Redundancy, Back ups, VoIP and the Internet

Redundancy, Back ups, VoIP and the Internet

Or

How To Stop Internet Failure From Ruining Your Day

 

If you are reading this article on our website then it's safe to say you have probably heard of VoIP.

The technology to use internet to deliver phone calls has been around for a while now, and is becoming increasingly accepted as standard practise amongst the business community.

The additional features and functions it offers over the 'traditional' phone model makes it very desirable for business use.

The one downside is the requirement for an internet connection. If your internet fails, then your calls will fail too.

Many see this as a deterrent to using a VoIP service. However, there are a few methods available which limit this risk.

The first, most obvious and easiest to set up method we recommend is via using Call Forwarding to an independent number. If you can set up a landline or mobile phone number as a fail-over, then any calls which miss your VoIP system will still find you using the fail-over number.

The second method we recommend is to use a good ISP. A reputable, business-grade ISP will employ back up systems, so if they do ever experience any issues it won't affect your service. This is done by setting up a fully redundant, business-grade infrastructure. For example, SureVoIP® internet connectivity is delivered over a network which employs a fully redundancy back-up system (if any part of our network should suffer a failure, then your traffic would find its way to the internet via another, completely independent set of connections).

The third method we suggest you consider is using two (or more) independent internet connections. In the event of your main ISP suffering a failure, then your calls and data traffic switch to the alternate provider. This is a good way of ensuring continuity of your service, and should be considered if you handle a good deal of VoIP calls, and these calls are critical to how your business operates.

Not many companies can do without phone and internet services these days. In fact, it is doubtful if there are any. These services are critical to general operations. Banking and invoicing systems, CRM systems, work-flow management systems all rely on connecting to cloud platforms. Not being able to connect with these will mean many staff spending a lot of time with nothing to do! Worse than this, they won't be able to pass the time on Facebook or reading the news!

When your phone calls are being delivered over the internet, then the problem would be even worse. Not only can you not connect to vital internal systems, but you are also missing customer calls.

Bearing the risks in mind, most business users of VoIP who see phone communication as critical would be well advised to consider the impact of an internet outage, and to have in place a recovery plan.

Using one, two, or even all three of the options listed in this article will certainly help.

Using the first option will at least give you the reassurance of knowing you are receiving customer calls. We recommend this as a standard 'fail-over' option to many of our customers. It is easy to set up, and reliable. As calls are reaching you in a completely independent way to the internet, then you still remain able to communicate in the event of internet or ISP issues.

 

The second option listed will give you the reassurance of always using built in redundancy. As your thoughtful ISP has already factored in fail-over options, then you can relax a little bit. This method gives the reassurance of a back up, without the necessity of having more than one connectivity supplier. This will require you to do a little bit of research regarding any potential ISP's network infrastructure. Check their network, their technical specifications, and any other information you can get your hands on regarding how they have built their network. If you can't see any of this, then be prepared to keep looking. The chances are, if they have gone to the trouble of developing a system such as this, they will be shouting it from their website! If no information is there, wonder why.

The third option we explored is probably the most expensive, but is a good idea for larger companies. If your customer communications are critical, and your business relies on internet, cloud-based platforms or emails, then this is option is well worth considering. It may introduce an additional cost and layer of complexity to administration, but it will prove well worth it if your primary ISP suffers a major incident. It may be an additional expense, but think of the possible expense of an outage. Lost staff time, missed customer calls, loss of reputation. All these should be factored in when weighing up your options.

 

If you wish to discuss your options just get in touch.

 

Click here to see more about the internet connectivity options we can provide

 

Click here to see more about our Call Forwarding options

How We All Benefit From Integration and Collaboration – Open Source and APIs

As those who know about our company will be aware, SureVoIP® has been geared from its inception to be pro-Open Source. Open Source is the term given to software which the developer has allowed access to for other developers.

 

This is more than a just a statement, it affects how SureVoIP® functions, and how we approach things. It shows a different approach to developing solutions.

 

Let's compare an Open Source approach to the more traditional purely profit-driven approach. When companies are developing software purely for profit, they work in isolation. A team of developers will have a brief, and will work to fulfil this to the satisfaction of the client company.

 

This reflects the 'normal' business approach. A gap in the market is spotted, and a product or service is developed to fill this gap. This is a generally accepted business model, and works reasonably well.

 

However, if we stop to analyse it for a second, we can spot some obvious flaws. The first is that all these products are being developed in isolation. No one individual or business is taking an overview, and there is no guarantee to customers that product 'X' from one company will work with product 'Y' from another company.

