Product Review: SafeSoft’s Hosted Call Center Solutions 

I’ve been reading a book titled “Call Center Management on Fast Forward.” It is one of those “must read” books that’s been recognized by just about everyone who’s ever taken on the managing a call center. As the foreword says, “To successfully lead and manage, you need a good understanding of today’s unique customer contact environment and an effective planning and management framework.”

If your SMB is looking for a way to generate more sales leads, a call center is a viable option. Inbound call centers react to prospects who respond to your marketing campaigns. Outbound call centers are charged with finding new prospects.

Woman Calling Call CenterOf the two, an inbound call center is a bit easier to setup. You’ll need to find the right cloud based phone solution, hire the right people, train them, get them up to speed on each of your marketing campaigns, and write scripts they can use to respond to inbound phone calls. But don’t under-estimate the work involved in getting an inbound call center up and running. It’s a serious piece of work.

The outbound call center is a different animal all together. You have to be aware of and abide by the Do Not Call rules if you plan to contact consumers. Failure to do so could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in fines. And, you’ll need to write scripts for your telemarketers to use. You’ll probably want to do some A/B testing to see which script delivers the greatest number of new prospects. You’ll need to train your outbound callers. This, too, is a major piece of work.

Enter the turn key call center. SafeSoft Solutions, was founded in 2006. Headquartered in Woodland Hills, CA, they offer a same-day-deployment call center that helps SMB’s cost effectively increase sales, provide more personalized service, and deliver effective targeted marketing campaigns. In other words, SafeSoft offers both inbound and outbound call center operations.

Safesoft provides outbound calling as outlined in the video below, claiming up to 400 percent greater opportunity to generate new leads. Their cloud-based application, MarketDialer, provides an API that lets you connect leading ERP and CRM packages to the Safesoft product.

Their inbound call center product delivers automatic call distribution (ACD) that intelligently routes incoming calls to the best agent, a specific agent queue, an overflow queue, the interactive voice response menu, to a voice mail box or even to a specific agent’s extension.

Inbound caller data can be presented in a “screen pop” to the inbound agent’s desktop directly from the caller’s IVR selections or the caller ID.  Such personal contact and order information follows the call if it is transferred to another agent. If you’d like to learn more about the best way to set up a call center, a visit to SafeSoft’s website is a good place to begin. Feel free to contact me to learn more about Safesoft and other alternatives that can put you online with a cloud-based call center.

Why Build a Secure, Business-Grade Multilocation 4G Wireless Network?

I’ve been hearing for a while that the benefits of keeping a distributed enterprise connected wirelessly, could provide one of those rare occasions where CFOs and CTOs can actually agree on something.

As 4G networks from the major carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile continue to grow in coverage, speed and reliability, I began to consider whether I could tie multipleGetting Free From POTS locations together via 4G rather than using the public WAN or a dedicated, managed service from one of the major providers. Then, if it were possible, could it be done so that I also got the quality of service my applications required at a cost lower than conventional MPLS solutions using VPN? Furthermore, would it make sense to build a multi-location 4G wireless network to serve as a backup in the event of catastrophic failure of hard-wired solutions?

I had a lot of questions and my first step in getting answers involved looking at speed and coverage the various 4G providers deliver, as I had no dreams of approaching the FCC to setup my own 4G infrastructure.

I found the interactive graph at OpenSignal.com (hover your mouse over the flag of the country you’re interested in). That gave me an overview of download speeds and coverage from the major providers, although I quickly realized I needed to look at speed and coverage at each of my locations. Fortunately, a free app from OpenSignal.com, which describes itself as “the global authority on wireless networks,”  offered all the data I needed. Their 3G 4G WiFi Maps & Speed Test app showed me which carriers offer the best service at each location, including download, upload and latency statistics.



Armed with information on the carrier that delivered the best overall coverage and speed in my area, I asked our IT people at each remote location to measure speed and latency inside each room.  In doing that, we found that some locations needed a signal booster and/or a high gain antenna on the roof to overcome the attenuation caused by the brick and mortar certain buildings interposed between the cell tower and the computer room.

