Could E-Rate Benefit Your Campus?

October 20th, 2017

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If you work in a school or library, there’s a good chance that you are already taking advantage of E-Rate. E-Rate, or the Schools and Libraries Program, is a federally-mandated program to make IT and telecommunications services less expensive for schools and libraries. Since 1997, E-Rate has been connecting these institutions to discounted internet, intranet and telecommunications services.

How Does the E-Rate Program Benefit Schools and Libraries? 

If you are deemed eligible, you can receive discounts on category one services:

  • Telecommunications
  • Telecommunications services
  • Internet (T1, PRI, fiber and/or Ethernet)

You will also receive discounts on category two services:

  • Internal IT connections
  • Internal broadband services
  • Maintenance

Depending on your surrounding community, the discount might range from 20-90%. Areas with higher poverty and less access to information technology typically receive a higher discount, but the program is never free.

How Do You Enroll in E-Rate? 

Your school or library should first submit a request for competitive bids for the E-Rate services you are interested in to the USAC. Your request will be posted on their website for vendors to view. Next, the vendors will submit bids to you for the service or equipment that you need. You can choose your vendor(s) and then submit an E-Rate application to the USAC. This application should list all of the things you want to purchase and their associated costs. If you qualify for coverage with E-Rate, the USAC will issue you a funding commitment.

E-Rate from Teltek 

Teltek is a registered E-Rate vendor (SPIN number 830717), and we enjoy working with schools and libraries to strengthen their infrastructure and better meet the needs of patrons and the community.

On-Premise and Hosted Phone Systems

October 19th, 2017

 

Both on-premise and hosted (cloud/VoIP) phone systems are dependable and effective communication solutions and each system has its own set of advantages and drawbacks. Which system to choose depends on the features that would be most beneficial to your company.

 

On-Premise Phone Systems

An on-premise phone system is a physical system that is owned or leased by the company that is using it. The server is located on-site in an equipment room or phone closet and the company is responsible for the upgrades, maintenance and expansion of the system. Even with an in-house IT/technology department to assist in managing the system, most companies still require some level of support from a Value Added Reseller (VAR), like Teltek for ongoing support and maintenance.

 

Hosted Phone Systems

A hosted phone system is a cloud-based, virtual phone system where the server is located outside of the client’s premise (office). The only hardware required to be on-site at the company is a “VoIP Ready” computer network (Business-grade firewall, Layer 3 Power over Ethernet Switches, battery backup and adequate/reliable internet bandwidth) as well as physical IP phones or Softphones (a software phone application loaded onto computers). Hosted phone systems are usually located in one or more data center(s) and the phones at the company’s location(s) are connected to the virtual phone system via the internet. The hosted provider is responsible for housing/maintaining the core phone system, providing phone service (including managing the client’s phone numbers) and typically, providing ongoing support (client’s moves, adds and changes).

 

Costs

Establishing an on-premise phone system requires you to purchase phones and a server/KSU. With an on-premise phone system, you will have a larger upfront cost because you are buying the equipment, licensing and paying for more-involved installation costs. You will also need to factor in the cost of phone service (analog POTS Lines, PRI or SIP Trunks) which can be procured from one of many companies such as Verizon, Comcast, Teltek, etc. Additionally, you will need to account for ongoing maintenance, hardware replacement and upgrade costs (typically covered under some form of a maintenance agreement supplied by either the manufacturer or the company that sold/implemented the system for you.

For a hosted phone system, you will have the option to either purchase the IP phones or rent them. You should also consider budgeting for some Local Area Network (LAN) upgrades and possibly an increase in internet speeds and/or a redundant Internet Service Provider (ISP). Although start-up costs are lower with a cloud-based phone system, there will also be a monthly expense to account for. Depending on the size of your business and requirements, the overall cost may work out to be more or less expensive than a premise phone system; we recommend calculating all costs over a 5-year period as that is the anticipated lifecycle of a premise phone system before a major upgrade is required.

