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Product Review: An Overview of Broadview Networks’ “BYOB” Hosted VoIP Solution

Over the last few years I couldn’t help but notice how the proliferation of “BYO-something” has invaded the world of telephony and IT.

First it was Bring Your Own Device, and that wave of people (students at universities, mobile employees and others) forced organizations everywhere to beef up their wireless networks to accommodate the tsunami of users who demanded permission to use their own devices. Then, a few years ago the Gartner Group talked about BYOT, Bring Your Own Technology, which caused IT managers to redefine their role as managers of the network rather than managers of users who are “consumerizing” tech. Now comes another known as BYOB, but it’s not a bottle I’m talking about. It’s Bring Your Own Broadband.

BYOB JokeUsers, whether they’re small business owners or employees, are accustomed to having a broadband connection at home and at the office. Why not use that existing business service for VoIP phone traffic? After all, business service from companies like AT&T, Verizon and other alternative providers routinely offer speeds of 40 Mbps and greater.

So why not use the Internet for VoIP? Strangely, the answer to that question immediately reveals the problem, and the problem is the Internet. It’s a public network with no quality of service (QoS) other than what your router might give you. But once your VoIP packets leave your router, QoS disappears. Your router only affects packets within your local network.

Where to Turn?

Hosted VoIP companies like Broadview Networks recognize that BYOB isn’t the answer.

The company was established in 1996 as a regional telecom operation. Today it’s a national provider of cloud-based telephony and related services. It owns and operates its own redundant backbone fiber optic network and can therefore guarantee quality. Tens of thousands of SMB’s use Broadview, and I think they’re well worth your time to investigate.

They’ve developed a solution known as OfficeSuite that manages QoS from point to point and gives you clear, landline grade telephony your business needs if you expect customers and vendors to take you seriously. Here’s a summary from their FAQ page:

“When OfficeSuite service is delivered via On-Net Broadview access, Broadview will use Quality of Service (QoS) policy statements in the Broadview-provided router/Internet access device, to mark signaling and media packets with IP precedence. This will classify those packets across the Broadview Networks’ IP access network, by priority, available across the access link and the network core.”

If you’d like to learn more, here’s another video from Sanjay Patel, VP of Technology at Broadview. He explains that the company uses MPLS to manage QoS.

Now, after making a case against BYOB, I need to explain that Broadview does also give you the choice of using your existing broadband connection. Yes, you can BYOB with Broadview. When you sign up with them they’ll conduct a site survey to assure you have adequate bandwidth available.

So whether you choose to take the rough ride over the Internet, or the MPLS-managed highway that guarantees voice quality, Broadview offers a pretty complete solution.