Office 365 vs. Hosted Microsoft Exchange Server

A lot of companies have jumped the gun by migrating from Exchange Server to Office 365.  One attraction is the pricing structure, which can come in around half of that of Microsoft’s solution.  Some have had to migrate back, which can be a significant drain on time and resources.

CD case cover for Microsoft BackOffice Small B...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One easy way to differentiate between the two is that Office 365 is more geared to compete with GMail, whereas Exchange Server is more relevant to the enterprise market.  Some companies have even fired their sysadmin personnel, not realizing what tasks were being accomplished.  If a company is fairly tech-savvy, Office 365 may make sense, since the rock-bottom pricing doesn’t include any support for:

  • Password Resets
  • New Users
  • SharePoint Customization
  • Mail Filters
  • White Listing

Office 365 has usage limitations of 25MB attachments, 20GB maximum storage, sending limits per month of 500 recipients, total limit of 300 users, and no storage pooling.  Additionally, the Office 365 “fine print” states that storage of company data may be at an off-shore location.

 

Questions About Phone Systems Installation

Michael asks…

How does Asterisk work?

Hello,

I need help setting up Asterisk in the following scenario:

There are two phone lines with two different numbers, and 4 phone sets, each of them connected to both the lines. We want to set up a phone-system using Asterisk. (or a similar software solution).

What equipments do we need?
We will have to install the Asterisk software, so obviously we need a computer, which we have.

However, it seems Asterisks doesn’t support Windows, where as our computers are Windows based. What should be done in this case?

Let’s say we have been able to install the Asterisk software, by using a linux computer. Now that we have the computer with the needed software installed, what should be the next step?

Currently we have regular land phone lines, and not voip lines. We do not intend to subscribe to any voip phone line either.

Given the above scenario, what equipments/tools will we need to set up Asterisk for our regular phone lines, to facilitate a phone-system?

Thanks!
Just for clarification, when I say Asterisk, i meant the following software:

http://www.asterisk.org/

T1Wizard answers:

Asterisk is available for Linux or Windows.  What you want to do may require a specialist, but if you feel qualified and up to the challenge, here are some steps and resources for you.

  1. Download and install the latest release from Asterisk.org or Asteriskwin32.com (64 bit downloads also available).
  2. Refer to the following resources to learn to configure and troubleshoot the Asterisk system:
    • Online documentation
    • The O’Reilly book, Asterisk: The Future of Telephony will walk you through the process of configuring your first Asterisk system.
    • Digium‘s Knowledge Base is a basic starting point for support and troubleshooting.
    • Documentation in Digium’s Support Center offers basic configuration examples for Digium hardware.
    • Community support
    • Mailing Lists  - Participation in the mailing lists is recommended for anyone with a serious interest in implementing or coding for Asterisk. The list is self-moderated and the views expressed are not necessarily the views of Digium or the greater Asterisk Community. Read the rules before posting.
    • Real-Time Chat  - The thousands of Asterisk users from around the world on the IRC Asterisk chat channel can provide useful information, advice and troubleshooting help. It is an excellent place for Asterisk users to meet to discuss Asterisk and receive support from knowledgeable users.  Join #asterisk, port 6667, on the FreeNode IRC network (freenode.net).
    • Forums - The Forums are useful for new users to get their questions answered by other community users who choose to use the forums as a resource for communication. Most standard and basic questions have been asked, so make sure you do a search first. 

Betty asks…

Stumped on how to get multiple phones working well in house that’s had phone lines made inoperative.?

Just moved into new house. Our ISP (Charter) installed cable modem for phone use. However, technician discovered none of the existing phone jacks in the house work. He suggested getting cordless phones, one with base at modem and others throughout house. Problem is at fartherest part of house from base, there’s no connection to base. Getting the old phone wiring in this older house to work again may be a big deal. Would appreciate suggestions on how to get other phones working well. Is there a router made for this situation? Thanks!

