and complexity, thus creating less dependency on costly in-house IT resources
  • Business Continuity – The cloud-based model delivers business continuity benefits (such as routing calls to mobile phones during outages)
  • Scale on-demand – Hosted VoIP systems scale with your needs
  • Application Integration – Hosted VoIP service providers design integrations between their phone systems with numerous other business applications companies typically use, including email services, social media, web browsers, IM/SMS/MMS services, CRMs, etc.
  • No Equipment Required – In a Hosted VoIP environment, a business no longer has to shoulder costly on-site hardware and equipment purchases and upgrades—voice communication occurs entirely over the Internet through downloadable applications with data stored in the cloud. (NOTE: Many businesses invest in VoIP desktop phones for user convenience).

Hosted VoIP Cons:

  • Bandwidth Dependency – Since Hosted VoIP functions over the Internet, it’s critical to have available and reliable bandwidth to complete calls. Thus, if you’re on a poor Internet connection, you may struggle with both inbound and outbound calls. Quick fix? Upgrade your bandwidth, sign up for a dedicated Internet circuit, so you never have to share your bandwidth, or bundle in an SD-WAN solution to prioritize your voice traffic.
  • Voice Quality – Once again, because Hosted VoIP depends on the Internet, your call quality may suffer if you experience latency. Thus, ensure that you have a high-quality Internet circuit with dedicated Voice QoS before upgrading.

 
Upgrading to a hosted IP-PBX
 

Learn more about upgrading from an on-premises PBX to a Hosted PBX in our article “Migrating from on-premise IP-PBX to Hosted IP-PBX.

 

Ready to Try GeoLinks Hosted VoIP and Hosted PBX Solutions?

Call GeoLinks today and talk to one of our in-house experts to learn how to build the right-sized communications system for your business.

Contact GeoLinks
 
 

Need a VoIP Phone System Immediately?

Talk with a GeoLinks Hosted VoIP & Hosted PBX specialist now.

Call 888.225.1571.
Call GeoLinks
 
 
1 https://www.voip-info.org/hosted-pbx-vs-on-premise-pbx/

Should Your Business Upgrade to Hosted VoIP?

Have you considered upgrading your business phone system? If so, there’s a good chance you recognize hosted VoIP as a modern, cloud-based solution. Hosted VoIP solutions – sometimes referred to as hosted PBX solutions – offer many advantages over traditional on-site PBXs or other analog setups, which is why it’s a favorite among businesses looking to upgrade their phone systems. Let’s cover a few key differences between those systems before we dive into those advantages.

Traditional PBX Phone Systems

Many businesses leverage a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) to manage their voice network. PBX phone systems create an internal exchange network that connects all phones within a business location, creating a cost-benefit as businesses can have more phones than phone lines. They also facilitate free calls between users. PBX phone systems also allow companies to utilize other essential call features like call transfers, conferencing, auto-attendants and more. PBX phone systems can use several types of transmission protocols, including VoIP, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), session-initiated protocol (SIP) or analog connections. Traditionally, PBX phone systems consist of on-premises hardware that’s monitored and maintained in-house.

What Is Hosted VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) refers to a specific protocol used to convert phone calls into data packets that transmit calls over networks. VoIP is widely considered an application rather than a piece of hardware, like a traditional PBX, which explains why some PBX frameworks use VoIP as an application for voice transmission.

Hosted VoIP phone systems do not require an on-premise PBX to work. A hosted VoIP solution migrates all of an on-site PBX’s duties to an off-site VoIP provider’s platform. (Note: Hosted VoIP solutions are also known as hosted PBX solutions). Using a “hosted” solution delivers communications as a paid service – often tracked as an operating expense (OpEx) rather than a capital expenditure (CapEx).

