SD-WAN: Network Management Made Easier and Cheaper

As the use of cloud services and Software as a Service (SaaS) grows, more companies are looking to SD-WAN for network management. But what exactly is SD-WAN and how can it benefit your business? Let’s take a look.

SD-WAN, the “Patient Portal” for Networks

Most of us probably have a Patient Portal of some sort through our medical provider, such as NextMD or My Health Record. These portals allow us to login, view, and interact with almost every aspect of our health. We can schedule appointments, request prescription refills, read test results, etc. This provides a single place for us to manage our healthcare needs. Likewise, SD-WAN provides a similar single place to manage our network, where we can use a centralized location to put together controls, then send it out to the other SD-WAN devices in the network that need it.

What Controls Are Offered?

Intelligent pathway control features use application profiles, IP addresses, Quality of Service markings, and even time of day to shape traffic decisions.

Lowering Costs

By reducing the number of private links necessary and relying on bandwidth instead, you’re able to save money by focusing your spending on cheaper broadband solutions. Whenever private links are required for quality purposes, the service will automatically switch over from broadband.

Secure and Agile

SD-WAN is rapidly deployed, so your business is up-and-running without lengthy setup times. It’s also easily scalable, with the ability to add connections as needed. Even remote sites are easy to add. When traffic is transferred between locations, it’s encrypted, so breaches that may occur do less damage to your network. SD-WAN also monitors the amount and type of traffic your business sees, helping your IT team quickly identify attacks.

Improving your workplace and saving money is a win-win. See how 123Net’s SD-WAN solution can benefit your business by going to https://www.123.net/sd-wan

Why Data Center Location Matters

Data center location should always be a top priority for customers. Choosing a data center in an optimal location not only provides immediate advantages, it also prevents major headaches down the road. 123Net carefully handpicked an ideal environment for each of its four Michigan data centers.

Network Speed

While people may think that bandwidth is the only factor determining speed, that’s not the case. The physical distance from a data center to an application can significantly affect network latency. For this reason, many companies, such as healthcare companies, are seeking data centers local to their office space. These companies are gaining a clear edge over the competition due to the speed advantage lower network latency provides. While it could be less expensive to collocate further away, it is often not worth sacrificing speed.

Natural Disasters

Businesses that collocate in areas prone to natural disasters are playing with fire. Events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes can cause critical power outages, leading to crippling downtime. If the best data center option happens to be in a disaster-prone area, consider selecting a backup data center at a safer location, preferably on a different power grid.

Accessibility

Data center space should be in an area that is comfortable to reach. Personnel may need to travel to the data center to make upgrades and service equipment. If a data center is out of driving distance, consider the logistics of transporting personnel and equipment through the air.

Connections

Businesses can take advantage of data center connectivity by creating multiple channels that will keep data moving freely despite outages. This makes data centers in well-connected areas safer and more reliable. It also gives businesses more room for growth, as they can easily make plenty of connections within the data center itself.

123Net’s three Southfield data center facilities have a superior location. They have access to more than 20 carriers, are in low-risk southeastern Michigan and close to thousands of Metro Detroit businesses. 123Net also has secure, easily accessible data center space in Grand Rapids that makes for premier primary or backup colocation space. Learn more about the strategic advantages you can gain from data center location or to schedule a tour of our data centers, visit: https://www.123.net/data-center/

What Does a Data Center Cross Connect Mean for You?

123Net’s data centers facilitate your need to be better connected. Cross connects allow you to reduce access costs to get to the carrier of your choosing. You can save money and improve the connectivity of your network.

What are Cross Connects?

Cross connects are physical cables that connect two different networks within a data center. Cross connects can be used to create a more diverse, robust system of networks. The top three reasons to use a cross connect are:

Lowers Latency

A direct connection means no provider will stand between your network and the carrier network to which you are connecting. Cross connects avoid the pubic Internet because they are through private point-to-point connections within a data center.

