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ValuLink Technology Solutions adds US Signal as a vendor

January 5, 2011

For immediate release:

LOUISVILLE — ValuLink Technology Solutions, a broker of voice and data telecommunications services for businesses worldwide and the parent of industry leading website, has reached agreement to represent regional data services provider US Signal.

Headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, US Signal’s network includes more than 7,000 route miles of long-haul fiber and more than 900 miles of fiber optic metro rings in 22 markets connecting regions in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri. The US Signal network provides on-off ramps comprised of major carrier hotel locations, incumbent telephone company central offices and other lit buildings.

“US Signal is a nice fit,” says ValuLink CEO Clem Wyman. “We do a lot of business with customers who have locations in the Dayton, Columbus, and greater Chicagoland markets, all of which are sweet spots for US Signal.  Their peering arrangements are such that with the right mix of in-footprint locations, US Signal can provide totally secure MPLS networks to customers with locations in their region and pretty much anywhere in the country, as well.”  Wyman said US Signal has “a quality network, excellent customer service and, is priced to win.  They also have a deep commitment to their agent channel.”

Wyman is a widely recognized telecommunications expert who is often asked to speak to customer and industry groups on topics such as VoIP, SIP trunks, and Unified Communications.

With the addition of US Signal, ValuLink, which has offices in Louisville, KY, and Greenville, SC, now has over 50 service providers it can quote for customers, depending on where they are located.  Via T1 Town, ValuLink also is able to deliver other business value-add services ranging from Merchant Services accounts, to full, variable-expense cost containment evaluation services, to mobile marketing services such as Short Codes, among others.


A Virtual Private Network implemented over the public Internet (IP).

The term “virtual” implies that the connections between crossroads are not dedicated but rather connections made as needed between points.

“Virtual Private” means that private “tunnels” are established over a public network, such as the Internet. Tunneling involves the condensing of encrypted data inside IP packets.

Additional security is provided through firewalls at sites that participate in the VPN.

To begin you must assess your WAN requirements and determine if needs would be best served by an IP VPN solution.

This decision to assess may be determined by the following factors:

  • The need to keep data private and protect IT resources from malicious attacks
  • Using the Internet to reach numerous locations throughout the U.S. or around the world
  • Need for an efficiently interlocked map to facilitate direct communication between sites
  • Allowing remote users/sites to access the network via their local ISP (dial-up, cable or DSL)
  • Deploying a computer network that business partners can access via their existing Internet connection
  • Providing branch offices with direct access to the Internet and the WAN over a single circuit
  • Provisioning higher bandwidth for demanding applications like remote data storage
  • Accommodating bursty (load inflicted, such as large document transfers) applications without compromising performance
  • Uniting a diverse number of applications over a single WAN network for greater efficiency

After assessment it’s just a matter of deciding which type of IP VPN best suits your needs, how various types of IP VPNs are deployed, and which IP VPN service provider to choose.

Types of IP VPNs

There are two general categories of IP VPNs, CPE-based and Network-based, along with a variety of technologies and ways that they can be implemented.

CPE-based IP VPNs

A CPE-based IP VPN can be deployed using Firewalls with VPN capability at each location.  Recently, however, Firewall/VPN appliances have been introduced with

Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) that encrypt/decrypt data much faster than software. One way is to integrate the VPN encryption functionality into the router having a “single-box” approach which can be much more cost-effective and is easier to manage.


The primary advantage of using a CPE-based approach is that it encrypts/decrypts data at the customer location which ensures the highest level of protection across the entire WAN.

It enables sending data across the public Internet with the comfort of knowing that even if someone intercepted it, they would have an extremely difficult time decrypting and exposing the information.

This ability to use the public Internet makes the CPE-based approach an ideal solution for sites that are connected to the Internet via different ISPs (e.g., as a result of an acquisition), and for providing access to telecommuters and mobile workers.


The primary disadvantages of a CPE-based IP VPN are the cost and time associated with deploying and managing the CPE and Hub site equipment, and administering the site-to-site VPN tunnels.  Naturally, the more sites one has, the more equipment one needs to purchase, deploy and manage.

