Building a Bridge to Communication: When a Point-to-Point Data Solution Might Be The Right One For Your Business.

Remember the days when you had to send information through “snail mail” or courier services or even jump in the car and personally hand deliver files to share between your company sites?  It was a time consuming and inconvenient process. Fortunately these days, sharing information is as easy and immediate as a click of a button.  But it can still be a frustrating and slow process if your data connection is not “up to speed”. 

With the emergence of more and more data-intensive applications and the reliance on technology like VoIP, cloud services, or even the internet, companies can’t afford to let poor or sluggish connectivity lead to a loss in productivity. Moving to a cost-effective solution that provides the bandwidth, reliability and performance you require will improve collaboration, productivity and the overall day-to-day operations of your business. 

If you need to connect two sites or locations, a point-to-point solution like an Ethernet Transport Service might be the perfect fit.  Ethernet Transport Service enables high-speed dedicated fiber connectivity between two sites making communication as easy as if everyone were all in the same building.  A point-to-point solution enables you to connect the staff in your organization with the same information and data they need through a secure network no matter which office they are located in.

Benefits of Ethernet Transport Service:

  • Need to transfer digital files?  A point-to-point connection allows the sharing of large amounts of data to run smoothly and quickly.
  • Run bandwidth-consuming applications like internet, video and voice without delays, interruptions or performance issues.
  • Provides a safe, secure way to transmit business-critical data. 
  • Delivers a reliable, high performance connection so you can get more done in less time.
  • Offers the flexibility and scalability your company needs as it changes and grows.
  • One seamless high speed network that is easy to manage and is cost effective.

 

No longer does distance have to slow down your business.  Ethernet Transport Service can provide the bridge to a fast, seamless connection for your most critical business applications while improving productivity. 

Seattle Residents Desperately Seeking High-Speed Internet

The Seattle Department of IT recently released the findings from an in-depth survey they conducted regarding residential technology usage and adoption in Seattle.  The survey, conducted every four years, included the responses of over 2,600 Seattle residents via phone, online and through focus groups.   It covered a variety of topics including mobile, cable, social media and internet and provided valuable insight into how Seattle residents access and use technology. 

Of the information that surfaced from the survey, a few results are of particular interest.  The first is that internet usage is increasing with 89% of those surveyed reporting they use the internet and 85% reporting they use the internet at home – that is a 28% increase in the last decade.   While respondents said they primarily use internet at home, they also are using internet in other locations like at work and at cafes and restaurants.  How many times have you entered your local coffee house and seen someone updating his/her Facebook status or working remotely while sipping a latte?  

How the internet is being used is also changing.  It is no longer just for searching information, making a purchase, social sites, or checking email.  More and more now the internet is becoming a source of viewing favorite programs.  In fact, as viewing over the internet has grown, cable subscriptions have dropped by 13%.  It is likely this will continue to be the trend.  74% of those who participated in the online survey said they were “somewhat likely” to drop their cable within the next five years as more options for viewing their tv service is becoming available including viewing video content over the internet.

Another key piece of information that surfaced is that with interest rising in the usage of higher bandwidth applications, higher broadband speed is becoming increasingly important.  Over 86% of residents surveyed (95% of online respondents) said high-speed access was very important to them.  Next to price of service, speed was the second biggest concern for Seattle users and a third said “speed” would improve service.  When asked about “super high-speed” there was significant interest with 85% of telephone respondents saying they were interested, as did all of the online respondents.   

These findings fall in line with what many Seattle residents express when they reach out to us looking for new home internet service. They are frustrated over the slow service they are currently using and are looking for an alternative high-speed service so they can do the things they want to do on the internet – work from home, stream tv shows and movies, play online games, etc. but they need the bigger bandwidth and speed to ensure it runs smoothly.  With the growing transition from cable to internet and with the increased usage of internet for work and entertainment, the need for speed will continue to intensify.

Wolfe, as a Seattle-based high-speed internet service provider, takes this information to heart and is listening to what is important to our fellow Seattleites.  This input is valuable in helping define the needs within our home city and where improvements can be made.  While this survey only captures what those in Seattle are saying, our guess is that similar findings would be found in many of our footprint cities as well.   

ITW Review: Evolution in Telecom Push Carriers to Make a Change

The Wolfe team recently returned from ITW (International Telecoms Week), which took place in Chicago.  The event is an opportunity to meet with other telecom providers, carriers, and partners around the world, make connections, and discuss trends and what is happening within the carrier industry globally. Alexandre Pébereau, Chairman, of the ITW Founders’ Council released a statement at the conclusion of ITW 2014, which highlighted the key takeaways from last week.