The Advantages of Hosted VoIP

Hosted VoIP services deliver many tangible benefits, including:

  1. Business Continuity. From global pandemics to severe weather, external events can bring business operations to a halt quickly—sometimes instantly. With these risks in mind, cloud-based phone systems can deliver vital business continuity, allowing your business to transition communications to another location or a work-from-home environment promptly.
  2. No Up-Front Capital Costs. Removing the need for on-premise phone systems eliminates the need for the heavy up-front capital requirements for on-site equipment and installation. This transition to a pay-as-you-go operational expense is an attractive feature for many businesses.
  3. No Hardware, No Maintenance. Hosted VoIP moves hardware (except for desktop phones and handsets) maintenance and upgrades off-site to be handled by a trusted VoIP provider. This outsourcing of routine maintenance frees up your internal IT resources for high-value projects and ensures that your system is always up to date.
  4. Scale at Will. As your business grows, your need to scale communications systems is essential, whether it’s a matter of adding more seats and phones or adding new features. While on-premises systems require seat purchasing in volume-based increments or over-purchasing in advance in an attempt to “future-proof” them, hosted VoIP providers can scale precisely to your needs. No empty seats. No wasted money.
  5. Always Up to Date. Your hosted VoIP provider remotely manages your system, ensuring that you’re always running the latest technology and security patches and are never out of date.
  6. Customized Functionality. Hosted VoIP empowers your business to customize phone functionality based on how and where you want to use it, tailorable to an individual user or department needs.

Hosted VoIP Systems for Business

Hosted VoIP systems provide essential contact center features, ensuring (and often enhancing) operational capabilities. Features include:

  • Call Queues
  • Conference Calling
  • Music on Hold
  • Voicemail to Email
  • Fax to Email
  • Toll-Free Numbers
  • Softphone
  • Auto Attendant
  • Follow Me
  • Etc.

So, Is Hosted VoIP Right for Your Business?

Since hosted VoIP is a proven solution that delivers tangible benefits on many fronts, the answer to this question is almost certainly “yes.” Still, the provider you choose is vital to getting the most from your upgrade. As one of the industry’s top digital voice solutions providers, we’d love to provide you with a quote or schedule a demo to show you how our hosted VoIP solution can help your company.

Ready to Upgrade to Hosted VoIP?

Contact Us Today!

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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.

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!

Shared vs. Dedicated Internet Access—Not all Connections are Created Equally

shared vs dedicated internet

Shared vs. Dedicated Internet Access—Not all Connections are Created Equally

You’re sitting at your desk, trying to upload an extremely time-sensitive contract into an email, and you see this…

Meanwhile, your coworker Joe in the next room is trying to host a multi-user conference call on your VoIP system, and he hears this….

 

 

You can even hear Jamie, down the hall, spewing choice words as she tries to load your company’s online CRM but is deterred by this…

slow internet

Reality check

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, it’s a necessity.

So, what causes slow Internet?

Force Majeure

Let’s face it, some things in life are just simply out of our control.  For example, an extreme weather event, such as heavy rainfall, can flood terrestrial Internet infrastructure, such as DSL or Fiber, causing community-wide network blackouts for hours, days, or weeks at a time. Similarly, your local construction crew might accidentally drill into the lines feeding your building’s primary Internet connection. Or perhaps your city’s electric company has an unforeseen power outage causing your Internet to drop. While it’s impossible to completely prevent the unpredictable, if Internet is important to your business, consider investing in both backup generators and a backup Internet circuit to safeguard your business from potential downtime.

Inefficient Bandwidth

Does your office have 20 users working off a symmetrical 3 Mbps circuit? Chances are your business operations will move at a glacial speed—that is, if they can be accomplished at all. Outside of physical users, do you know what everyone in your office is using the Internet for? Are they streaming video, uploading images, or downloading large files? All of these operations require bandwidth. Thus, in the case outlined above, your office lacks sufficient bandwidth.

To avoid Internet slow down, it’s imperative to know what your business uses the Internet for, and adjust your bandwidth accordingly. Furthermore, it’s important to understand if your office or building… A. has exclusive access to the bandwidth you’re paying for or B. you’re on a shared circuit leading to…

Monopolized Bandwidth

If your company is operating off a shared circuit, it is entirely possible that your neighbor could use up or hog your bandwidth. So, unless you plan to schedule out times for both your companies to take turns using the Internet, read on.

(TIP: Learn How to Determine the Amount of Bandwidth Your Business Needs Here.)

What is a Shared Internet Circuit? 