Network-based IP VPNs

Network-based IP VPNs perform all of the site-to-site VPN functionality within the service provider’s network using either IPSec encryption or Multi-protocol Label Switched routing (MPLS).  To offer MPLS network-based IP VPNs, service providers run MPLS on the routers in their POPs to build Label-Switched Paths (LSPs) across their network.


The general advantage of network-based IP VPNs is that they require much less capital expenditure for the customer than the CPE-based approach and they limit the number of VPN tunnels that need to be managed.

The most significant advantage of an MPLS network-based IP VPN is the enhanced performance which enables customers to unite all of their data communications onto a single network infrastructure for on-net/off-net sites and remote users (one router, one local loop, one access port, etc.) and assign different Classes of Service to each application or source/destination address.


MPLS network-based IP VPNs are limited to those sites that can be reached by dedicated or Layer 2 access technologies (dedicated T1/T3s, frame relay or Layer 2 DSL). CPE-based network VPNs, on the other hand, can reach any site that has Internet access.

Also, with a CPE-based network VPN, the encryption can degrade performance and, unlike with MPLS, there is no bi-directional Class of Service capability available; performance-sensitive applications can be prioritized only in the outbound direction.

This document is excerpts taken from Implementing an IP VPN white paper by MegaPath.  The entire article is available on under data services.


Online Video is an Effective Remote Meeting Tool

Are you planning to travel for business over the holidays? Be prepared because the prices for airlines tickets are going up 7% to 18%.
You can also expect to have more crowded flights and longer lines checking in. According to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, “airlines are at a 10 year high of packing the planes”.

So, what are your alternatives to spending time in hotels and airline terminals?

Collaborative Meetings

With new flash-based collaboration solutions you can share documents, applications and even incorporate items on your desktop. Your meetings are able to include whiteboards, chats, and application sharing utilities on high quality webinars that allow you to present with distinct professionalism.

Video Messaging

Video is, by far, the most successful way to give your message impact. You can easily create a personal video message while incorporating PowerPoint slides and media clips and email them to your clients and prospective clients.
With video messaging you are able to easily run a live webinar and produce an active, creative presentation that will be remembered. Research has shown that a shorter, more connected video message is very effective for communications because the person on the other end can see your face and hear you talking directly to them. If you then add videos of customer testimonials and product shots it can become a convincing box of goods.

Large Group Webcasting

Cater to a larger enterprise group with a solution that enables you to schedule, produce and manage your own webcast events. It is possible to use streaming video and audio during this larger, broadcast style meeting. Webcasting eliminates the need for connecting large pieces of equipment that are difficult to move or set up.
The arrival of streaming media is an advantageous addition for corporate education.
It eliminates travel, removes time restrictions and distance issues and is cost-effective and convenient as a dispersed audience method of involvement.

Maximize Your ROI

Simply stated, this is a solution that is convenient, economical and packed ready for use:

• An inexpensive alternative to many face-to-face group meetings and events
• A simplified method to produce and deliver streaming media webcasts
• At your disposal whenever you need it, even on short notice, for events such as:

  • corporate meetings
  • marketing events
  • online training
Prepare Before for the Event:
  • Set up the event through a simple point-and-click user interface
  • Select the registration type, ranging from quick access, to secure password protection, to credit card collection
  • Automatically create an index of sessions in the event, to provide convenience for prospective participants
  • Automatically generate URLs for attendees to register for and view an event
  • Customize the branding to reinforce your brand identity
  • Upload your slides to the event at a moment’s notice
  • Make downloadable materials available for participants
  • Send out branded and customized email notifications to your audience
  • Create polls, surveys, tests and URLs for use during your webcast
  • Track registrants as the event approaches
Live Action During Your Event:
  • Conduct your webcast
  • Further interact with the audience by pushing polls, surveys, tests and URLs
  • Manage live Q&A with your audience through our Message Center
  • Monitor your online participants
  • Support different media players and connection speed types for true compatibility
  • Support streaming video, streaming audio only and conference call-supported participants from the same live event
  • Follow Up After Your Event:
  • Create an on-demand archive presentation from the live webcast
  • Send out branded and customized post-event email blasts to announce the archive
  • Obtain collective as well as individual responses of polls, surveys, and messages from webcast participants
  • Track viewer usage statistics on both the live and archived event

After reading this information, you may just want to give that travel a second thought!

