Putting your company’s Internet service and phone service (and sometimes your MPLS service), on the same integrated (a.k.a “converged”), circuit can save a lot of money and allow you to get a faster Internet connection (by utilizing your unused voice capacity). But the downside is that it reduces you down to a single point of failure for all services, simultaneously.
Josh Chamois also makes an appearance to reveal the details of a current promotion where a provider is giving away 10M of Internet access for free. After he discusses the promo, Mike makes him jump through hoops to find something special at a famous location in Boulder, CO.
Want more Cloud Therapy? Subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher!
Want AeroCom’s advice on the best 3 converged service providers at your company’s location? Click below.
Mike: Cloud Therapy Episode 20. Hey, IT nation. Welcome to Cloud Therapy with AeroCominc.com, where you learn about the latest cloud in telecom technology that is going to take your career to the next level. I’m your host, Mike Smith. Let’s do it. Welcome, IT nation, to episode 20. Thank you again for joining us, and I promised I won’t let you down. We have another great episode. So today, we’re going to talk a little bit about disaster recovery with converged services, and we’ve got a great guest to discuss that. His name is Jon Kawalec. He’s a sales engineer at Windstream. So if you have ever thought about getting a converged service for your company, or if you already have one in place now and what that is… Just so all of you who don’t know what that is, that is, when you have your internet and phone service on the same circuit. You also can throw in your wide area network services on the same circuit as well, like MPLS. So it’s a great service. You can save money by reducing the amount of circuits that you have, so instead of having two or three circuits for these separate types of services, you converge them all down into one circuit so you save some money there. It’s a great service, and when you’re not using the phone service or MPLS piece, you get the whole circuit for internet. So it’s great, it works fantastic, but the one downside of it is that you go from multiple points of failure for those different types of services to a single point of failure. So there is a little bit of a downside, but Jon’s going to address that for us today and tell you ways you can prepare for that, and avoid down time. So he’s going to talk about disaster recovery for converged services, so make sure you tune in and stay on board to hear that conversation, because I know you’ll learn a little bit more when you listen to Jon, and that’s always the goal, right? Learn just a little bit more every single day. Alright, also on the program, I have Josh joining us again, and Josh is going to tell us about a fantastic promotion he is aware of right now, where you can get free 10 Megs of internet access. That’s dedicated internet access, port speed for 10 Megs for free. So he’s going to tell us how you can get that and what promotion that is, and some of the details with that. And I’m also challenging Josh to find something in Boulder, Colorado. It’s something very significant in Boulder, Colorado. Do you know what I’m talking about? What’s in Boulder, Colorado? I’ll give you a hint. It has to do with something that’s taking place right now as I’m recording this, which is the Month of August. So what’s happening in August that’s related to Boulder, Colorado? And you might be on the right track. Well, I’m asking Josh to find something telecom-related at that location, so stay tuned for that fun little thing. And as always, I’ve got a giveaway for my audience. I like to give you guys free stuff, so if one promotion from Josh is not enough to satiate your appetite, we made a whole list of all the major providers’ promotions on business internet access going on right now. All you have to do is text the word ISP deals to the number 44222, and we will e-mail you a copy of all those promotions. I think there’s, like, 50 or so on the list and it’s from every technology imaginable for businesses, you know, Ethernet over copper, business cable, T1, Fiber, fixed wireless, all these different promotions that are going on right now. So make sure you grab that list, even if it’s expired by the time you’re listening to this, because it will give you some type of an indication on what you should be looking for if you’re quoting those services right now, to kind of give you your bearings on what pricing should be if you’re asking for quotes for any type of business internet service right now. So jump on that gift, just text the word ISP deals to the number 44222, and we’ll send you a free copy. Alright. As always, enough for me. Let’s get to the program, starting with Josh.
Alright, Josh. How’s it going today?
Josh: It’s going fantastic. How you doing, Mike?
Mike: Fantastic over here as well. So what do you got for us in terms of cool promotions that are out there? I know you got something good.
Josh: Alright. So I do have something good. I found this promotion from just keeping engaged with this particular carrier’s telemanager, as I always do, just to make sure I’m in the know on what’s going on in the marketplace. So with this specific promotion, so if a client moves their infrastructure to this provider’s cloud, they will get a unmetered, 10 Meg internet access port with their order for free. I repeat, free. So 10 Meg internet access for free when they migrate their infrastructure to this provider’s cloud. And it could be… You can move, you know, your hosted private cloud, cloud storage, or if maybe if you just need a little space on a dedicated blade server, all those things qualify to get you 10 Megs of internet access for free with this particular carrier. So… And that’s not free for a month, or free for six months, or a year, that’s through the whole duration of your contract. So a really, really cool offer here.
