21 May

We All Have a Need to Be Connected

Lately we have been proposing and doing a lot of wireless projects. It seems like everybody in the office wants to be connected. Whether you’re an office worker, the guy in the maintenance shop, or somebody roaming the shop floor, we all have a need to be connected. And what’s driving this? Wireless devices and mobile apps. Like never before we have lightweight devices we can carry around that give us access to the apps and data we need to make decisions. And it’s not just data, but voice. A wireless signal can give us a desperately needed connection to the corporate phone system.

Telcion is uniquely positioned to provide wireless solutions. We understand the network infrastructure. We know how to configure the wireless LAN to be secure. We have deep expertise with voice to make it work properly on a wireless network. And we have the structured cabling team on our own staff to do the physical installation.

We offer two different types of solutions depending on your needs and environment. Both from Cisco, one is on-premise, and one is cloud based. They both offer the ability to provide secure wireless coverage across your entire premise. Want one SSID across 25 access points? We can do that. Want a special guestnet just for your visitors, and to limit how much bandwidth they can use? We can do that too. Want to control all your access points across the entire enterprise through a single management interface? Simple to do.

And it’s not as expensive as you might think. If you’re tired of dealing with multiple stand-alone access points and are ready to upgrade to a centralized wireless platform, please let us know. You’ll be surprised at how easy it really is, and how it will make one more network management headache go away.

Contact us today to get connected.

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11 Mar

High Speed, Private Point-to-Point, and Internet Connections

In the last several months, we have completed several projects that are using fiber-based services to connect remote offices back to corporate.  These are not internet based VPN services, but private point-to-point over fiber with an Ethernet hand-off.  This is not entirely unusual in that fiber-based services have been available for many years now, but what is most interesting is the cost.  The price for these services has dropped significantly over the past couple years, to the point where it doesn’t make sense NOT to use these.

The impetus behind the lower costs comes from competition.  Here in the Central Valley, one of the major cable companies is Comcast.  They are in quite a few cities up and down the valley, and of course throughout California.  Comcast started offering enterprise class business services over a year ago now, and have been offering very competitive rates.  At first I wasn’t sure if I was ready to recommend them because we hadn’t completed any projects using their services.   However, now that we have, I can say that Comcast has a solid offering with good service to back it up.

Comcast is also able to offer point-to-point private Ethernet service between any locations where they have a presence.  Additionally, Charter Communications, also a cable company present in a few cities, offers similar service.  Also, both companies are close to being able to offer a bridge service where you can have an office in Comcast territory connected to an office in Charter territory; a very appealing service.

Many of our customers have already transitioned to fiber-based Internet.  If you haven’t, I’d definitely recommend you consider it.  In most cases, you can have faster internet speeds for less money.  If you don’t have fiber in your neighborhood, you might be surprised to find out that the carrier will bring it in for free.  For instance, in our office, we are transitioning to AT&T fiber-based services.   At the time of our order, AT&T did not have fiber running down the street,  but they did have it about ½ mile away.  They agreed to bring in fiber to our building at no cost.  After talking with the AT&T construction manager, we were interested to find out that they would pretty much bring fiber in to most locations because they wanted to continue to build out their infrastructure.  All they needed was one paying customer.

To give you an idea of what you might be able to get, here’s some recent pricing to consider:

    • AT&T Fiber-based Internet – 10megx10meg – $900/month.
    • Comcast Fiber-based Internet – 20megx20meg  –  $1128/month
    • Comcast Fiber-based Private Line – 100megx100meg – $1228/month

The bottom-line is that there is no reason to be stuck on the old and expensive circuit-based technology any more.  Fiber is cheaper and far more reliable.

As always, we are here to help.

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12 Feb

Securely Deploying Wireless Networking

Lately we have had a lot of increased activity around wireless technologies. I know many of you are all too familiar with the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) phenomenon. In addition to this, there is an ever-increasing need to allow our employees, vendors, and guests access to the Internet or other internal resources from a variety of devices. This equates Internet access to providing electricity. It’s a utility, and we all just expect to have access to it, anywhere, anytime. How do we provide this utility easily without risking our internal resources?

The Cisco solution we’ve been recommending looks similar to the following: several lightweight access points to provide full coverage to a building; a wireless controller that is the brains for these access points allowing us to control the entire wireless network and all devices through one management interface; and the Identify Services Engine (ISE) that forces users of the wireless network to either authenticate themselves and/or be sponsored by an employee in the organization.

The keys to this solution are the wireless controller and ISE. The wireless controller gives us a central place to manage everything with the wireless network. We can locate access points in many buildings, at many sites, and control all of them through one single interface. If I create a wireless network (SSID), it will broadcast across all access points at all sites (or not, my choice). This makes the management much simpler. I can also create several more wireless networks for specific purposes – vendors, guests, employees – each with varying degrees of authentication requirements. For example, with employees, I may just want to have an employee wireless LAN with a password that we change every 30 days. Whereas with vendors or guests, I may want these users to be sponsored by an employee to get a special access code, and then they are allowed onto the network. The beauty of this solution is that the employees can access a sponsor portal web page and create login access for guests, all by themselves. No need for IT to be involved. Once logged in, the guest or vendor has limited access based on your criteria. Perhaps a guest may only have access to the internet, whereas a vendor may have additional access to some internal resources.

There are many configuration options available, but in the end, the wireless network can be deployed securely across many sites and be easily updated to reflect changing network policies.

As always, if you have any interest in this kind of solution, please contact us. We would love to help you design a solution that fits your needs.

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