InSpeed Helps IT Solution Provider Deliver Top-Notch Customer Service

How one company streamlined their home office communications

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The IT skills gap is a big and growing problem that defies easy solutions. The evolution of the IT field is accelerating with new technologies emerging faster than ever before. 63 percent of companies today have remote workers and hiring managers predict that 38 percent of their full-time, permanent employees will work remotely in the next ten years. Organizations seeking to take advantage of those technologies are struggling to find workers who can support them. The result, according to a recent CompTIA report, is reduced productivity, lower sales and profitability, delays in bringing new products and services to market, and losing ground to competitors.

This has created both opportunities and challenges for IT solution providers. Organizations need help, and are more willing than ever to outsource IT support. However, solution providers face the same staffing challenges as other organizations, particularly when it comes to specialized IT skills.

Technology is helping to resolve some of the issues it has created. Near-ubiquitous Internet access means that IT support specialists can access systems remotely, from virtually anywhere. This enables solution providers to cast a wider net when it comes to hiring. They can focus on finding employees with the right skills, regardless of geography.

Professional-Quality Voice in the Home Office: IPC Case Study

[blockquote style=”background-color: #0077b3;” cite=”Mark Guyer
Senior Support Services Engineer
IPC Technologies” type=”left”]“After InSpeed was installed people told me that it sounded like I was in the next room instead of several states away.”[/blockquote]

IPC Technologies has leveraged this model to support its nationwide customer base. A Mitel Platinum-Certified Partner with expertise in phone systems, networks and more, IPC maintains a deep bench of experienced engineers and technicians. Most work from one of IPC’s Network Operations Centers, but some are located in remote offices or even work from home.

One particular support services engineer was living in the greater Kansas City area, far from any IPC branch. He set up an office in his apartment, using the phone and the Internet to support IPC’s customers. His Voice over IP (VoIP) phone tied directly into IPC’s headquarters in Richmond, Va. Customers had no way of knowing he was working remotely.

However, the consumer-grade Internet connection in the engineer’s apartment building was not up to the job. Every afternoon, as Internet traffic increased, the quality of his VoIP calls degraded significantly. Choppiness and robot voice made conversations difficult to understand—and created a poor customer experience for a company that specializes in phone systems.

IPC was familiar with InSpeed Quality Service (IQS) and its ability to optimize voice calls. The company decided to see if IQS could solve the engineer’s VoIP problems. IQS was designed to ensure high-quality business communications over any connection, every time. But could it optimize voice calls over a highly variable, poor-quality Internet service?

IPC shipped a preconfigured InSpeed appliance to the engineer, who set it up in a matter of minutes. All he had to do was plug in two cables and press the “on” button—the appliance automatically connected to the InSpeed cloud and began prioritizing voice, video conferencing and other interactive traffic. The engineer’s VoIP problems disappeared instantly, and other Internet applications performed better as well.

The InSpeed appliance and service are easy to use and manage, so the engineer can focus his efforts on supporting IPC’s customers.

Organizations facing shortages of skilled IT personnel need the ability to hire workers regardless of location. The InSpeed SD-WAN solution can ensure that these employees have high-quality voice calls so they can deliver top-notch support to their customers.

To find out if InSpeed is the right solution for your office space, contact one of our sales specialists.

 

Ensuring Reliable VoIP Service Across Almost 50 Locations

increased quality, speed, efficiency and reduced costs image

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]

 

Choosing The Right SD-WAN Solution For Your Organization

Choosing The Right SD-WAN Solution For Your Organization

Which Way To SD-WAN?

Choosing The Right SD-WAN Solution For Your Organization

The Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) market is exciting. Unfortunately, it’s confusing, too. This confusion is due in part to the sweeping promises of some SD-WAN vendors to solve all possible network ills with a Swiss Army Knife approach, leading to complex products and a bewildering array of options. The confusion is also due to terminology. Just as the phrase “Unified Communications” took on a lot of different (and sometimes conflicting) meanings early in that market’s evolution, so “SD-WAN” has come to mean different things to different people today.

Unrealistic promises and vague terminology make product comparisons difficult. As a result, many IT managers are having a hard time deciding which SD-WAN solution is the right one for their organization.

What does SD-WAN really mean? And how, given all these different definitions and products, should an organization go about selecting the SD-WAN solution that meets its particular needs?

CTA - Which Way to SD-WAN?

 

SD-WAN Defined

Let’s start with the basics. Here’s a pared-down, no-frills definition of SD-WAN:

SD-WAN is formally defined as the application of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) ideas to WAN connections, which are used to connect enterprise networks – including branch offices and data centers – over large geographic distances.

InSpeed Networks is the only provider of SD-WAN solutions that were designed from the ground-up to address the needs of interactive applications. InSpeed’s solutions use unique proprietary technology that combine voice prioritization, with dynamic congestion management, to guarantee optimum performance for voice traffic, and improve overall throughput for data traffic, even over a single link.

