WiBand Case Study – Alberta Truss Ltd.

slider-img1

The Client – Alberta Truss – Edmonton Based Manufacturer of pre-built and custom floor and roof trusses for residential, agricultural and commercial markets. http://albertatruss.com/

The Problem – If you thought your business didn’t have many options for Internet, you should see Alberta Truss facility! Sitting on a 17 Acre site between Edmonton and Sherwood Park, Alberta Truss was suffering on an internet connection that was giving them 2-3mbps download, and as little as .35 mbps upload. They needed a high capacity internet connection in order to meet the needs of their business. A key requirement was a fast upload speed, in order to property serve employees with remote access.

alberta truss_MAP

The Solution – WiBand Communications worked with Alberta Truss to deploy a Fixed Wireless 20mbps down/5mbps service. The service included Unlimited Data, 5 Static IP Addresses, 24/7/365 phone support and is scalable to meet the growing business and technology needs of Alberta Truss. The total time to deployment ( from order entry to final testing/activation) was 34 business days.

The Result – “The need to provide fast service to our customers is a top priority for us. Our employees needed a fast reliable connection to allow them a rapid turnaround and our old provider just couldn’t offer us a better solution. WiBand came in and allowed us the capacity to speed up our data rates, while assuring us no downtime during the transition. We couldn’t ask for a more trouble free installation and service and are more than happy with the data package they provided us. ” – Robert Stark, Production Manger, Alberta Truss Ltd.

Are you an Edmonton and area Business and need a better internet/network solution? Contact me here 

May 2017 Recap – The ‘WannaCry, 400mbps, Back On Twitter ‘ Edition

bagless
New Sign on my Lawn! NOTE: Sign did not include sneakers, cargo shorts or red lawnmower

Holy cow is it Mid June already? Time flies when you are having fun settling into a new house. I’ve finally achieved my dream of having my own compost pile, and I’ve got my ‘We Go Bagless’ sign from the city on my lawn! Still getting used to the quiet of not living in Downtown Edmonton. I’m excited for those bike lanes though! Bring on the Edmonton Bike Freeway for us ‘not quite in the core’ commuters!

It’s been busy at WiBand too! Here are some of the trends that I noticed in May:

1. Most popular Package – 50mbps down/10mbps upload with Unlimited Data.  While this is by no means our starter package,  it was my most popular amongst my new clients. This also comes with 5 Static IP Addresses!

2. Biggest project – Bonding two 200mbps download/200mbps upload connections. For this customer, they would be getting 400mbps download/400mbps upload speeds between the 2 redundant links, with an automatic failover in between. That means if 1 link gets cut, all the traffic is automatically routed to the other link. No disruption between the two. This client has a data centre, so having maximum uptime is mission critical to their business.

3. Firewalls – With the Wannacry attack in May, lots of business and organizations are taking a good look at their firewalls to make sure it has the tools to defend against threats. One thing I’ve been reminding most people is you can also prioritize voice traffic and filter content, in order to maintain maximum bandwith for business applications. At least you can if your Firewall is updated!

4. June Business Goals

  • Blog more ( you should see at least 2 more blog posts this month).
  • Get out to network more. I’ve already been to a couple events but i’m on a keen lookout for others. I’ll gladly take suggestions too!

5. OH i almost forgot!  I’ve signed back up for Twitter, so feel free to give me a follow at twitter.com/colininedmonton  I’ll be posting pretty much everything I do ( from Wiband Internet stuff, to artwork and Podcast things)  plus other nonsense! Best of all? My Twitter will be 100% POLITICS FREE.

Have questions about anything above, or would like to talk about improving your business internet/network? Drop me a line and I’d be happy do a consultation with you.

April 2017 Recap – The ‘New House, Flexibile remote site internet, Shared IP Automatic Failover, Picking the Brains of Commercial Property Managers’ Edition.

 

duckhouse
Hey! Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry! Get off my Garage!!!