T1Wizard answers:

Using  a tone generator and probe, trace the wires in your home (using the tone generator and probe) most likely they are all going to be run to a network interface device or patch panel. Connect all the wiring that you traced or toned out back together, green to green red to red… If the wiring is older, replace any jacks that look old, painted over, or water damaged.

Old color code for inside wire:
(line 1)
green to green
red to red
(line 2)
yellow to yellow
black to black

New wire color code for inside wire:
(line 1)
blue/white to green
solid blue to red
(line 2)
orange/white to yellow
solid orange to black

If needed, use Craigslist.org to find someone qualified to repair your wiring for you.

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Questions and Answers About High Speed Internet Service

Donna asks…

What is the best high speed internet service in the trenton new jersey area?

we currently have netzero and it sucks! We are looking to change but want to know what is the best service? It cant have a lot of server drops and slower than usual speeds. Please help

T1Wizard answers:

Any internet connection that uses fiber optics is the fastest internet speed. Its not cheap, but its worth the money to have it if you are heavy internet user. Verizon Fios is very popular, but has 2 year contracts. You can use our free tool to get a list of internet service providers in your area. Although it’s mostly for business T1 and other business class services, we also recommend this link for residential type service offerings.

Lizzie asks…

Does anyone know of a good high speed internet service in Orlando, Florida?

I need something that is cheap, preferably someone that doesn’t require a deposit or that doesn’t do credit checks.
I have a landline and I also have a cable line, but I don’t have actual cable service.

T1Wizard answers:

http://www.t1wizard.com/re/residential-isp

Enter your address to get a list of options. You can also order service from the resulting list.

Good luck!

Thomas asks…

What ‘speed’ should I get for my high speed internet service?

Will I really notice a big difference if I get a 500kbps instead of the 4Mbps. How about if I got the 4Mbps instead of the 6Mbps.

My cable company charges different monthly rates depending on what speed internet you choose, so I’m trying to save the most money w/out feeling like I’ve slowed down from what I’m used to, which is currently 6Mbps.

Any advice? Thanks!

T1Wizard answers:

For sending emails, browsing the web:  100kbps-1000kbps

For music download or streaming video or website building/publishing:
1000kbps-4000kbps (4000kbps = 4mbps)

For the highest end applications and if you do a lot of major online stuff you should go with the 6mbps download.  In all cases, upload speeds will be much more limited, e.g., usually 768 KB.  Business class services are symmetrical most of the time, e.g., the same upload/download speed.

Note: All internet companies advertise a set speed they can give you, and generally speaking the speed you actually get is, at best, about 7/8ths of what they tell you, due to network traffic and caps on your network card and the box they send you.  But for business class service, you actually have a dedicated “pipe” to the Internet.

500kbps upload is good enough for someone who just wants to browse the web and look at things and send email… It will cost much less, and will work just fine…

Just because you have a highly fast internet does not mean pages will load quicker, any webpage has a certain amount of data in it, and generally speaking there are not many pages which have more than 500kbps…and most are are optimized for fast delivery.

You can’t go wrong if you get at least 4mbps download. You would be able to do voice online and webcam etc…

Chris asks…

What is the best high speed internet service?

I really do not want dial up, However, DSL and such through places like AT&T or Verizon is not available in the 89506 area code yet. I have been using Charter for about 2 years, and b-4 that I had AOL. What other options are there for good service, along with good customer service and tech support?

T1Wizard answers:

If you can get cable service where you live, this is usually the fastest. DSL service is improving all the time and fios is increasingly available in major metropolitan areas.  Wireless 4G services are expanding all the time, too.

Helen asks…

How can I know if the area I am moving into has high speed internet service without calling Comcast?

I went to the website and they say that this service is not available there but I have to call them for updates. I have At&t now but I am looking for a better deal and service. From Des Plaines to Mount Prospect, Il. Any recomendations?

English: Comcast service van, Ypsilanti Townsh...

T1Wizard answers:

Try this search tool to check on internet and triple-play availability.

