Avaya IP Office Mobility (Mobile Twinning Deskphone with Mobile Phone)

I Am Also a User

Do you remember those men’s hair loss club commercials from several years ago; where the guy in the commercial affirms that he is not only the president of the company, but he’s also a member?  He can espouse the benefits of his product because he not only works there, but uses the product as well.

That’s how I feel with Avaya’s IP Office.  I have been involved with Avaya since the late 90’s, installing, programming, selling and managing installs over the years.  I can heartily say that I really like the product.  IP Office was introduced in 2002 to be Avaya’s “all-in-one” converged voice and data communications solution for small and mid-sized businesses.  And, they have succeeded in creating a great product.

There have been so many advancements in features and functionality since then.  What Avaya has produced is a VoIP/Digital/Analog “Hybrid” phone system that functions great whether you work strictly at a desk, from home, in the field or any combination of the three.  And, regardless if you have ten employees, or 1,000, all of those features are readily available and ready to work for you.

As I mentioned, I’m also a client, using IP Office everyday to stay in touch with me customers and my team.  At the office we use mobile twinning, forwarding functions and VM to email to stay in touch no matter where we are.

I love being a mobility user.  I use the mobile twinning feature every day.  I am not tied to my desk, giving me the freedom to visit potential customers or current jobsites, while still being readily available.  My east coast customers can reach me even if I haven’t arrived at the office yet, or, like in the case of emergencies, any time of day.

Giving customers a “one number” solution makes it easy for them to reach me and is a great way for them to manage their contacts list.  Plus, even if I can’t get to the phone, I can forward the call so they can reach someone else on our team, or leave me a message that I get via email in seconds after they leave it.  Staying in the loop was never easier than it is with IP Office.

If you are not familiar with these features, contact ECS today.  If you have an IP Office, Mobile Twinning is free for all users on Release 8 or above.  (If not R8, ask ECS how to upgrade today!)

(Article by Charles Bressler – ECS Account Manager)

Is BYOD (bring-your-own-device) compromising the security of your network ?

How can you rein in IT Operations outside your control ?
Driven by cloud computing and the consumerization of IT, Companies are being forced to change how they operate. The explosion of consumer smartphones and tablets for business usage, known as BYOD (bring-your-own-device), is forcing IT organizations to deal with more tech-savvy business users, who are ushering in the era of Shadow IT.

How do you maintain productivity but gain insight to these non-malicious acts that can cause chaos to your network ?

Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Why you should address causes and not symptoms of Shadow IT How to control Shadow IT with policies and selective blocking
What technology best fits your need to counteract the chaos

Dell SonicWall provides Next-Generation Firewall & Unified Threat Management.

Deepest protection and control.
Dell SonicWALL Next-Generation Firewalls, deliver superior intrusion prevention, malware protection, application intelligence and control, real-time traffic visualization and inspection for SSL encrypted sessions at the gateway by tightly integrating a patented Reassembly-Free Deep Packet Inspection engine with multi-core hardware. Essential to an intelligent and highly adaptive security system, Dell SonicWALL Next-Generation Firewalls scan every byte of every packet for the deepest level of network protection and, unlike competitive offerings, massively scale to extend state-of-the-art security to growing and distributed enterprise networks. Dell SonicWALL firewalls provide a comprehensive layer of defense by combining gateway content filtering, anti-spam, anti-virus, anti-spyware, intrusion prevention, and regain visibility into the network through application

The SonicOS Network Security platform.
The Dell SonicWALL SonicOS operating system combines deep packet inspection technology with a multi-core architecture to scan all network traffic while delivering, high performance and low latency. This powerful architecture serves as the foundation for application intelligence, control and visualization, intrusion prevention, anti-malware, SSL inspection, high-speed virtual private networking (VPN) technology and other robust security capabilities.

Seize control of your applications.
Dell SonicWALL Application Intelligence, Control and Visualization monitors and displays application traffic in real time. This enables the creation of granular policy-based controls that identify and guarantee bandwidth to mission-critical applications while restricting or blocking non-productive applications

Shut out threats at the gateway.
Dell SonicWALL firewalls scan all inbound and outbound traffic to stop intrusions, viruses, spyware, and other malicious traffic from compromising your network. Dell SonicWALL is unique in its ability to scan all flows, across all protocols and interfaces without file size limitations, providing low latency and uncompromised network performance.