 

Here is a breakdown of initial investment and ongoing costs associated with each option:

 

On-Premise PBX Costs:

  • Higher initial equipment and set-up costs
  • Potentially higher maintenance costs
  • Potentially lower monthly cost after expenses are covered (based on size, access to affordable bandwidth and feature/functionality requirements)
  • Consider costs associated with a hardware refresh every 5-7 years

 

Hosted PBX Costs:

  • Lower initial equipment and set-up costs
  • No/low maintenance costs
  • Low monthly cost (based on size, access to affordable bandwidth and feature/functionality requirements)

 

Other factors to consider:

  • On-premise systems can be easy to use and manage in most cases, but are less flexible and more costly to scale as your company evolves.
  • On-premise systems have more flexible cabling options if you are in an older building and do not have Ethernet (CAT-5e/CAT-6) cabling installed.
  • If your phone system requires advanced Unified Communications features and complex integrations you may find a cloud system to be easier to deploy and manage.
  • Companies that employ mobile workers or have multiple locations would probably appreciate a hosted system since it’s easily scalable and includes many phone features at no extra charge.
  • Businesses that do not have access to reliable and affordable bandwidth or have inadequate computer networks (outdated cabling, multiple network switches to extend service to various parts of the building, etc.) may find a premise system to be more affordable and accommodating to their needs.

 

Determining which system is better for your company depends on your specific location, communication requirements and budget.

 

Unlike many telephone companies, Teltek does not have a “one-size fits all” business model or mentality. Our goal is to educate our customers on the pros and cons of each solution and help them make an educated business decision for their individual needs. Too often our customers report hearing something like the following from other telephone companies: “VoIP or Premise is the best solution and you don’t want to go with the other one because…” when it turns out the reason they are positioning it that way is because they only offer one of the two options and want to make a sale. We also see a lot of competitor companies not properly educating prospective clients on the importance of having adequate internet for cloud systems and testing local area networks to ensure they are VoIP ready.

 

As stated above, we strongly believe the best way to approach this decision is to:

  1. Evaluate your current internet connection cost, reliability and ability to support the overhead of VOIP
  2. Evaluate your internal computer network for its ability to support VoIP (a free Teltek VoIP Test can be found here: http://www.myteltek.com/comm_portal.php)
  3. Talk to suppliers that offer both VoIP and on-premise options and educate yourself
  4. Create an analysis calculating all costs over a 5-year period (be sure to include lease costs, maintenance costs, cost of upgrades to internet connection, etc., cabling required for network upgrades/modifications, etc.)

 

If you’re still not sure which system would best suit your needs, give Teltek a call at 1-866-9-TELTEK or 410-552-6580. We’ll be happy to talk with you, evaluate your situation and help you make the right decision.

 

Partner With Teltek for Technology Support and Supplier Diversity

October 19th, 2017

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Are you a government agency looking to partner with a qualified and reputable technology company that can help you fulfill a minority participation or supplier diversity requirement? Teltek is the company you’ve been searching for!

 

Teltek has achieved the following socio-economic statuses:

  • Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB)
  • Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business (EDWOSB)
  • MDOT Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)
  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)
  • Small Business Enterprise (SBE)
  • Small Business Reserve (SBR)

 

Founded in 1996, Teltek is a privately-held business located in Maryland. Employing certified telecommunications technicians, network engineers and project managers, we provide turn-key technology solutions including telephone systems, structuralized low voltage cabling, network engineering, internet brokerage services, project management and managed print.

 

Teltek is a registered Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC), Certified Avaya SME Expert Business Partner, NEC Dealer and Microsoft Partner. Our roots in the telecommunications industry date back to 1964 and we are dedicated to providing quality products and services with a reliable, innovative and customer-centric approach.

 

A few of our core competencies include:

 

Need to know more? Please visit our Government Contracting page and view our Capabilities Statement or give us a call at 1-866-9-TELTEK.

 

 

Protect and Support Your Avaya IP Office System With IPOSS

October 17th, 2017

Avaya IP Office Release 9.1

As a Certified Avaya SME Expert Business Partner, the Teltek team is well-versed in all aspects of Avaya products, including installation and service. A few weeks ago, we provided an overview of Avaya IP Office release 10.1. Today we want you to know about a service you should consider to optimize and protect your Avaya Investment.

