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Author: N2Net

 

When it comes to IP phone systems, Managed Service Providers are missing opportunitiesDialing-telephon-final.jpg to increase value to their clients in a variety of ways.

The Issue
IP phone systems are replacing traditional systems for a variety of reasons. The primary of which is feature sets. IP systems provide a much richer set of features than a traditional business phone system, including IVR, enhanced voicemail, and advanced call routing options. Like their older cousins, premise-based IP phone systems are largely being ignored by managed service providers. Why? Typically, it’s because the phone system is still managed and supported by the manufacturer or manufacturers rep who provided it. The MSP may simply see it as a device on the network. Understanding a bit more about how premise-based phone systems are architected may offer the MSP additional opportunities to add value to the relationship with their client and add profit to their bottom line.

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 Not too long ago, the telecom world was divided up nicely. Everyone had their place and Cheerful man in office answering the phone.jpegplayed their role. The phone system manufacturer made premise-based hardware business phone systems. Carriers ran lines into those systems and billed the customer directly. ISP’s handled internet access, and Managed Service Providers handled the LAN. Even the copier folks only fixed copiers. Everyone was happy and everyone got paid for managing their little piece of the communications pie.

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SD-Wan (software-defined wide area network), is a relatively new WAN technology.sd-wan.jpg

Until now, businesses have relied on private WAN architectures like MPLS to support their remote sites. The idea being that their remote users should have the same application experience as those directly connected to the corporate LAN.

Until now, companies would have to run T1’s or some other dedicated access to small remote offices if they wanted a guaranteed quality of service. While good on the service level, ever increasing bandwith demands by cloud-based applications has rendered the old reliable T1 inadiquate as the T1 only supports 1.5 MBPS speed. Add to it that the cost of a T1 can range anywhere from $300-$500/mo on average, and a traditional MPLS installation becomes very costly depending on the number of remote offices needing support.

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As interest and adoption of SD-WAN technology continues, the question as to whethermlps.jpg or not MPLS networks are still relavent has naturally arisen. While it’s going to continue to be a topic of increasing debate over the next few years, here are our thoughts on the matter.

First, make no mistake, SD-WAN is the WAN technology of the future. It offers way too many benefits to be considered a companion technology to other WAN architectures like MPLS. SD-WAN leverages public internet access and uses software to intelligently route traffic. It’s nimble, dynamic, and plays better with cloud-based applications. And the cloud is where it’s at and where it’s been the past five years.

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“Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision and change.” – Richard Branson

The days of Managed Service Providers updating PC’s, servers, and running backupsThinkstockPhotos-505921926.jpg are long gone. The cloud has changed the way businesses are using the Internet. VoIP is a mainstream technology. Printers, scanners, and copiers are now smart devices on the LAN. As more and more devices become “connected,” the demand on the MSP to be able to manage these devices has increased exponentially.

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As the Voice over IP experts here in Cleveland, we know a thing or two about ThinkstockPhotos-524897688.jpgdeploying VoIP, whether it be on a dedicated circuit, MPLS network, or broadband connection. Now with the splash SD-WAN is making, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about how VoIP is (or will be) provisioned over SD-WAN.

First, let’s clarify what SD-WAN is. In a nutshell. SD-WAN is a virtualized wide area network. The technology resides at the network edge and is managed via edge appliances. SD-WAN virtually bonds the transport links between sites, and it doesn’t care whether the site is using a T1, DSL, or wireless connection. It “virtually” chooses the best path available to route traffic.

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Offering the Right Service Options All Comes Down to the Provider

data_voice.jpgIn the old days, the phone company handled voice and the ISP handled data. Nowadays with the proliferation of Voice over IP, traditional PBX systems are becoming obsolete. The internet is also being used for a lot more than just surfing the web. With so many different technologies now utilizing data networks, are there really any differences between voice and data providers? The answer is yes, absolutely. While there are many small differences among different providers, the two major differentiators are:

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The first step to answering this question is determining whether a particular customer is satisfied with their service. To do that, without asking your customer, check the following:

wrong_connection.jpgHow much time have you spent on support with this client?
If you’re spending an unreasonable amount of time providing support to your client, it might be because their internet product isn’t the right one. For example, if your support logs show increased activity during the lunch hour with complaints of slow internet speed, it’s likely because they’re on an oversubscribed broadband connection. That connection becomes congested during peak times throughout the day (like lunch). If you’ve installed and are managing an edge device for your clients, determining peak internet usage and congestion times will highlight whether or not your clients internet access is adequately serving their needs.

Are the questions your customer has about user error or the product itself?Some clients just don’t have the technical background to help themselves when something goes wrong. They can only be told to, “reboot the router” so many times. A single user with an infected machine is a lot different than several calls from the same company about VoIP call quality or data latency issues. If you’re noticing a pattern of support issues which stem from “slow internet,” it’s time to examine how they’re using it, or perhaps recommend upgrading.

Could your customer benefit more from another product?
Say, for example, your client’s internet connection was working great a month ago, but they’ve added several more devices and users to their network. Their internet speed was sufficient last month because the demands on the connection were less. This can be especially true in instances where new users are also making VoIP calls over that connection.