FCC pushes USF Mobility Fund for 3G, 4G mobile broadband buildouts

Published on FierceWireless (
FCC pushes USF Mobility Fund for 3G, 4G mobile broadband buildouts

By Phil Goldstein
Created Oct 15 2010 – 9:52am
Lost in the kerfuffle of the FCC’s proposed rules on wireless “bill shock” was another action geared to aid mobile broadband deployments. The five-member panel voted 5-0 Thursday to move forward with a plan that will create a “Mobility Fund” to help pay for 3G and 4G mobile broadband buildouts in unserved rural areas.

The Mobility Fund, first proposed in February, is part of the FCC’s national broadband plan. The national broadband plan includes specific provisions to reform the Universal Service Fund, which is intended to help fund the deployment of telecommunications services in rural America.

The FCC said that up to 4 million Americans cannot access 3G service because they live in difficult-to-cover locations, sparsely populated areas or are far from network centers. “The status quo for USF is unsustainable,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said. “The current program is designed to support the communications networks of the past, not the future. It is–we have to acknowledge–filled with inefficiencies. And it is poorly targeted in too many respects, with perverse incentives and the result is that millions of Americans remain unserved by broadband.”

The new fund will use a portion of the USF money that Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ [1]) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S [2]) voluntarily gave up in 2008. The fund will use between $100 million and $300 million to finance one-time capital infusions for 3G and 4G buildouts in rural areas. Additionally, the FCC proposes a reverse auction to determine which providers get support, which specific geographic areas will receive support, and at what levels.

The FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking seeks comment on whether to make support available to any unserved area or to target support by making it available in a limited set of unserved areas, as well as what the minimum performance and coverage requirements should be.

Both Republican commissioners, Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker, expressed reservations about the fund, but said they supported its goals. Both questioned whether the fund will require an expansion in the size of the USF, which many have criticized as being bloated and inefficient.

“I think the way to look at this is that this something of an experiment,” David Kaut, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, told FierceWireless. “What they seem to be signaling is, ‘Here is a very definite need. Let’s bring up the areas that don’t have 3G to at least 3G, and if there’s s a good 4G proposal we’ll consider that.'”

Interestingly, Verizon executives recently suggested that the FCC funnel USF money–specifically that tied to the Mobility Fund–to rural carriers that enter into the operator’s LTE licensing program.

So, really, what can a T1 do for me, you ask?

All The World’s A Stage – for a T1 prop, that is. . .

So, really, what can a T1 do for me, you ask?

Well, let’s take a look at how many different types of T1s exist.

And, what do they do?

The reliability of a T1 line is superior to standard telephone lines or DSL so give a much greater level of service. Most T1’s come with a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that guarantee speed, uptime, and latency (the time it takes for the signal to travel from one point to the other).

A Voice T1 handles up to 24 calls simultaneously, or more if voice compressed.  There is no limit to how many telephone numbers that can point to a T1. These numbers are called DID’s, short for Direct Inward Dialing.  DIDs operate on the assumption that not everyone in the company will be on the phone at the same time.

A Channelized T1 is split up into 24 equal channels. Each voice grade channel Digital Signal, level zero (a DS0) can plug directly into a PBX for phone service and features.   ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) use this type of service to connect customers using dial up modems.

Another type of T1 is an ISDN-PRI (Integrated Services Digital Network-Primary Rate Interface) or simply stated, a PRI.  A PRI uses one of 24 channels available to carry call information and control signals rather than an actual call.  This provides the information for Caller ID and screen pops, customer information and history that “pops up” on screen prior to incoming calls being answered.