Changing Marketplace

In his statement, Pébereau addresses the ever-changing marketplace as a result of evolving technology with network traffic increasing substantially as a result of audio, video, etc. and the demand for capacity and services on the rise.  It is essential that companies anticipate these changes and adapt to meet the rising demand.   

Internet of Things

With the immersion of the Internet of Things (IoT), we are seeing people, devices and machines connecting like never before, which has generated much excitement and buzz in recent years.  According to a recent Pew Research Center Report, by 2025, IoT will be everywhere and it will be difficult to find a device that is not connected to the internet.  IoT will lead the push for innovation globally. But with the benefits of this innovation, there also comes concern over privacy or unintended consequences. Therefore, the need for security, expertise, and agility is essential if moving towards an IoT world and Pébereau said if that is the case “we must move towards all-IP.”

Additionally, Pébereau states “Our future connected ‘world-village’ will demand access to higher speed internet, which has become and will continue to be an essential part of our lives.”  As a provider of high speed internet and having recently expanded our bandwidth speeds to 100 gigabit, Wolfe is keeping a close eye on this rising trend and modifying our services to anticipate and meet the growing need.

What now?  Next Steps for Carriers

The key to success for carriers moving forward includes collaboration among carriers, evaluation of current business models, innovation and change.  Carriers need to be able to deliver on the increasing growth in traffic and services while maintaining quality and reliability.  Ongoing innovation and change will be essential to meet the market and customer needs as well as promote expansion.

Read the full statement from Alexandre Pébereau.

Metro Ethernet Case Study: Sequoyah Electric

When an electrical contracting company needed a reliable solution for connecting multiple locations, it turned to an all-optical metro Ethernet solution from Wolfe for productivity, reliability and affordability.

The problem:

Sequoyah Electric, a commercial electrical contracting company based in Redmond, Wash., needed a dedicated fiber solution to provide the higher capacity and more reliable bandwidth that would keep its facilities around the Seattle region connected, and also provide sufficient backup of critical data.

The challenges:

Most of the available solutions were cost-prohibitive—and slow. Sequoyah was using a 10 Mbps pipe to transport and back up as much as 5 TB of data, mostly consisting of big Autocad files and other data from all of the contracting company’s various job sites. But backups typically took 16 hours. Fiber would provide the speed and reliability necessary, but optical solutions from Sequoyah’s current service provider were cost-prohibitive.

The solution:

A customized, all-optical point-to-multipoint metro Ethernet solution from Wolfe, delivered over dedicated fiber. The point-to-multipoint architecture ensured that Sequoyah’s multiple locations could quickly, seamlessly and securely transport and back up the data that was the lifeblood of Sequoyah Electric’s projects.

The backstory:

How can Wolfe offer more speed and more reliability for less money? Customization. One-size-fits-all just no longer fits. Rather than an off-the-shelf offering, Wolfe conducted one-on-one meetings with Sequoyah and did research into its unique needs. The end result was the creation of a custom-designed and custom-provisioned network solution that was tailor-made for the particular requirements of Sequoyah.

The benefits:

Improved business productivity, faster backup, no network downtime and significant cost savings.The approach reduced Sequoyah’s backup time from 16 hours to 3, and reduced the company’s monthly costs for network services from $6000 to $2500.

The results:

“We needed a service provider with the skills and experience to help us map out a unique solution and set up the optimum routing and configuration we required,” said Joe Winn, technology manager for Sequoyah Electric. “Wolfe designed and delivered a unique solution to order, and it wasn’t cost-prohibitive—in fact, the customized, more reliable, and more scalable solution they provided was far more affordable than the alternative.”

About Wolfe’s approach:

Every form of service for businesses—from simple Internet connectivity to complex and extensive MPLS configurations—should get the same personalized and customized treatment as the solution Wolfe created for Sequoyah. Business customers should have the opportunity explain their unique situations in depth to their service provider, and have the chance to ask the tough questions that will help ensure that their providers not only know what they’re doing, but also that they have the right network resources in the right places to supply the most economical and capable solutions—for the price quoted.

How do such customized solutions get designed, built and delivered? By leveraging a state-of-the-art optical infrastructure that’s reliable, flexible and dynamic enough to continually adapt to the changing needs of a broad range of customers. By being established in carrier points of presence to allow access to expansive fiber connections at competitive rates. By listening to the customer. And by not price-gouging customers, but rather delivering a higher-quality service at a fair price. 

