Collect Calls from Correctional Facilities...

In mid 2001 the process to receive collect calls from correctional facilities changed.

Most law firms that have transferred their telecom services away from legacy SBC (Ameritech) have already experienced this, but someone new comes along every day.

Here's some history...

Today security companies control all the outbound calls from correctional facilities payphone and "day room" phones. In order for the caller to complete a call, the number they are calling has to be on the security systems approved list.

Historically ILEC serviced billing telephone numbers (BTNs) were input into the systems and the security companies were able to include their charges in the SBC/AT&T monthly bill. They were able to do this because SBC/AT&T has an "open" billing platform. Meaning, any 3rd party company intercepting a call or providing a telecom service can include their charges within your SBC monthly bill.

CLEC's like Paetec, One Com, TDS Metrocom, XO, Bullseye, TNCI, etc... have a "closed" billing platform, meaning 3rd party companies are not allowed to include or "piggy back" their charges on the CLEC monthly bills. When a client transfers their service from an ILEC to a CLEC, the billing telephone number drops off the approved list, thus loosing the ability to receive collect calls from the correctional facilities.

To correct this is pretty simple. The client, typically a law firm, needs to call the correctional facility they receive calls from or have clients in, ask who provides the security for the payphones.

Chances are, CBS (Correctional Billing Services) a division of Evercom/T-Netix will be the provider. They are the largest billing service in the U.S. They can be reached at: or 1-800-844-6591. Open an account and provide them their main number (BTN). They will then re-activate the number in the billing systems and start receiving collect calls. The collect call charges will them be received on their own itemized invoice.

For more information, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Internet Speed Testing...

Not surprisingly I get asked the same question after a client orders new high speed internet access. "Am I getting the speed ordered?"

Unfortunately this is tough to answer for a client when you not sitting with them in their office. But there is a simple way to test the new high speed connection.The first thing to remember is that all the internet carriers are only responsible for the internet speed to the modem, router or smart jack they provide. 80% of the time the question is asked is when a client gets a new DSL pipe. T1's and other "dedicated" internet pipes typically have higher quality equipment and networks so the new speed is noticeably better.

So, the first step is to connect either a laptop or desktop computer directly to the modem or router provided by the telco, bypassing all internal network components and visiting: test a few of the servers and record your internet speed. If the speed recorded is within 90% of the speed ordered, the product is working to expectations.

Second, reconnect your internal network components, return to your workstation and test the speed again. If you experience degradation in speed, there’s congestion in your internal network. This is where you’d call your local data vendor to check into your router, internal wiring, firewall, spyware, adware or other network components.

If the direct connect speed test does not test within specifications call the internet provider and open a trouble ticket for a speed test. The carrier will give you a trouble ticket number, then call us at On Track Communications 608-873-3838 and we’ll track and escalate the ticket and make sure the carrier gets back to you with the speed test results.

This is actually a quick and easy process to confirm if you are getting the speed ordered and allow you to diagnose any network issues immediately.

Please don’t hesitate to call with any questions or concerns.

Bandwidth Management Basics

Bandwidth Management Basics

Learning the lexicon of bandwidth management will take some time. But here are some of the basics to help you sort through what can be confusing terms tossed about by vendor marketing departments.

Application Acceleration ― Often employed as part of a WAN Optimization effort, Application Acceleration is comprised of several techniques, namely compression, caching and protocol optimization, to speed up performance of applications on a wide area network.

Application Bonding ― For Internet-facing applications, this technique makes proxy connections for multiple queries, receives the replies, and reassembles and delivers them to the end user. The advantage is being able to use links from multiple providers at multiple sizes and speeds. The disadvantage is only Web and ftp downloads can be “bonded.” Otherwise the traffic will be blocked by ISPs as spoofing.

Bandwidth Aggregation ― See Link Aggregation

Bandwidth Bonding ― Combining multiple carrier links and multiple link speeds and capacities by sending packets across them as if they were one larger pipe. Bonding requires like appliances on both ends of the connection.

Bandwidth Limiting ― See Traffic Shaping

Bandwidth Shaping ― See Traffic Shaping

Bandwidth Throttling ― See Traffic Shaping

Broadband Bonding ― See Bandwidth Bonding

Caching ― One of the data reduction techniques used in Application Acceleration is caching. Object caching is placing a copy of the content in a location closer to the user than the originating server. This saves time and bandwidth when a user requests the same object again or when multiple users request an object at the same time. A second, more granular type is byte caching, which is made possible by two appliances on the local and remote ends of the network. Accordingly, byte caching is bidirectional.

Channel Bonding ― See Bandwidth Bonding

Compression ― One of the data reduction techniques used in Application Acceleration, compression technology reduces the number of packets that are sent by removing extraneous or redundant from the data flow. When the data arrives at the other end, the same algorithm uncompresses the data. Not all applications are equally compressible. While e-mail and ftp compress well, encrypted traffic and VoIP do not.