Although the SD-WAN market is crowded with many players, including big name network equipment providers and new innovative start-ups, all SD-WAN solutions today include the following features:

  • A central controller that establishes network-wide policies and determines roles for each network device under management.
  • Commodity vanilla hardware runs the networking function.

Industry analyst firm Gartner suggests that, in addition to providing these basic features, SD-WAN solutions should also provide the following:

  • Support for multiple types of network connections (MPLS, cable, DSL, LTE)
  • Support for VPNs
  • Dynamic load-sharing of traffic over multiple connections
  • A simple management interface and support for zero-touch provisioning

Why provide networking features in software in the first place? In part, to benefit from the flexibility and scalability of cloud computing. When network controls are implemented in software, they can be deployed wherever makes the most sense—in virtual machines on premises, in a dedicated data center, or even in a public cloud—and they can scale dynamically to meet performance and usage requirements that fluctuate in real time. Simply put: Software-defined networking solutions can match or exceed the performance of earlier solutions while delivering the cost savings for which cloud computing is famous.

 

Bold Promises, Mixed Results

SD-WAN sounds great in theory, but in practice many SD-WAN solutions on the market today have not delivered on their promises. Complex provisioning and maintenance, incompatibility with existing network elements, and the inability to adjust automatically to changing network conditions, have led to iffy cost savings and questionable improvements in service quality.

What many SMBs and enterprises need is a solution that moves beyond SD-WAN to provide:

  • A comprehensive service, not a toolkit that requires sophisticated IT staff to implement
  • A solution targeted at essential enterprise needs such as Unified Communications, high quality voice or smooth videoconferencing—applications that employees and customers depend on, but which are poorly served by most SD-WAN solutions. Beyond replicating basic network routing features in software, the optimal SD-WAN solution will shape WAN traffic in real time to minimize network latency problems that lead to “robot voice” on VoIP calls and frozen frames/distorted audio in videoconferencing sessions.
  • A self-driving service that requires no on-going administration—an essential capability for supporting branch offices that have little or no IT staff.
  • Traffic optimization over a single WAN link, eliminating the expense and overhead of provisioning, managing, and paying for redundant links.

 

Selecting an SD-WAN Solution

When evaluating SD-WAN solutions, it’s important to consider the following issues:

Controlling your network

  • Is there a single point of administration and centralized control?
  • Do you have the manpower to administer yet another networking technology, or would you prefer one that is autonomous?

Traditional MPLS WAN vs Commodity Internet Plus SD-WAN

  • What is your current monthly cost for your network connectivity?
  • Would scaling up your current WAN technology be affordable? Are you sure that scaling would fix your QoS issues with interactive applications?
  • Are you looking to save money, increase throughput and ensure high quality voice calls?

Public Internet WAN

  • Does your current Internet connectivity provider offer optimized redundancy for your needs (active-active or active-passive)?
  • Would an overlay SD-WAN solution with your existing WAN provider solve critical QoS problems for interactive communications and meet your organization’s SD-WAN needs?

Requirements for Business Continuity

  • Has you measured the business costs of interruptions to IP telephony and videoconferencing services?
  • To achieve business goals, customer satisfaction goals, and SLAs, does your organization require virtually no Internet connectivity downtime?
  • How much investment and IT labor could be saved if an SD-WAN solution could provide Business Continuity without requiring an additional network connection?
  • Does the SD-WAN solution automatically shape traffic to guarantee QoS regardless of fluctuating network conditions?

Security

  • Does the SD-WAN solution being considered provide sufficient security for business communications? Are interoffice communications protected with encryption?

 

Beyond SD-WAN: The InSpeed IQS Solution

InSpeed Quality Service (IQS) is an SD-WAN solution that moves beyond typical SD-WAN features and implementations.

IQS is specifically focused on the needs of customers with interactive applications such as voice and videoconferencing. Unlike other SD-WAN offerings, InSpeed’s solution is designed from the ground up to address the specific needs of interactive applications like voice. Unique in the SD-WAN market, IQS guarantees that the connection will be low-latency, ensuring high quality voice calls and videoconference sessions.

Like other SD-WAN offerings, IQS provides an alternative to expensive dedicated circuits that have traditionally been used to guarantee 100% uptime and data security, by allowing customers to utilize multiple commodity Internet links and full AES-encrypted VPN mesh connections. But unlike competitive SD-WAN solutions, IQS also has unique proprietary technology that combines voice prioritization with dynamic congestion management. This proprietary technology guarantees optimum performance for voice traffic and improves overall throughput for data traffic over a single link. This allows a customer to get great value from IQS with a simple plug-and-play installation into their existing network, saving the cost and delays of implementing yet another network connection for each site.

 

Conclusion

With the InSpeed SD-WAN solution, it’s now possible to make reliable IP telephony calls and experience smooth videoconferencing over any network connection, all the time.

The SD-WAN marketplace is crowded. By taking a Voice First™ approach and focusing on the interactive services that organizations depend on, InSpeed brings clarity to SMBs and enterprises interested in improving network experience while enjoying the cost savings of SDN technology.

CTA - Which Way to SD-WAN?