Kentucky Company Reduces Telecom Costs by 72 Percent and Gains Higher-Quality Service

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Reducing Telecom Costs without Sacrificing Quality of Service

It’s human nature to think that an expensive product is better than a lower-cost product. There’s a degree of logic to that—why would the market support a higher cost if there wasn’t some value behind it?

When it comes to multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), however, the price of the service has little to do with the cost of delivery or the functionality that’s provided. Quite simply, it comes down to what the market will bear.

Historically, there have been limited options when it comes to wide-area network (WAN) connectivity. The telcos pretty much owned the road, and developed MPLS to more efficiently handle growing volumes of Internet traffic. Because MPLS is offered by just a handful of providers, the price is relatively high.

The broadband Internet market, by contrast, is highly competitive, which drives down prices. Broadband Internet typically costs $.75 to $2.00 per megabit per month. MPLS, in contrast, ranges from $75 to $200 per megabit per month depending on location. Granted, broadband Internet is a “best-effort” service, while MPLS creates a private WAN with guaranteed bandwidth. It takes better equipment and more engineers to deliver MPLS, but that doesn’t explain such a huge discrepancy.

Fact is, many IT professionals believe that broadband Internet is inadequate for enterprise WAN connectivity. They’re concerned that the cost of downtime and of troubleshooting problems across dozens or even hundreds of locations would offset any savings from a cheaper service.

However, MPLS is starting to show its age. Organizations that rely heavily on cloud-based applications and services find that MPLS creates bottlenecks. Furthermore, MPLS doesn’t provide the advanced traffic shaping needed to ensure high-quality IP communications.

Twenty Times the Bandwidth, 72 Percent Lowered Costs

A Kentucky-based technology company was using MPLS to connect its two corporate offices in Louisville and Lexington. The company was frustrated with the high cost of MPLS, and began looking for alternatives. Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) seemed like a good solution, but it had to provide Quality of Service (QoS) for voice and video conferencing.

After reviewing SD-WAN products from a number of vendors, the company selected InSpeed Quality Service (IQS). IQS is the only SD-WAN solution that’s purpose built to ensure performance for interactive applications. It gives interactive traffic priority over ordinary Internet traffic, and manages bandwidth utilization from end to end to reduce congestion for all applications.

After implementing IQS with a broadband Internet connection, the company found that voice call quality immediately improved. The company’s 65 employees could communicate with each other and with customers without the jitter, echoes and other issues they experienced with MPLS.

But what about reducing telecom costs? The company had been paying $1,920 for two 5Mbps MPLS circuits, plus another $180 for an MPLS-to-Internet connection in its Louisville location. That’s $2,100 per month for relatively little bandwidth. Now, the company has a 100Mbps Internet connection plus IQS in each location, for a total cost of just $600 per month. With InSpeed, the company enjoys 20 times the bandwidth for 72 percent lower cost per month, with improved call quality.

InSpeed’s SD-WAN solution proves that more expensive isn’t necessarily better. Let us show you how IQS can save you a bundle while ensuring high-quality business communications and cloud access. Check out the case study referenced here, or reach out to our team to get started to find out how much money IQS can save for your company.

 

Retailer Weathers Hurricane Irma While Reducing Network Costs by More Than Half [Case Study]

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How an Environmental Services Firm Fixed Their VoIP Problems (and Boosted Cloud Performance)

How one company fixed their sluggish Internet and dropped calls

How one company fixed their sluggish Internet and dropped calls

C&M Relied on the Cloud, but They Needed the Right Architecture

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The cloud has become a core component of the IT environment, with organizations devoting ever-larger portions of their budgets to cloud solutions. That’s because the cloud delivers key business benefits, including the ability to preserve capital, reduce operational overhead, implement new services faster and scale on demand.

However, traditional WAN architectures are ill-suited to cloud computing. Private circuits, such as MPLS links, are expensive, slow to provision, inflexible and complex, offsetting much of the value of the cloud. They offer guaranteed bandwidth but it comes at substantial cost, and much of it is wasted due to the inefficiencies of routing cloud traffic over MPLS.

