As traditional phone systems continue aging, we’re seeing more and more of our clients struggle to keep them chugging along. We often witness clients sourcing replacement parts for their old phone systems from eBay and other sites like Craigslist.
The average business phone system will typically last 7-15 years. While the average lifespan is certainly longer than a PC or server, these systems will face an eventual end of life. Oftentimes, manufacturers stop supporting older model systems well before they fail on-site.
Staying educated and looking at options ahead of your current system breaking down will mean more options and better buying decisions when the time comes to decide what’s next.
While several flavors of each exist, the options below represent the most common courses of action when business phone systems die.
Managed Service Providers today operate much differently than they did a few years ago, due in large part to the proliferation of the cloud and virtualization. At many businesses, thin clients have replaced expensive desktop PC’s, and Virtual Servers and virtual services now handle much of the heavy lifting such as file sharing and application management. Even with the advancements in business computing, MSP’s aren’t fully leveraging the power of the cloud.
Earlier this year, telecommunications giant, Avaya, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Three months ago, Toshiba announced plans to shut down its business phone division, leaving dealers across the nation shocked and scrambling to come up with alternative solutions. Brian Metherell, vice president and general manager of Toshiba America Information Systems’ (TAIS) Telecommunication Systems Division (TSD), sent a letter to dealers notifying them of the shutdown.
When it comes to IP phone systems, Managed Service Providers are missing opportunities 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.
Not too long ago, the telecom world was divided up nicely. Everyone had their place and played 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.
SD-Wan (software-defined wide area network), is a relatively new WAN technology.
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.
As interest and adoption of SD-WAN technology continues, the question as to whether 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.
“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 backups 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.
As the Voice over IP experts here in Cleveland, we know a thing or two about deploying 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.