Offers Convenience

With a cross connect you will be able to connect to any carrier residing within the chosen data center. This eliminates the need to find other network points to connect to carriers that often times require network builds that take time and add costs.

Provides Options

Adding multiple Internet connections to your network can help you take advantage of different carriers. With cross connects, you can select Internet providers based on price, reliability or connectivity.

Cross connects enable you to establish direct connectivity with other carriers. Services such as dark fiber, wavelength, MPLS or other point to point services are available with a single cross connect. Network cross connects to other carriers can save money, improve reliability, and add versatility to your network.

123Net has four Tier 3, carrier neutral data centers with access to over 20 carriers. Learn how you can take advantage of this diverse variety of networks by scheduling a data center tour with 123Net today: https://www.123.net/data-center/

Why Your Business Should Implement SIP Trunking

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services are becoming the go-to way to manage business voice. One of the most popular options is Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking, which is more cost-effective and flexible than most legacy voice services.

What is SIP Trunking?

A SIP trunk provides voice and data traffic between users’ phone systems and the Public Switched Telephone Network (PTSN) over a single IP network. It is a way to deliver high-capacity, secure, premium quality voice for businesses.

Scalability

SIP trunks have an interface that is better suited for growing businesses. Traditional phone systems often carry a 23-channel capacity, meaning that additional callers can only be added in increments of 23. Businesses with SIP trunks can add as many paths as needed, ensuring that they only pay for the interface they need.

Security

Businesses in industries such as government, healthcare and education require ultra-secure connections for voice communication. Session border controllers (SBC) make SIP trunking systems secure for any business that requires secure voice. The SBC is a point of security between users and third-party callers providing the following features:

  • Topology Hiding & Privacy – The IP network topology of the business is hidden to prevent attacks. This protects user information and creates a layer of privacy between networks. Media is also monitored to prevent intercepts and fraud.
  • Access Control – Only known networks, devices and applications are permitted to access the enterprise’s voice system.
  • Encryption – SIP enables the encryption of media.
  • Denial of Service (DoS) – Protection from malicious attacks and non-malicious overloads.
  • Virus & Worm Protection – SIP is protected from malicious attachments and messages containing viruses, worms and trojans.
  • Logging, Monitoring and Reporting – Attacks and overloads are reported and monitored.

Call Quality

One of the best ways to measure the quality of a voice call is a Mean Opinion Score (MOS). The scale gives a numerical score for call quality, ranking from one (bad) to five (excellent). When VoIP technologies first came to the market in the 1990’s, phone voice quality took a step back, however current SIP trunking systems are now equivalent, if not better, in call quality.

The call quality of SIP trunking solutions typically ranges between four and five on this scale, meaning call issues are nearly imperceptible. Maintaining a high MOS is critical for all businesses. Weak voice quality leads to mental fatigue, reduced productivity and a poor overall experience.

Flexibility

SIP trunks give businesses the flexibility to route voice traffic over redundant data circuits. If a primary connection is disrupted, voice traffic can be seamlessly routed over redundant fiberfixed wireless or Ethernet over copper using IP Failover. Having these redundant measures in place drastically reduces the chances of a business missing an opportunity due to voice services.

To learn more about upgrading your businesses’ voice services with 123Net’s SIP trunking check out https://www.123.net/sip/

Why Dark Fiber is the Future of Business Internet Connectivity

123Net is heavily investing in dark fiber to keep up with its escalating demand. The high-speed Internet access it provides is critical for keeping pace with competitors. As the arms race for bandwidth continues, dark fiber will remain the gold standard for business Internet moving forward.

What is Dark Fiber?

