Wednesday, August 19, 2015

IPitomy's Powerful Managed Firewall/Router



VoIP is taking the telecommunications industry by storm, and with good reason. Cutting edge features and cost savings are just a couple of reasons VoIP will continue to dominate new telecommunications system deployments. Whether you are using a premise based IP-PBX or a Cloud based, the ability to monitor and shape your Internet traffic is critical for VoIP call quality. IPitomy is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a pure VoIP company in more than one way, one of them being the launch of its new managed firewall/router.

Diagnostic Dashboard

IPitomy has partnered with a router manufacturer to offer one of the most robust managed firewall/routers on the market. The router, aside from being a robust 24/7 monitored and updated firewall, also provides many other features such as 3 levels of VoIP packet traffic shaping. The traffic shaping ensures that VoIP traffic always has priority over other data traffic going in and out over your WAN connection. Three levels of optimization, normal, moderate and aggressive allows you to dial in the router depending on the Internet connection you have available. Bandwidth can fluctuate on Internet connections causing issues with VoIP if the bandwidth falls below the necessary capacity it can cause issues. For example, one company complained of intermittent poor call quality. Normal bandwidth tests indicated no issue. Using the router they found that there were times where the increased usage of the business's bandwidth coincided with reduced bandwidth on their Internet cable connection depending on the time of day. This caused loss of audio during those times. By enabling the VoIP traffic shaping we were able to give more priority to the VoIP traffic during these times, eliminating the poor call quality issue. By having this information they were also able to contact the Internet carrier and show that their bandwidth quality was not consistent.

Router Threat Map
Security is an issue that can no longer be ignored. Every day we hear of companies being breached by hackers, Target and the Federal Government for example are just two recent breaches that made the news. Many business owners do not know that over 60% of business that are breached go out of business within 6 months of the breach. SMBs are the target of most hackers. IPitomy's firewall protects unwanted hackers from breaching your network. The firewall is constantly updated to provide the latest protection from security threats. Additional services such as multilevel content filtering are also very effective in maintaining a secure and optimal functioning network.

Diagnostic charts
Diagnostic functionality on this router is second to none. An intuitive dashboard offers a birds eye view of the health of your network, and the dashboard buttons allow you to drill down to get more detailed information. The diagnostics offer both summary and detailed reports allowing for example to see the overall MOS score averaged over time, or an individual MOS score for each VoIP call made on the network. This takes the guess work out of finding poor quality calls and determining the cause. For example, it is easy to see the termination information on the calls and determine if the poorer sounding calls are cell phones, or specific carriers. Other diagnostic features include packet loss, jitter, and latency monitoring as well as real time and historical bandwidth usage. The router will also determine any loss of connectivity to the Internet allowing you to go back to your ISP and get it resolved. Alerts can be sent to predetermined email addresses informing the recipient of network problems.

Call details

There are also some powerful features that will appeal to many types of businesses. Optional HIPPA and PCI compliance reporting informs you of policy violations so you can correct them promptly. These two features appeal to the medical vertical and any business using credit card services over the Internet. Traffic shaping also gives priority to credit card transactions. The router is automatically updated with the latest HIPA and PCI standards. Both PCI and HIPPA reporting includes summary and detailed reports to ensure compliance. For those looking to bridge networks together from several locations, vMPLS is an option that can be added which will reduce costs for those businesses paying large sums of money each month for traditional MPLS circuits. vMPLS can bridge the routers together over different ISPs.



Finally, the hot fail-over option on the router ensures that you are never without service should an Internet outage occur. A second WAN port or a 4G wireless port can be enabled on the router to offer you Internet redundancy. When coupled with IPitomy's robust SIP trunk packages, calls can be instantly routed over to the secondary Internet connection allowing your company to keep your telecommunications operations on the grid.

If you are looking for the latest in VoIP communications look no further than IPitomy. For more information contact IPitomy or an IPitomy dealer for a demonstration.

Router/firewall options include:

Intrusion Detection (iDS)
Cloud IDS (IDS)
Global Real-time Rules
IPSEC/VPN
Historical Bandwidth Usage
Content Filtering
Proxy ARP
Auto VoIP Traffic Shaping
Cloud Provisioning
VoIP MOS Scoring and Call Detail
LAN and WAN Direct PCAP
Lifelong Change Log
Real-time Alerts and Pager
Notifications
Memory Usage Monitoring
Power Supply Voltage Monitoring
Temperature Monitoring
ARP Table Tracking and Connectivity Testing
Auto Speed Test and Calibration
Network Health Tools
Multi-path Diagnostic Tools
Advanced WAN Connectivity Testing/Tracking
Real-time Attack and Threat Map
DNS Forwarder
Proxy ARP
Port Forwarding
1:1 NAT
DMZ
Multiple DHCP Servers
Troubleshooting VPN Port
Multi-level User Access
vMPLS
Verizon 4G Failover
Dual WAN Ethernet Failover
Jitter and Latency Tracking
Device Lcation Geocoding
PPTP VPN
Bandwidth Throughput Statistics
Port Monitoring
VLAN 801q Tagging
PCI and HIPPA Compliance Reporting
Traffic Type Tracking
LAN Traffic Source Tracking
Sync Tracking
Static Routes
Real-time Attempted Intrusion Report



The End of BLF Consoles? Desktop Call Presence Software is the Future.