So just an FYI, this promotion does expire September 30th, 2016. Again, September 30th, 2016, this one would… This one will expire, so FYI. That’s it.
Mike: Very cool. I like it.
Mike: That’ll… I think that’ll definitely save some people at least a few hundred bucks, or save their company a few hundred bucks…
Mike: …if they’re using cloud, because, you know, if they’re… If you’re getting bandwidth in your cot environment, you know, the… It adds up and you’re getting 10 Megs, I bet that would at least cost at least a few hundred bucks, I would guess, off the top of the head.
Josh: Yeah, at least. Yep.
Mike: Yeah, so that… Well, that’s cool. Thanks for sharing.
Josh: No problem.
Mike: And how about the challenge? Are you ready for it?
Josh: Yeah, let’s rock and roll.
Mike: Alright, I got a good one today. So… Oops. That’s my e-mail going off. My fault. Didn’t shut it down. Alright, so the Olympics are going on as we’re recording this, so I was thinking, you know what? What if good old Michael Phelps is, you know, hanging out at the Olympic Training Center and, you know, wants to get big bandwidth. I’m sure, he’s got some sponsorship money and he’s got a lot of stuff going on with his marketing team and his agent, and all that stuff. What if he needs a ton of bandwidth at the Olympic Training Center while he’s there? So, you know – and he’s contemplating going in between a 500 Meg connection and a Gig. Can you kind of check that out for us and see, you know, what… You know, what types of connections are available and what the pricing is?
Mike: You know, roughly between the 500 Meg connection and a Gig. I think that’s pretty common for customers out there. There’s… They want to really beef up to a huge connection and I think… Well, we kind of really… I think 500 Megs would suffice. That’s pretty big, but, you know, if… Like, if we go that high, I mean, how much more is a Gig? Is it all relative? Is it, you know, linear in terms of the pricing or is it like, “Hey, you pay a couple more hundred bucks and you’re going to double your bandwidth all the way to a Gig”? So I think it’s kind of a fun one to take a look at.
Josh: Yeah, no. That’s a good point, yeah. A lot of time, you know, the cost difference between the two is just… Is negligible. It’s… I mean, it’s very minimal, so let’s take a look. Yeah, that’s a decent site, a decent area. I think we have a significant amount of Fiber providers going into Boulder, Colorado, so let’s take a peek. Let’s see who we got here.
Mike: Yeah, that’s interesting. Have you ever been to Boulder, Colorado?
Josh: Never been, but I do want to go… I heard the snowboarding and skiing. It’s phenomenal out there.
Mike: Yeah, the… you know, I went to Boulder, Colorado. I was 18 years old. I went there on a recruiting trip.
Josh: Oh, I see.
Mike: For football, but not… didn’t really see the town that much. Didn’t know about an… had a clue what I was looking at at 18, but I do remember it snowed, like, 11 inches when I was there.
Mike: So (inaudible) [0:07:56]
Josh: Was that… is that where the University of Colorado is, or Colorado State?
Mike: University of Colorado.
Josh: Oh, okay. Okay.
Mike: The Buffaloes.
Josh: Very cool. Very cool.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. I… that’s like… I’m like, “Oh.” I didn’t know that that’s where the Olympic Training Center was at until, you know, you told me that, but it’s like… That’s cool that it’s there, though.
Josh: It is cool.
Mike: It’s a… I’m sure it’s a beautiful spot.
Mike: Especially in the summer time.
Josh: Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. Alright. Well, my good old tool here is thinking, so… Oh. It’s actually already popping up. Cool. Awesome. Alright. We’re ready to fire away. So we want to look at the cost difference between 500 Meg and a Gig. So let me… I’m just going to refine my results a little bit here. And then the cool thing with this tool, it spits out everything that the tool shows available coming from the central office in this… That’s closest to this particular address. So a lot of good stuff here. So I’m getting everything from 10 Meg all the way up to 2 Gigs.
So let me refine, so let’s get just 500 and a Gig. Alright. So of course, the provider would name… Would remain nameless. Wow, they got some really good pricing out here. Wow.
Mike: Phelps must have already gotten in there, man. Got a couple providers installed.
