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Tag: Cloud Application Services

8 Critical Steps for Ensuring a Smooth Transition to Hosted VoIP | Step 4: Being Prepared To Support A Variety Of Media

by on Aug.24, 2015, under Cloud Services, Unified Communications

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Last week, we talked getting assurance about service availability and documented uptime. This week, we’re focusing on the importance of preparing your hosted VoIP network to support a variety of media.
 
When planning for the needs of your network, you should first determine the number of users that will need to access it, how you want to be able to interact with each other internally, and how you want to communicate with other outside audiences, such as your customers. There are certain protocols, called codecs, which are tied to the amount of bandwidth you use on different devices, as well as the quality of the call itself. As such, the variety of codecs used in a network directly impact the amount of bandwidth required to sustain a clean, crisp voice call.
 
Firewall Requirements
A regular onslaught of new hardware and applications being added to the network means it needs to be more flexible. It’s important to do your research by looking at the logs and the types of security protocols you want for your firewall. Applications that are running with voice, video, IM and presence, for example, need to have open ports on the firewall. This is why, when looking for a Hosted VoIP vendor, it’s important to have one that brings the equipment on site, installs it, and runs a demo pilot. This is key to how we operate at iCore, which means our customers are assured that their firewall is configured to block the ports it needs to, is open for other services, and can reach our data center to get the proper information needed to run properly.
 
Other considerations include what services are managed vs. unmanaged, since quality of service internally vs. externally needs to be able to optimize your business’ use of resources such as equipment installed and money spent on the WAN.
 
Quality of Service – An Ongoing Priority
Another key factor when selecting a Hosted VoIP vendor for your network needs is the quality of service. This includes factors like response time, signal to noise ratio, cross talk, echo, interrupts, frequency noise, loudness and more. Different types of media require different levels of density, and each individual company has its own standards for success.
 
For some customers, this is irrelevant, given they’re solely focused on features like IM, presence and phone calls. But for others in the mid- to enterprise-level, they need to take into account several things:
 

  • The equipment being used.
  • Which devices are terminating on that equipment.
  • How that device is connecting to the edge of the network.
  • Making sure trunk ports are set up properly with VLANs.
  • Ensuring the data is sent through the firewall for all voice, and that the video traffic is totally bypassing the firewall.

 
Don’t Forget the Conference Room
Another area where many types of media reside, but companies often forget about when it comes to analyzing their network needs, is the conference room. Making sure the right equipment is in place – IP phones, dropdown mics, VTC options, and more – means they also need to be properly tied in so they can be segmented on the network and prioritized over another circuit if in fact they need the ability to connect to other offices.
 
At the end of the day, most customers have both a point-to-point and a broadband circuit, but in some cases customers put voice over managed network and video over broadband – especially if video is a nice to have, but not a must have. Video over broadband ensures the bigger video packets don’t interfere with – or interrupt – voice.
 
For these reasons and more, when transitioning your network and Hosted VoIP options, the media your company uses on a day-to-day basis really plays a big role.
 
To learn more, access teh full TechTarget whitepaper here.
 
In our next blog post, we’ll talk about providing visibility into your on-premise equipment.

VDI vs VPN Part II- Do I Need a Virtualization Solution?

by on Jul.16, 2015, under Cloud Services, Unified Communications

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Last week we kicked off our VDI vs VPN blog series with a high level overview of the importance of virtualization and it’s place in the modern office. This week we’ll tell you the key benefits of both to help you see how a virtualization solution can benefit your business.
 
So…What is VDI?
 
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure also known as VDI is a form of virtualization that hosts a desktop operating system with a virtual machine (VM) that runs on centralized servers through the cloud. It allows applications such as Outlook, Office and Internet Explorer to be stored on a central server rather than on the clients physical machine. This, in turn, allows users to access all the network resources giving the business centralized management, increased security and reduced overhead costs.
 