Busy lamp consoles have long been a favorite tool of the trade for receptionists. Many consoles can have hundreds of buttons on them so calls can be transferred throughout a company to employees. Many times this has resulted in a cumbersome layout, often taking up large amounts of desk space. With the integration of desktop presence software  BLF consoles are slowly being phased out.




Although people are always prone to resist change, desktop call presence software has given receptionists, and even ordinary  phone users something to get excited about. Instead of having to hunt for BLF keys on consoles, now calls can be easily transferred with a click of the mouse!  For example, IPitomy Communications has developed a powerful desktop call presence manager called Q-Manager. For about the same price of a BLF console, you can put Q-Manager up on a separate computer monitor and see the status of all users on the system. You can easily transfer calls and chat to other users on the system. Important statistics such as call time, caller ID, alert windows and park queues all make the job of call management easy.

Calls can be transferred with one click directly to an extension or directly to voice mail. You can also page to an extension to announce calls. Park zones are located conveniently down the left side of the screen where they can be easily monitored and picked up. Chat bubbles appear in each extension block who are also utilizing Q-Manager on the system, so that texts can sent back and forth between users.

For those looking for more, Q-Manager also offers features such as whisper, listen, and record features as well as conference room monitoring and management. For example, call centers can use the listen and whisper features to coach employees on calls, they can also record calls on demand for later review and coaching.

As the need for conference calls increase, the desktop software utilizes color imaging to let the viewer know who is talking on the bridge by lighting up the call in red along with the caller ID and name of the participant. Conference participants can be muted individually as well, and the conference room can be locked and unlocked with a click of the mouse.


With an ACD package even more information is present on Q-Manager pertaining to call queues. Q statistics can be an effective means of monitoring the performance of call centers. Valuable statistics such as average wait time, average call length, answered calls, abandoned calls as well as individual agent stats are available on the screen.

The age of large BLF consoles and large phones with multiple tiny buttons on them crammed onto the face of the phone are coming to a close. As technology continues to push telephony in new directions, desktop call presence management is sure to continue to evolve and offer more options and usability for receptionists and ordinary users on their business phone systems.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

'Follow Me' The Flexibility Of Your Private Ring Group

One of the most popular features on new IP-PBXs is the 'Find Me, Follow Me' feature. Many employees today are in and out of the office at different times of the day, often unscheduled, and this calls for high flexibility in call routing. The 'Follow Me' feature provides this flexibility.


Traditionally, when a caller was transferred to your extension, or when calls came directly to your extension with a direct phone number, you either answered the call in a specified time or it went to voice-mail. With the 'Follow Me' feature, the extension can be paired with other extensions, cell phones or even with phone numbers at other locations.

Follow Me

In the example below you can see that the first two devices to be called are the office extension and the cell phone. When a calls comes into extension 2209, the extension and the programmed cell phone both ring at the same time for 3 rings. Then as designated by priority 2, the call then rolls to the home phone for 2 rings and then the caller would go to the extension voice-mail. The system then can be programmed to send that voice-mail to your email account where you can listen to it on your cell phone, tablet, laptop or PC.


This flexible option allows users to customize a ring pattern that best suits their everyday needs. Someone who is in the office most of the day may want to ring their extension first for several rings and then try their cell phone, for example. Someone who is in and out all day can ring both at once, etc. This setting can also be changed on the fly from a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC.

Other Forwarding Options

For those who may be on vacation or out of the office for an extended period of time with limited access to office VM, they may want to have all of their calls go straight to their cell phone and then have voice-mails go to their cell phones. This is where traditional forwarding comes into play. The user would go in and direct forward all of their calls directly to their cell phone number, and if the call is not answered the cell phone voice-mail would answer. This gives the user flexibility as to where they want to receive their voice-mails.



Cell Phone Transfers

On IP-PBX systems such as the IPitomy IP-PBX, users can transfer calls they receive on 'Follow Me' to any extension on the system by dialing a code and then the extension. For example Susan has her 'Follow Me' set up to ring her desk phone, and then her cell phone. She receives a call while she is out to lunch and finds she needs to transfer the call to Paul who is back in the office at extension 2201, Susan simply dials ##2201 and the call is transferred over to Paul's extension.


Today's VoIP technology offers more flexibility than ever. No matter where you may be you can always get your calls and your voice-mail messages!

Author: Matthew Bellisario