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EtherSpeak, Inc.

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Is Skype the Future Backbone of Microsoft Lync UC Platform?

Posted by EtherSpeak on July 21, 2011

Ever since the official announcement about the $8.5 billion take over of Skype by Microsoft, there has been lots of chatter online as to what the intentions of Microsoft would be.

I certainly added in my two cents on a few forums and over at LinkedIn as to what extent MSFT would use Skype and would they actually be using it for their Lync Unified Communications. As a SIP Trunk Provider for Microsoft Lync, I am extremely intriqued as to how Microsoft plans on pulling this off.

If it is a good thing – then I think it is safe to say it is a risky thing too.   In this case, I don’t think this risk is bad – if they pull it off right – oh no… flashbacks of Vista are are starting to surface…

Since I’m not a technical guru when it comes to SIP I tend to look at this more from an overall general operational view point.   Will they have to re-engineer Skype to address concerns of security.   Lync already runs using SRTP which provides encryption from end point to end point.   Will Skpe be treated the same?

Other questions:

1.  Will Skype still be Skype?   Skype has millions of users, and not all of them are businesses.  Heck, my 84 year old Uncles uses Skype to keep in touch with his son in Spain.   So will MSFT keep a regular non-business version?

2.  How long will this take?  I haven’t seen any detailed information on when the rollout will be and even exactly how they will be using it.   Then again, I haven’t necessarily Binged the topic either lately, so I may be behind the times.  Clue me in if you got some useful links to pass around.

3.  Will Skype still be free?   I don’t use Skype here at work – but I do use it at home to keep in touch with clients related to a side hobby of mine.   I don’t pay a dime and don’t anticipate that I ever will.

4.  To what degree will MSFT incorporate Skype into Lync?  Will it simply be integrated as an extra feature – or will it become the status quo?   According to Ballmer, MSFT would integrate Lync and Skype.   Being married to a programmer – the word “integrated” is not very specific.  Would this mean that users can call from Lync to other businesses using Skype at much cheaper rates than what the phone service would charge?   What about cell rates internationally?   Would it compete with ShoreTel Mobility?   This all remains to be seen…

So as we anxiously await these changes, I’ll keep using my Skype at home and just hope that indeed MSFT doesn’t forget the millions of individual users like me who really hope they don’t pull something crazy like NetFlix did to their customers (suddenly upping prices with very little to no clear explanation).

Microsoft – I really hope you get it right.


Liz Krause


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A SIP Tip to Turn Cold Call Leads into SIP Leads

Posted by EtherSpeak on June 13, 2011

It’s one thing when a company hears about you and comes asking for your service. As long as you can deliver according to their needs – you’ve got a hot lead handed to you on a silver platter.  Don’t you love those days?

It’s easy to see dollar signs when you look at all the companies in your neighborhood or that are somehow within your reach.   The problem is how do you get these companies to come to you?   Obviously you cannot wait around hoping someone comes knocking on your door.   Of course, you should be getting inbound leads no matter what – don’t get me wrong.  That’s another post…

So the question is, how do you get your foot in the door?   There are lots of books written with creative techniques about finding the right contact, and what kind of presentation one should do to “wow” the prospect – but how about trying a back door approach?

If your main goal is to sell a big phone system, that’s a kind of difficult sell when knocking on doors.  Even if you know for a fact they could benefit from your system, it’s a hard cold call sell.

How about starting with a different product first?   Take for example our iEtherFax service – it’s low cost, saves the company money and doesn’t require a huge overhaul of anyone’s existing phone system.

During the push to get the fax service set up, you need to request a… phone bill… see where this is going?  Now you can tell if indeed these folks could benefit from your system – they gave you the information and you have a perfect “in” for suggesting another way they can save even more money.

At this point – you can offer a free phone review and show them how they can save even more money.   All you have to say is, “I noticed some of your phone bills are pretty high.  Since I already have your statements, mind if I do a free phone review for you?  I might be able to save you even some more money.”

Naturally, we’d expect the smart business person to say sure – go ahead.

I’ve seen this done before with many products – in marketing and sales it’s called “up selling”.   Nothing sneaky – but it is rather strategic when the opportunity is right.

Have a view point?  Agree with what’s above or do you disagree?

Share your views!

EtherSpeak, Inc.
SIP Phone Service Provider

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Where have the IT security police gone?