A Data T1 is configured to transport data signals rather than voice traffic. Data T1’s have become increasingly more popular with the increased demand for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services. VoIP requires a reliable and stable internet connection to work properly.

A Private Lines is a dedicated circuit between two or more locations. The terms point-to-point and point-to-multipoint are used to describe this service. Private lines are used for direct and secure access between locations; to connect PBX’s or multiple servers; to restrict internet access to a single location.

The Fractional T1 is limited to a predetermined number of channels or bandwidth. Fractional T1’s are typically used for small businesses and small branch offices and carry the same reliability and guarantee as a full T1.

An Integrated T1 combines both voice and data services on the same T1. The voice channels simply lay dormant when no phone calls are being made or received.

A Dynamic T1 will instantly allocate bandwidth to a phone call on an as needed basis.  When a call comes in or when an outside line is accessed, the required bandwidth needed for the call is dedicated to that conversation. When the call is completed the bandwidth is released and made available for data use.

A Bonded T1 combines multiple T1’s to make them work as a single circuit.

So, what makes one T 1 different from another? It’s the equipment at each end. The equipment and its configuration will determine the speed, routing, type, cost, etc. of the T1. Each T1 provider will vary in their services offered, provisioning, service guarantees, footprint, etc. T1 prices also vary greatly.

Let’s Simply SIP

SIP or Session Initiation Protocol is a signaling protocol used for setting up sessions in an IP network.  A session may be as simple as a two-way telephone call or as jointed as a multi-media conference session.

Over the last few years, the VoIP (Voice over IP) population has taken on SIP as its protocol of choice.  SIP is an RFC standard (RFC 3261) from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), which is the organization in charge of the control and development of the machine that comprises the Internet.

SIP is a request-response protocol that acts similarly like two other Internet protocols, HTTP and SMTP.  These two protocols power the World Wide Web and the email system.  So, SIP mingles contentedly with internet applications and can be used to build connected voice (and multimedia) services.

SIP has become a robust force which is influencing today’s telecom industry. But SIP does not do everything, and it does not solve all problems. SIP has limits, but it works well with other protocols to get a job done.

SIP is hardly a cure-all and was never designed to be.  SIP is flexible and sticks to doing what it does best.

Plays Nice in the Sandbox

SIPs role is to help session creators deliver invitations to potential session participants wherever they may be.

SIP was modeled after HTTP, using URLs for addressing and SDP to convey session information.

SIP was designed so that it would be easy to attach SIP functions to existing protocols and applications, such as e-mail and Web browsers. It does this by limiting itself to a component values system and focusing on a specific set of functions.

SIP is, however, an important piece to IP telephony protocols and has four functions that work with existing and future IP telephony:

  1. SIP allows for the establishment of user location (i.e. translating from a user’s name to their current network address).
  2. SIP provides feature cooperation so that all of the people in a session can agree on what is to be supported among them.
  3. SIP is a device for call management – adding, dropping, or transferring participants.
  4. And finally SIP allows for changing features of a session while it is in progress.

SIP is not a session description protocol; SIP does not do conference control; SIP is not a source reservation protocol and it has nothing to do with quality of service (QoS).

SIP is an important protocol which is becoming widely deployed. SIP delivers a voice over IP network into a true IP communications network capable of delivering next generation converged services. SIP is powerful, but simple. But that power comes from doing what it does best, and playing nicely with other protocols in the converged protocol sandbox.

Email Scams Part 2-Work from Home

Work-at-Home Scams

The Bait: Advertisements that promise steady income for minimal labor – in medical claims processing, envelope-stuffing, craft assembly work, or other jobs. The ads use similar come-ons: Fast cash. Minimal work. No risk. And the advantage of working from home when it’s convenient for you.

The Catch: The ads don’t say you may have to work many hours without pay, or pay hidden costs to place newspaper ads, make photocopies, or buy supplies, software, or equipment to do the job. Once you put in your own time and money, you’re likely to find promoters who refuse to pay you, claiming that your work isn’t up to their “quality standards.”