Finally, I looked at various appliances that provide an interface between the 4G signal and the local area network. I considered several important issues, including remote management of the appliance; monitoring (and automatic reporting alarms) when latency or speed fell below acceptable values; load balancing and fail-over capabilities; and the ability to route traffic via conventional terrestrial networks.

Data Transfer Through 4GThis last issue is critical. Having a 4G network doesn’t mean it should be used for all traffic because 4G is metered and can be expensive. There’s no reason to pay for data transfer via 4G that can be handled more economically over non-metered terrestrial means.

If you’re considering a 4G network as an alternate path for your data as a backup for terrestrial traffic during an outage or to connect services like VoiP between you business locations, feel free to reach out. We would be glad to assist or point you to a trustworthy, local solution provider.

Additional Resources:

Whitepaper on building a 4G WAN

4G WAN Glossary

Increasing Internet Bandwidth by Bonding Inexpensive Coax Cable and DSL

Your multi location business could benefit by bonding individual wide area network circuits together in three ways:

  • It can increase bandwidth and speed throughout your MPLS WAN.
  • It can minimize the impact of an outage that one of your providers might occasionally suffer.
  • If bonding is done correctly, it can save you money.

My favorite solution provider that aggregates and integrates all carriers to allow entities with multiple locations with a nationwide network solutions is Bandwave Systems.  This is an (unpaid) overview on the process and how you can achieve some of the benefits they provide.

What is Circuit Bonding?

MPLS WAN Circuit ConceptBonding uses an appliance that lets you combine the individual throughput capacity of several circuits into a single circuit. For instance, you might have a DSL connection running 3 Mbps up and 1 Mbps down that you want to connect with a wireless connection running at 3 up and 1 down. The resulting bonding would give you a pipe that’s capable of 6 Mbps for uploads and 2 Mbps for downloads. If you’re using VoIP or passing rich media between office locations, bonding can offer you the throughput you need at modest cost.

Click here to see a glossary of terms.

With the much higher speed rating of coax and fiber, you can also see how bonding can give you tremendous flexibility in building the throughput you need for different kinds of traffic that each needs its own specific quality of service handling.

Bandwave Systems

First, Bandwave is an aggregator that works with all the national (and many regional) companies that provide cable, fiber, DSL and wireless. Bandwave handles multi-provider wide area networks for businesses like yours and offers a single point of contact for technical support, network management, invoicing and billing, and related services. Bandwave also provides the “last mile” connectivity you might need when you open a new location.

Because the company works with so many carriers, they’re familiar with the geographic footprint of each, as well as the rates each carrier charges. They’re in an ideal position to help you get the greatest bandwidth at the lowest price.



Further, they can help you increase the resilience of your WAN by recommending which circuits to bond from different vendors so you achieve carrier redundancy. For example, if you bond, say, a cable circuit from AT&T with a 4G LTE circuit from Verizon, you’ll survive an outage from either of them. That’s a far different approach than days gone by when a carrier bonded two T1 lines together, and then charged you twice as much. This major carrier alternative takes a carrier-agnostic approach.

Finally, I’ve found that Bandwave always puts their client in the driver’s seat. Sitting down for a technical consultation, you explain what you need to accomplish. Bandwave experts look at many options, then give you at least one solution, and oftentimes many possible approaches to solving the problem.

How Many Hops is Too Many Hops? Is Latency Hurting Your Business?

Let’s face it, we’re in the age of now.  Who doesn’t find it annoying when network latency forces you to wait while streaming video is buffering, degrades important VOIP calls or slows load time for critical applications?

As businesses are only as agile as the applications that support them, it’s critical to address the underlying causes for any latency issues you might be experiencing.Network Latency Is Less Ideal

The principal cause of latency lies in the route used to forward data from point to point. Routers are the devices that manage the path between any source-destination pair of addresses. They determine, usually, the shortest path between two points.

I’d like to share a few thoughts on how data moves across the internet to get from point A to B. Then we can talk about what is meant by “too many hops.”