Secure and control your remote access.
Dell SonicWALL firewalls feature both integrated SSL VPN and IPSec VPN, extending easy-to-manage intrusion prevention and anti-malware to mobile employees and branch offices. The unique Dell SonicWALL Clean VPN™ solution supports Windows®, Mac®, Linux® and smartphone devices, while simultaneously providing remote application intelligence and control to the mobile workforce.

Take command of it all.
Control thousands of Dell SonicWALL appliances from one central console, with the Dell SonicWALL Global Management System (GMS®). GMS gives large distributed enterprises, value added resellers (VARs) and managed service providers (MSPs) flexible, powerful and intuitive tools to manage configurations, view real-time monitoring metrics, and integrate policy and compliance reporting, all from a single location.

Sanitize your wireless traffic.
Built into SonicOS is an integrated secure wireless controller. In conjunction with Dell SonicPoint secure wireless access points, this allows you to deploy seamless and secure 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless networks, protected by Dell SonicWALL Clean Wireless™ technology and Dell SonicWALL Application Intelligence and Control. SonicPoints are automatically provisioned and updated by the firewall for easy management and configuration.

Forget about downtime.
With Active/Passive and Active/Active DPI failover, your network will continue to operate without interruption, even if there is a hardware or software failure. Stateful synchronization across the appliances enables failover with no interruption to existing network traffic and VPN tunnels.

Beef up your networking platform.
Dell SonicWALL provides all the capabilities you need, with a flexible platform that fits into any networking environment, regardless of complexity. With unique features like inbound load balancing, simple network guest services, single sign-on and powerful diagnostic tools, Dell SonicWALL firewalls retain their ease of use to minimize total cost of ownership.

SonicWALL Mobile Connect
SonicWALL Mobile Connect, a single unified client app for Apple® iOS and Google® Android™, provides smartphone and tablet users superior network-level access to corporate and academic resources over encrypted SSL VPN connections.

Contact ECS regarding how SonicWall security solutions can keep your organization protected from continually evolving threats.


A leading health care provider selects ECS to implement VoIP & SIP

ECS has been selected by a leader in providing high-quality, culturally appropriate, comprehensive health care to all people in Astoria Oregon to implement VoIP to a new location being opened.  The company is also migrating away from their old analog telephone lines to more current SIP Trunks.

The health care provider has outgrown their existing location and need to expand, but they don’t want to buy a new telephone system for the new location.  They also don’t want to lose the ability to dial from extension to extension to any other staff member, or to be able transfer callers from staff member to staff member.  They also like being able to send copies of voicemail messages to other users on the system as needed.  Answer: upgrade the Avaya IP Office telephone system, IP enable it, and add IP Phones at the new remote location.  Now both sites will operate as if all the telephones/extensions are still in the same building.

One problem the health care provider has been experiencing is that based on their analog lines, whenever they make an out-bound call, the caller ID shows the telephone number of whatever line they are calling out on, so line 2, line 3, line 4, etc.  With today’s caller ID technology, many people return telephone calls by redialing from the caller ID provided.  The problem this creates is that people don’t know the main number, and may not ring into the appropriate destination after-hours. The health care provider has traditionally forwarded their main number to an answering service or routed to specific destinations for after hours call handling.  Having clients call back on line 2, line 3, line 4, etc. does no good, as those lines are not re-routed after-hours like the main number. The new SIP Trunking will always show the main telephone number on out-bound calls, so problem solved & customer service improved.

The new SIP Trunking will also provide the ability for both locations to have Enhanced 911 (E911) capabilities.  This means that even though both locations share the same Avaya IP Office telephone system, the out-bound caller ID for calls to 911 will be different depending on which location an extension is at when calling 911. This means that calls to 911 will show the correct caller ID & address info, which means safety & security for the staff and clients.

The SIP Trunking will also allow for multiple direct inward dial (DID) telephone numbers to be assigned so specific individuals, groups, or departments can receive incoming calls without the caller having to go through the receptionist and be transferred. Improved efficiency & improved customer service!