 

IP Office Support Services (IPOSS) is a comprehensive and customizable solution available to customers with Avaya IP Office systems that are release 8.1 or higher. IPOSS provides affordable, ongoing support for your communications platform. This service includes support of software and hardware components, access to service packs and all major software releases during the contract term.

 

Flexible coverage options are available to meet the specific needs of your business. Award-winning remote technical support is available during standard (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) business hours or 24x7x365.

 

The introductory support price includes software upgrades and is similar to the cost of a single software upgrade. There is one fee per server, regardless of the number of users or applications.

 

IPOSS is available through Avaya Authorized Partners, like Teltek. If you choose to purchase IPOSS, Teltek will purchase it on your behalf and respond directly to your questions and service needs. As a single-source company that provides one-call technology consulting & support for small to mid-sized businesses in Maryland, Washington, DC, Virginia and Pennsylvania, Teltek is your local Avaya connection.

 

The Basic Version of IPOSS includes:

  • Remote technical support for both software and hardware during standard (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) business hours
  • Access to major software upgrades to keep your systems current and to increase functionality
  • Access to minor software releases, service packs and software and firmware updates
  • Access to the Avaya support site tools and intellectual property
  • Enhanced remote connectivity through SSL-VPN for increased security and faster resolution
  • Availability of coverage in 1, 3 or 5-year prepaid terms
  • Low total cost of ownership
  • Competitively priced support

 

Additional Value Options include:

  • Anytime/any day remote support (24x7x365)
  • Advanced Parts Replacement – next business day for critical components
  • Advanced Parts with On-Site support – next business day

 

If you would like to learn more or are ready to optimize your Avaya IP Office system with IPOSS, Call Teltek today at 1-866-9-TELTEK or 410-552-6580.

 

 

E-rate: A Federal Program for Schools and Libraries

October 6th, 2017

 

ClassroomNow that school is back in session, it may be time to evaluate the technology that supports your school or library. Implementing and maintaining phone and computer systems can be expensive, so we wanted to make you aware of a program that may be able to assist you with your technology costs.

 

E-rate is a federal program that helps to make telecommunications and information services more affordable for eligible schools and libraries across the country. Schools must meet the statutory definition of elementary and secondary schools found in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Libraries must meet the statutory definition of library or library consortium found in the 1996 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) (Pub. L. 104-208) and must be eligible for assistance from a state library administrative agency under that Act.

 

Mandated by Congress in 1996 and implemented by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1997, E-rate is funded by the Universal Service Fund and provides discounts for Wi-Fi, high-speed broadband and telecommunications services to eligible schools and libraries. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) is a not-for-profit corporation designated by the FCC to administer the $10 billion Universal Service Fund.

 

If your school or library would like to participate in E-rate, here are the four steps in the process:

 

  1. Request bids for service
  2. Apply for funding
  3. Start receiving services
  4. Invoice USAC

 

You can begin this process by submitting FCC Form 470, which must be filed online in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). This form must be posted on the USAC website for a minimum of 28 days, known as the competitive bidding period. This is a formal process to identify and request the products and services you need so that potential service providers can review your requests online and submit bids for your consideration.

 

Teltek is a registered E-rate Vendor and our Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) is 830717. We have access to nearly all of the telecommunications E-rate carriers throughout the country, which allows us to gather multiple quotes from these carriers and present them to you in an easy-to-read spreadsheet.

 

If you are interested in switching the copper phone lines in your school or library to SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking, our new SIP service is an eligible service under the E-rate program! To learn more about E-rate and Teltek’s role in this program, please visit our E-rate page.

 

Which Type of Phone Service Is Best for Your Business?

October 5th, 2017

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You have several options when selecting a phone service and there are a few things you should know about each type of service in order to make an educated decision. Let us help by defining each of these options and comparing them to each other, so you can choose wisely.

 

POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) is the original phone service delivered over copper wires using analog transmission from a customer’s location to the phone company’s central office. POTS was the standard service provided by telephone companies from 1876 until 1988. 