 

As I say, this is fairly normal. After all, we wouldn't expect a manufacturer to design a TV to work with another manufacturer's remote control!

 

But, if we extend this thinking to the internet, we run into difficulties.

 

The internet has essentially become a plethora of connected things, enmeshed within our daily lives. We now expect to share a news story by clicking a 'share' icon, and update our Facebook page by using s smart phone app. It is increasingly common to be able to turn on our living room lights at home, by using a smart phone app. As the much talked about Internet of Things becomes prevalent, we will soon expect to order groceries using a voice-recognition device, or expect our fridge to order more milk without us even knowing it's running low!

 

So if we look at internet-based products and services within the framework of the individual product development model, we see this connected aspect would quickly fall apart. With no financial motivation to develop links between disparate products and services, we would simply have a stand off between companies waiting for others to absorb development costs.

 

But – introduce collaboration and integration into this picture, and things change significantly. In fact, you end up with our present day connected world, because it simply couldn't exist without them.

 

Different companies develop products which simply must work with products developed at other times and by other companies. An open, collaborative approach to development is an essential ingredient in this mix, a bit like the flour in a cake recipe. You can have all the icing and cherries you like, but without something to bind all the ingredients together, you don't have a cake!

 

As a pro-Open Source company, SureVoIP® works with collaboration in mind. We are fully committed to this approach – it informs all our development programmes, and has done since the company's inception.

 

We allow full access to our API (Application Programming Interface – read on to find out more), giving other developers the ability to integrate with our systems. This in turn allows a better customer experience, with the internet developing in response to customer needs and expectations.

 

The model of a single company developing products in isolation would not allow this level of cooperation. in fact, it would work against it, as development would stall. The small company with a good idea for customers might be able to develop a new product or service, but would be unable to integrate it with anything. After all, a new app must be able to work with smart phones, or it a waste of development time. The small company who developed it would literally have been better of not bothering, as they will have wasted development time for nothing.

 

This why APIs are so important. An API (or Application Programming Interface) allows developers to integrate with the back-end of other products. It is essentially a set of rules which governs integration, allowing developers to marry two pieces of software, applications or programs together. In this way, new products can be developed and released, with the knowledge that it will be functional and work across devices. Without this, we end up with our single company development model.

 

For the internet we are used to to continue to deliver all the things we expect, then we simply need this collaborative approach.

 

It is the glue which holds all these potentially disparate things together, or, to return to our cake metaphor, the flour which binds all the other ingredients.

 

 

More info on our Developer API

More info on our Outbound SMS API

More info on our Outbound Fax API

 

More informative articles on VoIP and the Internet

 

 

Make The Best Use Of Your Internet Connection – Use VoIP

There can be very few companies who could operate without an internet connection.

 

Accountancy platforms, CRM systems and file-sharing websites have all become essential for modern businesses, and they all have one thing in common. They all rely on an internet connection.

 

As we are so reliant on our connection in order to work, it does lead onto one obvious conclusion.

 

Why not use it for your phone calls as well?

 

VoIP has progressed from a low cost substitute for 'ordinary' phone calls. It offers a cost effective alternative with increased functionality over a traditional phone system.

There is nothing to lose, and a lot to gain, from your company switching over to using VoIP.

 

And one of the biggest gains is to use one of your resources to its fullest.

 

If you are one of the forward-thinking people who have invested in a future-proof internet connection, why not use this resource to its maximum capacity?Along with maximising the ROI on your internet provision, VoIP allows a variety of other positives.

 

Your workers don't need to be based in one central office. In fact, your workers don't need to be based in an office at all.

 

As the phone system now lives 'in the cloud', it doesn't matter where users are physically located. As long as people have an internet connection, they can connect to their business phone system. Rather than using other means or methods to get in touch (calling from their home phone, calling from personal mobiles, putting messages in bottles), employees simply log in from wherever they are, and use the company's VoIP service.

 

This in turn leads to an interesting question – do you need an office at all? This is the ultimate extension of the remote working idea. If you don't actually need an office, why pay for an unnecessary expense? There are more and more companies who are working from a 'virtual' office. Workers are based in different physical locations, but using the same phone system. They can transfer calls seamlessly between each other, dial out displaying the company number, and receive calls to the company number. Calls will route in exactly the same way. Menu Auto-attendants and Music on Hold will all function as normal.

 

Callers will have no idea that their call has not gone through to an ordinary office. Their call will be transferred to the most appropriate person. The company's official audio greeting messages and Music will play as normal. The only difference is that your 'office' exists virtually, using the internet.