Broadband Internet makes more sense for cloud access—it’s a small fraction of the cost of MPLS and can generally be provisioned pretty quickly. The problem is that broadband doesn’t give you guaranteed bandwidth or performance. As cloud traffic increases, other applications are going to suffer.

If you rely on cloud applications for mission-critical business processes, this can be a real problem.

For Example: Monthly Payroll Triggered Dropped Calls and Sluggish Internet

logo of company with dropped calls during payrollC&M Industries, an environmental services firm based in Chesapeake, Va., found that its cloud-based accounting apps caused the WAN to slow to a crawl. The problem was especially acute twice a month, when the company ran payroll for its 250 employees.

This didn’t just impact the performance of the cloud software. C&M’s Voice over IP (VoIP) phone system took the biggest hit when WAN traffic spiked. Calls would become unintelligible and drop unexpectedly.
C&M had two problems. One was a lack of bandwidth. The cable broadband link connecting its headquarters to the Internet was just 15 Mbps x 5 Mbps—the fastest available in that part of town. A nearby branch office had a 30 Mbps x 10 Mbps connection, which was better but still not terribly fast.

The other problem was a lack of traffic shaping and prioritization for VoIP calls. The Internet provides only “best effort” delivery, so voice and video conferencing traffic has to wait in line with all of the other data. C&M looked at a private VPN solution, but it didn’t provide traffic shaping capabilities. The carrier couldn’t guarantee that call quality would improve, so C&M was reluctant to make the investment.

How C&M Fixed Their Dropped Calls During Payroll and Streamlined Their Cloud Apps

That’s when the company discovered the InSpeed software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solution. InSpeed Quality Service (IQS) gives interactive traffic (UDP) priority over other Internet traffic (TCP) so that voice and video conferencing data goes first. It’s designed specifically to resolve the kinds of problems that plague VoIP calls when Internet traffic increases.

After installing IQS, C&M found that call quality improved immediately—even on the 15th and last of the month when the accounting department processed payroll. The company also noticed that its cloud applications and other Internet functions started performing better as well. That’s because IQS manages bandwidth both downstream and upstream, reducing WAN congestion for all applications.

As organizations increase their use of cloud applications, the right WAN architecture becomes critical. MPLS wasn’t designed for the cloud, and broadband Internet comes with tradeoffs in terms of performance and reliability. InSpeed gives you cloudlike agility and cost-efficiency while guaranteeing high-quality business communications over any WAN connection.

If you’re having problems similar to C&M, InSpeed can help.

Do Your Remote Workers Have Effective Communication Tools?

Stats on employees working from homedowload a printable PDF of this article: Eliminate MPLSIn a recent survey conducted by research firm Inavero, hiring managers predict that 38 percent of their full-time, permanent employees will primarily work remotely in the next 10 years. The survey, conducted on behalf of freelancing website Upwork, found that 63 percent of companies today have remote workers, and more expect to embrace flexible workstyles. This can provide key benefits—as long as remote workers have effective communication tools.

More than half (52 percent) of hiring managers surveyed said that talent shortages are the key driver for adopting more flexible workforce policies. By enabling employees to work from home or a small satellite office, organizations gain access to a larger talent pool. Remote workers tend to be more productive than their office-bound peers, and are able to serve local customers better. They also tend to be happier and more satisfied in their jobs, reducing turnover and further relieving talent shortages.

But it’s not enough to simply allow employees to work from home—organizations must provide remote workers with the right technology resources. Effective communication and collaboration tools are especially important, particularly for workers who interface directly with customers. It’s not realistic to expect remote workers to use their cell phones, personal land lines or consumer-grade collaboration solutions.