 

PRI (Primary Rate Interface) was first introduced in 1988 and is still popular with traditional service providers. Until recently, it was the standard for providing telecommunication services to businesses.

 

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) is an alternative to PRI and POTS. SIP utilizes a network connection to run voice traffic over the same lines used for internet and email functions and it has been commercially available since the early 2000s

 

Many phone systems today still use POTS or PRI. SIP Trunking and PRI circuits are both technologies used to connect a business phone system to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). SIP supports communication over the internet and PRIs are circuit switched and used primarily as a dedicated phone line to connect directly to the PSTN.

 

Quality

The benefit of a PRI is that there is a dedicated line to carry each phone call, but since PRI and POTS lines are both limited by their bandwidth, SIP provides a higher-quality connection.

 

SIP Trunking is a packet-based solution, which means phone calls are sent real-time in small packets across the internet. Although data packet loss is possible, this can be mitigated by assigning a higher priority to voice traffic over data packets. Also, the quality of internet connection has greatly improved over recent years and many providers offer reliability and low latency guarantees.

 

Cost

Since SIP Trunks are virtual channels, all you need is a reliable internet connection with enough bandwidth to handle your data and phone call volume. Without the extra hardware needed with a PRI, you will save money on installation and maintenance. This makes SIP a more cost-effective option.

 

Scaling a SIP system is also less expensive than scaling a PRI. If you want to increase the size of your system, a PRI requires that you do this in increments of 23 channels and on-site work is needed. SIP trunks are sold individually on an as-needed basis and it’s simple to add more channels.

 

Reliability

The primary concern with POTS is that certain carriers have stopped repairing these lines and may not support POTS customers in the near future. In the event of a power outage or internet failure, SIP trunk calls can be automatically re-routed to an alternate office location or to mobile devices to prevent costly downtime. Additionally, a company can elect to have redundant internet services at their place of business, enabling SIP trunks to have multiple pathways, which limits downtime.

 

Still have questions about which service will best suit your needs? Call Teltek today at 1-866-9-TELTEK or 410-552-6580.

 

3 Exciting Features of Avaya IP Office 10.1

October 3rd, 2017

Avaya IP Office Release 9.1

 

The newest version of Avaya IP Office, released in June of 2017, includes several new features. Among them are new reporting, recording and system customization tools

 

Integrated Contact Reporter (ICR) is ideal for small to medium companies, as it accommodates 5-25 agents and up to 5 supervisors. ICR offers real-time and historical voice reporting on incoming, external calls.

Other features of ICR include:

  • Agent desktop call control
  • Supervisor desktop call control
  • Agent and supervisor user interface supported on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari browsers
  • 8 Pre-configured summary and detailed historical reports

 

Media Manager is a voice recording and archiving application that replaces Contact Recorder. It is integrated with Web Manager and can interact with cloud-based storage. Media Manager can be used to store, search, playback and download IPO call recordings.

 

CTI WebService API provides a more open platform to allow third party developers the opportunity to build out customized solutions and create applications using IP Office features and functions such as Call Log, Directory, Instant Messaging, Presence and Voicemail services.

 

Would you like to learn more about version 10.1 or Avaya IP Office in general? Give us a call at 1-866-9-TELTEK or visit our Avaya IP Office page.

 

Total Care Assurance = Peace of Mind

September 29th, 2017

TotalCareAssurance

Assurance is a very powerful word that inspires confidence and certainty. Teltek’s Total Care Assurance Program lets you focus on your business and rest assured that your information technology needs are in good hands. You shouldn’t have to wonder if your anti-virus is up to date or worry that you’re paying too much for phone service. Relax and let Teltek take care of it!

 

The “Total” in Total Care Assurance means that Teltek is prepared to manage everything from the phone system to the computers to the software to the printers. We ensure that all equipment is properly installed and integrated. It takes one call to request an update, replacement or repair for any service or equipment you need and one monthly invoice.