Josh: Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. Interesting. So let’s see. Alright. Now, this is pretty good. This is pretty good. So the most competitive pricing I’m seeing for 500, I’m going to compare it with the most competitive pricing for a Gig. The most competitive for 500 Megs, symmetrical dedicated internet access Fiber circuit is $1,490. $1,490. That is good. Really good. If we look at the pricing for a Gig, the most competitive I see is 20… I owe everyone a dollar. My phone’s ringing. I’ll put it on vibrate next time. So again, 1,490. And then for a Gig, we are at $2,608. So what’s that? The delta on that is… so (inaudible) [0:10:10] I don’t know, 1,100 bucks.
Mike: (inaudible) [0:10:13] a thousand bucks.
Josh: Yeah. 1,100 bucks. So 1,100 bucks and you could double your bandwidth. So not bad.
Mike: So not doubling the price.
Mike: And yeah, and getting the double the bandwidth.
Mike: So it isn’t a linear. It is a significant… You know, it’s a significant bump in the price. So, you know, roughly like a third.
Mike: Like, you know, a third of an… You know, a third of the cost to increase it. But at the same time too, those are budgetary numbers.
Josh: Right, right.
Mike: So, you know, we’ve seen a Gig pricing pretty low, and we’ve seen 500 Meg pretty low, too.
Mike: So that’s just, like, at first glance. So that’s cool though, but that was really fast to be able to bring that up. That’s awesome. And just out of curiosity, like, how many providers popped up as being able to service that kind of bandwidth at that… At the Olympic… Or US Olympic Training Center there in Boulder?
Josh: So when I refined the results down in terms of the bandwidth to just 500 and a Gig, I have one, two, three. Three carriers that my system’s pulling up.
Mike: That’s three carriers that are pulling up that have… You know, have linked up their API to this tool.
Mike: But in addition to that, you have an additional tool that we won’t go into right now, but where Josh can actually pull up a fiber map and pull up… And view visually all the providers that have fiber within, you know, a mile or two within that facility. So even if he’s not getting instant quote from a provider, he does instantly have the ability to see who he should reach out to that he hasn’t… He’s not able to see a quote from. So that’s pretty cool, too.
Josh: Yep. You’re absolutely right.
Mike: Awesome. Well, cool. Thanks for doing that for us. You still have yet to… Or I still have yet to stump you, so you’re still batting a thousand right now, so…
Josh: Hey, that’s the way I like to roll.
Mike: I got to step it up, man. Maybe Yellowstone next time?
Josh: I don’t know. Maybe we should go outside the country, I don’t know. Maybe we have some international listeners that want to pull some pricing at Africa or the UK, I don’t know. What do you think?
Mike: Yeah. That being said, hey, if anybody else has any ideas you think would stump Josh that are actually challenging that would be at least realistic, you know, within the means, you know, shoot us an e-mail or something at email@example.com and let us know, give us some ideas. But in the meantime, hey, thanks a lot, Josh. Thanks for joining us.
Josh: No problem, Mike. Take care.
Mike: So did any of you guess that I was talking about the Olympic Training Center in Boulder, Colorado? I hope so. And as always, if you would like Josh to do something similar for a location you have in mind, it’s free. It’s no obligation. All you have to do is call us at 877-465-3505, or shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or just hit us up on our chat window on our website and feel free to tell Josh what the details are and let him do something similar for you for free.
Okay. So let’s get to the next portion of our show, which is Jon Kawalec, Sales Engineer and Windstream, who is going to tell us some awesome DR tips for converged services. That’s internet and phone service, and possibly wide area network service when you put it all on the same circuit. I know you’re going to get something good from this if you have that service or you’re thinking about having that service, or you never know, at a future company, you might have that service as well. So make sure you take a quick listen, and don’t worry. You don’t have to scramble to take down notes. We do have the transcripts from this episode on our website if you go to aerocominc.com/info/blog, all the transcripts are there, so don’t worry. Just enjoy, listen, go back later and look at the notes.
Alright. Without further ado, here’s Jon. Thanks for joining us, Jon.
Jon: Mike, it’s… Glad to be here.
Mike: Great. Well, tell us a little bit about yourself personally and professionally.
Jon: Very good. Again, my name is Jon Kawalec and I’m a Senior Sales Engineer at Windstream. We’re working out of the Irvine, California location, so I support Southern California. I’m assigned to the channel, so I get the pleasure of working with Mike and his associates in the channel program. I’ve been…
Mike: Don’t hold that against us. Don’t hold it against us.
