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Advanced VoIP Communication Solutions from McLeodUSA


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January 19, 2007

Advanced VoIP Communication Solutions from McLeodUSA

By Rahul Prabhakar
TMCnet Contributing Editor

How many voice and data service providers cater specifically to the needs of IP PBX (News - Alert) consumers? Not many, if you ask me. However, some companies, like McLeodUSA Inc., are competing in this space and trying to capture the small and medium-sized businesses market segment.

McLeodUSA is one of the largest service providers of integrated data and communication, catering to the needs of more than 490 cities across the country. The company recently announced the launch of its advanced solution for voice and data services facilitating direct VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). This service connects a customer’s IP PBX and McLeodUSA’s network.

Utilizing a single high-speed connection and varying bandwidth capacity (from 1.5 Mbps to 45.0 Mbps), McLeodUSA’s IP PBX Trunking provides integrated voice and data services to IP PBX systems. In addition, these features enhance the calling capacity and reduce the costs for local and long distance calls.

IP PBX Trunking is designed such that it can cater to requirements of voice and data applications for businesses spread over multiple locations. It’s industry-standard direct SIP (Session Initiation Protocol (News - Alert)) interface increases the efficacy of network connections between a customers’s IP PBX and McLeodUSA’ secure network. Customers can avail free site-to-site calling facilities, equipped with abbreviated dialing at all locations.

Features of McLeodUSA’s IP PBX Trunking are:

--Includes 6 to 50 voice calling paths.
--Provides unlimited local calling and expanded local calling area through a single T1 circuit.
--Equipped with a bandwidth up to 1.5 Mbps in the base configuration - thus facilitating high-speed Internet access.
--Provides free site-to-site calling - offers choice among the available long distance plans.
--Provides either a new number or ports the existing toll-free number(s) to avail the facility.

Referring to the unique features and advantages of IP PBX Trunking, Chris MacFarland, McLeodUSA’s chief technology officer, said in a press release that, “McLeodUSA has bundled the essential voice and data services to meet the needs of businesses with next-generation IP PBXs into an affordable, packaged solution. The fact that we are keeping the calls VoIP between our customers’ PBX and our network saves them money and allows our customers to utilize more advanced features like business continuity not generally available from a legacy TDM based service provider. This solution uses proven VoIP technology on McLeodUSA’s SIP based MPLS (MultiProtocol Label Switching) IP network to bring customers the latest in flexibility and data speed regardless of bandwidth requirements.”

MacFarland believes, “We’re focused on developing and delivering solutions that improve the productivity of our business customers. IP PBX Trunking is one more example of how we’re using advanced technology to create service solutions that matter and remove the burden of managing advanced IT technology for our customers.”

In order to establish a secured network for private voice and data services for enterprises with various business locations or remote teleworkers, the customers can merge IP PBX Trunking with McLeodUSA’s IP VPN (Virtual Private Network). When combined with Remote VPN services and Managed Firewall, these services provide customers with a complete solution, giving them the accessibility to critical data on the corporation’s network securely from any given location.

Rick Buyens, executive vice President of sales, stated “The convergence of these services should be well suited to businesses with 100 or more employees.” He further added, “It’s a great fit for businesses already using or considering the use of a next generation IP PBX. Any business contemplating a conversion from traditional to an IP-based telecommunications system would benefit from this McLeodUSA solution.”

To render ease and manageability, a web-based control panel has also been designed for customers. This panel acts like a portal, which helps them make changes in the existing features and call handling abilities.

This facility offers the following benefits:

--Aids in costs reduction: common changes in lines are incorporated without any changes in order.
--Saves time: no waiting time for feature change orders or changes to call handling.
--Provides simplicity: with multiple business locations being managed from a single interface, it is relatively easy to work with.
--Improves visibility: the facility to obtain Online and downloadable long distance calling reports lends visibility to the service.

With a view to provide uninterrupted efficient services to its clientele, McLeodUSA operates with one of the largest competitive, fiber-dense networks in the country and several customers managed web-based portals.

Forwarding its corporate view point, MacFarland added, “Perhaps the most important benefit to McLeodUSA IP PBX Trunking is that fact that all voice and data traffic travels on an IP network owned and managed by McLeodUSA. We have invested over $3 billion in our 17,000 route mile network covering 20 states. The fact that we own, monitor and manage this network, which has service reliability of 99.999%, assures our customers their sensitive communications remain secure.”

We all know that world-class services start with a world-class network. Holding their vision statement high, McLeodUSA is undoubtedly leading by example.

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Rahul Prabhakar is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.


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