Dark fiber refers to unused optical fiber cabling that has already been installed. It was given the name “dark fiber” because optical fiber that is in use transmits data in the form of light pulses. When fiber is in use it is referred to as “lit fiber”. When installing fiber, businesses often include more capacity than needed, leaving dark fiber infrastructure in place for future growth. With this option becoming much more affordable and available through expansions, demand has been on the rise.  It is now more popular than ever for businesses to make the move over to the “dark side”. Here’s why:

Unlimited Bandwidth

Dark fiber gives businesses virtually unlimited bandwidth. According to Butter’s Law of Photonics, the amount of data that can travel through fiber optic cables doubles every nine months. This is due to the technology on either end of the fiber line, rather than the cable itself. Dark fiber’s unlimited capacity not only makes it the fastest Internet service available on the market now, it will get even faster as technology improves. Having the infrastructure in place increases office efficiency while giving customers the benefit of limitless, high-speed connectivity.

Scalability

With unlimited bandwidth, businesses do not have to pay or wait for Internet service providers to upgrade their network.  Dark fiber can be used as an investment upfront, with the flexibility to scale up paying dividends as a business continues to grow.

Latency

Being able to use their own equipment gives businesses complete control over their network’s latency. This can be a major differentiator for businesses that rely on rapid communication. Dark fiber can create shorter paths, making latency more predictable and consistent. Dark fiber connections are also dedicated, meaning that they do not share their network with other customers. Many traditional ISPs have customers competing to use the same allotted pool of bandwidth.

Security

Data is transmitted across a private, physical medium used solely by the business that owns the network. This prevents outside entities from tracking sensitive data and information.

Cost

Installing dark fiber can be pricey at first, however, connectivity will essentially become a fixed cost moving forward. Businesses are no longer at the mercy of Internet service providers’ rising rates. Over time, businesses benefit from being able to scale up while avoiding hefty fees to add new equipment.

Bringing unlimited Internet connectivity to your business may be a simple phone call away. To learn more, go to https://www.123.net/dark-fiber/

How to Choose the Best Internet Service Provider for Your Business

123Net is an Internet service provider (ISP) built on delivering reliable connections at high speeds. The organization provides enterprise data center, network and voice solutions for local Michigan businesses.

Every business is unique, and the same rule applies for ISPs. Whether a business is looking to upgrade its current internet service or establish a new connection, choosing a well-suited internet service provider is always important. Based on a business’s specific needs, here are a few factors that should always be considered:

Bandwidth

Bandwidth can play a major role in the speed of an internet connection. It is the minimum capacity between the user and application server, usually measured in megabits per second, or Mbps. Determining the amount of bandwidth required to run business-critical applications is crucial. It helps businesses find Internet service providers with the ability to meet current requirements and capacity to scale up for projected growth.

Support

The best internet service providers share one common trait: outstanding customer service. Customers will need to work closely with support to ensure that their business’s specific needs are met. Effective support teams are friendly, informative and timely.

It is also important to consider how accessible support will be during unexpected situations, such as outages and other problems. Investigating which forms of contact are accepted (phone calls, emails, trouble tickets, etc.) and if 24/7 support is included can help set businesses up for success.

Failover

Staying constantly connected to the Internet is more important than ever for businesses, especially when only a few seconds of downtime can now lead to thousands of dollars lost. For businesses where Internet outages are devastating, it’s best to find an ISP with redundant failover options available. Failover helps businesses stay connected primary Internet connections are lost. For example, fixed wireless is commonly used as a failover option for high-speed fiber Internet. If there is a problem with a fiber connection, fixed wireless will seamlessly take over.

Bundling

If a business has multiple needs to fulfill, bundling services together can help save money and ease operations. ISPs often incentivize bundling with money-saving discounts to attract customers. Consolidating services can also simplify billing and support.

123Net has the capacity to deploy redundant terabit-speed connections and deliver over 1MW of power, making it an attractive option for businesses of any size. The organization is also home to the Detroit Internet Exchange, one of the world’s 40 largest peering hubs.

123Net is a premier business ISP, backed by world-class 24/7 support. 123Net can also bundle high-speed fiber, voice, fixed wireless, and data center solutions, making it a simple, efficient option for your telecommunications needs. Visit https://www.123.net/ for more details.