April was a pretty exciting month at my household, not only due to the Oilers Playoff run, but because my wife and I moved into our first house! Everything with the move went well: No major hiccups, and other than some random painting and installing new smoke alarms ( the latter I accomplished with a  little luck and some handy Youtube Tutorials), we are settling in nicely.  Big thanks to Brandon and Jackie at Benchmark Mortgages for the great service on our Mortgage, Sonia Tarabay of RE/MAX Elite for getting us a BONKERS AMAZING Deal on our House, and Rick Morgenstern at Global Property Inspections for the great home inspection.  Also to our families, who chipped in a ton of time and muscle power to get us settled in.

Enough about me! Let’s talk about what problems I’ve been working with Edmonton and Area businesses on this month:

  1. Bandwidth at construction sites/yards. I spoke to a couple construction and industrial companies who have long and short term projects, where they have LTE Hubs installed, that don’t seem to be working that well for them, especially when they try to hook up a couple computers, a VOIP Phones and security cameras.
    The Solution – Flexible moves for Fixed Wireless.  I’ve worked out some very budget friendly fixed wireless options and put in amendments into the deal that lets the companies move equipment as required (with a bit of notice of course), in exchange for a longer term deal (which of course gets them the best monthly rate possible).
  2. Any sort of internet outage extremely costly to business.  This has become a regular topic of conversation. Whether it’s placing bids or keeping production rolling, it seems that more and more businesses don’t bend when the internet drops, it breaks. Outages are a fact of life.  Earlier this year, we saw Amazon and Azure both have outages, and in the last week of April, Shaw had a Canada wide outage. Summer is also a time of unfortunate fibre cuts with more construction, digging and drilling happen ( case in point, this fibre cut in Edmonton last year).
    The Solution – Shared IP Automatic Failover – When the Primary Internet connection drops, all incoming and outgoing traffic can be routed to a secondary internet connection automatically using the same IP Address as the primary. When the Primary comes back up, the traffic re-routes back to it. No manual or physical changes required, and no one inside or outside your office will notice a thing.

Biggest Surprise of April – Is how many businesses need bandwidth for Live Monitored Security Cameras.  I’ve had more conversations in April about Internet for cameras than I have in the 1.5 years I’ve been in this industry.

My April Business Goal – I’d like to pick the brain of a couple Commercial Property Managers this month, to hear about their challenges lining up tenants when they know their buildings don’t have much by way of internet offerings.  I don’t have a fresh out of the box solution for this yet, but I’m hoping to put one together that will a) let Property Managers keep their vacancy down, and b) get their tenants the bandwidth they need to grow.  If YOU are a Property Manger that would be willing to give me an hour of your time in exchange for a cup of coffee, piece of Pie ( or both), let me know.

Thats all I have for now! I’d love get some feedback, comments, questions or suggestions. Email me directly at colin_macintyre@wiband.com or drop me a line here

Should your business punt MPLS for SD-Wan?

MPLS kicker
Original photo: Pixabay.com

Pity the poor IT Manager of your multi-location company. Every day, they do their best to maintain a quality WAN across locations hundreds and sometimes thousands of kilometers apart. In the old days, this was a little easier; they just called your major Telco, bought an MPLS, and that was that. Sure the bandwidth wasn’t huge, and maybe a couple locations were left off the MPLS due to lack of infrastructure, but it was the best they could do.

 

Yesterday’s best won’t cut it anymore.  Today, your poor IT Manager has to manage a ballooning amount of bandwidth requirements, SAS portals, Backups, VOIP Call quality, Cloud applications and aging hardware. That MPLS? It was great when the bandwidth was there, but when those connections drop, so does business revenue. In an age where the promise of cloud is supposed to turn capital expenditure into operating expenditure, isn’t there a better way to do all this?

Yes there is, and it’s called SD-WAN ( Software Defined Wide Area Network). It’s got so much of the technology industry buzzing that IDC Forecasts SD-WAN market will be worth $6 Billion by 2020.