When your Internet is part of a shared terrestrial circuit, you’re doing just that, sharing. All user data is transmitted across a singular network expending more and more bandwidth as additional devices join and engage the network. So literally, all users on a shared circuit share speeds and bandwidth— AKA what your neighbor does may affect the quality of your connection.

The PRO of opting for shared Internet access is that it is typically the most affordable form of broadband. Additionally, if you live in a highly dense urban area, it’s likely readily available from a variety of competitors. For businesses who do not rely heavily on the Internet, this is a perfectly fine and economical solution. Just be prepared for random and potentially frequent slow down.

What is a Dedicated Internet Circuit?

Unlike shared Internet access, dedicated circuits provide private Internet access to a single location, meaning bandwidth is delivered and accessible exclusively to the circuit owner. Therefore, businesses who opt for dedicated internet access (DIA) actually receive the speeds and bandwidth they sign up for—no sharing! While fiber can deliver dedicated circuits, due to the terrestrial nature of the technology it is typically slow to deploy and extremely expensive. Therefore, more and more businesses are turning towards fixed wireless for this premium service, such as GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network. Dedicated Internet is very valuable for organizations with multiple users, cloud-based phones or web-enabled devices — or simply businesses who value uptime and reliability.

DIA Use Cases

Not sure if your business should upgrade to a dedicated circuit? Here are a variety of business use cases, and how they can benefit from DIA. 

Car Dealerships:

  • From interdepartmental communication, to customer service, to online marketing, to generating large financial contracts, an average car dealership’s day-to-day business relies on having dependable high-speed Internet.

Doctors’ Offices and Hospitals

  • Electronic health records (EHR) and X-Rays are quickly migrating to the cloud, making large file transfers increasingly imperative to healthcare facilities. Fact: A 1 Gigabyte Multiple CT Scan file transfer at 1.5 Mbps will take 84 minutes to download vs. only 1.25 minutes to download on a 100 Mbps dedicated circuit.

Hotels and Restaurants

  • In the hospitality industry, convenience and accessibility is paramount. Thus, having a high-functioning POS or check in system is mandatory for daily operations, and free guest Wi-Fi has become expected. Also consider that more and more users are making reservations online— can’t access the Internet? Good luck confirming reservations or booking requests! 

Real Estate

  • Real estate is an industry that revolves predominantly around website and phone leads. To be successful, agents must be accessible at all times, and keep web listings up-to-date with recent images and video tours. Therefore, high-speed Internet and using unified communications can be extremely beneficial.

Banks

  • From ensuring that money transactions are efficient and secure, to deploying live security-monitoring, to executing nightly backups, a bank would be severely compromised if they encountered a lack of bandwidth.

So, if you’re business depends on having a reliable and secure connection to the internet, consider upgrading to a dedicated circuit today

How Can Your Company Benefit from Hosted Voice?

GeoLinks_Hosted Voice

Technology is evolving rapidly, and the way we communicate is going through significant changes. Traditional PBX systems, for example, are getting replaced more and more by Hosted Voice systems which provide cutting-edge features at a much lower cost.

First adapted by large businesses and corporations, this enterprise technology has become not only practical, but invaluable for businesses of all sizes, especially small to medium-sized companies looking to improve overall business efficiencies.

So, how can your company benefit from Hosted Voice?

The Cost

Hosted Voice systems cost significantly less than traditional PBX systems. For example, GeoLinks’ Hosted Voice for business allows companies to save up to 40% when compared to traditional business phone systems. How? For starters, there is no need to keep and maintain expensive equipment on site. GeoLinks’ phone system is hosted in the cloud in carrier-grade data centers offering multiple layers of redundancy as well as high security levels. Customers can make any changes and modifications through their personal portal, without having to pay for an on-site technician.

Enterprise-Grade Features

Hosted Voice systems offer a variety of enterprise-grade features that can help increase productivity amongst your employees. Some of the most popular features of Hosted Voice include:

  • Auto attendant
  • Call queues
  • Call recording
  • Voicemail to email
  • Fax to email
  • Conference calling
  • Follow me

… and more!