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Charter Business Internet

Charter Business is the 4th largest carrier in the US, currently serving 200,000 business locations.  These businesses represent 6 to 7% of the market (withing their existing footprint – shown below).  Their fiber network includes 6500 lit buildings and an additional 8500 near-net locations.Charter Business Internet

Charter Business Internet offers speeds up to 100 Mbps at $279.99 on a 12+ month term.  This is highly competitive to T1 pricing, although the service isn’t synchronous and doesn’t include a service level agreement (SLA).Charter Business Internet Cable Pricing

Charter Business Phone includes an analog telephone adapter, so that existing phones may be connected.  A variety of long distance calling packages are available and over 30 business calling features.  Complete packages are available at $17.77 for 12+ month term.

Charter Business TV includes news, sports, entertainment channels and more.  Over 100 HD channels are available as well as access to commercial-free music.  Pricing for public view starts at $42 for 12+ term.  Hospitality rates are available for businesses such as bars and restaurants and gyms (eat, drink, or sweat locations).

Charter Business Fiber Internet provides symmetric Internet access and includes an SLA and incremental speeds from 2Mbps up to 1Gbps.  The service is scalable in increments as little as 1Mbps.  Optical Ethernet offers point-to-point service and point-to-multi-point configurations.  Ultra-fast Layer 2 WAN connectivity is provided.

A typical analog telephone adapter for connect...

A typical analog telephone adapter for connecting an analog phone to a VoIP provider (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charter Business T1-PRI offers single or multiple T1s over fiber for interface to PBX and other voice needs.  SIP Trunking has been offered about a year, only delivered to PBX devices.  There about 6 to 8 certified devices that are supported, e.g., Allworx, Shoretel, etc.

Contact us for further information and pricing specific to your business needs or visit our main website for quick comparison pricing from up to 30 carriers and service providers.

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US Broadband Growth Slows in Second Quarter

A DSL Modem

A DSL Modem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although still growing, the rate of increase is down from the same period a year ago.  In the second quarter of 2012, 260,000 new subscribers were added.  This is down from 350,000 added in 2011, and the fewest of any quarter in eleven years of data (as compiled by Leichtman Research Group and reported by Gigacom).

The declining trend of DSL subscribers continued, as the telcos continued to lose market share.  Here are some of the trends:

  • Cable companies added approximately 330,000 subscribers vs. 271,000 in 2011.Cable vs Telco Market Share
  • Telephone companies lost about 70,000 subscribers vs. gaining 80,000 in 2011.
  • AT&T and Verizon added 669,000 fiber subscribers (U-verse and FiOS) and net loss of 763,000 DSL subscribers.
  • Comcast is now the largest broadband provider with 18.74 million subscribers.

 

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Integra Telecom Expands Ethernet Service

As reported in Fierce Telecom, Integra Telecom has now expanded it’s service footprint for high speed Internet access to several major metropolitan areas including Phoenix, Denver, Boise, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Eugene, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Santa Rosa.  Their article is quoted below:

Integra Telecom has made its Ethernet over Copper (EoC) service available in 120 Central Offices (CO), a move that enables it to instantly target over 400,000 businesses in its 11-state footprint.

Integra Telecom

Integra Telecom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This latest expansion effort illustrates that Integra has kept to its ongoing expansion plan to offer customers Ethernet in areas where it currently does not have fiber built out yet.

Its current EoC drive is all about providing its Ethernet services to a larger base of new customers, but also accommodating existing multisite large local customers like retail, education and healthcare clients.

Mike Kozlowski, director of product management for transport and data at Integra, said, “With the expansion of Integra’s EoC footprint, many more Integra customers can merge their voice, data and cloud services over one highly scalable network.”

A twisted pair Cat-3 or Cat-5 cable is used to...

A twisted pair Cat-3 or Cat-5 cable is used to connect 10BASE-T Ethernet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With EoC, Integra will deliver bandwidth speeds of 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 Mbps increments, with plans to offer a 100 Mbps speed service. In addition to data services, the expanded EoC footprint creates opportunities for the service provider to extend its growing set of managed and IP-based services such as cloud-based security and SIP Trunking to these customers.

The EoC-based service will be, of course, be complemented by its EoTDM (Ethernet over TDM) service out of 300 COs throughout the West.

Besides copper and TDM, Integra continues to be aggressive on the fiber-based Ethernet front with over 2,000 buildings connected to its fiber network. During Q1 2012, the service provider added an additional 129 buildings to its on-net fiber footprint.

With former Level 3 (NYSE: LVLT) executive Kevin O’Hara operating the CLEC as its CEO, a major focus for the service provider will be on continuing to grow out that on-net fiber footprint for Ethernet. In a recent presentation it gave to investors, Integra said that there are about 16,000 additional buildings located within 2,500 feet of its existing fiber footprint. It added that these additional buildings represent almost $245 million in addressable monthly revenue.

For more:
- see the release

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Windstream Expands Into Las Vegas Market

As reported by Fierce Telecom, Windstream will now offer it’s portfolio of IP-based and TDM services  in the Las Vegas Market.  Their article is quoted below:

Image representing Windstream as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN) has brought its enterprise service suite to Las Vegas, a move that will clearly challenge both existing incumbent telco CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and cable operator Cox Business that have already been providing business services in Sin City for a number of years.

Area businesses will now be able to access Windstream’s broad service portfolio, one that includes VoIP, SIP trunking, MPLS, and traditional TDM and IP-based Ethernet services. In addition, it will offer its growing base of managed services, cloud computing, disaster recovery and networking services.

Windstream Communications

Windstream Communications (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The expansion into the Las Vegas market and the recent debut of its wholesale switched Ethernet product are two of the service provider’s latest moves to advance its national footing in the medium- and larger-business market segment.

When it completed its acquisition of PAETEC last December, Windstream expanded its business service presence to serve 48 states. Along with Las Vegas, the service provider serves a number of other key cities such as San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson.

The service provider’s emphasis on business services is already showing positive results. In Q1 2012, Windstream reported that the business segment revenues were $897 million, up 3.2 percent from Q1 2011

For more:
- see the release

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Your Questions About Internet Providers Houston

Chris asks…

What are great internet providers in Houston Texas?

No dial-up though and I’m going to be connecting alot of things to it (about 9.. I dont think you need that info but I dunno)

Sorry but i’m network/internet clueless
Thanks in advance!

T1Wizard answers:

ATT U VERSE,
Comcast,
Verizon,
Time Warner,

Check main website for information on business Internet in Houston.

Lizzie asks…

Where can I find a list of highspeed internet providers in Houston?

AT&T just introduced data caps and I need a new provider now that they have.

Mandy asks…

What are some good internet service providers in northwest houston texas?

I play games like counter strike source,cod. etc… and when i play in a dallas server i get 80 ping while my friend gets 15. I get 25 ping in dallas when my cousin doesn’t use the internet on her laptop. Please help.

T1Wizard answers:

Ping usually represents the quality of your internet connection, and it depends on the sending and reviving of packets, which also depends of the “recepient” server speed , try doing a ping test for different sites and see the difference

Paul asks…

Does anyone know of a good internet provider in Houston Texas besides Comcast and SBC? Please help!?

I am looking for an internet provider with good prices, service and speed in Houston Texas. I wanted to sign up with Comcast but they lie to me in sales and SBC has horrible tech support. Any advice would be greatly appreciated :)

T1Wizard answers:

TVMAX provides internet.
AT&T has great wireless internet, and wonderful customer support, plus you can go into an AT&T store and talk to someone to pick out a good plan for you.

David asks…

What is a good internet service provider in Houston, Texas?

You mean Comcast?

T1Wizard answers:

AT&T; or see above for Internet search reference.