Posted by EtherSpeak on April 22, 2011

Looking back several years before the economic downturn and shortly after 9/11 you couldn’t escape the corporate regulators who wanted to lock down all IT systems and create compartmentalized access to information. For most applications this has become perhaps a distant memory from the pain of implementation but now built and fading into the background.

A long overdue application that is dancing with explosive adoption and a certain future of compliance focused regulations is VoIP and SIP. Interestingly, VoIP on customer premise has levels of security however SIP, which is a common carrier protocol, has raced to the forefront with total disregard for government and corporate compliance officers.

With exponential adoption rates of SIP in government and large enterprise it raises the question: How secure is this technology? With readily available IP based applications at any users fingertips the web has amplified the security exposure nearly to an immeasurable problem. With so much exposure how do businesses ensure their SIP is secure? The same way we secure the other mission critical applications: we build isolated infrastructure to minimize exposure and encrypt the applications to avoid information being compromised.

EtherSpeak offers industry leading MPLS services to build the highly reliable and insulated infrastructure from the public internet as well as offers TLS/SRTP and VPN based encryption solutions for additional security.

For more information about SIP encryption, contact a sales rep at (866) 384-3747 or visit us at

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Read why Georgia Poison Control turned to a SIP solution for their business…

Posted by EtherSpeak on April 13, 2011

The Georgia Poison Control Center in Georgia,  Atlanta is a very serious business.

They service the entire state of Atlanta and when it comes to reliable phone systems and connections – there is no room for error.

Whether there is an increase in influenza or someone accidentally swallowed a dangerous substance – they call the Georgia Poison Control for advice and assistance.  They connect callers to experts located in and outside Atlanta with the job of calming nerves and giving the right advice.

To learn why Georgia Poison Control decided it was time to upgrade their phone systems and infrastructure and prepare for the a secure future, read our latest press release here to read more.

To learn more about SIP Trunking and EtherSpeak, visit our website at:

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Georgia Poison Control Assures Operational Readiness in the Face of the Unthinkable

Posted by EtherSpeak on April 13, 2011

Atlanta, GA April 5, 2011 — Dr. Robert Geller MD, and Dr. Gaylord Lopez of the Georgia Poison Control have a daunting task when the unthinkable occurs in the form of a terrorist attack, pandemic, or a catastrophic poisoning event; they have to answer the phones and provide the first line for responding to the concerns of the public.

Georgia Poison Control is responsible for the handling the state’s triage system for catastrophic emergencies that threaten the safety of its more than 9.8 million residents. The new IT system they were looking for had to have the ability to reliably support up to 480 inbound phone calls at any single instance.
Building a telephone system that could handle this type of inbound traffic on extremely short notice created a logistical and budgetary challenge which traditional technology would not support. To meet this challenge, Georgia Poison Control elicited the help of local telephony partner Stormwood Technologies.

Understanding Georgia Poison’s requirements, Stormwood architected a Voice over IP (VoIP) solution by soliciting the help of two major IP telephony players, ShoreTel, and EtherSpeak Communications, Inc. ShoreTel provided their ShoreTel Unified Communications phone system, while EtherSpeak provided their ability to process 600 concurrent calls and a managed connectivity solution which provides a wide pipe to seamlessly connect to the ShoreTel platform.
“We were presented with a challenge that many businesses deal with – costs and time constraints.” Byron Stewart, Stormwood’s Chief Technology Officer stated. “Using ShoreTel’s UC system alongside with EtherSpeak’s SIP service, we were able to provide a viable solution that successfully met both these challenges.”

Stewart architected the ShoreTel solution while a team of EtherSpeak engineers coordinated the SIP trunking, MPLS and internet services to meet Georgia Poison Center’s requirements. In the end, the final solution orchestrated by Stormwood produced an innovative and cost effective phone system capable of receiving 480 calls instantaneously.

Dr. Geller of the Georgia Poison Control stated, “What we needed to do technically was daunting – and almost inconceivable considering our limited resources and requirement for 480 call paths on-demand to fulfill an important part of our mission. However, Stormwood and EtherSpeak’s solution will allow us to help fulfill our mission by delivering the right capacity and capability on-time and on-budget.”