Jon: I mean, it’s never a dull moment. I’ve been with Windstream three and a half years. I’ve been in the telecom industry since 1978. Started in the United States Air Force, so been around quite a while. Yes, you can say that I invented the internet. So I started from its very inception. Previously, I’ve worked for regional companies like TelePacific, and then I’ve also worked for the larger tier 1 providers, Qwest, Sprint, Level 3. So been in the industry quite a few years. Mike asked me to mention something personally, married. It’s just my wife, Sheryl, and our dog Vegas. Since we don’t have any children, we do get to go to Las Vegas a lot. And some personal activities, I enjoy playing golf, collecting sports card, and we are hockey fans. We’re season ticket holders for the Anaheim Ducks. So we certainly…
Mike: Oh, very cool.
Jon: Yeah. So we certainly enjoy the hockey season when it’s upon us.
Mike: So sports cars. Tell me a little bit about that. What’s your favorite sports car that you own?
Jon: Sports cards, so those…
Jon: Yeah, exactly.
Mike: I was like, man, this guy’s got a garage full of sports cars?
Jon: Yeah. I used to have a 1973 Barracuda, which I restored and I still have it back with my brother in New Jersey. But on sports cards, I love collecting rare collectibles, things that are autographed, patches of uniforms that are included in the cards, low-numbered ones. A fascinating hobby, piled up in the office. I’ll bring it into work on occasion to share some of the old collectibles I have with people, like, they get very nostalgic. Takes them to their childhood. That’s what it’s all about for me. It’s just remembering my childhood.
Mike: Yeah. That’s really cool. What’s one of your favorite pieces that you own? Not necessarily the most expensive, but just kind of one of your favorites?
Jon: Well, favorites would be all the Joe Namath, Joe Montana. Even old school Paul Hornung, old Notre Dame-r. Won the Heisman Trophy back in the ‘50s and the… or the ‘60s, I believe. So those are the type of things that I get a thrill out of.
Mike: That’s really cool. Yeah, I mean, we’re a big sports family over here. I played football in college and my son is only seven, but he’s really… He’s at that age where he’s really starting to love following professional baseball teams and some…Trying to, you know, give him a… As much baseball knowledge as I have about, you know, like the old-time players and he just eats that stuff up and, you know, I think that’s… It’s so neat when you start looking into that stuff. Like, one of the things we learned recently was that the first baseballs that they played with were made out of lemon peels. They’re going like, “What? Lemon peels?” That is…
Jon: Lemon peels.
Mike: Yeah. That is, you know, like, that is crazy. But, you know, I didn’t even know that. But yeah. Like, all the little stuff like that is really cool. I think the coolest thing I own for that, like, I own a Mark McGwire Olympic card. I think I got that, like, in junior high. But man, after all that steroid stuff, the value sure went down.
Jon: Yeah. That’s unfortunate. Sometimes, you move from kid to collector and investor on those things, so it’s a shame when you get hit like that. But you must be excited about the Rams coming back, so…
Mike: Oh, yeah.
Jon: I share that with you.
Mike: Yeah, absolutely. It’s… That’s such a cool thing, you know. I just can’t believe we’ve been without a team for this long, you know. It’s just, we’ve been rooting for the Chargers somehow forever, but yeah. You know, I definitely went to Rams games growing up as a kid over at Anaheim Stadium. And yeah, it’s great. It’s great having them back. I actually grew up in Whittier, which is in LA County, but, you know, just… Anaheim Stadium was the closest to our house. That’s where we went. So yeah, it… I’m thinking about actually taking my son over to a couple training camp sessions over at Irvine. I think that’d be fun to take him over there and get to see… I think, I don’t know. Anybody listening to (inaudible) [0:18:30] too, it’s one thing to watch a… Any type of professional sport on TV, but when you get to see it, you know, on the field and when you get to see professional football players hitting each other at full speed and you’re right there on the field, that is a different experience for sure.
Jon: You’re a good dad, taking your kids to those things. So they’re a lot of fun.
Mike: Yeah, it’s cool. And especially too, you know, I’m always… I’ve always been surprised at how few people show up at that kind of stuff, just at the practices. It’s not… You know, you can actually go and see the star players, you know, right up close and personal. So it’s always pretty cool.
