Tuesday, December 16, 2014

E-Rate Supports Gigabit Internet for Schools & Libraries

By: John Shepler

It’s clear that broadband Internet is a key infrastructure for business, education and personal use. Schools and libraries may have the greatest need of all to access information online. We’re living in a Google, Wikipedia, e-book world and information is going more electronic by the day.

Find E-Rate discounted high speed Internet for schools and libraries.Schools & Libraries are Lagging
What might surprise you is that many elementary schools and libraries area woefully behind the times when it comes to electronic access. They need modern broadband service. Not the Megabit per second standard that was thought fast when we were moving from dial-up modems to always-on high speed Internet. Today’s standards need to be based on what fiber optic connections can provide. Is Gigabit Ethernet too fast… or just about right?

The FCC is now in the just about right camp. The latest round of improvements to the government’s E-Rate program are targeting Internet speeds of at least 100 Mbps per 1,000 students and staff now, moving up to 1,000 Mbps in the longer term. Libraries that serve fewer than 50,000 people should get at least 100 Mbps. Larger libraries, those serving more than 50,000 people need 1 Gbps or higher Internet access speeds. Looking ahead, the FCC wants WAN/Last Mile connectivity to be scalable to 10 Gbps per 1,000 students. You know it won’t be long before that is what we’ll think of as typical.

More Funding for Higher Bandwidths
The amount of funding for E-Rate discounts has been running a $2.4 billion a year. That has been recently increased by $1.5 billon to $3.9 billion per year. A good part of this funding will support high speed Internet access. The rest will be used for infrastructure within the facilities, particularly Wi-Fi access. Wireless vs wired Ethernet connections are particularly important for students and library patrons. Funding will be ended for legacy services such as paging and traditional landline telephones.

How to Qualify for E-Rate Discounts
Any school, school district or library that wants to participate in the E-Rate program needs to submit an application through the program administrator, USAC or the Universal Service Administrative Company. Any carriers, or service providers, that want to offer E-Rate qualified services also need to submit an application. They are then assigned a SPIN or Service Provider Identification Number. Many of the larger carriers have already taken this step and have the ability to install fiber optic broadband Internet or WAN connections at speeds ranging from 10 Mbps on up to 10 Gbps or more.

How Much Are the Savings?
E-Rate is a discounted service price. In other words, if you qualify for E-Rate you’ll pay less for broadband access than commercial entities for the same line speeds. The actual discount that each school or library receives is based on the poverty level of the population they serve and whether the population is considered urban or rural. The actual calculations are based on the percentage of students eligible for the national school lunch program. Discounts then range from as low as 20% to as high as 90%.

The Easy Want to Find E-Rate Broadband
You can do the research yourself by contacting local service providers or searching online for national carriers. However, it’s much easier to use a company that works with many different carriers and knows who has E-Rate capability in your area. There is no cost for this service. It’s available to any interested school or library. It’s also fast and easy to make a no-obligation inquiry. Check for carriers offering E-Rate bandwidth services now.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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Monday, December 08, 2014

10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 1000 Mbps Internet Upgrades

By: John Shepler

Are you feeling stymied by your company’s low Internet speeds? It’s to be expected. Today’s online applications are far more demanding than the static websites and text based email that were the norm when you got your first T1 line. Today, 10 Mbps can be considered entry level for most businesses. Demands for 100 Mbps and 1000 Mbps are entirely reasonable. So, what’s the best way to upgrade?

Business bandwidth for 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps and 1000 Mbps at attractive prices.Movin’ On Up
You can sometimes get away with incrementally increasing your bandwidth as needs grow slowly. Bonded T1 lines can give you 3 to 12 Mbps in 1.5 Mbps steps. You need to order all your lines from the same provider and there will be equipment changes every time you want to step up. Even so, this can be the best option in rural areas where there isn’t much service available.

A competing approach is to order Ethernet over Copper rather than T1. It’s available in most metro areas, although not so much beyond the city limits. EoC can give you higher bandwidth levels, 3 to 20 Mbps, at lower cost than bonded T1 solutions. It’s distance sensitive, so the closer you are to the office supplying your service, the higher your bandwidth.

The best option today is looking more and more like Ethernet over Fiber. Yes, fiber optic service used to be rarely found and very expensive. The legacy SONET fiber services still are pricey, although they’ve come down dramatically in recent years. Ethernet over Fiber is a newer approach that offers a number of advantages for business users.