The SIP Trunking also provides a block of FREE out-bound long distance calling to the Domestic US per SIP telephone line ordered. Extra Value & Extra Savings!

Bottom Line = more features, increased functionality, & lower monthly telephone line costs!

ECS, Avaya IP Office, & AccessLine SIP = a Winning Combination.

Cable Can Be a Cold, Cold Business

ECS recently completed a cabling re-vamp for a national cold storage facility.  The re-vamp included replacing a hodgepodge of old cable from Cat 3, 5 and 5e to all new Category 6, with new patch panels and a more uniform labeling scheme to allow the customer’s IT staff to quickly and effectively maintain a complete data and voice network.

Part of the cable installation was replacing the connectors on cabling for the warehouse Wireless Access Points.  Being a cold storage facility, those WAPs were used for the forklift drivers/pickers as they race around the refrigerated warehouse with scanners and electronic pick lists.

The cable was originally installed by a maintenance crew and was, to speak plainly, not installed to code.  In fact, the cable was poorly anchored and the terminations were not to spec.  Huge “loops of cable were left at the ends and were left blowing back and forth with the powerful fans near the ceiling.  The customer complained of intermittent connection loss of those WAPs, making it difficult for the pickers to be affective.

ECS used a 26’ scissor lift to access the WAPs, correct the service loop size, re-anchor the cable, re-terminate the cable, and test for performance.  The technicians were not only able to bring the cable to code; they were able to maximize the performance of the cable as well.

All of this while in a very cold environment, sometimes at 30 degrees below freezing.  The installation took some time to complete, with the technicians being in the freezer for about twenty minutes, then out for about twenty minutes to re-heat appendages!

The customer was very pleased with the outcome and now has a cabling system they can depend on.  Wet or damp; high in the air or beneath the ground; hot or cold ECS will create the solution.

(Article by Charles Bressler – ECS Account Manager)

What ECS Customer Service means to me as an Account Manager

Since coming on board with Efficient Communication Solutions a few months ago I’ve been impressed with the overall attitude of every team member.  From our customer service reps to the technicians and engineers in the field, the attitude continues to be that of a “can-do” spirit, without question.  It’s a positive atmosphere with a willingness to work hard to achieve customer satisfaction.

From being in the business of commercial communications services for over thirteen years, I have seen a lot of communication contractors come and go.  I have always strived to make sure my customers receive the best treatment possible. I’ve been a part of good teams and a part of not-so-good teams.  And, I’m very protective of the customers that I have worked with for most of that time in the business.  That said, I couldn’t ask for a better team than the one that ECS has put together.  Knowledgeable technicians, friendly staff, with excellent processes in place, are some of the things that make a great team work.

Time after time, which each project that ECS has accomplished since I’ve been here, I’ve been proud to receive positive reviews from each customer.

I know the buzz words that talk a good service game. And, I know that a lot of times they are just that, buzz words & lip service.  These buzz words often never truly go beyond the slogans posted on business cards and websites.  For me, true customer service means finding a balance between great service and great pricing.  Its finding products to recommend and use that are the very best in the marketplace.  It is not taking shortcuts, but finding real solutions that work with the customer’s needs, and, within the customer’s budget.  Great customer service also includes following industry standards.

The best accolade is not that ECS always goes way over and above what we say we will do (which is often the case), it is simply that we do what we say we will, every time, on schedule, and within budget.  I am constantly thanking all the staff for making me look good to my clients.

(Article by Charles Bressler – ECS Account Manager)

ECS Optional “Remote” Technical Support Services

ECS “Remote” Technical Support Service Plans Available:
Remote Technical Support, Programming, & Troubleshooting (8X5) (1YR Pre-Paid)
Remote Technical Support, Programming, & Troubleshooting (8X5) (3YR Pre-Paid)
Remote Technical Support, Programming, & Troubleshooting (8X5) (5YR Pre-Paid)