Perhaps one of the most substantial benefits to Hosted Voice is that it offers advanced unified communications aptly tailored to fit your organization’s specific needs. Unified Communications, (UCaaS), enables your employees to take work with them wherever they go via a desktop and mobile app. With the ability to make and receive calls from their computer or mobile device, employees never have to risk missing a business call when they are away from their desk or out of the office. The ability to remain connected further helps companies streamline and enhance internal communications.

Security and Reliability

When choosing to implement a Hosted Voice system, consider that your provider will be completely responsible for assuring your system’s security. This means that your system will be constantly monitored and regularly backed up to the cloud, so that even if a potential problem does emerge, your settings remain protected. However, because the provider will manage and maintain all aspects of your company’s phone system, make sure you hire a reputable service provider, like GeoLinks. Aside from having award-winning 24/7 in-house customer support, GeoLinks’ team of expert engineers customizes each customer’s internal network to issue priority to voice. Additionally, for advanced reliability, a customer’s internal infrastructure can be configured so that the primary Internet connection will fail over to the secondary one in case of an Internet outage which means your voice service will remain intact.

Flexibility and Scalability

Hosted Voice systems provide true scalability options that simply aren’t possible with traditional business phones. With no physical hardware on your site, when you need an upgrade or decide to add additional lines or features, the entire process becomes instant, simple and does not require a technician’s presence. Customers can easily scale the phone system and adapt it to how their business changes and grows.

When security, productivity, flexibility, and scalability matter to a business, Hosted Voice, also known as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), provides businesses of all sizes the ability to enjoy fully-managed enterprise benefits at a fraction of the cost of traditional PBX systems.

7 Ways to Improve Workplace Productivity Using Technology

“How to improve workplace productivity,” is a highly searched term these days. While results may reveal answers ranging from Encourage More Breaks to Limit Meetings…the reality is, every work place is different. In fact, every employee is different. What behavioral strategy or method may work on one team member, may not on the next. So, how do we come to a universal solution on the impending dilemma of elevating workplace productivity? In truth, there may not be just one answer. We suggest, however, a wise place to start is by equipping staff with the most useful and adaptable performance tools and systems available on the market. Below we have outlined 7 Ways to Improve Workplace Productivity Using Technology.

1. Ensure Your Workplace Has a RELIABLE, HIGH-SPEED, and DEDICATED Internet Connection

In today’s competitive marketplace, having high-speed, reliable Internet is paramount to a company’s internal productivity. Fact: In a world reliant on Internet, digital downtime can cost a company upwards of $100,000 per minute.

So, what causes downtime, and how can we avoid it?

Work in a developing area? Construction may disrupt your connection. Does your community ever experience high winds, rain or snowfall? Weather can disconnect your service for hours or days on end. Operate in a shared office space or building? Your Internet speed may be inconsistent and unpredictable simply because everyone is sharing the same fiber optic line.

Enter: Fixed Wireless.

Simply put, 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 signals, fixed wireless technology eliminates the need for costly terrestrial fiber, satellite feeds or cable lines. Unaffected by weather, fixed wireless provides businesses with a dedicated connection that boasts faster uptime, ultra-low latency, and higher bandwidth.

2. Utilize Group Chats (We Suggest Google Hangouts)

In short, Google Hangouts is today’s modern instant messaging platform. Allowing up to 15 people in a single chat, Google Hangouts eliminates timely back and forth email chains or those “long walks across the office”. Questions can be asked and answered instantaneously and “losing” or “not seeing” an email is no longer an excuse. Accessible via desktop or mobile, group chats can even be named by department to further encourage organized and efficient communication streams.

3. Use Smartsheets to Track To-Do Lists and Monitor Deadlines

Smartsheets is a software as a service (SaaS) application designed for collaboration and work management. It allows users to assign tasks, track project progress, set priority deadlines, manage calendars, and share documents. With a spreadsheet-like user interface, managers are able to easily remind employees of approaching deadlines, ultimately driving employees to stay on-task and complete projects in a timely manner.

4. Switch to Hosted Voice—Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

By utilizing your broadband Internet connection to power your phone services, Hosted Voice, or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), offers businesses a simple solution to significantly cut down overall communication costs, improve and expand interaction between employees and customers, and ensure a more reliable quality of service.