SD-WAN is essentially the next generation of business WAN, and much like the rest of your Business IT, ( Cloud Applications, Disaster recovery, VOIP, etc etc) it’s designed to be more flexible, more adaptable and oddly enough, deliver more cost savings, than your legacy systems.  Rather than paying massive monthly fees to pay off the big telco’s MPLS infrastructure, you can use any connection(s), a wide variety of appliances, and specialized software meet your business WAN Requirements.

In short, SD-WAN can do 5 things;

  1. Provide you with the same options for QoS as with current MPLS
  2. Provide the amount of bandwidth you need, as well as automatic failovers on shared IP Addresses, regardless of location.
  3. Provide you with more self-reporting and measuring tools, so you can see what is happening on your WAN and where. Think of it like having your own mini Network Operation Centre.
  4. Can scale to as many locations as required.
  5. Did I also mention cost savings?

Like all other I.T. infrastructure, it’s best to do your homework to see if it’s a good fit for your business. If you’d like to do an in depth review of what SD-Wan would look like for you, drop me a line here

A “Not quite brief but still kinda interesting” overview of Business Internet Technologies in Edmonton.

 

Sketch94125422
Artwork by Colin MacIntyre

 

In a previous post, I outlined the difference between best effort vs dedicated internet services for business. So how do you, as a business owner/CTO/Controller, know which services are best effort and which ones are dedicated? Well wonder no longer! I’ve put together a handy list of all the Internet service technologies available in Edmonton, and by Edmonton, I mean the Edmonton-Sherwood Park-Leduc-Nisku-Acheson-Spruce Grove-Stony Plain-St. Albert-Fort Saskatchewan-Camrose-Lacombe and Red Deer area.

Disclaimer: before publishing, I had all this information checked by the Senior Systems Engineer in my office. His comments are in Italic.

Satellite

Top download/upload speed – Approx 6mbps down, 2mbps up.
Best effort or Dedicated – Best Effort
Best uses – remote areas where no other options exist
Note from an Engineer” Actually you can push 25mbps down/4mbps”

LTE

Top download/upload speeds – Approx 35mbps down,
Best effort or Dedicated? – Best Effort
Best uses – Failover or secondary connection to DSL, Cable, Fixed Wireless or Commercial Fibre. Primay connection if data and user requirements are very low.
Note from an Engineer: “LTE can deliver 100mbps down/50mbps up IN THEORY. LTE Advanced (LTE-A) is being benchmarked at 1gbps down, 50mbps up.”

DSL

Top download/upload speeds  – Up to 25mbps download/15mbps upload
Best effort or Dedicated – Best Effort
Best Uses – Primary internet connection for budget conscious businesses, where reliability and scalability are not a concern. Great secondary connection to Cable, Fixed Wireless or Commercial Fibre
Note from an Engineer:” Correct”

Cable

Top download/upload speeds – up to 150mbps down / 15mbps up.
Best Effort or Dedicated – Best Effort
Best Uses – Primary Internet Connection for budget conscious businesses, where reliability and scalability are not a concern. Also great secondary connection to Cable, Fixed Wireless or Commercial
Note from an Engineer:” You aren’t as dumb as people say.

Fixed Wireless

Top download/upload speeds – up to 2 gbps download/ 2gbps upload
Best Effort or Dedicated – Either
Best uses – Primary internet connection where reliability and scalability are business critical. Secondary internet connection to Commercial Fibre, DSL or Cable.
Note from an Engineer: “I take that last comment back! Actually you can get 8gbps download/8gbps upload with the right equipment.”

Commercial Fibre

Top download/upload speeds – Up to 2gbps download/2 gbps upload
Best Effort or Dedicated – Either
Best Uses – Primary internet connection where reliability and scalability are business critical.
Note from an Engineer:”In some markets 10 gbps is available. Now get out of my office”

——

Want to know which one of these is the best fit for your business? Drop me a line and lets chat!

‘How Much Bandwidth Does My Business Need’ Depends On More Than You’d Think

checklist-1266989_1280
Pixel Bay

One of the more confusing things about picking an Internet service for your business is determining how much bandwidth you really need.