How to Help a Customer with the Wrong Connection to the Internet

If you’re struggling with customers who just don’t have the right connection to the internet, the team at N2Net can help. We’ve been backing up MSPs as a reseller partner for a decade, and we specialize in making you the data and voice hero your customers need.

Uncover the hidden opportunities your customers didn’t know they needed with a little help from N2Net. We’ll make you look good to your customers by saving them money, providing them with a better product, or both.

Contact us today to find out how you can help your customers find the right connection to the internet.

Photo by Gavin Whitner

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Client-Relationships_250.jpgNon-billable support can make or break an MSP. Support hours are great when the client is paying, but support for monthly services like voice and data aren’t typically billable. It means troublesome connections or poor call quality can end up costing a lot in non-billable support time. Here are three easy ways to reduce time spent on internet and voice related services.

#1. Choose the Right Product the First Time

The biggest problem your clients have with their service is that they have the wrong product. And that’s not your fault. Matching the right product to the specific needs, location, and scalability of your customer comes down to the offerings of your voice and data provider. A broadband reseller isn’t going to have options for dedicated connections for your clients. Work with a provider who knows the right questions to ask up-front. While simple in concept, understanding the customer’s use for the internet is vastly more important than the size of their organization. Time spent up-front ensuring your client’s data connection will meet their current and growing demands can drastically reduce support time expended after the fact.

 

#2. Have an Experienced Provider On Your Side

On the flip side of that same “right product” coin is having the right provider by your side. There are plenty of providers and reseller programs in today’s technology space. That doesn’t mean all programs and providers are good. It’s quite the contrary, in fact. Very few providers understand both voice and data. Even fewer know how to properly deliver and guarantee those services. Hitching your wagon to the wrong horse will cause plenty of pain and leave you with very few options when your clients are yelling at you for products and services you don’t even directly provide.

 

#3. Have a First Class IT Team Available For Your Customers

And finally, the biggest and best way for you to reduce support time with your clients is for someone else to do it for you. A great partner is going to provide support options. For example, are you, the MSP, able to handle tier-1 support, or is the partner demanding all support calls relating to their service be made directly to them? What happened when your client has a poor support experience because your voice partner has offshored their support to India?

Learn More Ways to Save with the Team at N2Net

Keeping your costs down is about a lot more than overhead. Spending time on support with your clients costs you money. But you can reduce support time, stress, and costs all at the same time with a little assistance from a reseller partner who gets it. N2Net has been in the business for over 20 years, so we know how to manage voice and data. And since we specialize in serving the MSP market, we know how to make your job easy.

The team at N2Net has the experience, knowledge, and technical skills you need at your beck and call. We carry certifications in Cisco, VMWare, MS Certified, Switchvox, Altigen, Digium, 3CX, and Toshiba.

Our team has experience with more industry providers than most MSPs, and we’re able to easily troubleshoot voice to bandwidth on multiple platforms. So when your customers have a problem, we’ll be there with a fast and affordable solution.

Find out how N2Net can make you the voice and data hero for your customers. Contact us today to learn more.

 

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Nothing-Can-Replace-The-Telephone-In-A-Business.jpgPart of your job as an MSP is to provide high-tech support to your clients. But when your data service goes down, does your carrier provide the same kind of support to you? More often than not, the answer to that question is “no,” and that’s what we want to talk about today.

Carriers Say They Support MSPs, But Do They?

There’s a common scenario with internet carriers for MSPs and other business users. It starts with a poor installation. Either the product you asked for isn’t what you get, or the connection from the get-go is not what you were promised.

The next thing to go wrong usually happens when you try to get in touch with the carrier for a solution. The call center support technician that you’re connected with doesn’t actually have any information about your issue or understand how to fix the problem for you. So the representative bounces you to another tech who likely has a little bit more experience, but not enough to help you either. Instead, they schedule a technician to come out on site to fix the problem.

But a few more back-and-forth interactions and you realize that this is a “get what you get” kind of situation. For a residential customer who just wants to stream a bit of TV in their evenings off, slow data speed of “up to 1.544 megabits per second” will probably be fine. But when you’re running a tech business and your customers rely on you 24/7, you need a connection that won’t fail you ever.

What is a Better Data Option for MSPs?

The last thing you want to deal with as an MSP with demanding clients is a slow data connection and support techs who don’t know enough to do their jobs effectively. But there is another option you can choose that will give you a fast, reliable connection directly to your data carrier, and a support team that can solve your problems efficiently the first time.

The option we’re talking about is Dedicated Internet Access (DIA). With this option, you can choose a bandwidth speed that meets the heavy demands of your business. Scalable, reliable, and affordable, DIA from N2Net is only available to business customers, so you know you’re getting the best service possible.

If your business is struggling to get the attention, care, and service you need from your data carrier, a T1 or Metro Ethernet Access connection might be a better option for you. With data speeds from 1.544 megabits per second to 100 megabits per second, you can choose a tailored setup that gives you the speed you need. And if your needs change in the future, your connection can grow with you.

Get Faster, Better Data Service with N2Net

If you’re tired of dealing with a bundled service from a major carrier and not getting the speed, service, and reliability that you need to run your business, check out the Business Class Internet services from N2Net.

Designed with MSPs in mind, our service is one of the most reliable options in the United States. Contact us today to learn more.

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