What Ethernet over FIber Offers
Ethernet over FIber (EoF) is pretty much like it sounds. It uses the same Ethernet protocol that runs on your company LAN, but adds some features that make it suitable for telecom carrier use. You’ll also hear it called Carrier Ethernet or Metro Ethernet. This is currently a metropolitan service. There isn’t much fiber in the boonies, although more is being installed all the time to boost the capability of cellular towers.

Because it’s Ethernet, EoF is easy to connect to your network. Your handoff from the service provider is a fiber or copper Ethernet connection. Plug it into your edge router and you’re in business

Ethernet over Fiber was designed to be highly scalable. That means upgrades are very easy and probably don’t need equipment changes. Compare that to legacy services that always required the carrier to swap out termination equipment and often took weeks and months to complete. With EoF, you make a phone call and your speed will be increased in a matter of hours or days. The latest offerings let your make changes on-demand. You can increase or decrease your bandwidth right from your computer.

How about bandwidth?
Ethernet over Fiber typically starts at 10 Mbps and goes up to 10 Gbps or more. Popular speeds mirror the standard Ethernet LAN speeds of 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, and 1000 Mbps. Actually, you can get many increments in-between these standards. If you like, start off at 10 Mbps and then upgrade to 20 or 30 Mbps and eventually move on up to 100 Mbps or more.

The one consideration that makes this easy is the port speed you install. That the speed of the connection to the provider’s equipment. You’ll want at least a 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet connection to provide 10 to 100 Mbps. If you expect to go into the hundreds of Mbps, you’ll want at least a Gigabit Ethernet port. Want more than 1 Gbps? Get a 10 Gbps port installed initially so you won’t need equipment changes from running out of port speed.

The Pleasant Cost Surprise
Many traditional and new carriers are now offering Ethernet over Fiber, since it has become so popular. This makes for a highly competitive marketplace and that’s great for you as a buyer. EoF pricing is far more attractive per Mbps than bonded T1, DS3 (T3), or any of the SONET (OC-3, OC-12, OC-48) services. You can easily find yourself paying half or less than you would with other telecom services. You retain highly reliable service with low latency, jitter and packet loss.

Does this sound like just the business Internet access you need now? Check out prices and available of Ethernet over Fiber bandwidth options for your business location now.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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Monday, December 01, 2014

Cyber Monday is For Business Buyers Too

By: John Shepler

Cyber Monday is the new tradition for shopping online to get deals that you couldn’t in the rough and tumble of brick and mortar Black Friday sales. You’ll see numerous offers for special deals targeted at consumers today. But what about businesses? Is there such a thing as Cyber Monday for business?

How businesses can save money on Cyber Monday, tooThere should be. Business purchases are a huge part of the economy. What’s more, what businesses have to pay for products and services reflects in the price consumers have to pay. If your business can get a bargain on Cyber Monday, it’s a win all the way around.

Let’s have a look at some things that you might not think are ripe for savings, yet actually are. While prices for these services might not be specific to this particular day, there’s still a huge incentive for you to take a closer look. You’ll likely find savings that you didn’t know were available. Whatever you save will pay off for months and years into the future.

1. T1 Lines
Just about every company has leased a T1 line at some point in its growth. Many still do, and new T1 lines are being provisioned every day. Why has this decades old telecom service retained its popularity in the face of technological advancement?

It’s hard to beat a winner. T1 lines have a long history of reliability and versatility. You can use a T1 line as a point to point private line, dedicated Internet access, MPLS network connection, or as a T1 or ISDN PRI telephone trunk for your telephone system. They offer the same bandwidth in both directions and are inherently low in latency.

What T1 lines have that many other telecom services don’t have is near universal availability. They come in on ordinary twisted pair telephone cable that is available to just about every business building. The one gripe has been cost. Ten years ago, T1 lines were pricey. You had to swallow hard and sign the contract if you needed connectivity. Today, prices are a fraction of what they used to be and are attractive to even very small businesses.

If you are unhappy with “consumer grade” broadband or have a T1 contract that is a few years old or more, you should get an instant price quote for T1 line services now.

2. Ethernet over Copper
Ethernet over Copper, also called EoC, is the direct competitor to T1 lines. EoC is a newer technology and uses the same twisted pair copper wires that provision T1. It’s also symmetrical in bandwidth, highly reliable and low in latency, jitter and packet loss.