Choosing for your home is pretty easy, since home requirements are mostly based on download speed, for things like Netflix, Youtube, Streaming Music, etc etc.  Throw in a little upload speed for online gaming and Facetime and you are set!

With business, it’s a little trickier. Your workplace likely has more people than your home, and there may also be 2-3 times as many internet-connected devices per person, once you factor in smartphones and tablets. You may also have greater upload speed requirements, or need some guarantees for things like uptime, speed, latency, having Technicians on standby and packet loss (more on that in a future post).

When I’m sitting down with a person to discuss business internet, I’m asking about their users and devices, but I’m also asking about other things too, including:

  • business applications, including browser-based applications, offsite backups, and cloud computing
  • VOIP and video chat services ( ie, Skype, Facetime or Google Hangouts, Join.me, etc.)
  • If employees or guests have access to company Wi-Fi
  • If employees are allowed to check personal websites or stream music on their computers/devices ( more on this in a future post too!)

One tool I’ve been bringing into my discovery meetings is this Broadband speed guide from the FCC. Sure, it’s American ( I couldn’t find a Canadian equivalent), and yes it’s geared towards residential usage, but I find it’s a nice place to start. Also, as it’s written by a government body, so it’s not overtly salesy.

The good news for businesses is, internet technology is improving at such a rate that it seems like more options are available every month. 4G will soon give way to 5G, Cable is packing more and more punch, Fibre is rolling out to more places, and Fixed Wireless providing the same speed and service where Fibre is too expensive. So don’t fret! You may have more options than you think!

 

 

What ‘Dedicated Internet’ is, and why you’ve likely never heard of it.

dedicated
Original Photo here:

One of the most interesting things I’ve learned since joining the Telecom industry is something very few people have heard of, even if they actually have it. That thing is called ‘Dedicated Internet’.

Essentially, ‘Dedicated Internet’, is an internet service wherein the provider is responsible for a series of performance targets; everything from guaranteeing the bandwidth, keeping latency under a certain amount, sending technicians to a service call within a mandated time and more. These targets are usually outlined within a Service Level Agreement, which you’ve also likely not heard of ( but is a post for another time).

“Hold On There Blogger”; I’m sure some of you are saying, “Guaranteed speeds? Service Level Agreement?? Why HAVEN’T I heard of this? I want this!”.

Well, there is a reason.

The majority of internet services you have ever purchased or subscribed to, from your home internet, or your smartphone, are  ‘Best Effort’ Internet services. This means the speeds or packages you pay for, aren’t guaranteed, but instead are tied to various factors, including network performance, and capacity.

You can always tell if you are getting a best effort internet connection, by looking at the marketing for a specific package. If you something as being advertised as being ‘ up to’ ( ie, ‘Up to 30mbps download*’) then you friend, are buying a best effort internet service. Do a little searching for the fine print, and you’ll likely find something similar to the following:

fine-print
“…Connection speeds may vary based on modem equipment, client device capability, building wiring, internet traffic, and environment conditions. ‘Up to’ speeds are based on optimal conditions.”

Best Effort services allow the ISP to service as many customers as possible, while at the same time minimizing the amount of resources they have to spend on the network. The benefit to customers is, this keeps their monthly fee reduced.

While everyone likes keeping fees low, sometimes getting what you pay for can harm your business. Sure cheap, best effort internet is great, until only to find that you actually only get 50%-80% of what you are paying for. As more business applications move online (VOIP Phones, Office 365, SAS applications, Cloud backups), having some guarantees become pretty critical. Sure you can call and complain to the ISP about your best effort speed, but in the end, you are getting exactly what you are paying for. If your internet service isn’t allowing for your business to work, that cheap internet bill might actually be 10-100 times more, once you factor in lost productivity and revenue.

Now that you’ve heard of ‘Dedicated Internet’, here is the good news: ‘Dedicated Internet’ is readily available on commercial fiber and fixed wireless, complete with robust SLA’s and other goodies. Want to explore a little further? Contact me here