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Free Wi-Fi the Worldover

Adael WiFi Hotspot in France

One of the least secure ways to handle data is joining open Wi-Fi hotspots; however, working on the road requires an endless use of whatever connection one can get. So, as I’ve been the ever present Euro-Road-Warrior this past month, I thought I would abide by 5 guidelines for Wi-Fi security. The sources I used to put together my 5 part list are 10 Tips for Road Warriors, Techcrunch, 5 Tips for Protecting Your Computer, Travel and Leisure, and Six essential Apple iPhone security tips, Mac World (because I am much more likely to connect with my iPhone).

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Crossing Cables, Phone and Network

Small Business Slow to Adopt VOIP

Despite the cost benefits of VOIP (Voice over IP) technology, the study found 70 percent of small businesses are not using VOIP for business calls. Almost nine in 10 (87%) small business professionals are somewhat or not at all familiar with the term “unified communications,” which is the integration of voice, video, audio and instant messaging tools.
eWeek.com: Businesses Engaging in Risky Technology Behavior: Survey

Crossing Cables, Phone and NetworkThe most interesting part of this technology review may not have had anything to do with its title (Businesses Engaging in Risky Technology Behavior: Survey)! The review found that small businesses are simply unfamiliar with VOIP and Unified communications. Most likely, this represents the newness of the technology, but also the fact that while larger enterprises have hired specialists, traditional providers have not ventured to make VOIP to the Desktop Systems work. As a result, even many of the newer IP Phone Systems my company sees in the market do not encompass the benefits VOIP.

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icon with map of France

Work from Anywhere

icon with map of France A claim of VOIP and its salesmen is that VOIP to the Desktop can help create better opportunities for work-life balance. The expectations and concepts behind work-life balance may not be entirely agreed upon; however, for those of you who think going to work should not necessitate going into the office – I’ve begun a very important test. I’ll spend the next few months living in Paris, working from an apartment using WiFi. Disclaimer: No one asked me to actually work while I am here (but they didn’t stop sending emails and leaving messages either).

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Dedicated Hosted VOIP and the ISP

Client Description: Client runs a dedicated hosted VOIP system using 3CX based at a COLO site provided by Telewebtech.

Summary: A fully functional VOIP system is held back by an Internet Service Provider’s recent update to their infrastructure, but the ISP is unable to correctly diagnose the problem. This causes a 90 day setback as the system must be fully analyzed and the national cable company must be repeatedly contacted by our engineers before it agrees to send a technician to replace their hardware. Continue reading

Snom VOIP Phones: a Green Review

snom 300 IP Phone

In May of 2010, I began asking my team about how to make green VOIP solutions. It resulted in Telewebtech’s 3 Keys to Green VOIP. At the end, I was not sure if companies would be more interested in our 3 Keys to “save the environment” or just cash? The reason was a Germany-based company, Snom, and their 300 Series VoIP Phones. Their report on the 300 series phones was released in 2008. I even used their head-to-head calculator to evaluate some similar phones from competitors and see the estimated carbon and financial savings. You can do the same here (link), though they no longer link to it from their top page.

Because of Snom’s comparison tool, and the internal standard for green system design, I wanted to personally research the quality and usability of the Snom 300 VoIP Phone. Snom was kind enough to let me demo one. Here is an overall assessment, read on for details. On quality, the design offers a compact and solid build, somewhat more than similar phones from other brands that I’ve used. My engineers have been surprised that a standard level VOIP phone (the 300 Series features the 320 and 370 as well) is so well-rounded and stable. In addition, it is complimented by an intuitive web interface.

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Future of Fax Over IP

Just out of college I moved to San Francisco where the dot com bubble had just burst. Marketing roles were tight, so I picked up a job at a law firm delivering faxes and mail to make ends meet. Most peoples’ experience with faxing is that it is reliable and easy. My experience was much different because in scale, one gets the true picture. Send or receive 15 pages a day, easy. Send and receive hundreds a day, and the reliability factor goes fast!

Now, the tricky issue of Faxing over IP haunts most businesses. Is there an answer or is faxing just the collateral damage of a new technology? Continue reading

A Nationwide Switch to Unified Communications

AT&T has been talking to regulators, quietly, about ending POTs telephony in the USA (Article) with filings in December 2009 and comments to the US Federal Communications Commission as it considers a new broadband plan. That makes this an essential time to plan for your company’s next communications platform. It also means your business has more options available from a greater variety of service providers. But is your tech team ready to take on the responsibility, is it even a part of their role, and what is Unified Communications? Continue reading

Making the Switch to VOIP Green

While a lot of hype is being made about being carbon-neutral. IT projects are some of the most difficult to manage with ecology in mind. So difficult in fact that many VOIP solution providers just focus on the positive savings and performance of new systems, ignoring their impact. So, what green initiatives do new Open and Proprietary VOIP Systems offer and what are the drawbacks?

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Is your company spending too much on phone service?

Try reviewing usage to determine if you are a heavy minutes or a heavy concurrency company.

This is geared towards companies considering service after building their own SIP based VOIP platform as most service providers for smaller companies offer unlimited plans rather than giving a minutes-based option, which can be far cheaper.

Companies looking to reduce telephony costs with a managed VOIP platform should review how they use their systems and service. Many companies pay for minutes they don’t use, or for more lines than they require. When I’ve helped companies analyze all their telephony related invoices, simple changes in service have allowed significant savings. Enough that replacing the old key system with a new VOIP system is paid off in less than 12 months. Continue reading

Misleading Toll Free Minutes Claims from Telephone Providers

I have been answering some questions from friends recently who were convinced that their Toll Free number system was providing them unlimited inbound minutes. With my knowledge of phone services, I have to admit that at first glance I was taken back. It really looked like they were doing what they said, and I couldn’t work out the profitability numbers on it. Continue reading