What Ethernet over Copper offers is higher bandwidth and… Ethernet! While your phone system may still be a traditional Key Telephone System or PBX using analog POTS lines or ISDN PRI, your computer network is almost certainly based on Ethernet. EoC lets you connect to other locations or the Internet while keeping your packets in the Ethernet protocol all the way. This opens the door to services like E-LAN that let you set up a bridged LAN that includes locations across town or nationwide.

Unlike T1 that has a fixed bandwidth of 1.5 Mbps no matter the distance, EoC technology trades off speed for distance. If you are close to the central office you can get very high speeds, perhaps 50 Mbps or more. Farther away, available line speed drops off as the line length increases. Even so, most business locations can get 3 Mbps up to 10 or 20 Mbps using Ethernet over Copper. Even better, the cost per Mbps is usually lower than what you pay for T1… perhaps half as much.

If you are running out of bandwidth on your T1 line or want to see if you can get the same or higher bandwidth at a better price, you’ll want to check out Ethernet over Copper bandwidth speeds and prices for your locations.

3. Metro Ethernet over Fiber
If Ethernet over Copper is a good idea, Ethernet over Fiber is a even better one. Fiber optic networks have multiplied in recent years, with tentacles reaching into nearly every city around the globe. The other revolution is the rise of independent private carriers to compete with the traditional telephone companies. This competitive environment has expanded service availability and reduced prices.

If you’ve had fiber optic services for years, chances are that you have one of the legacy SONET telco fiber lines. These include OC3 at 155 Mbps, OC12 at 622 Mbps and OC48 at 2.4 Mbps. SONET is highly reliable and low in latency, jitter and packet loss. It traditionally has suffered from lack of availability, few fixed bandwidth levels, and high prices per Mbps compared to what is available now.

Yes, SONET is still a good fiber service to have. Prices have come down dramatically over the years. But Ethernet over Fiber is an even better deal. Like EoC, EoF keeps your traffic in the Ethernet protocol for easy interfacing, and the ability to get LAN-type connectivity among multiple locations.

it’s also highly scalable. You can get just about any bandwidth level you want between 10 Mbps and 10 Gbps. In some major business centers, speeds as high as 100 Gbps are available to businesses as well as carriers. What’s more, you can generally get your service upgraded quickly with just a phone call to your provider. Quickly means anything from a few hours to a week or so. Compare that with weeks or months if you need a SONET upgrade.

If you need bandwidth of 10 Mbps or higher for your business (not residential) location, it is well worth your while to take a few minutes this Cyber Monday (or any other day) and check out the fiber optic bandwidth and pricing options available right now.

4. Hosted PBX
Everybody knows what a business telephone is. It’s that box with a handset and dial pad that sits on your desk and has its own wiring to the phone company or an in-house phone system. Business phones are essential for business. The traditional phone systems aren’t so essential anymore. In fact, you are likely missing out on both features and cost savings if you aren’t looking at the new cloud hosted VoIP or cloud PBX phone services. So, let’s take a Cyber Monday shopping trip.

There are numerous companies offering “hosted” phone services. These range of single line VoIP telephone services all the way up to call centers in the cloud. They’re all based on the idea that if telephones can connect to the computer network, then the switching equipment can be located anywhere. Today, the best deals are cloud service providers who operate massive data centers dedicated to IP telephony.

Don’t confuse enterprise VoIP services with the low-end Internet VoIP services. They may use similar technology, but the trick to consistently high voice quality is a dedicated network connection between you and the provider. This is known as a SIP trunk. The bandwidth of the trunk determines how many simultaneous calls it will support. You can have a few lines or thousands. Only the speed of the connection changes.

What Hosted PBX does is change the way you pay for your phone service. Instead of making a major capital investment in equipment and ongoing maintenance expenses, you pay per phone per month to a service firm. That firm bears the cost and responsibility of running a highly reliable and easily scalable phone system for your company. All you have in-house are the IP phones plugged into your computer network and a specialized router to prioritize the voice traffic.

Is your phone system too small or getting a little “creaky”? Before you go out and drop a bundle on a shiny new in-house equipment rack, see how competitive and feature-filled a Cloud Hosted PBX service can be.