 

If you don’t have an IT department, Teltek can be your outsourced IT department. If you do have in-house IT support, Total Care Assurance can supplement those efforts. One of the advantages of bringing on Teltek as your single-source vendor is that we get to know you and your business, which allows us to offer personalized and customized solutions to increase productivity and minimize costly downtime.

 

A few of the services included in this comprehensive package include:


The Total Care Assurance process begins with an in-depth analysis of your existing technology, future business plans and budget. Once the key criteria have been identified, expectations and the frequency of onsite scheduled preventive maintenance visits are discussed. Next, primary and secondary technicians and project managers are assigned to you and then documentation of your network, settings and preferences is completed. Finally, all systems and software are upgraded to a manageable level and your ongoing support begins. All of the above is managed by a friendly and responsive Project Manager who ensures that your installation, upgrade or ongoing service is implemented to your specifications and satisfaction.

 

Are you ready to begin the Total Care Assurance experience and have peace of mind? Call Teltek today at 1-866-9-TELTEK or 410-552-6580.

 

A FREE Technology Expense Assessment? How is That Possible?

September 26th, 2017

 

investing in technologyAfter reviewing the four previous articles in our Technology Expense Assessment Series, you must be asking, “How does Teltek do all of this for free and what’s the catch?”

 

The answer is simple – there is no catch! Teltek is paid directly from the suppliers that you select and in some cases, charge for the project management and implementation of the new services if you ask us to do so.

 

The growing popularity of Cloud Technologies, Software as a Service (SaaS) and Hardware as a Service (HaaS) continues to promote this winning “channel centric” distribution model outlined below:

 

  • Suppliers win because they keep their costs low by reducing/eliminating costly sales people. They are also able to reduce their costs and marketing efforts by focusing their attention on technology influences like IT Consultants, Value Added Resellers (VARS) and Managed Services Providers (MSPS) versus a much wider and harder audience to reach – the end customer.

 

  • Local technology experts like Teltek win by profiting from the promotion of the best products and services available by the best companies.

 

  • You, the end-user, win by getting more-knowledgeable and in most cases, local advisors. More time is spent with each client because evaluating multiple services at the same time creates a larger opportunity. Additionally, it is significantly faster, less expensive and more efficient for Teltek to gather multiple quotes and translate it into our easy-to-understand Technology Expense Management Matrix (TEMM) report. Finally, you have one company to deal with, which ensures that all of your selections are compatible to work together and there is no costly overlap.

 

No Catch – Everyone Just Wins!

 

If you would like to know more about the technology expense assessment process or you are ready to schedule your FREE assessment, call us today at 1-866-9-TELTEK or 410-552-6580.

 

Advantages of a BYOD Work Environment and How to Start One

September 22nd, 2017

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Wikipedia defines BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) as “the policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned devices (laptops, tablets, and smart phones) to their workplace, and to use those devices to access privileged company information and applications.” The logic behind this trend is that employees are bringing their devices to work anyway, so why not let them work with the technology they are most comfortable using?

 

There are many advantages to adopting a BYOD policy at your company. It’s a great way to save money and there’s no learning curve for your employees. Research has shown that some workers are happier and more productive when using their own phones, tablets and laptops. Like all business practices, there are downsides to BYOD, such as security risks, that should be carefully considered before making a final decision.

 

If you are ready to implement BYOD at your company, here are a few tips to get started:

 

  1. Survey your employees to get an understanding of who would like to participate in the new BYOD plan and which devices they would like to use. Ensure you have a backup plan for employees who do not wish to participate or when employee devices are failing.

 

  1. Have a clear and thorough BYOD policy that includes topics such as proper usage, security and equipment.

 

  1. Review your BYOD policy every few months and keep it updated as circumstances evolve and change.

 

  1. Ensure your IT department or consultant has the knowledge and experience to support a wide variety of devices.

 

  1. Upgrade to cloud technology to support your BYOD efforts. Teltek’s Nebulosity Voice Cloud PBX allows your team to work from remote locations while remaining connected to the same office telephone system.

 

Don’t have an IT department to rely on? Teltek can help! Call us today at 1-866-9-TELTEK for consulting and equipment expertise.