Benefits Include:               
priority dispatch (over non warranty, non-service plan customers)
remote labor for installing upgrades, service packs, & patches
remote labor for programming for moves, adds, & changes
remote labor for troubleshooting hardware problems
remote labor for troubleshooting software problems
remote “helpdesk” support
remote “after-hours” labor for service effecting work (example = upgrade, re-boot, etc.)
remote carrier services troubleshooting, trouble reporting, & problem resolution
guaranteed remote response time for major outages = 2-Hours
guaranteed remote response time for minor outages = NBD to 3-Day
guaranteed remote response time for moves, adds, changes = NBD to 3-Day

NBD = Next Business Day

ECS has a new URL & updated Website

ECS has a new URL www.GoECS.com
We also have an easy to navigate website for our customers.  It explains who we are, provides information on our products and solutions, as well as an interesting blog.

We also have a new domain name GoECS.com for our email addresses. Moving forward you will be able to reach us at first.last@GoECS.com for our email address and www.GoECS.com for our Web address.

We still have www.ecsolutions.com  so you can still continue to email us and view our web site at either domain.

Email addresses and web addresses are not case sensitive so they can be entered either way. We have configured our Exchange server to send first.last@GoECS.com on outgoing emails but you don’t need to use CAPS when emailing us or accessing our website.  We did it because it’s easier to read GoECS.

Let us know what you think!

Who is Axis Communications ?

Axis at a glance
● Axis is the market leader in network video and a driving force behind the shift from analog to digital  video surveillance, which paves the way for a more secure, smarter and safer world.

● Offering network video solutions for professional installations, Axis’ products and solutions are based on an innovative, open technology platform.

● Axis has more than 1,400 dedicated employees in more than 40 locations around the world and  cooperates with partners covering 179 countries. Founded in 1984, Axis is a Sweden-based IT  company listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm under the ticker AXIS.

Market leader
Axis is a clear global market leader in network cameras and was ranked second in the video encoder supplier category for 2012. During 2012, Axis received many international awards for its products and solutions in network video, including for cameras equipped with the so-called Lightfinder technology.

The business model
A cornerstone of Axis’ strategy is the indirect sales model which is based on loyalty and long-term cooperation. Axis works in partnership with distributors, system integrators and resellers that reach the end customers. There are partners in 179 countries.

The product portfolio
Axis was the first company in the world to launch a network camera in 1996, thereby initiating the shift from analog to digital technology. Today Axis offers the market’s broadest product portfolio of network cameras, video encoders, software and accessories, and provides a unique global service to end customers in connection with installation and use of the products.

A strong focus on research and development means that Axis’ products differ from others in the market. Axis’ research and development operations accounted for 13 percent of sales and about 550 engineers work at the headquarters in Lund.

Axis’ network video products are used in many environments in order create a safer, smarter and more secure world. It is a question of installations in public places, airports, trains, schools, universities, casinos and banks as well as in stores and on motorways etc.

Axis, for an easier and safer everyday life
Axis customers are always stay one step ahead, thanks to their innovative product portfolio  of network cameras and video encoders. Their use of open platforms also allows for a high  rate of innovation and allows their products to be used in an increasingly broad range of  applications.

The products are primarily included in security installations, ranging from solutions for individual stores to comprehensive systems on trains, on motorways at universities, in banks and in retail chains. Streamlining and optimization of the customers’ transaction flows, for example, in warehouses and within the retail trade are applications where network video products directly contribute to commercial benefit for the customers.

Simplicity in the installation
As systems become more comprehensive, demand is rising for easy and rapid installations that deliver time savings and lower installation costs. Axis has developed several innovative solutions that simplify installation of the products and thus liberate both time and resources for customers.

Image quality
Demands on light sensitivity, dynamics, color reproduction and resolution in the network cameras are constantly increasing. In order to continue offering the market’s highest quality as regards resolution and image functions, we have developed and released network cameras with market leading technology for both color reproduction in poor light and clear images in glaring light. A large  proportion of all new cameras from Axis are also equipped with HDTV.

Remote monitoring
Network video offers users the possibility of remote monitoring, which means that they can gain access to video from a computer anywhere. Users get the overall picture of operations in their facilities no matter where they are. This functionality is also beneficial from an environmental aspect.