Stormwood Technologies is a recognized IT leader in delivering IT communications. As a full service consulting network integration company they provide their services to a wide range of enterprise customers and offer assessments, network design, remote & on-site network, IP Telephony, video conferencing, data networks, virtualization, and disaster recovery. For more information about Stormwood, visit:
EtherSpeak Communications, Inc. is an IP communications service provider. As a leading SIP trunk provider, they are recognized for their innovative offering by leading UC companies such as ShoreTel, Microsoft, Cisco and others. EtherSpeak provides managed IP connectivity options, IP PBX hosting, call encryption and fax connectivity services. For more information about EtherSpeak, please visit:

Contact Information:
Liz Krause, Manager of Marketing and Communications
EtherSpeak Communications, Inc.
703.221.9999 x406


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EtherSpeak and ShoreTel Mobility – True Power…True Savings

Posted by EtherSpeak on March 24, 2011

EtherSpeak SIP and ShoreTel Mobility

There’s a lot of buzz going around out there over ShoreTel Mobility and rightly so.   I just learned about it a few weeks ago when one of our Sales Managers was filling me in on the technology.   We decided we needed to do a series in our newsletter (sign up here) on the topic because it involves EtherSpeak and let’s face it – it is just really cool.

What is ShoreTel Mobility?

I’ll just quote how my Sales Manager explained it for our newsletter, “With ShoreTel Mobility, users now have the ability to extend their office phone, and the same great UC functions to their mobile phone … ShoreTel Mobility is a component of the ShoreTel UC platform.”

So as a former business owner myself, the bottom line is “what is the bottom line?”  Where are cost savings?

This is where EtherSpeak comes in.

EtherSpeak offers SIP services (with or without encryption) as bundled packages – like how your cell phone service charges you for minutes.  You are allotted this much usage for x price.  If you are dealing with international calls, there are additional rates which are applied.  I’ll get into that in a minute (pun not intended).

When using ShoreTel Mobility, whatever SIP package your office uses will also be applied to your cell phone.  So if you have a Silver SIP bundle at X price and allows X usage, but you are out on business using your cell for most of the time, your cell will be recognized as if you were using your VoIP phone in the office.   Nifty eh?

Please don’t ask me how this works in technical terms – it just does.

But what about international rates?

As part of the conversation I had with my Sales Manager, he gave me an example of one company who was in a situation where they did a lot of business over the cell phone.

The problem was that they were calling internationally quite a bit and the bills were obviously pretty high.   He was currently paying 60 cents a minute.

However by using the  ShoreTel Mobility add on alongside EtherSpeak SIP service – he would only be paying 6 cents a minute.

That got me curious as to what some more savings are and I decided to put together a comparison chart with various international hot spots.

The comparison compares EtherSpeak rates with those of Sprint’s International Add On (the per minute rates were pulled from their website).  You will see the immediate benefits to using ShoreTel Mobility & EtherSpeak.

France:   Sprint = $.21  EtherSpeak = $.03

Germany:  Sprint = $.27 EtherSpeak = $.03

Italy: Sprint = $.36  EtherSpeak = $.04

South Africa:  Sprint = $.51  EtherSpeak = $.03

Peru:  Sprint = $.44  EtherSpeak = $.10

Chile:  Sprint = $.37 EtherSpeak = $.06

Spain:  Sprint = $.32 EtherSpeak = $.02

UK: Sprint = $.39 EtherSpeak = $.02

I’ve quickly become a fan of ShoreTel Mobility and I love showcasing just a small sampling of the savings that EtherSpeak can bring to the table.   What is really amazing however (this will be touched on in the next newsletter) is that ShoreTel Mobility can actually be used as an add on to other UC platforms such as Avaya, Cisco, and Microsoft OCS/Lync.

If you want to learn more about using ShoreTel Mobility with EtherSpeak services, contact our sales department by emailing Sales (AT) or call (866) 384-3747 and use the prompts or ask for Sales.

Until next time…


Liz Krause
EtherSpeak Communications, Inc.
Business SIP Service Provider

Posted in shoretel mobility | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why are Google and Others Blocking my Emails?

Posted by EtherSpeak on March 7, 2011

As a business owner you are well aware of the high level of sensitivity email marketing entails. How many times have you sent out legitimate emails to your customers only to have them blocked by Google, AOL or other email providers? It’s frustrating nonetheless when you know it’s not spam – yet it is viewed as such.

It is no wonder that so many new companies are springing up each day touting new email delivery services. Most of these offer their services for a monthly fee based on the number of subscribers. Examples are Constant Contact, iContact, GetResponse, etc.