Jon: Yeah. It’s a lot easier to get autographs, too.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Well, cool. Well, you know, Jon and I talked prior to the show. I think he’s got a great topic that is very relevant to just, you know, normal, average, everyday businesses out there. Because the one thing that’s kind of swept our industry in the last, I’d say, I don’t know, ten years is converged services and circuits. So what that means is, you know, obviously, if a company has, say, a PRI T1 for phone service or a now… it might be a SIP T1 or whatnot, and maybe an MPLS circuit for their wide area network services, and then, you know, a fiber connection for their internet access, it’s taken those three services and converging them down into one circuit. So somebody might have a fiber circuit that serves as their MPLS, their voice access, and their internet access all in one, so that… so obviously, there’s a huge cost savings there. Less circuits means less monthly cost, and they’re only using what they need, and whatever they’re not using, they can use for internet access.
So there’s a lot of benefits in converged services for business. And a lot of you listening probably have converged services out there, so I think this is a fantastic topic, because what Jon’s going to talk about is, okay, great. Now you’ve consolidated all this stuff. You save money, there’s tons of benefits, but the one downside is that you have a single point of failure. So I think, you know, what’s great is Jon’s going to give you some tips to, how do you, you know, supply disaster recovery for converged services? So with that, I’ll just kind of hand it over to you, Jon. I’ll let you run with it.
Jon: Fantastic. Thanks, Mike. And that was an excellent overview. So as Mike was saying, whenever customers are looking to save money, obviously, converged services is very attractive to them, but again, the downside, as Mike articulated, is that you’re putting all your eggs into one… To a single basket.
Me professionally, whenever I’m at an initial sales meeting or a discovery meeting, I always bring up disaster recovery, you know. Okay, we hear what your pinpoints are. We have a solution for you, but we didn’t bring up disaster recovery. What if you lose the phones? How does that impact your business? What if you lose your data? How does that impact things? You know, if you lose internet access, what does that do to the production of your company? So I always make it an honest effort to go ahead and bring that up front.
Initially, you will typically get pushed back, stay on a tight budget. This is what I need to go with. Your converged services are going to meet that need. And we’ll run with that for the time being, but it’s kind of like the old adage, “Data is the most important thing until the phone goes down.” And then that becomes the most important thing. So typically, we operate in a reactive mode where the customer will get hit with an outage and their services are down, and their CEO is at the IT director’s door. “When are we going to get back in service? I got people sitting here idly.”
So typically, that’s when Mike’s agents of the world and myself will get pulled in. Okay, now we have your attention. You’ve experienced a pain point here. What can we do to alleviate that, you know? And of course, you know, and of course, you know, when you’re talking with the customers about disaster recovery, you know, what’s the required maximum up time, you know, do you need for your business?
Obviously, you need to keep your budgets in check. And typically, they don’t have the IT staff to go ahead and cause a reactive recovery in the event that a remote location loses a ton of activity. So it lets me go to the drawing board and say, “Okay, you know, here’s some things that you can consider doing.” My favorite, of course, is if you have Ethernet circuits in there, let’s put in a secondary Ethernet circuit. We can do failover between the two. We can put in two routers. We can run it to various central offices and even different provider edge routers on the network to give you as much diversity as possible. That comes complete with auto-failover programming in the routers, and it’s a Cadillac version.
But again, they get hit with the additional costs, so they’re like, “Okay. What else can you provide?” You know, then the carriers come in and put in a internet circuit and then we can run IPSec tunnels from the firewalls into the MPLS network, into the voice network and allow for recovery that way. But if you want true network diversity, then you might want to leverage a third party internet provider where you can go ahead and then create those IPSec tunnels back into the MPLS or the voice network and get you back up and operational.
So those are some things that are available out there to ensure that your customers’ business continuity plan is rock solid. Even when we install these future type services, we’ll go ahead and create an artificial failure just so they can test that and make sure it’s comfortable.
So what are some of the benefits that they get? They can sleep at night and not be awakened by a remote location saying, “Hey, we’re down. We’re sitting around. Fix this.” You know, and if they’re on the other side of the country, obviously, they got to start making phone calls, and if they don’t have personnel on site, it makes it very difficult for them. So by having things like this in place, it allows them to focus on their core business, taking care of the day-to-day IT responsibilities that are on their plate, and then we just go ahead and manage the back network office and allow them to focus on, you know, what their core competencies are.
Mike: Right. That makes sense. So if somebody has a converged service and they have, say… Like, so they’re running PRI for their company off that converged services and they have a backup internet connection from a third party, how does that work with their voice? So if that converged service circuit goes down, how do their… What’s your plan to failover their voice? Because obviously, it’s PRI that’s TDM technology which isn’t… It doesn’t typically jive with an internet connection. It’s not going to be… You’re not going to be able to send PRI calls over a third party internet connection. So what do you guys do for that?