Top Reasons Why You Should Opt for a Smaller Internet Service Provider

Everyone says “bigger is better,” but it seems that the world could do a lot of good with things that are smaller in size. Just ask this year’s Superbowl champions the Seattle Seahawks, whose city is still reeling with excitement from the team’s landslide win. The team was led by one of the league’s smallest quarterbacks Russell Wilson, who is now being touted as the league’s most valuable player of the year.

Also, remember the 2011 Smartcar commercial that took a creative spin on the whole “big” phenomenon? In the bit, there are reporters, press, newsmen and even a pop diva all saying “Big” in various situations, with one individual finally saying “small” as a way to shift focus not to the size of something but the value of which it offers the user (click here to watch for yourself).

These guys have a good point: sometimes, smaller can be better. We believe this point also applies to the Internet service provider (ISP) you entrust, too. In fact, here are three reasons why you should consider a smaller ISP before falling into the “big” hype:

  1. 100 Percent Customizability: You’ll never have to settle for cookie-cutter commercial IP services or network connectivity plans with a smaller ISP.
  2. A True Partnership: For a larger service provider with customers in the thousands, you may feel like just a number. This will never be the case with a smaller provider, who can offer a more intimate, personalized relationship.
  3. Better Cost Savings Opportunities: A more customizable solution means pricing that is custom-tailored to meet your business’ exact needs.

Sure, there’s something appealing about going with the larger guy who has a more renowned name, but that doesn’t necessarily speak to the value that is being brought to the table. Click here to learn more about the high speed Internet benefits that a smaller provider can offer you. 

FCC Shells Out $2 Billion for High-Speed Schools in the U.S.

The U.S. has been picking up slack in the race for high speed Internet, where President Obama even vowed to make high speed service available at a more affordable price point in 2014. The high speed Internet crisis is a serious one for the country. In fact, the U.S. currently ranks 35th out of 148 countries in Internet bandwidth, according to the World Economic Forum.

So, what better way to ramp up Internet service in the States than by starting with the school system? The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently revealed that it will be doubling its investment in high speed Internet within the U.S. education system, going so far as to pledge an additional $2 billion over the next two years specifically to improve broadband networks in schools and libraries.

For the U.S., this is a wise investment indeed. In fact, a recent Pew study revealed that teachers of the lowest-income students are more than twice as likely as teachers of the highest income-students to say that students’ lack of Internet access is a “major challenge.”

According to the FCC, nearly all U.S. schools have access to basic Internet; however, the speed and quality of that service can vary drastically. This new initiative aims to connect 20 million students within 15,000 schools across the country.

And this isn’t all that the FCC has been doing lately. The commission is also knee-deep in a new initiative to begin embracing fiber networks as opposed to using “the nation’s traditional copper infrastructure,” according to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a November 2013 blog on the FCC’s official website.

What do you think of the FCC’s latest commitments to heighten the United States’ digital stature? 

#TelecomExchange West: Michael Scott of Wolfe

Internet Service Provider Lessons Learned From Super Bowl XLVIII

Everyone loves a success story and everyone loves a dark horse. In the case of this year’s Super Bowl champions the Seattle Seahawks, this was certainly the case.

As it turns out, the greatest impact was made thanks to something on a much smaller scale, or should we say someone: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. With a notably small physique, Wilson was initially considered a poor pick for the team’s offense. But now, ESPN describes him as “a perfect fit” for the Seahawks and he is being touted by the New York Times as “the most valuable player” during the game, despite stiff competition from big-name teams as well as physically larger players.

So, how does this relate to Internet service providers (ISPs)? Because, similar to this year’s Super Bowl, it seems that people have a harder time believing that smaller carriers can enable them to come out on top. It can be surprising when one realizes that smaller providers who may not have the big name or the influence are on the same level—if not, higher—than the conglomerates.

When you dig deeper, you can see just how much of a powerhouse smaller providers are in the industry and just how crucial of a role they play for taking the end-user to the finish line, just as Wilson lead his team to victory this year. That’s because smaller carriers can provide the following (among many other things):

  • A completely customizable solution to meet your business’ exact needs and to keep up with the pace of today’s ever-changing marketplace
  • Heightened employee productivity
  • Robust network security
  • The close and intimate working relationship needed to ensure the success of your investment
  • 24x7 access

Perhaps the greatest benefit of them all, however, is cost savings. Not only will you enjoy less upfront costs (a smaller carrier has been proven to reduce IP costs by up to 50 percent compared to the competition) but you’ll also see greater long-term cost savings associated with maintenance and provisioning. It’s one of the top reasons why so many people turn to smaller carriers to get the job done.