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Your Questions About Internet And Phone Service Providers

Robert asks…

Can i have an different internet service provider and phone service provider on one line?

i want broadband from one company that uses my bt phone line and phone service from bt (which uses a bt line, obviously) is it possible to have both services on one line?

T1Wizard answers:

Yes it is. Most ADSL broadband providers require a BT line present. Some can also do telephone and have better rates than BT but you can still get another company’s broadband.

Linda asks…

Does anyone know who provides home phone service at Ft Benning?

Does anyone know who providers phone and internet service for the housing at Ft Benning? I have heard NOTHING but bad things about the Windjammer company and I dont want to use them, but I dont know who to get for phone/internet if I use DTV or Dish for my cable.

T1Wizard answers:

Try RiverOffers.com for ISP service and most offer phone service along with it.

George asks…

What are the best mobile phone, tv and internet service providers to have in England?

T1Wizard answers:

Virgin Media are good. Even better now that we got the Sky channels back.
You can get a package with TV, internet, landline and mobile.

Carol asks…

Best Internet & Home Phone Service Provider?

Hiya all. We’ve just moved into our new flat and are looking for the best UK internet & home phone provider. Preferably the cheapest one. Also we live in Beith so I have no idea what companies we can get here (apart from BT obv). Any thoughts

T1Wizard answers:

Best Internet & Home Phone Service Provider. Use this query in Google or try www.broadbandgenie.co.uk.

Nancy asks…

Internet Service Providers??? no phone line?

Does anyone know of reliable and reasonably priced service providers that do not require a phone line? I currently have Road Runner from Time Warner Cable and it sucks! The service isn’t great and it is expensive! I live in Ohio and near a city so there has to be other options, I just don’t know about them.
Can you give me any suggestions please?

T1Wizard answers:

Without a phone line you’ll need either wireless or a cable provider.

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Your Questions About Free Phone On The Internet

Mark asks…

Free internet phone call to a landline?

do you know if there is a site that I can make free phone calls to a landline on the computer?

T1Wizard answers:

Call and send SMS to any Phone anywhere free –Download globe7. Http://surl.in/HLGB7261252BMRMTGQ

William asks…

Does my tmobile phone get free internet in wifi areas?

I have the samsung highlight but dont have internet on my phone but my friend told me that if i go into an area with free wifi i can get on the internet for free without it charging me, is this true?

T1Wizard answers:

No. The Highlight is not wifi enabled.

Carol asks…

Is the internet on my phone ACTUALLY free?

I recently bought a new phone, along with an orange sim card.

I’m now on the ‘dolphin’ (weird I know) package which claims to give 300 free texts and free internet when you top up each month.

BUT today I went on the internet for the first time without wifi and it just wouldn’t work, Also I’ve lost credit somehow.

Can anyone explain?

T1Wizard answers:

Calk your carrier and they’ll explain it to you, since every company’s policy is different.

Maria asks…

Can I use the internet on my phone for free if I have Wi-Fi?

I have a Samsung Tocco Lite, on a contract that doesn’t include free internet. But I was told that if the phone has wi-fi, you can use the internet for free even if it isn’t in the contract. Is this true? I don’t want to use it and find a huge bill at the end of the month!

T1Wizard answers:

Well it could work but you have to have a server to connect to for Internet. Many restaurants in the US now have free Internet, including Panera, McDonald’s, Bob Evans, etc.  I have a wifi in my house  I can use to connect to my phone. But of course we pay for the Internet use there.

Michael asks…

How can I get free internet on my att lg phone?

When i go to my phones browser settings and go into the accounts folder it has the internet att give me and it says i can make a new one so if i make a new one I would get free internet on my phone from my router. The options are Account Name, Homepage, Connection Mode, proxy address, proxy port Number, security, time out, and network profile, so if you can please help me i would really appreciate it. Thank You.

T1Wizard answers:

There is no way to get that for free. Your phone has to be provisioned for internet in order to receive it. (Permissions given in billing)

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