 

As just about everyone needs the internet (at home or on the move), why not use it to its best advantage? Get in touch to discuss the possibility of revolutionising the way you work.

 

More on our VoIP solutions

More on how we can help with your internet connection

 

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The Internet But Were Too Afraid To Ask

Gavin Henry, our MD, has been offered a 30 minute presentation, with a Q & A session, at this year's Granite City Expo.

 

This session can cover any topic related to the internet in general, or VoIP in particular.

 

What topics would you like to see covered?

 

Example topics could be:

 

How does the internet work? What actually happens when you click on a link?

 

How does YouTube work? How do you see the video you have requested? What technology is working behind the scenes?

 

How does my VoIP phone work? How does a phone call find me over the internet? How does it find the person I'm calling?

 

This is a great opportunity for us to pass on our expert knowledge, and we really want to make the best of it.

 

We could simply bang the 'SureVoIP' drum.

 

But we felt a better idea would be for us to use the time to benefit you.

 

What would you really like to know? Let us know what questions we can answer or topics we can cover. Just comment at the bottom of this post, or drop us a quick email with your question. The most asked question will form the topic for Gavin's talk.

SureVoIP Broadband now available

SureVoIP’s new VoIP optimised Internet connectivity takes all your telephone call traffic straight into the SureVoIP core network (now celebrating its 1st anniversary) without having to go over the public internet. This gives you the best possible business grade phone call.

This, along with SureVoIP’s presence in the two main UK public Internet exchanges, LINX and LONAP, enables it to be in full control of your traffic and thus provide a higher level of service – providing one of the best networks for business VoIP in the UK.

We are extremely happy to offer, after 8 months testing, four tiers of VoIP optimised business broadband:

  1. SureVoIP Business Premier
  2. SureVoIP Business Standard
  3. SureVoIP Business Basic
  4. SureVoIP Fibre (FTTC)

These products have a bigger download speed vs upload speed.

We can also offer:

  1. Leased Lines / Ethernet
  2. EFM (Ethernet for the First Mile)
  3. Custom point to point solutions for larger businesses

These products offer the same download and upload speed.

 

SuperConnected Cities

SureVoIP is also a member of the SuperConnected Cities BDUK Connection Vouchers Scheme, which is available in the following cities and gives you access to a £3000 voucher:

Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, Stirling, Edinburgh, Glasgow

Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Derry/Londonderry, Leeds-Bradford, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Newport, Oxford, Perth, Portsmouth, Salford, York

Please contact us for more information.

Scottish VoIP gets a boost – LINX and Scottish Government announce the launch of new Internet Exchange for Scotland

SureVoIP are very excited to share the news about IXScotland being launched. It will mean the Scottish based internet traffic stays in Scotland, which is great news for Scottish customers using Voice Over IP (VoIP):

(28/10/2013) – LINX is pleased to announce the launch of a brand new Internet Exchange for Scotland, which is now fully installed and will be passing its first Internet traffic over the next few days. The exchange called IXScotland will be LINX’s first dedicated Internet Exchange (IXP) for the region.

Hosted at Pulsant’s South Gyle data centre in Edinburgh (formerly Scolocate), IXScotland is built using the hardware from Extreme’s Summit X460 Series. The new IXP will allow ISPs and content providers with customers in Scotland to “keep local traffic local” by reducing the need to exchange traffic in London, resulting in reduced latency and faster connectivity for Scottish networks and Internet users.

Today’s launch is the culmination of months of consultation with the local network community and the Scottish Government. The IXP launched with many networks connected from the start and with more to follow. The launch was welcomed by the Scottish Government with the Cabinet Secretary, John Swinney, who visited IXScotland just before launch and said:

“We are delighted to welcome the establishment of a dedicated Internet Exchange Point for Scotland which will speed up Internet access for businesses and individuals. I want to recognise the key contribution of LINX, who have worked with the industry and Scottish Government to make this happen.”.

John Souter, CEO of LINX, said: “IXScotland is a real step forward for the Internet community in Scotland and the UK as a whole. The exchange will allow networks to stop ‘tromboning’ traffic to London and back again, and will help increase resilience by creating a new centre for interconnection in the UK.”

LINX members can connect to any of our IXPs without additional membership fees. To help grow the exchange and build a critical mass of connected networks, all available port speeds, from 100M to 10G, will be free at launch until 2015.

END

Original post – https://www.linx.net/publicity/2013releases/pr2013-02.html

SureVoIP is a member of LINX and will be joining IXScotland once it’s new core network is live which will enable it to provide VoIP optimised internet connectivity. SureVoIP operates under AS199659.