Jon: Very good question, Mike. So what we can do is assist on the inbound calls. Typically, there are DIDs hanging off of those PRIs, so those are inbound calls. So companies like Windstream will offer something called direct termination overflow. So if you have another PRI at that location or within the footprint of the rate center, we can overflow the inbound call with the DNIS and the caller ID intact to a secondary location.
Or if it’s just a simplistic setup where it’s just the single PRI going in there, well then, we can auto-failover to a predetermined telephone number. That could be a cell phone. That could be an ABL line that appears at the receptionist’s desk. That could be an answering service. You would… Because we’d basically decide what would be that failover number to… Plus, with Windstream, you can go into the portal, and if you need to repoint the number where it was failing over to a number inside the building, the fire department had come to the office, knocked on the door, saying, “You need to evacuate. There’s a gas leak.” Or the train behind you derailed or whatever, now you can go into the portal offsite and then repoint that to a cell phone or somebody’s offsite number to ensure business continuity.
On the outbound, it’s always a good practice for having additional lines built into the PBX, so that way, the automatic route selection of the PBX will say, hey, this PRI’s not available. We’d send this call out over the secondary route, whatever the customer chooses, and ensure business continuity. That way, Mike.
Mike: Okay. So if the PRI… If you guys designate a single number for the PRI to failover to do all of the phone numbers, then get… So if somebody’s calling DIDs for individual employees in your office, all those calls are then going to go no matter what to just one number, right?
Jon: That is correct.
Mike: Okay. So… And then what are the… Are there limitations as far as… You know, could someone give you a phone number for a location, like say they’re in… Say their main location is in Southern California. Could they give you a number that’s at a New York location to point all those incoming numbers to?
Jon: Absolutely. That would be an excellent failover plan in the event… Let’s say there’s an earthquake, and people have evacuated the buildings. Now you can forward that to any number within the country, so that way, you can cover the event that’s happening in California that’s not being impacted somewhere else throughout the country.
Mike: Okay, got it. And then with, you know, with Windstream’s product in particular, I know that when we worked with that failover… That PRI failover feature, you know, whatever a provider may call it, like, some… I know you guys call it DTO, but then some providers call it other things. Sometimes, providers will say you need to purchase multiple paths if you want multiple calls to come in at the same time. Is that the way it works with you guys as well? So you have to purchase it for every simultaneous call you want hitting that alternative phone number? You have to purchase another path?
Jon: Not through Windstream, and that’s the nice thing about the offering. We’ll point it to any telephone number that resides on any carriers, PRI, or anybody’s home phone number, or anybody’s cell phone.
Mike: Okay, great. So that would save 50 people or… If it’s a big office and they take about 50 simultaneous calls, so whatever number you’re pointing it to has the ability… As long as that number has the capacity, 50 simultaneous calls can come through from… You guys can forward 50 simultaneous calls at the same time as long as wherever you’re pointing it to has the ability to take those… That amount of calls?
Jon: That is correct. If you’re subscribing 50 calls over that range of DIDs on that PRI that we’re repointing to, we will honor that and send that many calls to that single (inaudible) [0:29:35]
Mike: Got it. And then the one thing I’ve learned from experience too, that… With that is that the DID functionality obviously doesn’t carry over. So all those calls are going to go into one main number, and that… Even if you’re pointing it at another PBX, that PBX isn’t going to be able to read and route calls because, you know, your site’s down. So basically, you’re going to have a front desk person answer the phone, fielding all these people who are kind of calling in a little bit surprised, so they thought they were calling maybe an individual and they’re getting a front desk?
Jon: Exactly. Now, of course, the person that’s receiving the call says, “I’m getting calls on this number that nobody ever calls on.” There must be a failover occurring at another location. So they’re not surprised, but the people that are calling are… But that’s where the beauty of where SIP comes in, because if you start upgrading to SIP capabilities, now, that can failover to another SIP trunk with the DNIS and the caller ID intact. So a lot of customers that I worked with will do… Will have two IP PBXs and they will failover to the second one, have all the tables built in. So let’s say it’s… The contact sender that’s receiving those inbound calls, they can go ahead and pick up the call and not miss a heartbeat with that customer. They’d get the same pop screen information of that existing customer, and it’s just like calling an 800 number and you don’t know where your call’s going to, but that person’s going to facilitate your call as perfectly as possible. And the same thing would happen with the SIP’s failover.