System integration
Video surveillance installations are becoming increasingly complex and easy handling of a large number of the cameras in one system is a challenge. All Axis products are built on open source code. The products are also equipped with AXIS Camera Application Platform, which means that third party applications may be installed in Axis products. By selecting the most suitable application, the user’s specific needs can be met.

Since the foundation of Axis, questions relating to sustainability have been a natural part of the company’s operations within corporate governance, social responsibility and environment. In 2007, Axis signed the UN Global Compact and thus entered into a contract to observe the UN’s ten principles covering human rights, labor law, environment and anti-corruption.

What is VOIP

VoIP is an acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP is a methodology and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. Other terms commonly associated with VoIP are IP telephony, Internet telephony, voice over broadband (VoBB), broadband telephony, IP communications, and broadband phone service.

VoIP is Replacing Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)
The term Internet telephony specifically refers to the provisioning of communications services (voice, fax, SMS, voice-messaging) over the public Internet, rather than via the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The steps and principles involved in originating VoIP telephone calls are similar to traditional digital telephony, and involve signaling, channel setup, digitization of the analog voice signals, and encoding. Instead of being transmitted over a circuit-switched network, however, the digital information is packetized and transmission occurs as Internet Protocol (IP) packets over a packet-switched network. Such transmission entails careful considerations about resource management different from time-division multiplexing (TDM) networks. VoIP is commonly used on many smartphones, personal computers, and on Internet access devices.

VoIP Signaling & Standards
VoIP systems employ session control and signaling protocols to control the signaling, set-up, and tear-down of calls. They transport audio streams over IP networks using special media delivery protocols that encode voice, audio, & video with audio codecs and video codecs as Digital audio by streaming media. Various codecs exist that optimize the media stream based on application requirements and network bandwidth; some implementations rely on narrowband and compressed speech, while others support high fidelity stereo codecs. Some popular codecs include μ-law and a-law versions of G.711, G.722 which is a high-fidelity codec marketed as HD Voice by Polycom, a popular open source voice codec known as iLBC, a codec that only uses 8 kbit/s each way called G.729, and many others.

Replacing Standard Phone Lines
If you have a reasonable quality Internet connection you can get phone service delivered through your Internet connection instead of from your local phone company. This will typically produce 40-60% savings in monthly telephone line costs.

Some people use VOIP in addition to their traditional phone service, since VOIP service providers usually offer lower rates than traditional phone companies. Many companies will keep traditional analog lines for certain older technologies, ie; faxes, modems, postage machines, & credit card machines as they do not function reliably on VoIP.

Structured Cabling

Structured cabling is building or campus telecommunications cabling infrastructure that consists of a number of standardized smaller elements (hence structured) called subsystems.

Structured Cabling falls into five subsystems:
Demarcation Point is the point where the telephone company network ends and connects with the  on-premises wiring at the customer premises.
Equipment/Telecommunication Rooms house equipment and wiring consolidation points that  serve the users inside the building or campus.
Vertical or Riser Cabling connects between the equipment/telecommunication rooms, so named  because the rooms are typically on different floors.
Horizontal Wiring can be IW (inside wiring) or Plenum Cabling and connects telecommunications  rooms to individual outlets or work areas on the floor, usually through the pathways, conduits or  ceiling spaces of each floor.
Work-Area Components connect end-user equipment to outlets of the horizontal cabling system.

Structured cabling design and installation is governed by a set of standards that specify wiring data centers, offices, and apartment buildings for data or voice communications using various kinds of cable, most commonly category 5e (CAT-5e), category 6 (CAT-6), and fiber optic cabling and modular connectors. These standards define how to lay the cabling in various topologies in order to meet the needs of the customer, typically using a central patch panel (which is normally 19 inch rack-mounted), from where each modular connection can be used as needed. Each outlet is then patched into a network switch (normally also rack-mounted) for network use or into an IP or PBX (private branch exchange) telephone system patch panel.

Color Coding patch cables is very common to identify the type of connection, though structured cabling standards do not require it except in the demarcation wall field.

Cabling Standards demand that all eight conductors in Cat5/5e/6 cable are connected, resisting the temptation to ‘double-up’ or use one cable for both voice and data. IP phone systems, however, can run the telephone and the computer on the same wires.