Popular features include:

Fax-to-email
Follow Me
Voice-to-email
Conference Bridge
Toll-Free Numbers
Unified Communications
…and more!
Ultimately, Hosted Voice equips employees with advanced communication tools that allow work to follow them inside and outside of the office.

5. Host Sharable Company Files in Dropbox

Employees need trustworthy and timely access to up-to-date company files in order to remain informed and successful. Instead of connecting to VPNs or searching through emails, employees using Dropbox can quickly access team data from almost anywhere. These reliable file transfers allow field employees to manage entire projects from the field.

6. Take Evernotes

Per its slogan, “Capture, organize, and share notes from anywhere. Your best ideas are always with you and always in sync,” Evernote allows users to easily create an endless number of notebooks from the palm of their hand. But this isn’t just any regular *hold on let me flip through a million pages to find what I’m looking for* notebook. With Evernote, users can quickly jot down ideas and notes via text, voice memos, real time photos or web clips. With added tag and category features, users can catalog notes for quick and easy access via search. It’s productive note taking re-invented!

7. Systemize Workflow Integration through HubSpot

Successful marketing automation relies on triggering relevant and timely actions based on a customer’s response. HubSpot has developed a “Workflow” system that allows businesses to effectively and efficiently scale both sales and marketing efforts.

So, what’s a workflow? A workflow is an automated set of marketing actions that are executed based on pre-specified conditions. For example, a workflow action could be sending out a follow-up email with your promised offer when a contact fills out certain forms. These programmable and automated “outlines” of what to do and when to do it, keep employees on task and producing results as efficiently as possible.

 

“I’m most grounded on the role of technology. Ultimately to me it’s about the human capital and the human potential and technology empowers humans to do great things. You have to be optimistic about what technology can do in the hands of humans.” — Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft Corporation, USA

GeoLinks acquires One Stop VoIP, furthers national strategy

by Sean Buckley |

GeoLinks acquires One Stop VoIP, furthers national strategy

GeoLinks, an emerging hybrid wireline-wireless service provider focused on business customers, has purchased cloud-based provider One Stop VoIP, signaling the next step toward becoming a larger national service provider.

By acquiring One Stop VoIP, GeoLinks will be able to add Hosted Voice to its growing cadre of data services. Under the terms of the deal, which is GeoLink’s first, the service provider will migrate all of One Stop VoIP’s key staff, existing customers, Unified Communications capabilities, and IT infrastructure.

Now that it has finalized the acquisition, GeoLinks said that it plans to launch a full set of hosted voice services by the end of the third quarter of 2017.

To ensure the transition into becoming a voice provider, GeoLinks named One Stop VoIP CEO Dexter Allen as senior director of VoIP business development. Paul Kasavets, COO and co-owner of One Stop VoIP, will join GeoLinks as senior director of VoIP operations. Allen and Kasavets will join the GeoLinks team in their headquarters on July 12, 2017. GeoLinks said that all One Stop VoIP customers will continue to receive consistent service coverage during the transfer, while GeoLinks’ clients can expect new Hosted Voice deployment by the beginning of September.

GeoLinks CEO Skyler Ditchfield told FierceTelecom that One Stop VoIP products and services align well with the company and its fixed wireless product, ClearFiber.

“We’ll be adding a new offering, which is VoIP, to our product set in the next 45 days,” Ditchfield said.

The acquisition follows the company’s effort to rebrand itself from California Internet LP to GeoLinks as well as its launch into the national market, induction as a competitive local exchange carrier public utility and headquarter relocation.

Besides offering new VoIP capabilities, the service provider is expanding its federal government capabilities as part of its national expansion effort.

“We’re really expanding the government division and it represents about a quarter of our business so it is taking off rapidly,” Ditchfield said. “We’re going to be using that to pull us into new opportunities on a national scale over the next year or two.”

Internet Service Provider GeoLinks Announces Acquisition of One Stop VoIP

California’s fasting growing B2B Internet Service Provider (ISP), GeoLinks, announces acquisition of Los Angeles telecommunications company One Stop VoIP.