Routers used by large enterprises, VoIP providers, most ISPs and other organizations that connect to two or more ISPs use Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) to route traffic through the Internet. = Whereas Interior Gateway Protocol (IGP) manages the low level details of Internet routing with methods like Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), the Border Gateway Protocol attempts to find the shortest path between two points using Autonomous System Numbers (ASNs).

ASNs are issued through the American Registry for Internet Numbers, commonly known as ARIN. (In Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East, an organization in Amsterdam known as RIPE handles Internet number assignment).

ARIN explains ASNs as follows: “An Autonomous System is a connected group of IP networks that adhere to a single unique routing policy that differs from the routing policies of your network’s border peers. An ASN is a globally unique number used to identify an Autonomous System. An ASN enables an autonomous system to exchange exterior routing information with neighboring autonomous systems.”



Once an organization is given an ASN, the BGP router accesses a list of Internet routes from its BGP router neighbors to find a path that minimizes the number of autonomous systems involved in forwarding data. That is, the router consults “nearby” routers to choose the shortest path.

Now that we’ve delved into those details, let’s take a look at a simple way to determine if your data is taking “too many hops.” The simplest test is the Windows program TRACERT, which you can launch using the CMD.exe command prompt. (Use TRACEROUTE for Linux or Apple computers). The program will show you the name or IP address of every router along the path that forwards your data toward its final destination, along with the time taken for each hop.

Depending on the ISP you use, data moving from you to its destination may have to make 10, 15, 20 or more hops across multiple ASNs. (There are about 20,000 ASNs in use worldwide today). To avoid the latency that’s bound to develop, it’s desirable to minimize the number of ASN’s on the route. One company, NTT Communications, solves the latency problem by using only one ASN (#2914) to span the entire globe.

With exchange points around the world, your data gets to any access point on NTT’s Tier 1 network in fewer than five hops. That means your data travels smoothly around the world and back with fewer delays. For VoIP service where latency can’t be tolerated, NTT Communications is our choice of ISP partners.

Additional Resources:

Networking 101: Understanding BGP Routing

Overview of Autonomous System (AS) Numbers

Using Coax Cable Aggregation to Backup or Augment Your MPLS WAN

The major cable companies like AT&T, Brighthouse, Comcast, Charter, Time Warner and others offer business owners wide area networking to connect multiple office locations. When only data passes between those locations, their cable architecture can usually meet your needs in terms of reliability and throughput.

The problem is, when you add voice or video to the mix, cable falls short because you can’t manage the QoS of a cable network.Overcoming QOS Problems With MPLS WAN

Jitter and latency can turn a routine phone call into a garble. Fortunately, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) offers a solution that paves a direct path through the cloud and manages QoS so your calls and rich media go through as expected. But MPLS is only part of the solution for most multi-location businesses.

Here’s why.

Running your voice, video and data over multiple cable WAN‘s that are each managed by a different cable company becomes a logistics nightmare. Your office in San Jose may run on a WAN from cable company “A” while your Atlanta office runs on company “B”, while the New York headquarters uses yet another company. Most IT departments don’t want to have to deal with a plethora of cable companies. It begs for inefficiencies.



For example, each of those providers requires a separate contract. Each one bills you separately. Each has it’s own support team and 800-number. Whether you need to augment your corporate network or backup your corporate data there’s no need to struggle with that kind of arrangement. Aggregating multiple services under a single company makes sense.

Coax cable aggregation simplifies everything by putting one company in charge of your entire WAN no matter which company manages any given geographic area. I’ve long been a proponent (unpaid) of Bandwave Systems as an aggregator because they make things easy and handle all those details for you.

Bandwave gives you a single point of contact, continuous monitoring and management of your WAN’s. They can even provide that “last mile” connectivity you’ll need when you open a new office. And they do more than cable: 4G wireless, DSL and T1 can all be rolled into your infrastructure. Bandwave is up and running in 180 countries and ready to handle the international segments of your corporate network as well.

If you’re considering this kind of solution to the “too many carriers” problem, feel free to reach out and I’ll try to get you pointed in the right direction.