Mike: That’s great. So yeah, with SIP, you actually do retain… On a failover scenario, you do retain all of that inbound call information no matter where it lands, as long as you’re landing on another IP PBX?
Jon: That is correct.
Mike: That’s cool. So then… And then with SIP, you program failover routes, but is it by phone number or is it by IP address?
Jon: We do it by trunk route, but going into the portal again, now you have the ability, unlike with the PRI failover scenario, you have the capability of programming individual numbers for it to failover to. So for dumping the entire trunk route and all the DID ranges associated with that trunk route to an alternate location, once that has occurred, you then have the flexibility of going to the portal and saying, “You know what? You know, let’s run these DIDs over to this telephone number and let’s run this one over to that one.” So with SIP, there’s just a lot more flexibility and availability to the end users of how they want to treat their traffic at any given scenario.
Mike: Very cool. Yeah, I think that’s… I think those are some great pointers, if… You know, it’s like the… Because… Like we said at the beginning, if you’re… You know, if you’re going to a converged circuit, that’s fantastic. But at the same time, these are things you kind of have to think through, you know. And, you know, SIP might be an option that you want to consider just because of the additional disaster recovery capability of it.
And if… You know, the thing is too if they’re bringing… If they’re delivering SIP over a converged service… I know it’s… Today, we’re talking about disaster recovery so we won’t get into it in-depth, but if you’re bringing SIP service over a converged circuit, chances are, you’re going to have guaranteed call quality with that, the same as you have with the PRI because it’s a protected circuit coming from a provider. So it’s not… So it is something that…
Mike: People should maybe consider SIP versus PRI. And it probably is more of a phone system decision. If your phone system can handle SIP, as well as if it can handle PRI, or if it’s going to be the same cost either way.
Jon: You’re absolutely correct, Mike. You know, and keep in mind, you know, if you put in a PRI, you have 23 voice channels if they’re not being used, they’re just sitting there. With SIP, it rides over a dynamic platform, and that way, in the event that the calls aren’t there, well now, those circuits are available for use as data, voice calls. So it’s just a wave of the future in all the things that IT can bring, you know, business today.
Mike: Fantastic. So anything else on disaster recovery with converged services that we should know, or is that pretty much a wrap?
Jon: That’s pretty much it. We covered discovery meetings, getting from the customers, keeping in mind, you know, business continuity, what it means to your business if you lose connectivity, and then things to put in place to go ahead and cover those outages when they do occur and to minimize the impact to their customers.
Mike: Fantastic. Great. Well, cool. Well, on a lighter note, you know, one thing I would like to do is ask a… You know, if you can share a story with us to kind of entertain us a little bit on what’s the most interesting, or fun, or, you know, crazy thing you’ve ever witnessed in the workplace.
Jon: Okay. Plenty of crazy. This is telecom, you know, there’s telecom gremlins and there’s so many great stories to tell out there. But one that happened a few months ago was we were pulled in by a customer on emergency need for service. We did our best working with (inaudible) [0:34:27] to go ahead and bring in the service, and it was just amazing how we did on a typical 90 plus day interval.
The interesting thing about it though was that the property manager that this customer was moving into gave him the wrong MPLE. So when everybody showed up to install and finalize everything, everything was in the wrong room. So the takeaway there is, you know, make sure that the information’s accurate, double check it, just to go ahead and ensure that you’re going to get the benefits of an expedited move like that and make sure the customer’s going to be happy.
Mike: Yeah. That’s so true. I mean, that’s advice I always give customers on installations. It’s just double check, triple check all the information because don’t assume that the, you know… Anyone else is going to be doing that stuff, because everyone else is kind of doing their job and flying through, and sometimes, you get into situations where everyone’s assuming someone else double checked that and, you know, and the thing is, it’s like from a customer’s standpoint, they’re the ones who are in a position of knowledge for most of the information.
So when those e-mails, you know, get shot out across your desk, you know, make sure you check all those e-mails and go through all the details, you know, really religiously because, you know, a lot of times, the project managers are moving fast. They have a lot of orders they’re working and they’re not going to ask you two or three times if you’re sure that the MPOE is the right one for your section of the building or something.
You know, it’s like some of that stuff is just assume that you’re going to check, so don’t assume anyone else is checking because they’re assuming you’re double checking.
Jon: Great advice, Mike.