VENTURA, CA (PRWEB) JULY 12, 2017

California Internet L.P., DBA GeoLinks is thrilled to officially announce its first ever acquisition of up-and-coming cloud-based Telecommunication Service Provider, One Stop VoIP. The acquisition includes an all-inclusive migration of key staff, existing customers, Unified Communications (UC) capabilities, and IT infrastructure, enabling GeoLinks to offer Hosted Voice for the first time.

With contract negotiations finalized, GeoLinks forecasts to launch a full scope of Hosted Voice services by the end of third quarter 2017. To assist in future voice operations, GeoLinks is proud to welcome aboard Founder and CEO of One Stop VoIP, Dexter Allen, as Senior Director of VoIP Business Development. Additionally, GeoLinks welcomes Paul Kasavets, COO and Co-Owner of One Stop VoIP, as Senior Director of VoIP Operations.

“This has been a historic year for GeoLinks so far,” said GeoLinks’ CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “Recently announcing our company rebrand and launch into the national market, One Stop VoIP represents our first official acquisition. This search has been exhaustive, not just to find the right company but to find an executive team that moves at our pace and fits our culture. It’s not a small feat that GeoLinks has achieved 100% growth six-years-running. Throughout the onboarding process it was evident that both Dexter Allen and Paul Kasavets shared the same capabilities and passion for innovation that GeoLinks values so highly. We have been looking to add Hosted Voice to our service offerings for some time now. One Stop VoIP’s products and services co-align perfectly with GeoLinks as a whole, and with our flagship fixed wireless product, ClearFiber™. Overall, everything about the acquisition is a natural fit.”

Since company inception in 2011, GeoLinks—a licensed, bonded, and insured general contractor—has been entirely self-sufficient, bringing everything in-house to ensure proper service deployment from end-to-end. Coupled with superior US-based customer support, GeoLinks’ acquisition promises continued consistency and superior, reliable Hosted Voice services.

“Our strategic partnership with GeoLinks will allow us to deliver a complete telecommunication solution to businesses, catapulting us to a leading position in the industry,” stated Allen. “One Stop VoIP delivers outstanding value, continuous innovation, and an exceptional client experience. We are passionately committed to helping GeoLinks’ current and future clients grow by equipping them with the strategic communication tools they need to succeed. Both companies’ core services are essential for any business. Prior to the acquisition, we both were missing a piece of the puzzle. I am thrilled that we can now deliver the whole picture to businesses in one convenient package.”

Allen and Kasavets officially joined the GeoLinks team in their office headquarters on July 11th, 2017. All former One Stop VoIP customers will continue to receive dependable service coverage during the transfer, while GeoLinks’ clients can expect new Hosted Voice deployment by the beginning of September 2017.

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About One Stop VoIP
Founded in the heart of Los Angeles’ Silicon Beach, One Stop VoIP is a cloud based phone service provider passionately committed to providing outstanding value, continuous innovation and exceptional client experience. Offering a wide range of features and communication solutions, One Stop VoIP products provide flexibility, exceptional configurability, ease of use, and scalability tailored to meet businesses’ highest demands.

About GeoLinks
Founded in 2011 by CEO, Skyler Ditchfield, and CTO, Ryan Hauf, GeoLinks is the fastest growing B2B fixed wireless Internet Service Provider (ISP) in California. Proud to service the largest coverage area of any single provider in the state, GeoLinks expanded its territory in 2017 delivering Enterprise-Grade Internet, Layer 2 Transport, and turnkey construction expertly tailored for all business and Anchor Institutions nationwide.

With industry leading installation times, GeoLinks’ flagship service, ClearFiber™, offers customers fixed wireless on the most resilient and scalable network ever built. Boasting ultra-low latency, 99.999% uptime, sub 10ms jitter, and a 4-hour max response time, GeoLinks prides itself on consistently delivering the industry’s best Service Level agreement.

Amongst its many accolades, GeoLinks was the largest construction grant winner for California K-12 schools and libraries in both 2016 and 2017. Servicing thousands of businesses across the country, GeoLinks officially became a CLEC and public utility in 2017.