Voice over IP (VoIP) and unified communications (UC) platforms make it possible to extend the headquarters phone system to small office / home office (SOHO) workers. However, the vast majority of these workers are going to have basic broadband Internet connections. The Internet is a “best effort” transport medium, meaning that data packets are delivered when they’re delivered. When you connect to VoIP and UC systems via the Internet, you often get garbled calls, echoes and other Quality of Service (QoS) issues.

case study of insurance nonprofit having trouble with VoIPInsurance Group Ensures Call Quality and Reliability for Remote Employees

That was the problem plaguing the Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group, a group of nonprofit insurance organizations that provide reasonably priced property and casualty insurance exclusively to other nonprofits. The Santa Cruz, California-based group has approximately 100 employees serving more than 17,000 nonprofit organizations in 32 states and Washington, D.C.

Half of those employees work from remote locations across the U.S., and they were struggling with unreliable, poor-quality VoIP services that made it difficult to deliver high-quality service to their customers. The problem wasn’t the group’s ShoreTel phone system—it was connectivity between headquarters and the remote sites.

The group decide to test InSpeed Quality Service (IQS) in the remote offices of several employees. The difference was night and day. IQS is a unique software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solution that was purpose-built for business communications. A small onsite appliance automatically connects to the InSpeed cloud and begins monitoring and streamlining Internet traffic. InSpeed’s patented technology prioritizes voice and videoconferencing traffic to ensure high-quality communication over any Internet connection. And the solution is so cost-efficient and easy-to-manage that it can be used for SOHO workers.

The group’s management team was so pleased that they immediately placed an order for 31 IQS sites, and have continued to add sites since then. You can read the Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group case study here.

As organizations struggle to fill the growing skills gap, they’re implementing flexible workforce policies to get work done and create happier, more productive employees. However, remote workers can only provide high-quality customer service if they have effective communication tools. InSpeed overcomes the drawbacks of broadband Internet connections to ensure high-quality voice and video conferencing over any connection, every time. Learn more.

 

Ensuring Reliable VoIP Service Across Almost 50 Locations

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How this insurance company ensures reliable VOIP across 50 locations

VOIP calls increasingly unreliable for the nonprofits insurance alliance group

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For nearly 30 years, the Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group has been serving more than 17,000 nonprofit member-insureds in 32 states. They have 100 employees, with half working from the main office in Santa Cruz, CA and half working remotely from locations across the US.

This unique internal structure, combined with the Group’s commitment to providing inspired service to its members, means that the Group depends on its VolP provider to deliver reliable, clear telephony, no matter what.

However, their VoIP services had become increasingly unreliable, and when VoIP calls were especially poor, employees had difficulty providing the inspired service that the organization prides itself on.

INSPEED QUALITY SERVICE IMMEDIATELY FIXED ALL VOIP ISSUES

The Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group turned to TOTLCOM, a ShoreTel reseller for a solution—InSpeed Quality Service.

InSpeed immediately fixed all the VoIP quality problems Alliance Member Services had been experiencing on their local networks. Calls became clear and static-free, enabling agents to return to selling insurance. The Alliance Member Services management team was so thrilled with the result that they placed an order for a total of 31 sites. Since then, they have added more sites, and are now approaching 50 sites under management.

HERE’S HOW THE INSPEED SOLUTION SOLVED THEIR VOIP PROBLEMS

To address the problem the SOHO agents were experiencing, TOTLCOM decided to test InSpeed Quality Service (IQS)™.

InSpeed is a simple, yet powerful SD-WAN solution that delivers unified connectivity, improved network performance, security and real-time visibility. It enables SMBs and SOHO workers to experience high quality broadband service without the expense of MPLS or other private circuits.

The IQS solution comprises a cloud element, a small on-premises appliance that connects local networks to the internet, and a web portal for configuration and management. Installation takes only minutes. Once configured, IQS monitors and streamlines traffic to ensure that VoIP and videoconferencing applications get the bandwidth and priority they need for delivering reliably high quality services.

 

[epq-quote align=”align-center”]“Once we installed IQS, our employees noticed an incredible performance improvement in call quality. We’re thrilled with IQS”

Pamela E. Davis
Founder, President and CEO
Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group[/epq-quote]