Our very own general manager Michael Scott predicted the rise of small carrier for the New Year, as well. Back in December, he explained: “Small carriers will win over 2014. Companies like us have been gaining significant traction over the larger, more well-known carriers. This will be even more of a win for the smaller guys because smaller carriers are more nimble and they have more time to adapt to newer standards and trends than the larger carriers do.”

You can’t deny that there’s something special about a team reclaiming its title after an entire decade. As a company based in Seattle, we want to congratulate our home-town team on a very exciting win!

What do you think? When it comes to the game of high speed bandwidth, do you believe that small carriers will walk away with the trophy or that larger, more well-known carriers will take the ball and run? Let us know in the comments section below!

High Speed Internet Becoming Main Priority for Underserved Areas

Underperforming Internet is a problem faced by both rural and metropolitan regions. While it is more so associated with the former—seeing how more densely populated areas have a greater incentive to add cell towers and Wi-Fi hotspots—underserved areas can also be right within the major cities that millions of people inhabit. This has been a long-standing issue and one that countries across the globe have been working to counter.

For example, across the pond, the British government just announced a new £10 million fund to bring high speed Internet to underserved parts of the country. Meanwhile, a new study reveals that almost 7,000 local regions in Russia have no opportunity to get online.

This call to action for high speed Internet certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed in the U.S., either. Many states have revealed new initiatives to bring better service to Internet-lacking locations. For example, New York and Washington are two of many states working to do an Internet overhaul to better cater to their residents.

Just recently, it was reported that Albany, NY would begin ramping up Internet service thanks to a $14.5 million state initiative. According to reports, the state capital will be under a new program aimed at bringing broadband to over 29,000 homes and over 2,000 businesses in the region, including Western New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, North Country and Mohawk Valley regions.

The state will see an incredible 614 miles of new fiber thanks to the new plan, which state officials hope will connect more than 500,000 New Yorkers with high speed Internet.

“Access to high speed internet is a critical resource for businesses and residents in today’s global economy,” Governor Andrew Cuomo explained in a statement. “These grants will connect underserved and rural communities to the many benefits of broadband access, including giving local businesses the opportunity to reach consumers from around the world.”

Seattle is also diligently working to strengthen Internet speeds in such areas as well after a deal made with a private service provider fell flat.

Recently, the city struck up a deal with Gigabit Squared, a digital economic development startup company, to provide high speed Internet to underserved areas of Seattle. However, the deal is no longer in the works due to problems being encountered by Gigabit Squared. The company promised speeds 100 times faster than traditional broadband with a fiber network operated by the company. The state was willing to shell out $25 million to get the necessary infrastructure in place.

“We understand the Gigabit problems had developed before the election,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray recently told reporter Marc Stiles in an interview.

The entire ordeal has put the city in a very sticky situation. Not only did the agreement unravel—letting down many of Seattle’s citizens in poor Internet areas—but Gigabit Squared left the city with a hefty bill totaling more than $52,000 due to city employees already having started work on the project. This debt has been sent to the city’s lawyers.

Getting Seattle’s residents back on track requires providing reliable high-speed Internet with a similarly reliable service provider. This consists of not only solid financial resources, but also a strong knowledge of the local area.

The need for dependable, high speed Internet extends not only across the nation but across the world. Citizens of Albany and Seattle may not be able to relate to those of England and Russia on many levels, but they have all felt the frustration of enduring poor Internet service. 

U.S. Picks Up Slack in the Race for High Speed Internet

High speed Internet is one item that President Obama has ranked high on the United States’ 2014 agenda. For the U.S.—a pioneer of the Internet movement—achieving high speeds at an affordable price continues to be a persistent obstacle.  

For example, the New York Times reports Latvian capital Riga’s Internet speed to be two and a half times faster than San Antonio’s—the U.S.’ seventh largest city comprised of 1.4 million people. This boils down to notably longer download times, such as a two-hour movie taking 35 minutes to download in San Antonio and only 13 minutes in Riga. In fact, the U.S. currently ranks 35th out of 148 countries in Internet bandwidth according to the World Economic Forum. 

As one can imagine, there are plenty of questions that have gone unanswered here. The Obama administration has been working to answer as many as it can.

 “To create jobs and grow wages at home, and to compete in the global information economy, the delivery of fast, affordable, and reliable broadband service to all corners of the United States must be a national imperative,” the Obama administration cautioned in its June 2013 “Office of Science and Technology Policy and The National Economic Council” report.

The government’s warning should come as no surprise, nor should its aggressive push for reliable high speed Internet, considering the above statistics. Where do you stand in the world race for high speed Internet?