Now you see how Cyber Monday can be as asset to businesses beyond what you sell to consumers on this single day of the year. Use Cyber Monday as an incentive to shop for your business as well as yourself and get deals that will pay off handsomely for years.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving From Telexplainer

Happy Thanksgiving from Telexplainer

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday with those you love.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Connecting Offices Between the US and Mexico

By: John Shepler

Many companies do business in both the United States and Mexico. There are numerous carriers that serve the US market and others that serve the Mexican market. But what do you do when you need the same service level in both countries?

International private lines and MPLS connections between the US and MexicoInternational Connections
Companies that do business internationally need telecom services that cross national borders. Fortunately, there are a number of carriers that offer international line services. These include connections between US cities and those in Mexico.

What type of connections? Today you have options for voice, data and video services. You can connect just two locations or create a large virtual LAN that includes all of your business locations in North America and beyond.

International Private Lines
The Bell Labs developed T-Carrier system is a standard used throughout North America. That includes the US, Canada and Mexico.

T-Carrier includes T1 (DS1) that runs at 1.5 Mbps and T3 (DS3) at 45 Mbps. In-between those standard levels additional bandwidths can be created by bonding T1 lines together. Two T1 lines give you 3 Mbps, three lines offers 4.5 Mbps and so on. The maximum bandwidth available by T1 line bonding is 10 to 12 Mbps. Above that, you generally run out of copper pairs available to be pressed into service or the bonded service become cost prohibitive.

T3 lines can be rate limited to bridge that gap between 10 Mbps and 45 Mbps. The line itself runs at full speed, but you only pay for the bandwidth that is actually enabled. The cost savings may or may not be attractive for fractional T3 service, depending on your needs.

It’s important to note that T1 and T3 lines are dedicated private circuits that are always available or “nailed up.” You don’t need to dial into them and they are reserved for your exclusive use. Since you are the only customer on the line, the only network congestion possible is due to your own demands on the circuit.

Fiber Optic International Lines
Fiber optic lines were originally developed using SONET (Synchronous Optical NETwork) standards deliberately chosen to be compatible with the T-Carrier system. The entry level service is OC3 which runs at 155 Mbps. It is designed to easily transport 3 T3 line services. In fact, T3 is most often carried for most of the transmission distance by OC-3 fiber service and then provisioned by coaxial copper cable at the customer demarcation point.

SONET is still the core transmission technology of most wide area networks. OC-3 is just the starting point. Other commonly available services include OC-12 at 622 Mbps, OC-48 at 2.5 Gbps, OC-192 at 10 Gbps and OC-768 at 40 Gbps.

Like T-Carrier, SONET services are dedicated private lines. You don’t shared the bandwidth with anyone. It is completely reserved for your use and sits idle when there is no traffic.

Ethernet International Services
Telephone traffic was dominant on international telecom circuits for a century. That has changed dramatically to where voice is now the minor traffic and data is dominant. On some networks, video is not the big bandwidth user, followed by large data transfers and then voice traffic.

This change in the nature of telecommunications traffic has spurred a change in the transmission technology. Nearly all local area networks have adopted the Ethernet standard. It’s logical that metro and wide area networks do the same.

The equivalent to T-Carrier or SONET is EPL or Ethernet Private Line. The beauty of Ethernet is that you plug the network line into your headquarters LAN at one end and your branch office LAN at the other. It’s Ethernet all the way. Because of this, you can bridge two LANs so that they perform as one large local network.

Carrier Ethernet, as it is called, offers another service called Ethernet LAN service. This is a meshed network that can connect 3 or more locations as one LAN. It’s perfect for companies with operations in multiple locations.

MPLS Networks
For international connections, like US and Mexico, MPLS networks often offer the best value. MPLS is a private “cloud” network with nationwide and international nodes. You can get the same point to point connections offered by dedicated private lines, only on MPLS they are called virtual private lines and virtual private LAN. The virtual designation comes from the cloud structure of the network. You are sharing the network with other traffic rather than having a circuit all to yourself. The MPLS network operator sets up your virtual paths and guarantees bandwidth, latency, jitter and packet loss.

In the end, you have the sense of private line performance, but a much more affordable rate with the shared network infrastructure.

MPLS networks can carry voice and data traffic simultaneously with class of service provisions to prevent data from overwhelming voice. VoMPLS or Voice over MPLS is VoIP carried on MPLS networks. It provides your telephone service among multiple business locations.

Do you have a need to interconnect offices between the US and Mexico? If so, check out the options available with International private lines and MPLS networks.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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