Your Safety Net: The FTC has yet to find anyone who has gotten rich stuffing envelopes or assembling magnets at home. Legitimate work-at-home business promoters should tell you – in writing – exactly what’s involved in the program they’re selling. Before you commit any money, find out what tasks you will have to perform, whether you will be paid a salary or work on commission, who will pay you, when you will get your first paycheck, the total cost of the program – including supplies, equipment and membership fees – and what you will get for your money. Can you verify information from current workers? Be aware of “shills,” people who are paid to lie and give you every reason to pay for work. Get professional advice from a lawyer, an accountant, a financial advisor, or another expert if you need it, and check out the company with your local consumer protection agency, state Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau – not only where the company is located, but also where you live.

Forward work-at-home scams to

Is Dynamic T1 Service Right For your Business?


 The word dynamic means vigorous and self-motivated and that pretty much describes Dynamic T1 service.

First let’s go back a bit and review some basic T1 line information.  A T1 line refers to a specialized type of phone line that can carry information faster than traditional copper lines. Twisted copper telephone lines have been used for decades to transmit voice and data over analog signals. The standard service today has upgraded to lines made of bundles of glass fibers called fiber optic lines.  However, most T1 lines are still made of twisted copper. A T-1 is a digital voice and data line that can transmit 1.544 megabits per second, or be used to transmit 24 digitized voice channels.

The T1 can be used in a commercial building to carry phone service or used for data transfer on a network, while affording service up to 60 times faster than a modem. Some T-1 lines are set up as private point to point connections between two business locations.

 An Integrated T1 combines voice and data services (24 channels with data speed of 64 Kbps each) on the same T1 and it is configured by splitting off a defined number of channels to voice service, and the remainder is used for data or internet.  When configured this way, the bandwidth for the Internet or data never changes.  Integrated has become popular with businesses because of its flexibility as it allows business to run several services such as local and long distance telephone, Internet, and voice over IP (VoIP) over a single circuit at the same time.

 Now, a Dynamic T1 is an Integrated T1 with more flexibility.  Dynamic gives priority to phone calls but it re-assigns the bandwidth to speed up your broadband when the phone is hung up. This service adapts itself to your needs on a continuous basis. 

 A Dynamic T1 is an ideal choice for smaller business that needs both telephone lines and Internet broadband. A larger business may need multiple T-1 lines to accommodate multiple employees, but a smaller business needs services sized for the type of company and priced so that it is affordable.

 Is Dynamic T1 Service Right for Your Business?

It’s certainly more cost effective than buying separate T-1 lines for telephone and Internet access when that’s more capacity than you really need. It can also save you money compared to buying a bunch of individual telephone lines and a separate DSL or Cable broadband service that may not be all that reliable. Dynamic T-1 service is highly reliable and an excellent value for the money.

Email Scams-Phishing, What is it?


The Bait: Email or pop-up messages that claim to be from a business or organization you may deal with – say, an Internet Service Provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a government agency. The message may ask you to “update,” “validate,” or “confirm” your account information or face dire consequences.

The Catch: Phishing is a scam where internet fraudsters send spam or pop-up messages to reel in personal and financial information from unsuspecting victims. The messages direct you to a website that looks just like a legitimate organization’s site, or to a phone number purporting to be real. But these are bogus and exist simply to trick you into divulging your personal information so the operators can steal it, fake your identity, and run up bills or commit crimes in your name.

Your Safety Net: Make it a policy never to respond to emails or pop-ups that ask for your personal or financial information, click on links in the message, or call phone numbers given in the message. Don’t cut and paste a link from the message into your Web browser, either: phishers can make links look like they go one place, but then actually take you to a look-alike site. If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization using a phone number you know to be genuine, or open a new internet browser session and type in the company’s correct Web address yourself. Using anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a firewall, and keeping them up to date, can help.

Forward phishing emails to and to the organization that is being spoofed.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is growing at an impressive rate. But what does Twitter look like? How does it work? And how do you get started with it? In this film you learn everything you need to know to get started with Twitter!

What is Twitter?Animated Explanations