These companies usually don’t have issues of being blocked because they are properly set up with IPS’s to show that they are legitimate senders of emails.
One of the ways to do this is by use of a Primary Transversal Record or PTR.

The PTR or Host PTR is a commonly confused concept in the realm of DNS and deserves a simple explanation for reference. A common experience related to the lack of proper PTRs is service providers like Google or AOL blocking outbound emails from businesses.

This is primarily a security and anti-spam policy which blocks email from IP addresses without a corresponding fully qualified domain name.

Remember, a true domain name ( is always tied to an IP address. If a domain name is not tied to an IP address or vice versa – this is considered a red flag.

In order to avoid these types of issues, a company would be required to have in place a PTR record which allows for a reverse look up of any IP address to provide the fully qualified domain name. Therefore, Google, AOL and others will look to see if you have a PTR record which would give them the information they need to make sure your business is not in the business of spamming.

Unless a business owns their own autonomous system and can be viewed as an internet service provider then they will be required to request a PTR be created by their internet service provider. The information needed by a service provider to establish a PTR is simple:

Pubic IP Address (W.X.Y.Z) maps to

This would create the following PTR: IN PTR

Notes of Importance:
1). Forward delegation is provided by your domain registrar (like a Network Solutions) – points to W.X.Y.Z – anytime you change Internet Service Providers and obtain new public usable IPs this must be updated with your registrar.
2). Reverse delegation is provided by your ISP – W.X.Y.Z points to – anytime you change Internet Service Providers you will want to request new PTRs with the new ISP.
3). You must have an A record for in your DNS zone whether your business or your service provider is hosting your DNS.
4). You will need an MX record in your DNS zone such as which points to A.B.C.D


Mark Williams
Contributing Engineer
EtherSpeak Communications, Inc.

Posted in EtherSpeakin | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

EtherSpeak has a SPIN

Posted by EtherSpeak on February 24, 2011

EtherSpeak now has a SPIN (Service Provider Identification Number)!

This means if you are part of the Schools and Libraries Program, you can take advantage of the E-Rate fund which is a Government subsidized program providing discounts for telecommunications and internet services – such as those provided by EtherSpeak.

According to the USAC website, the E-Rate program gives schools and libraries discounts to “obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access.”

Because EtherSpeak now has a SPIN – this means you can utilize our services at a discount if qualified.

Submission for these discounts by applicants (you) are due by March 31, 2011(may vary) in order to receive your discounts – so contact us to get the information you need to receive those discounts for EtherSpeak services.

EtherSpeak provides more than just business phone service over the internet.   They offer what is called SIP.  SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol – but basically – it just means really good quality phone over IP services.

However, SIP can be used to offer additional services for businesses of any size.  For example, instead of just using the internet for phone service it can be used for faxing.  In fact, our IP faxing service called, iEtherFax can be used over the regular internet or SIP trunks.

But let’s get back to the SPIN.   Since we now have a SPIN – this should open a number of doors for our Partners to offer new savings to their clients which are qualified ERate applicants.

If you are one of those applicants looking for phone or internet service – contact us at (866) 384.3747 or fill out a contact form here and we’ll help get you started in the right direction.

To learn more about becoming an Authorized EtherSpeak Partner, visit our Partner Page.


EtherSpeak Communications, Inc.
IP SIP  Business Phone and Internet Service Provider

Posted in Discounts and Promos, erate, IP Service Providers | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Offer a taste, remove the fear and close the sale…

Posted by EtherSpeak on February 3, 2011

What do Cosco, BJ’s and Sams Club all have in common?  My father could tell your first hand – they let you TRY food samples before you buy them!  It’s an ingenious way of doing business.

Everyone wins.

What is the number one reason why people don’t try new things?

Answer:  Fear.

What Causes the Fear Factor?

There are I’m sure a zillion reasons for fear, but here are a few that come to my mind:

1.       Fear that they won’t like the item or service.

2.       Fear that they will have wasted their money.

3.       Fear that they will have wasted their time.

4.       Fear of the idea of change.

5.       And in some cases, fear that they could lose their job if it doesn’t go over well.

No matter if it is food or technology related – these fears can ALL be minimized – if not removed by simply doing what these big box stores do best– offer a taste and make the customer/prospect feel comfortable.

Your conversion rate from interested to buyer will undoubtedly increase.

Does 100% Conversion Exist?

For the supplier of the product – this technique works, but not all the time mind you.  You’ll never get 100% all the time.