What is so great about this? VDI has many advantages including centralized management, increased security, and reduced costs.
 
Let’s break it down.
 
Centralized Management: Adding RAM, pushing out new software, or disabling temporary and former employees can be deployed at the server level in the administrative location saving IT departments countless hours.
 
Increased Security: All valuable data of the business would now be stored and located in the data center instead of the local device. This translates into fewer chances of data leaks via malware and viruses.
 
Reduced Costs: Businesses can now look forward to less upfront costs by not purchasing equipment, software and licenses. This in turn lowers the number of IT staff who provision virus removals and configuration issues.
 
Now that we’ve learned a little about VDI, let’s dive into VPN…
 
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a private extension of the Local Area Network (LAN) available over the Wide Area Network (WAN). This is designed to provide a private encrypted tunnel connection to ensure privacy of information that is transmitted between the two locations.
 
What is so great about this? VPN’s advantages include online anonymity, the ability to unblock websites and bypass filters, and secured Wi-Fi hotspots.
 
Let’s break it down.
 
Online Anonymity: VPN allows browsing with complete anonymity. This allows the IP address connected to a desktop computer, laptop or any other mobile device to be hidden from privacy invasion or hackers.
 
Unblock websites and bypass filters: This is an advantage for those who are doing business with countries who have firewalls and restrictions on what content their residents can see or exchange with other countries.
 
Secured Wi-Fi hotspots: When using any Wi-Fi hotspots, the VPN will create an encrypted firewall link for your mobile device so that browsing is completely privatized.
 
Now that you know the benefits of each, which do you think is right for your business? Next week we’ll conclude this blog series with a discussion on the key differences between VDI and VPN. Interested in learning more now? Click here for a free demo of VPN OR here for a free demo of VDI.

iCore Networks Featured in July Issue of Construction Executive Magazine

by on Aug.01, 2014, under Trends
iCore Networks Construction Executive

iCore Networks in July 2014 issue of Construction Executive Magazine

 

iCore Networks is honored to be featured in the July 2014 issue of Construction Executive Magazine. The article featured was authored by iCore Networks CEO, Mr. Stephen G. Canton.  In the article Mr. Canton offers industry specific advice for construction managers and executives wishing to implement cloud-based communications. For those who do not already have cloud communications on their radar, Mr. Canton’s insight proves they too can benefit from unified communications.  Mr. Canton details how the implementation of cloud-based communications such as videoconferencing, chat and virtual voice solutions can help companies drastically reduce overhead.  Read an excerpt from the article below.

The construction industry today has convenient access to cloud-based videoconferencing, chat and virtual voice solutions. By simply using an on-demand app on any laptop or tablet, that device can be transformed into a voice, data and video collaboration tool that allows construction managers to connect with clients and team members across the country and around the globe.

Videoconferencing and chat functions eliminate the need to be tied to a phone line or an office. This reduces the need for extensive office-based infrastructure and provides easy ramp-up or scale-back capabilities, depending on company needs during busy months and off-seasons. Continue Reading.

iCore Networks is happy to Partner with HealthCare Access Maryland!

by on Jul.25, 2012, under Trends

Being the leader in the healthcare industry in Baltimore City, HealthCare Access Maryland (HCAM) had to choose a provider with Hosted Unified Communications that would not let them down. Who else to turn to but iCore Networks, the leading provider of just that and Cloud Application Services. iCore helps HCAM connect more than 100,000 residents to health care and crucial community resources. Prior to making the transition to our solution, Rodney Matthews, Director of Support Services, informed us that they were using a traditional PBX solution, “…which did not have any advanced features. The system was slow and we had to pay for licenses and smartnet services every year,” he said. With iCore, this opened doors to a whole new world of feature functionality in terms of conferencing and web portal access to manage their activities. “Their user-friendly product is wonderful and has greatly impacted our ability to meet our mission,” said Matthews. “When it comes to solutions and getting results, iCore is on top of it.”

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