Content Filtering ― Another component that can fall under WAN Optimization is eliminating undesirable content that can clog up the WAN and impact the performance. Examples include Web surfing, peer-to-peer, file sharing, personal VoIP calling traffic. Every corporation should set acceptable use policies for network users; however content filtering techniques can help that along.

Load Balancing ― A technology used in Multi-Homed Networks to distribute traffic evenly across multiple WAN links. It also enables Link Failover.

Link Aggregation ― Used to describe both Load Balancing and Bandwidth Bonding techniques

Link Balancing ― See Load Balancing

Link Bonding ― See Bandwidth Bonding

Link Failover ― A benefit of Load Balancing in Multi-Homed Networks is that when one WAN links fails, traffic can be routed to the remaining link(s).

Link Redundancy ― See Link Failover

Multi-homed Networks ― Having several WAN connections to a single ISP or to multiple ISPs

Multi-WAN ― See Multi-homed Networks

Multi-WAN Router ― A device that performs Load Balancing in Multi-homed Networks

Protocol Optimization ― One of the techniques used in Application Acceleration, protocol optimization makes chatty protocols — CIFS or file sharing — work better and faster by reducing the number of roundtrips between the client and server.

Quality of Service ― A mechanism employed in WAN Optimization for regulating network bandwidth by defining requirements for certain users or applications in terms of throughput, priority, latency and packet loss

Rate Limiting ― See Traffic Shaping

Route Optimization ― A technology used in a Multi-Homed Networks that monitors available external links in real time and routes packets based on performance metrics

Traffic Shaping ― A technology used in WAN Optimization that limits bandwidth by user or by an application. Bandwidth can be throttled based on IP address, MAC address, network subnet or service type

WAFS ― See Wide Area File Service

Wide Area File Service ― A data reduction technique that employs caching of file copies accessed over a WAN in local devices, so that subsequent users get accelerated performance

WAN Optimization ― A set of techniques, such as Traffic Shaping, QoS and Data Reduction, that are used to improve the performance of the WAN

Source: Khali Henderson 02/03/2009
Phone+ Magazine
Vendor interviews and Web sites

One Communications New Channel VP

One Communications Adds Michael Fair as Channel Head

Cara Sievers 02/02/2009

As part of a larger channel operations expansion and reorganization, Michael Fair has joined One Communications as vice president, general manager of alternate channels. Fair will be replacing Gabe Sette at the helm of One’s channel operations; Sette will stay with One and manage the indirect channel for the Mid-Atlantic region.

The partner program, which previously worked with only two regions, is now split into three – Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and New England. This reorganization, Fair said, is to facilitate closer, more localized channel management. In fact, One plans to grow its channel management team by 50 percent this year, continuing to focus on increasing density in second- and third-tier markets. Fair said the goal of this strategy is to allow for greater subagent and local partner support and teaming, which in turn will attract the nation’s larger master agents to One’s program.

Currently, about 20 percent of One’s sales are through the indirect channel, but Fair’s goal is to raise that level to 35 percent or 40 percent. In mid-February, the carrier will launch an enhanced channel program that includes commission changes to better protect master agents. “The criteria and bar to entry has been radically changed to shift focus to the larger partners,” said Fair.

One also will be adding staff in channel sales, marketing, and back-office and post-sales support. Other plans for One include an upgraded commission tool and partner portal which will be outlined at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

“I think the main goal is to bring a program to the market that will be known as the go-to CLEC program in our geography,” said Fair. “We are what I call an ‘unpolished gem.’ The program’s been going through some ebb and flow. But, now that the company’s been integrated (there was previously some regionalization of products), we are truly One Communications. We are now just driving the programs to appeal to the larger players.”

Fair also is working on building and implementing an agent advisory council that initially will be made up of 10 members. The council is intended to provide One’s partners the feedback that they need to grow the channel program. The council members will be named at the end of March.

“One Communications values and supports its partners,” said Howard Janzen, CEO of One Communications. “We expect them to play a greater part in the distribution of our growing portfolio of business services to the market. I am very excited by Michael Fair’s addition to the One Communication's team. His deep experience and track record of success will be key to achieving our goal of redefining an industry-leading channel program.”

Before joining One Communications full-time, Fair was a consultant to the CLEC for the past several months through the consultancy he co-founded, MarketRace. Fair will leave his day-to-day responsibilities at MarketRace, but the company will continue to operate under the management of the remaining partners. Fair spent the past eight years at MarketRace, specializing in the generation and augmentation of channel programs for service providers such as Qwest Communications International Inc., Level 3 Communications and New Global Telecom. Prior to founding MarketRace in 2001, Fair was with Qwest for five years, where he started and coached the Qwest Business Partner Program in his role as vice president of alternate channels.

Although One is headquartered in Burlington, Mass., Fair will continue to work from his hometown of Denver.