Mike: So alright, well, tell us a little bit about Windstream, you know. Like, Windstream’s a provider that has definitely changed over the years, you know, in terms of… You know, when I think of Windstream, I think of the old PAETEC, but I know that there’s been mergers and product changes and things like that, so tell us a little bit about Windstream and what you guys do really well these days, and what’s going on new over there.
Jon: Very good. Windstream just is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year. Started out as the old Alltel company in Little Rock, Arkansas, and then saw a play for becoming a tier 1 national provider. So through acquisitions of the year… Through the years, they purchased McLeod, they purchased parts of Covad. They went ahead and bought PAETEC, Mike had mentioned.
And by cobbling these companies together, they brought in fiber from CLX that they had purchased in the East United States and the Southeast, put together a marvelous backbone network over 110,000 miles of fiber in the ground. What we offer is voice, video, and data capabilities, everything from MPLS circuits, internet circuits. We’re putting in 10 Gig circuits into large universities and into municipalities. We offer e-rate capability for those that are offering services into the state and school space.
On the horizon, everybody’s now talking about SD-WAN, and we have that capability in our labs right now that we’re furthering down and testing, and narrowing down. You know, who’s going to be those edge providers in our network to offer those future services?
And a little bit about SD-WAN. It’s going to be offering bandwidth on the fly, specifically targeting MPLS networks. So instead of the old days, when you had to wait for bandwidth turn-up, these things are going to occur a lot quicker. And apparently, there’s a common use of scale that come with that, so we’re looking to lower cost for MPLS users in the future.
Windstream has invested about 850 million in the last few years into your network, providing upgrades, trying to better the network whenever we suffer through a network event to ensure that that doesn’t happen again, and offering various services like wireless capabilities in the Eastern United States. Obviously, an internet player. Heavily into the SIP platforms, we have multiple awards from Frost & Sullivan regarding our capabilities.
And that’s a little overview for your audience, Mike.
Mike: Yeah, it seems like, you know, in the… you know, would you say that Windstream is focused, you know, primarily on mid-market companies, like, you know, a little bit larger businesses, or would you say that you guys do a pretty good job spanning all, you know, small business to mid-sized, to enterprise?
Jon: Excellent question. We offer, from the big players, we have a national account segment on in the enterprise, which is the mid-market. We also have a small business. So we actually, you know, run our buckets of products in with specific routes to ensure the best experience possible whenever we do work these orders.
Mike: Okay. That’s good. Because I know some providers these days are kind of starting to make a shift towards mid-market and kind of niche down because they’re still keeping that small business sector open, and still keeping a lot of products in that portfolio for even small business, huh?
Jon: That is correct.
Mike: Great. Well, cool. Well, thanks for hanging out with us today, Jon. I think we all learned a little bit and got some good information. I think disaster recovery is huge, as you mentioned. You know, if you’ve got one circuit out there and you don’t have a backup plan, it’s just a matter of time before you go down. So if you need that stuff up and running, take some advice from what we talked about today, and at least, you know, implement some type of an idea of what’s going to happen when you do, because it’s not “if”, it’s “when”.
But yeah, thanks for coming out and sharing that information with us today.
Jon: Absolutely, Mike. Working with you and AeroCom and your agents is an absolute pleasure. You’re a very professional organization. And thank you for having me.
Mike: Thanks a lot. Have a great day, and maybe we’ll get you on sometime in the future to talk about something else as well.
Jon: Very good, sir. Would love to jump to that opportunity. Everybody have a good day.
Mike: Wow. That was some great information, I’m sure you’ll agree, on converged services. I hope everyone got at least a little bit from that conversation I had with Jon. And as always, if you’d like to get in touch with Jon about anything, just e-mail the show at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to arrange it. Or if you have any questions that came up from Jon’s conversation, we’d be happy to give you some answers.
Okay. So as always, I just wanted to remind you about our free gift as well. Just text the word ISP deals to the number 44222, and we will e-mail you that free copy of all the latest and greatest promotions that are going on for business internet as we speak. I think there is more than 50 of them on there, so make sure you take advantage of that.
And make sure you hit us up and read the transcripts on our website if you’d like to revisit any of this stuff, aerocominc.com/info/blog.
Okay, have a great day out there, and we will catch you next time.
IT nation, thank you for joining us on Cloud Therapy with aerocominc.com. Visit us at aerocominc.com, that’s A-E-R-O-C-O-M-I-N-C.com and head on over to the blog section for notes on everything we talked today, as well as our blogs, provider reviews, and of course, the best quotes for any technology.