That’s just reality.

EtherSpeak caught onto this a while ago when they decided to offer a “Try before you Buy” option for many of their services – such as the SIP Trunk services and the iEtherFax service.   After studying their results they reported an 85% conversion rate.

That’s not peanuts.  But you might be wondering what about the other 15%?   Good question.

As stated you’ll never have 100% conversion all the time.   Why not?  Because of outside factors beyond our control.

Three Outside Factors why a Prospect may not Convert:


In regards to SIP Trunking, it can often be related to the quality of the internet available.

Perfect example:  My brother is a pediatrician who started a free health clinic for the uninsured in a rural area which is not very well developed.  He wanted to have his phones through the computer, so he looked into different IP phone service providers and the same conclusion – his DSL wasn’t capable of the connection.

Bragging rights:  I will say that of the companies he spoke with, EtherSpeak is the only one that was actually able to offer a viable solution by offering to set up an EtherSpeak internal network through one of their own private networks.


Next, you have the issue of budget.  Some people just want the Champagne on a beer budget – whether just unaware as to the difference b/w that of high quality business internet and voice data services vs. your standard “let’s talk over SKYPE” – or just the ever loving penny pincher even if over a difference of well… pennies.

Even though EtherSpeak is competitive with their pricing, such as the Bronze SIP Trunk Package which starts at just $99 a month – some companies are just on too tight a budget at the moment.  Don’t lose heart over these companies though because you never know what may happen right around the corner.

The Decision Maker

The third factor – the person testing may not be the one who makes the decision.   How many times have you found the technician knows it’s good for the company (even cost cutting), yet the higher ups just change their minds and put it off for another day?  Yes it just happens and it is out of our control.

This leads us into a great conclusion – how much of the sales process is in our control?

Not much, however we can make the sale easier to close by handing it to them on a silver platter.

And that is what the EtherSpeak Try before you Buy is – a beautiful display of free salmon croquettes served by friendly service reps at the end of every aisle (or phone line) for everyone to try!

Liz Krause
EtherSpeak Communications, LLC
SIP Trunk Service Provider

Posted in EtherSpeakin | Leave a Comment »

Net neutrality – Who really benefits?

Posted by EtherSpeak on February 3, 2011

Contributed by: Bill Alessi, EtherSpeak Communications

As defined by Wikipedia, Network Neutrality (AKA net neutrality and internet neutrality) is a principle proposed for users’ access to networks participating in the Internet. The principle advocates no restrictions by Internet Service Providers and governments on content, sites, platforms, the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and the modes of communication.

About a month or so ago the FCC, approved in a 3-2 vote, to bar broadband companies from managing their networks in ways that unfairly discriminate against competitors.

Basically, the big names like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have been trying to put restrictions and limitations on internet users who are using the services of other providers such as NetFlix. IP based voice providers, such as EtherSpeak, have also been affected by this a bit as the “big guys” have been blocking or de-prioritizing voice traffic from competing service providers.

Consumers have been increasingly using their internet connections to watch their favorite TV shows and movies at a fraction of the cost of what the cable companies are charging, and using the services of Voice over IP providers such as Vonage and Skype to dramatically decrease their phone bills.

The regulations imposed by the FCC, approved in a 3-2 vote, would bar broadband companies from managing their networks in ways that unfairly discriminate against competitors. Infractions would be considered on a case-by-case basis but would probably include degrading the quality of rival video sites or charging a per site or per application extra fees for faster delivery over a broadband network.

The “big guys” would also have to disclose how they are managing traffic over their networks. According to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, this would help to head off bad behavior.

So, what will this mean to the consumer? Sure, you can keep your Netflix, Vonage, Skype, etc. service, but your ISP is going to charge you a premium?!?

The “big guys” love this. Sure they won’t be able to block or degrade service from competitors (well they can, but might get a slap on the wrist or a bit of a fine), but they will get more revenue by letting their customers use services from competing service providers.

Hmmm. President Obama appointed Mr. Genachowski as FCC Chairman, knowing full well that his background was from SBC, which acquired AT&T. Some say this is a conflict of interest, some say not.

So, the question is, will the Regulations from the FCC regarding Net Neutrality be of benefit to the end user, or really to the “big guys”?

Bill Alessi
EtherSpeak Communications, LLC
SIP Trunk Provider


Posted in IP Service Providers | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »