Cloud Therapy: EP 018 – Exploring 4G Business Internet

August 22, 2016 Aerocominc

EP018

We know our mobile phones are getting fantastic Internet these days, so can we use 4G for business Internet?

Broad Sky NetworksMaureen Donovan joins us to discuss 4G Wireless for business. She and Mike talk about everything from bandwidth maximums, to equipment, to cost, to bonding multiple connections and also what lies ahead for this technology. After a long discussion on 4G, Mike and Maureen exchange funny stories of salespeople gone haywire.

AeroComInc.com’s resident salesperson, Josh Chamois also debut’s on the show to talk about a great promotion on 100M Fiber that one particular service provider is offering. Then, Mike challenges him to find something telecom related at a famous Boston landmark.

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Transcript:

 

 

Mike Smith [host]:

Cloud Therapy Episode 18.

 

Hey, IT Nation, welcome to Cloud Therapy with AeroComInc.com where you learn about the latest cloud and telecom technology that is going to take your career to the next level. I’m your host Mike Smith. Let’s do it.

 

Welcome. Welcome, IT folks, near and far. We have a fantastic show for you today. If you’ve ever wondered whether or not your company should use a 4G internet connection, either for a backup or maybe an internet connection at a remote site, today is a great episode for you. I’ve got Maureen Donovan. She’s the Vice President of Business Development for Broad Sky Networks. And she is an expert on 4G and she’s going to tell us all about the technology, what it can and cannot do, what its limitations are, how fast it can go, can you use multiple 4G connections to have huge amounts of bandwidth, how do the routers work, what type of equipment should you deploy, how fast you can get it, deploy to you at relative costs, all that good stuff. She’s got all that information for you. So I know this will be a valuable episode for you.

 

And also, we have a special guest for you today, making his first Cloud Therapy appearance, Josh Chamois will join us today. Now Josh is our sales guy here at AeroComInc.com, and I thought it’d be great to have him on the show because what you don’t know is that everyday Josh is quoting service providers for customers and by doing that he’s always stumbling across all the latest and greatest promotions that are out there. So I thought how cool it’d be to have him give us one of the best promotions that he’s seen recently on every single episode.

 

So why that’s cool for you is because, number one, if there’s awesome pricing out there on a service that’s being offered for telecom or cloud services, you need to know about it. And number two, even if the promotion has expired by the time you’re listing to this, you at least know where the pricing thresholds are for that type of service, or as you’re shopping it, it gives you some type of an indicator of where the pricing should be. So whether or not you’re using us or not, it doesn’t matter. At least educates you on what the price is that that technology is going for these days. So Josh is going to come on here today and talk about a great offer he’s seen recently for 100M fiber internet connection which he also says is probably the most common connection being quoted. So I know a lot of you listening are interested in what 100M fiber is going for these days.

 

And one thing, one word of caution: Josh is not going to be able to tell you which provider is offering it, but he’s going to tell you the pricing because the providers, unfortunately, there’s legal ramifications, they do not want us to release their name and pricing publicly. That’s an agreement thing with them. But at least you know what the pricing is. So when you go out shopping, you have some type of an indicator on what you should be expecting to see.

 

And also, I’ve got a cool thing I threw out there to him. I’m challenging Josh to find something particular in the city of Boston. So make sure you stay tuned to hear that. And then, as always, I have a cool giveaway for you guys. So if you want to know what all the best internet promotions are, not just one, so Josh is going to talk to us about one, but if you want to know what all of them are, all you have to do is text the word “ISP deals” to the number 44222 and I will go ahead and email you a copy of all of the best promotions on business internet access that are going on right now. So again, just text the word “ISP deals” to the number 44222 and we’ll give you that free gift.

 

All right. So enough for me, let’s get right into the program starting with Josh.

 

All right, Josh, what’s up, man? What do you have for us today?

 

Josh Chamois:

Hey, what’s up, Mike? All right, I got some good stuff. This one has come in from a provider. They’re a traditional cable provider. They got some really fantastic pricing. And it’s kind of funny, the way I found out about this one. I was working with a high school and really all they wanted was an inexpensive backup circuit. So I checked all my bases and I actually discovered a nice golden nugget. So this carrier is offering 100M symmetrical dedicated internet access for $450 bucks. I repeat, $450 bucks. Also, they’re offering a geek, symmetrical DIA, dedicated internet access, for $1,200. There is a little stipulation to this. We’re almost close to the end of this promotional period. This promotion specifically expires in September of 2016. So we have just about two full months on this promotion left. So yeah, this is hot.

 

Mike Smith:

That’s awesome. So when you say it’s symmetrical, just so everybody knows, that means your download speed and upload speed are the same, guaranteed at all times. So, is it fiber or is it fixed wireless? What type of technology is that?

 

Josh Chamois:

Yeah, so this is actually for fiber. And yeah, you hit the nail on the head, the symmetrical piece just speaks to the upload and download being the exact same.

 

Mike Smith:

Awesome. So the cool thing is, even though it’s expiring, if that’s something anybody hears, I think it at least gives you a little bit of bearings in terms of if you’re shopping for internet at that speed and you’re in a major metropolitan area, that at least gives you an indicator of what kind of pricing you can get them, might be out there on a promo somewhere. Even though that promo in particular might be expired, there might be another provider who is having something very similar, or a lot of times we’ll go back to providers who had a promo like that in the past and see if they’re willing to offer it to this one customer who heard about it and knows it expired. And sometimes they’ll do it.

 

Josh Chamois:

Yeah. You’re right.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah. So that’s cool. Thanks for sharing. All right. Well, one thing I wanted to try out with you, Josh, just for fun to show everybody what you can do. I think Josh’s skills are pretty phenomenal when it comes to this kind of stuff. I want to show everybody how fast Josh can get cool information on fiber availability or pricing on a specific thing. So just for fun I’m going to throw out a famous place to Josh and ask him a question about it relating to bandwidth. So let’s throw out this. How about Fenway Park? Fenway Park, it’s baseball season right now as we’re speaking. That’s a famous place. So if we look up Fenway Park, can you tell me what fiber providers are available within, I don’t know, let’s say 500 feet or something like that, something that’s billable for free to where if you, for some reason, had an office point in Fenway Park, which I know you don’t. But it’s just for fun. Let’s see how long it will take it to tell me what providers are available there for fiber.

 

Josh Chamois:

All right. Fiber providers for Fenway Park, huh?

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah.

 

Josh Chamois:

All right, let’s see what we can get here. Give me one sec.

 

Mike Smith:

Tell us what you’re up to as you’re looking this up.

 

Josh Chamois:

Yup. So I’ve already pulled up my nice little GeoQuote tool, entered in some of the prerequisite information that they require and just selecting the type of transport, which you said is fiber. So now I’m going to go ahead and enter in the address, which is 4 Yawkey. That’s an interesting street name. 4 Yawkey Way.

 

Mike Smith:

And you just had that address memorized, right?

 

Josh Chamois:

Absolutely. I’m a regular Fenway Park… yeah, good old Google, Google is my friend.

 

Mike Smith:

I like it.

 

Josh Chamois:

Yup. So let’s see. Boston. That’s in Massachusetts. All right. Well, I can only go as fast as this thing will think. So we got the address plugged in here. We got the transport plugged in here for fiber. So let’s see what we get back.

 

Mike Smith:

So while it’s thinking, how many times a day are you typically doing this?

 

Josh Chamois:

Realistically, probably at least four to five times a day, whether it’s working with an existing client and giving them better pricing or new pricing they may not be aware of. Or if I’m a getting a new lead from some of my vendors or some of my different strategic social media deploys that I do, so yeah, I’d say about five times a day.

 

Mike Smith:

Nice. Nice. Is it still thinking?

 

Josh Chamois:

It is still thinking.

 

Mike Smith:

There might be a lot of fiber provider there.

 

Josh Chamois:

Might be.

 

Mike Smith:

So, as you’re looking this stuff up, typically how many providers do you typically see pop up that are available for fiber at a particular building?

 

Josh Chamois:

Typically, I’ll see anywhere from five to six. It really depends on the area. If it’s a metropolitan area, like downtown New York or downtown LA or Houston, typically those locations tend to be more densely populated as far as carriers go. So, sometimes with those areas you might even see 10 to 12 come back. So yeah, I think that’s what’s going on here because it’s pulling back a lot of information, I’m assuming here, which is why we’re getting a little delay.

 

So, all right, we just got the results back in. So I’m showing carriers, Powernet, Lightower. Did you want to know how many providers, or which providers?

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, just go ahead and read them off. That’s great. Just like you’re doing.

 

Josh Chamois:

Great. Powernet, Lightower, AT&T, Comcast Business. Let’s see, got some repeats in here. EarthLink Business. Let’s see. It’s a long list. Level 3. Mosaic Network. And that’s what I got.

 

Mike Smith:

Awesome. Awesome. And so in that scenario, just to let everybody know, when we see that we just start contacting those providers directly and getting calls from them, but that’s how fast that our man Josh can get that type of information for you, if that’s something you’re looking for. So thanks, Josh. Thanks for doing that with us today and thanks for hanging out with us.

 

Josh Chamois:

You got it, Mike. Anytime.

 

Mike Smith:

All right. I hope you found that was fun, or at least a little bit of fun and also informative. I know I did, that I did not know about that promo before Josh came on and told us about it. Also, had a little fun there with Boston. So if you actually want more information on that promotion, you can always email Josh. You can just email sales@aerocominc.com or you can call us at 877-465-3505 and you’ll probably talk to Josh, or you can just hit us up on our live chat off our website and you’ll probably talk to Josh. So if you want more information on that promo or any others, just hit Josh up, he’d be happy to help you out, or at least give you some free information, no obligation whatsoever.

 

All right, let’s get to our next guest. As I spoke about before, Maureen Donovan is the Vice President of Business Development for Broad Sky Networks. And she is our expert for all things 4G. So I hope you enjoy this interview with Maureen.

 

All right, Maureen, welcome to the program. Thanks for coming on.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Thanks for having me, Mike.

 

Mike Smith:

No problem. Well, tell us a little bit about yourself, personally and professionally.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Personally, I live in Los Angeles, married with two kids, teenagers, that’s fun.

 

Mike Smith:

Oh, wow! Boys or girls, or both?

 

Maureen Donovan:

One of each, a boy and a girl.

 

Mike Smith:

Oh, cool.

 

Maureen Donovan:

I’m in the thick of it.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, we have four kids. So our oldest is 12 and so we’re heading into that territory too fast.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Yeah, it’s 15 and 13, that’s interesting. But live in Los Angeles. And I’ve been out here, I’m actually originally from Ohio, huge Buckeye, and been out here for 25 years. So I’m pretty much a Californian.

 

Mike Smith:

Wow. Yeah, that’s great.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Yeah. So, professionally I have been in telecom for probably close to 23 years. I started with Nextel actually back in the day. I actually worked for some dialer companies way back when, I’m sure people will understand that. Nextel for seven or eight years at the launch of the market in LA. That was very, very fun.

 

Mike Smith:

So that was the whole two-way radio thing going on in LA, right?

 

Maureen Donovan:

It was. It was. Really broke a lot of ground for cellular and two-way radio. LA was the first launch market. So we not only sold but did a lot of testing. It was very innovative, really fun, really fun to sell, learned a lot about the technology and it exploded. And I was in direct sales in the beginning and I went to our indirect channel and worked with a lot of agents, and that was the most fun because they really took in with it. So it was very successful.

 

Mike Smith:

Very cool.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Yeah. And I then went to an internet service provider, a startup, InternetConnect, which was very exciting. It was actually on the, we like to call it the bleeding edge of MPLS and DSL at the time, so not the cutting but the bleeding. We were little too early and went over the cliff.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, MPLS. Yeah. You guys were one of the first movers of that.

 

Maureen Donovan:

We were. We moved a little too soon, to be very honest, so.

 

Mike Smith:

That happens.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Yeah, it does. It was great experience though. And that’s where I worked with and met Mike Mudd, who’s the founder of Broad Sky. He several years later started Broad Sky as his own company and I came over to work for him nine years ago.

 

Mike Smith:

Oh, wow. Fantastic.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Yeah. So I’ve been here for nine years and started as a small satellite aggregator and have been diversified into other wireless solutions. So we are primarily a wireless internet service provider. But we also have a sister company who is a nationwide insulation and truck roll company to support us. So, done very well, and we have a lot to offer. We’re in a really good space in the industry right now.

 

Mike Smith:

Very cool. So what’s your day-to-day with Broad Sky?

 

Maureen Donovan:

I work mainly with the master agents and their agents working on solutions for their customers. So we do a lot of education, but we do a lot of co-sale and quoting and really trying to find out what’s the best solution for each customer because we offer a lot of different solutions. We try to be an integrator, so we’re not trying to fit our customers into one solution only. We want to provide the best solution to our customers.

 

We offer multiple carriers as well as multiple manufacturers for equipment. We couple all that together with, if we can make custom rate plan, we can do custom installs, roll out schedules, things like that. So that’s really where I work most on a day-to-day is with the agents. Also some customers, we do a lot of co-sale with the customers and the large multi-site customers. So that’s my probably day-to-day most. Give some training in there as well.

 

Mike Smith:

That’s great. So for everybody listening I could tell you Maureen is a wealth of information from being in telecommunications and working for ISP, working for cellular provider and now working for Broad Sky. With all the different offerings you guys have, you’ve seen thousands of different customer applications, so that’s always really cool because whatever a customer is bringing to the table, a lot of times you’ve seen it or seen something very similar. So I’m sure you’ve got a lot of ideas in terms of how to fix a problem.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Yeah. In a lot of times we are the Hail Mary pass. But we do very well in that role as well. We obviously like to be the pre-planned knight in shining armor but also we do a lot of last-minute or emergency temporary deployments for wireless as well where a circuit doesn’t get in or is not going to come in in time, and so we can help in those situations as well.

 

Mike Smith:

It’s funny that you describe it that way because I think that’s the way we’ve always thought of Broad Sky internally as a sales agency. Anything wireless comes up, you guys are the first company that we’ve learned, “Okay, if you checked with Broad Sky, if it’s cellular wireless, whether it’s fixed wireless, satellite wireless,” which a lot of times, like you said, it’s like somebody needs something really quick like an install went bad and they’re not going to have internet at their new office for a month, if they need something fast, but at the same time it’s also things like this customer wants a 4G backup or that they have a location in the middle of nowhere they can’t get internet and they need satellite internet, so, right or wrong, full disclosure, that’s how we have boxed you guys in in our mind is like, “Oh, okay, if there’s something wireless or somebody needs anything wireless, think of Broad Sky because that’s a good place to start because they can go a lot of different ways with carriers.”

 

Maureen Donovan:

Absolutely. And that’s what we do. We are pretty much anything wireless. And so that’s fine to think of us that. We obviously want to branch out past the Hail Mary pass thing and last minute because just because wireless is becoming just more prominent and most customers’ portfolio of what their network is comprised of and there’s just so many advantages to it today that there weren’t five years ago, it’s changed dramatically, the speeds, the capacity, the coverage, the cost in a lot of instances and is a diverse path. So probably a little bit I would like to talk about today, or we can talk about, is obviously 4G but continuity and the need for backup has changed dramatically in the last several years. And so what we bring to the table for our customers in the form of a continuity plan, so.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, that’s really cool. That’s what I’m definitely excited to talk about is 4G. So Maureen and I were talking about what she could talk about because there’s a lot when it comes to wireless internet for businesses and whether it’s satellite or fixed wireless or 4G. But Maureen and I agreed that 4G would be an awesome topic for her to cover today because I think it’s just one thing that obviously we all have cellular phones kicking around in our pockets and we know that the internet on those things is increasing all the time. And now we all know that people are starting to use that within their business as well. But I think a lot of us have a lot of curiosity about that. We don’t really know that much about, “Hey, how well does that work trying to put a 4G connection in as your ISP for a business? How does that logistically work and what are the benefits and drawbacks of doing that?”

 

So I’m just going to hand it over to you, Maureen. I think it’s an awesome topic. I think we can all learn a lot from it. I’m definitely excited to learn a little bit. And yeah, I’ll just let you take it from there.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Great, thank you. Yeah, it’s actually been a very exciting ride. Like I said, we started in satellite but has diversified into when actually 3G came down the road it was very exciting, and now 3G we don’t even talk about. So there’s 4G which is on the data cellular carrier’s networks which everybody is familiar with it from your handsets and things like that. However, we don’t access them through like a MiFi device or a handset. We do deploy routers with a 4G embedded modem in them and for a more robust connection that they can then connect to their network on site.

 

But just to back up a little bit, just on continuity as a whole, why it’s grown so much. If you talked to people five years ago, a backup plan or a backup connection was really it was nice to have but it was a luxury that people did not want to spend on. And they could limp along with an outage for a while because they had a server with their database and their applications on site. And that now with basically the cloud, that is no longer the case.

 

Most customers, as you know, are using all the cloud applications, their database is in the cloud, their POS system is in the cloud, their applications that they use on a day-to-day basis are in the cloud. So if they are not connected to the cloud, they are out of business for that amount of time. So, now backup continuity is a have to have. But at the same time, it’s a cost, it’s an extra cost. But it needs to be looked at as to what would the customer lose being down for four hours and either lost revenue or wages or whatever unbillable because they were down.

 

With 4G, what it does is it provides a very good robust backup solution at a very affordable cost. And it’s a diverse path. So it’s really a great solution. It offers comparable speeds to DSL or cable with low latency, about 100 milliseconds roundtrip, so it supports the customer’s applications, the VPN or VoIP or whatever. But what we do for our customers is we have a low, it is usage-based, which is a little different from regular circuits. But we keep it on a low usage plan and they would just pay over if they need it. If they don’t, they’re just paying a low plan for an insurance policy there.

 

Mike Smith:

Sorry to interrupt, but how much does a low usage plan usually cost on a monthly basis? So if they’re not using the backup, round about how much are they typically paying per month?

 

Maureen Donovan:

So we have a couple plans, kind of a low-end and a higher-end. And so if a customer wants a little more bells and whistles or they want our router to do the failover failback, which we can definitely do, or something else we can talk about is if they want out-of-band management included, it’s about 100 to 110 a month. So, not a huge. And that includes the equipment rental. So not a big capital expenditure outlay. If they just want a straight IP passthrough router basic, no-frills router to hand off to their network and they’ll do the failover failback, we can get that out there for $60 a month. So very reasonable.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, that is. That is. Now the first thing I was thinking is how much capacity does a 4G connection have in terms of company size. A company that has 100 employees, are they going to really be hurting if they failover to a 4G cellular connection or a wireless connection as opposed to having business cable or something like that? Is there a size limit where it’s really, “You don’t want to be using a 4G connection if you’re over a certain amount of users?” Or is it pretty vast in terms of that?

 

Maureen Donovan:

It’s pretty much a capacity based by the bandwidth or the throughput that you get at that location. And it’s a best-effort product, to be honest. But it does very well. I mean, the general range is between 5 and 15M down on straight 4G LTE. Probably 1 to 5M up, very conservative, average is a 12×3. So if you have 100 employees, I would say they probably want another one, you know what I mean? We’ve done dual routers out there or we have routers that will support dual carriers at the same time. And two, some customers will do a scaled-back version of what applications their employees can get to in a failover mode which alleviates some of that. If they’re in failover, then Pandora streaming gets just stuck.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah. That stupid Spotify, that thing killed our office. I know I’ve talked about it on a podcast before that. That thing I didn’t realize snuck up on me. It actually becomes a magnet for everybody around your office to start pulling all your upload speed.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Interesting, interesting. I did not know that.

 

Mike Smith:

I didn’t know it either until we started having a problem with it in our office and everybody was running Spotify in our office. Then I started reading about it because our upload speed was horrible. And we had T1s in there for internet and I would start researching. And I guess so what happens is if you’ve listened to a song and you have it cached on your computer and someone nearby wants to listen to that same song, it finds the closest computer that’s got that song cached and pulls it from them.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Interesting.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah. It’s a setting. You can change the setting in Spotify to not do that.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Yeah, if you don’t know.

 

Mike Smith:

But that’s the default.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Wow! That’s good to know. Good to know.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah. So anyways, off-topic but yeah, I can understand that’s one of the first things that could shut down is no more streaming music.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Yeah. A lot of customers can control that and usually larger customers are pretty aware, their IT department is pretty aware to do that. Some pretty exciting things though I have to say through one of our manufacturers or vendors that’s coming out, it’s actually available on some of their models now and then towards the end of the month is, and for a lack of a better term, I don’t like the term, it’s called carrier aggregation because for me it makes it sound like you’re combining multiple actual wireless carriers. But what this is, is the equipment in areas where a carrier has multiple bands. So let’s say you pick a major city and it has Verizon and it has Verizon 4G LTE, but it also has XLTE, which is a higher speed, it’s like LTE on steroids basically. So usually that service averages a good 20M by 10M or higher. I mean I’ve seen 40.

 

And so what this new hardware will do through one of our vendors, Cradlepoint, their L6 model will be able to aggregate and pull from multiple bands off the same tower and combine them. So basically if they have an LTE and an XLTE, then you would combine those for, let’s say, maybe they’re going to pull 30 or 35M or 40M because you would combine both. So that’s pretty exciting. And I know people have seen and tested up to 70. So, anyway, so that’s coming and that will be just in our regular deployments starting this fall. So that’s really pretty exciting.

 

So we’ll market that for obviously backup, but also that changes the game for certain customers for their primary. So if they aren’t a high usage customer but they want higher bandwidth, that really competes with a lot of other solutions out there. I mean I have a customer really looking to utilize it over a fiber connection so they can get better speeds on 4G with carrier aggregation.

 

Mike Smith:

Am I the only person who’s still struggling with the whole data, like how much data you use versus band? Being in telecom a while, I’m so thinking about bandwidth all the time and you pay for bandwidth. But thinking about it in terms of data usage, I have the hardest time wrapping my brain around that, how much data you’re using it, I guess, as opposed to bandwidth? Do you have an easy way to explain that?

 

Maureen Donovan:

No. It’s not an easy way. I mean it’s obviously throughput is data sent and received and bandwidth is the speeds that you’re going to get. Obviously you can use more if your speeds are faster, but that’s not necessarily it. It’s very difficult for us to predict what a customer is going to use. And I don’t ever say, “Oh, with this plan you’ll be fine,” because I don’t know and sometimes customers don’t know what they’re doing. So a gauge, and I have some calculators that I can use if a customer tells me what some of their applications are. A general gauge, what I usually tell people is, if you have a client and their employees are using it for some VoIP and email and some web applications, generally a good rule of thumb is between 5 and 10 gigs a month.

 

Now if they’re running Spotify, doesn’t count for that. It might be a little bit but not like all day. So I’ve seen some customers use as little as 3 gigs a month. And I have other sites that use well over 200 gigs a month and only have five people. So it varies greatly. But that’s kind of a general rule of thumb as far as number of users and then how much they would use. So I don’t know if that helps you out or not.

 

Mike Smith:

No, it does, at least gets me down the path a little bit because, yeah, I’m always just even with my own cellphone, I’m just thinking, “How do I know, this is so weird, it’s such a mystery of usage, how much data am I using.” I don’t know.

 

Maureen Donovan:

How much does Pokemon GO? Huge.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, totally. If I’m walking down Huntington Beach Pier and I’m trying to find Pokemon, I want to know how much I’m eating up.

 

Maureen Donovan:

I can go look at my children’s phone and see because that’s what they do all day.

 

Mike Smith:

Oh, man, yeah. And that’s actually a true story. We went to Huntington Beach Pier about three weeks ago or so, right when that first came out and we were like, “What is everybody doing?” It was weird because of course my wife and I are clueless on that stuff, but my daughter, my 12-year-old knew what was going on. Although she didn’t have it on her phone, she knew what it was and she’s like, “Oh, they’re all on Pokemon GO that just came out.” And I was like, “What? This is the weirdest thing.” Like these groups of people were just…

 

Maureen Donovan:

Wandering around.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, wandering around and they were all on the same exact app, you could see it on their phone. And it’s middle of summer at Huntington Beach, there’s just thousands of people there. And we’re there at night going to dinner and it’s just we’re going like, “This is the weirdest thing.”

 

Maureen Donovan:

It’s crazy. It’s crazy. My kids’ never gone to the LACMA Museum so many times. So, “Now, have you looked at any art?” “No.” But apparently there’s fantastic Pokémon over there.

 

Mike Smith:

That’s funny.

 

Maureen Donovan:

So I guess it gets them out. And my warning was, “Don’t play it when your crossing the street and just know that two guys in Orange County fell off a cliff when they’re playing Pokemon GO because they don’t know where they were going.”

 

Mike Smith:

Gosh, that’s so weird.

 

Maureen Donovan:

I know. So I do not play, I think I’m too old.

 

Mike Smith:

Agreed.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Anyways, so I got you. But data usage is a consideration. It is a usage-based and we’re always very upfront to our customers. And one of the advantages for multi-site customers that we offer particularly with the continuity plan is we offer pooled pricing. So, for example, if it’s located at 20 sites, 20 locations, maybe we put them on a 1 gig plan each, but they would pool together, and so they would have 20 gigs to use that month amongst any of them, it doesn’t matter which site would use it. They wouldn’t incur any overage until they would hit their aggregated total. And that counts across carriers which if you go directly to a carrier, you’re on that carrier. So that is one of the other advantages of Broad Sky is we offer multiple carriers. And so my team, and they have 20 sites, they’re going to look at which site looks the best for which carrier and we’re going to put them on that. And it doesn’t matter, there’s not a different pricing structure for that pooled pricing per carrier. It’s all seamless to the customer. They get one bill. They have one tech support to call.

 

But we’re going to put them really where they should go. And we have the flexibility to change that if, say, we deploy a site and we’re not loving it, we can switch that out and put them on another carrier. So that’s just another advantage to Broad Sky on this and that we really look out for. My guys love to geek out on that, like where the towers are and what’s the best signal. And with our sister company TechLink Services as well, we can do site surveys. If we do an external antenna, we have a whole kit that we send out and there’s engineer to make sure it’s really at optimal signal strength, so.

 

Mike Smith:

That’s cool. And then with the routers that are deployed with this solution, are there different routers based on capacity? I’m thinking in terms of numbers of users that they have that are going to be accessing the router so they don’t overload it?

 

Maureen Donovan:

It is. So we have a basic model that we send out, it’s really well priced and in that $99 range that has a great cloud manager platform, the customer can actually go in and see what the usage is and help the router and everything like that. And if it’s straight and IP passthrough mode, the capacity is really pretty large. If they’re doing other things with it, then they need a stronger processor. We have a couple steps up from there. So there’s another model up. If they want us to do the failover failback, we can do that in several models. We offer a lot of Cradlepoint, but we can offer Peplink which has very fast failover failback, not dropped VoIP call basically.

 

So we have a lot of options there. Like I said, there are other options. If they really want double redundancy, we can offer two carriers within the same router. And then we have edge routers that can actually hold up to four carriers within that and actually act as an edge router. So there’s many things that we can do and yes, we try to size it to that client really what’s the best router, what’s the best equipment and what’s the best solution.

 

Mike Smith:

And when you say failover failback, what I was interpreting in that, and just let me know if I’m right is, so you said so you don’t lose a VoIP call, so somebody could be on the phone and you lose your primary internet connection, it fails over to your 4G and then you get your primary backup, it fails back to your primary, like your fiber or whatever and there is no interruption, is that the way?

 

Maureen Donovan:

That’s correct.

 

Mike Smith:

Wow.

 

Maureen Donovan:

And frankly, to be honest, most customers want to control their own failover failback in their primary router, their Cisco or their Meraki or whatever. So I would say probably 80% of the time the customer is doing the failover failback, we are just giving them a handoff. But we have the capability of doing that if a client wants that. So it’s just really what’s a comfort level of the customer. But we can definitely provide that.

 

Mike Smith:

Got it. With having the backup, is it the vast majority of time that the backup is sitting idle or is there any scenario you’ve seen where they are using the backup as an additional DMZ or something?

 

Maureen Donovan:

Some customers do use that as just as an ancillary, they might have a larger plan and they use it for certain file uploads or some project that comes up. Even we have a lot of customers that have gotten it for a temporary deployment and then when they get their primary and they convert it and downgrade the plan to a low plan and use it for backup. So we do have some customers that use that for backup and a few other ancillary applications, so to speak. But if it’s not in use, it’s still sitting there idle but active.

 

Mike Smith:

Got it. And I know before the call you and I were talking about some of the points that you could cover with 4G. And one of the points I’d written down was temporary, it’s like a temporary internet connection. Is that what you’re just referencing, if you’re moving offices and this is the normal scenario that we see, they said they’re going to have the fiber in 120 days and it turns out to be nine months.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Yeah, for sure.

 

Mike Smith:

Or a year or something like that, and they are left without internet connection, they are high and dry. Is that what you guys see a lot where you can bring in a 4G connection and get it up and running?

 

Maureen Donovan:

Yeah, that’s the Hail Mary pass on a Friday afternoon we get a lot. That is exactly that, that you’ve ordered a circuit or someone forgot to order a circuit or you ordered a circuit and it’s either going to take longer or they’ve discovered that they cannot service it. So they need internet is all they know and they need it now and the rest of it sometimes they have to figure out whether they can get another circuit or they keep ours for primary.

 

So we’ve been talking mostly about continuity today, low plans, but we have a variety of usage plans from 5 gigs to a terabyte. So we can cover pretty much any usage that a customer needs for that. We offer month-to-month, we offer one-year, two-year, three-year term, bundled and unbundled. So we like to be flexible and give options to the customer that really fit best for them.

 

But yeah, a lot of our customers will get a temporary deployment to open a store or an office. We actually do have a lot of construction companies that utilize it because obviously it might be a three-month job or a nine-month job or something and then they’re going to move. So these work really, really well for that. So we do a lot of that and they set it up. It’s a self install and they plug in their network in their construction trailer and away they go. So that’s a big benefit.

 

Mike Smith:

How fast can someone install 4G connection, how many days?

 

Maureen Donovan:

Usually with a clean order we can usually ship within one to three days out of our Oregon facility. It’s dependent on just what we have in and everything like that. But my crew does a really, really nice job. If it’s a multi-site order and there’s more things involved or we need to do pro installed, then obviously that adds to that. But that’s a pretty good average.

 

Mike Smith:

You know everybody listening went, “She said clean order?”

 

Maureen Donovan:

Sorry.

 

Mike Smith:

That is referring to us as agents and you guys. Over the years that’s always been a pet peeve of the providers is that we send them this paperwork that has about half the stuff filled out that they need and it’s a back and forth from there. So it’s like there’s no tax ID on the credit out, there’s no billing contact, there’s no technical contact, that type. So basically it’s signed and scanned and then it’s like, “All right, do it for me,” and they don’t know who to contact for what. And they’ve learned over the years get the paperwork squared away first because otherwise if you try to just make it work with bad paperwork, it just leads to a bad install. So that’s what that was referring to. That was a little reminder to all of us to make sure you get providers good paperwork.

 

Maureen Donovan:

I have a really great operations department, but they slam the door in my face pretty quick if it’s not clean coming in. So they are no ticky, no tacky. I’m like, okay.

 

Mike Smith:

Yup. And salespeople are notorious for not being detail-oriented, I think. So I think a lot of salespeople in this industry are the ones who go, “What details? What are all these other sheets of paper? I don’t know what they’re for but just leave them blank, just sign it, that’s all we need.”

 

Maureen Donovan:

Oh, yeah. I have a credit card authorization form that comes back signed but no credit card. It was implied but apparently, so yeah. But that’s our timeline. Like I said, we get slammed with a bunch of large orders or whatever, but we really do our best, particularly those that we know are an emergency. And like I said, my crew does a really great job, so.

 

Mike Smith:

Cool. Now, is there anything else that you wanted to cover on continuity or any of those other…

 

Maureen Donovan:

The last piece, and I don’t want to take up too much time but just out-of-band management is…

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, what is that? You brought that out a couple times and I’m like, “Well, I’m definitely excited to learn about that because I’ve never heard of that.”

 

Maureen Donovan:

So out-of-band management is quite a buzzword with the IT departments right now. And it’s not something new, per se. They’ve been doing it for a while, not all IT departments. But what’s new in the 4G world is with one of our providers, Cradlepoint, and a particular router and they also have a cloud management platform. So their CBA850 series is just an IP passthrough router, it was actually designed for retail, but it’s a small white router, has a 4G embedded modem. And like I said, it’s just a straight IP passthrough router. But with ECM Prime which is the cloud manager platform, it gives the client out-of-band management to their router, their actual equipment in the case of a failover. So basically you’re not flying blind in the case of an outage. If they have to reset their Cisco or CN2 or CNE routing tables or anything like that, what it does is it gives them visibility into their network in the case of an outage, which if they’re flying blind they may have to send a tech out to reboot the router, you know what I mean? So it saves money and time and being able to manage their network in the case of an outage. And it’s virtually about the same price as it is for just the 4G, the 99, I think it’s $5 more. So it’s not a super increased cost.

 

Some larger customers we run across already do this, but using POTS lines. So they have extra POTS lines at their locations that they then can connect into their network. But POTS lines are a lot of money. They’ve been on for a while. And what they’re finding is just the excruciatingly slow connection is just taking a long time for them to do what they need to do. So that just helps cost justify the solution that much more.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, $5 versus POTS line is at least $50 a month when you include all the fees, taxes. I definitely know that.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Yeah. And they are at 4G speed, so they’re getting back up and visibility of their network, so it’s no-brainer. And anytime that an IT department can have more control over their network, they are much happier. So we’ve been doing more and more and more of that. It’s really an advantage with this equipment. We could do it before with certain serial ports and cables, but this, through the ECM platform, just makes it so much cleaner and easier to do. So that’s really been pretty exciting that came out this year. And anytime that, like I said, I’ve talked to many IT directors or IT support and you talk about it, out-of-band management, they know what it is and when you tell them you can do it with a backup solution very easily and low-cost, they’re very interested in that.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, that’s really cool. So does it just plug into the customer’s router through an Ethernet cable or is it connected through a wire?

 

Maureen Donovan:

The router is already plugged in because that’s your 4G connection. So it’s actually through the 4G router over the cloud platform.

 

Mike Smith:

Got it, got it. That’s cool.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Yeah. So that’s been probably one of the easier advancements this year, I would say, that really has given a huge benefit to our customers in the failover arena.

 

Mike Smith:

I definitely learned something there. When you brought that up, I’m like, “Man, that sounds really cool, but I have no idea what that is.” But when you explained it, I’m like, “Oh, I get it, yeah.” Because being in telecom for a long time, I’ve seen a lot of modem lines that the IT department is using to basically access their servers and things like that. So that made sense. And I’m like, “Oh, yeah, because they’re remote and they got to be able to get into the router to fix the issues.” So yeah, that makes sense.

 

Maureen Donovan:

And this just combines, you know what I mean? It gives them that, but also their backup all-in-one at a much higher speed that they can get into their network and whatever they need to do, review logs or reboot their router or whatever.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, that’s fantastic. Cool. Those were some awesome things that I think everybody took a little bit away from today about 4G. Thanks for coming on and talking about that. I think 4G to me has always been this thing where it’s like a little bit fuzzy, I’m like, “Oh, that sounds good but how well does that work for a company in the event of a failover or a primary?” And I think a lot of that stuff got cleared up in my mind. So thanks for sharing.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Sure, no problem. If anybody wants to discuss, we have some great case studies from real-life customers. We’ve done anywhere from a large nationwide fitness chain to electric suppliers. I mean we have a lot of customers, a lot of different verticals. So there isn’t a one vertical that 4G fits anymore. Used to be just retail, that’s kind of how it started, and it’s expanded just because the geography of where it’s available and then all the applications that it can support now. So everybody needs backup now that everything’s in the cloud.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, fantastic. All right. Well, we’re going to take a little break from the serious talk for a second to get a good story out of Maureen. So as we always do, we like to loosen things up a little bit and hear about the funniest or just the coolest thing you’ve ever experienced in the workplace. And I prepped Maureen with this question. And full disclosure, she wasn’t sure she could have a story for us. But let’s see what she’s got.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Yeah, I’m still trying to figure that out. Yeah, you might now have to pause it here, Mike.

 

Mike Smith:

So back at Nextel, there were no freakish salespeople or anything like that?

 

Maureen Donovan:

You know it’s funny I have a story but I don’t know if it’s appropriate because it’s making fun of somebody that I used to work with.

 

Mike Smith:

Oh, man. As I was saying before, we got going here it’s, “Geez, when I was working with all those sales reps, there are so many things.” When I came into that office, I was only 24, it’s my first sales job and I was working, it was a NextLink Communications at the time which later became XO. I think everybody in the office was probably about 10 years older than me and I just came in scared that I was going to lose my job, number one, that I almost barely belong there. And then all these crazy people around. You get all these salespeople in one room and there’s some interesting personalities but, yeah, there’s all kinds of stuff going on. One of the stories that I don’t think I’ve told so far is this one time this guy actually stole leads right off the printer that were coming to me, it’s right out of one of those movies.

 

Maureen Donovan:

BlackBerry going around.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, totally, where it was like, it was just one lead, our director of sales said, “Hey, this call came in or something and Mike, I want you to handle this. And so I’m going to go ahead and print out this customer’s information, can you call them right away and help them out?” And I said, “Okay, sure.” And so I walked back to my desk and then in a second got up to go to the printer and there was nothing there and I walked back, “Well, can you print it out?” And he goes, “I already did.” I said, “Well, it’s not there.” And he goes, “Well, that’s weird.” And so he printed it again. So I grabbed it and went to call him and the customer said, “Oh, I’ve already talked to somebody.” And I go, “Really? That’s strange. Who did you talk to?” And he named the person. And the person sat right next to me in the cube, right next to me. This time I was probably 26, 27 and he was probably around 40 and married, had four kids. And I’m just going, “What?” And then so it turns out the other guy took it right off the printer. And because the director of sales called him in and so I proceeded to watch him get called into the director of sales’ office and then watched everyone walk out, stand by his desk and have him pack all these things and leave, going like, “Geez.” And I’m sitting there watching him pack up his thing. He’s going, “What am I going to tell my wife? What am I going to tell my wife?” And they’re going, “Well, you’re going to tell her that you stole something that wasn’t yours.” But stuff like that happened all the time. It was a madhouse. There was a lot of good people, but you get that many people into one place and it gets crazy.

 

Maureen Donovan:

So leading to that, now I just remembered the other story was that same person later on, we used to have demos that you could demo with a customer because it was crazy new technology and a demo went a long way. So you had your own demo pool, like you had two units that you could lend to a customer. And she was renting them out. So she got fired because she was renting them and taking the money.

 

Mike Smith:

Oh, my gosh. Yeah, it’s like these people, you are going, “What were you thinking?”

 

Maureen Donovan:

I have to say we were making decent money. It wasn’t like they weren’t paying good money back then. It wasn’t ridiculous but it was a good opportunity to make really pretty good money and they weren’t zapping us on commission. So I was like, “Why would you do that?”

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, just go actually do the honest thing and work out and make lots of money and everybody’s happy and you feel good and you don’t get fired.

 

Maureen Donovan:

No, she got fired.

 

Mike Smith:

Yup. Yup, totally. I could sit here and probably tell you 20 stories of watching other salespeople getting fired for random stuff, you’re going, “Oh, my gosh, you guys.” It’s a hard job, but it’s one of those things. I don’t know that, it’s a very stressful job, it’s very hard. All the salespeople have been there. But you just got to take the high road, you cannot go down that road. I don’t know. But anyway.

 

All right, I think we also covered a lot about Broad Sky. But is there anything that we missed that you want to let us know about Broad Sky and what you guys do really well over there and what kind of sets you guys a part or what you’re doing that’s exciting right now? I think we covered some of it, but is there anything we missed?

 

Maureen Donovan:

No, I mean I think there’s more to us than just this. But I think our general, the makeup of the company, has always been the same as far as to be an integrator in whatever wireless solution that we provide. So we have multiple carriers and satellite as well and then in 4G. And it’s really to stay abreast of what’s the latest technology, what’s the best for our customers, how can we provide the best solution and the best service.

 

We are an integrator, so then the customer goes to us for support. And I have to say we do a really good job of that. We really actually care on how we design the solution on the frontend because we have to support it on the backend. So my team does a really good job of pre-calling the sites or making recommendations or engineering the solution because they know they’re going to have to be supported on the backend and so that really works well for the customer.

 

And I’ve had many customers who have asked, “Why don’t I go with a carrier directly?” And I said, “You can. It might be a little less expensive but then your eggs are all in one basket, you’re stuck and you are one small fish in a big pool with that carrier.” And I’ve had customers leave go to carrier and I’ve had them come back. So I have to say that we do actually really a nice job of our customers and care about how they’re being serviced and if it’s working for their company.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, I’m sure everybody can relate to that. Who’s ever called their cellphone provider, their mobile provider, if they’re a large provider, and tried to get some personal attention, good luck. That’s going to be really tough. So that I think that’s worth paying a little bit more for, where you’re going, “Hey, at least you don’t have to do that,” especially as a business you just don’t have a lot of time to mess around. Everyone’s got a lot of pressure to get things back up and running or working right or get things done quickly, and you just don’t have time to really get the runaround.

 

Being in this industry, I’m sure you’re like me, you always see the bad stuff when things go wrong and how much money companies lose by trying to cut a corner and how much they wish they had just paid a little bit more at that point and gotten something that would have worked. And I think that’s the lesson everybody sometimes has to learn, me included. I definitely made my share of mistakes trying to save a couple pennies and get something that actually cost me a lot more in the end. But yeah, I can definitely relate to that.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Yeah. So I think we do a very good job at that and if given the chance so, or if you ask to our customers or our agents, so.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah. Fantastic. Well, it’s been great, Maureen. Thanks for coming on and taking the time to educate us a little bit. As I said earlier, I definitely learned a lot and I know you had to carve out some time in your day, which I really appreciate. And I know everyone else listening learned a lot too. So, thanks.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Thank you. You know me, I like to talk, happy to participate in this. And I can also do another one, like I said, amped up with our sales engineers for a more technical call. That would be great. But I really appreciate the time and the opportunity to be on here. It’s been great, Mike.

 

Mike Smith:

Yeah, no problem. We’ll definitely take you up on that. And have a great day.

 

Maureen Donovan:

Thanks. You too. Bye.

 

Mike Smith:

Thanks.

 

So I told you Maureen knows her stuff, didn’t I? She’s awesome, isn’t she? Well, if you guys have any questions on 4G, just shoot us a quick email at podcast@aerocominc.com and we’ll be happy to get those questions on 4G answered for you directly from Maureen or anyone at Broad Sky. We can also arrange a call with Maureen or any of our engineers if you have some specific questions. So I hope that’s helpful to you.

 

One more quick reminder about our free giveaway. It’s the list of every major business internet promotion that’s going on right now. I think there’s 50 line items or so and it’s got promotions on it all the way from business cable to T1 to fiber, Ethernet over copper, fixed wireless, you name it, it’s on there. And we’ll give it to you for free. All you have to do is text the word “ISP deals” to the number 442 and we will shoot you an email with that attachment.

 

And last but not least, if you want any information, if you want to revisit it from this program, don’t forget we always have the transcripts of this podcast listed on our website. So all you have to do is go aerocominc.com/info/blog and find this episode and you’ll have a full transcript of this episode so you don’t have to sit there and scramble and take notes on all the stuff and rewind it.

 

All right. Well, have a great day everybody out there in IT land and I 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 dot com and head on over to the blog section for notes on everything we talked about today as well as our blogs, provider reviews, and of course the best quotes for any technology.

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