Archive for December, 2015:

What is VoIP?

Posting Date: 12/28/2015  |   Filed Under: Internet, Technology  |   No Comments

voice over internet protocol VoIP imageVoice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, refers to technology that enables you to make voice calls using an internet connection rather than a traditional analog phone line. Often pronounced “voyp”, VoIP requires the same protocols that the Internet uses, or a set of rules used to allow sufficient communication. Therefore, it takes traditional voice signals and converts them into a form that is easily transmitted using the same protocols as the Internet. Even if you have analog telephone stations, the industry’s best VoIP providers can implement IP telephony so that your existing telephone equipment doesn’t become obsolete.

IP telephony (IPT) is similar to VoIP because it also utilizes Internet protocols to enhance voice communications. The basis of IP networking is solely built around Internet protocols, which directly support corporate, private, public, and wireless networks. Many organizations prefer using VoIP because it consolidates many locations – including mobile workers – into a concentrated network. VoIP also comes equipped with a plethora of telephony features such as door phone buzzer integration, music on hold, call routing, coaching tools, and support services that traditional analog phone lines lack.

VoIP not only enhances voice communications, but its services are interoperable, meaning that they work over any network. Along with being interoperable, they’re also portable, so VoIP can also enhance communication through any IP device like a computer or a personal digital assistant.

For any IP phone to communicate over a network, it requires a built-in network interface card (NIC). To allow any network device to properly function, it requires the NIC because it provides devices with a standardized physical, or media access control, so they can essentially communicate to one another. Along with having the NIC, a server is also necessary to run the software that’s used to regulate calls.

Servers are a key component to VoIP because it provides more speed, memory, and capacity than a traditional PC. Servers house the database that include the MAC addresses which correspond to all the IP telephone extensions that are assigned to each user. The number of servers necessary is all dependent on the size of the local area network (LAN), and the number of users.

If the size of the LAN increases, the number of switches grows. Switches provide a series of ports where all LAN-addressable devices connect, like computers, printers, and IP phones. For all network devices to properly function at peak performance, they must be physically connected to the LAN through a port on a switch.

Geeks On Call can help you increase the efficiency of your business’ communications. Now is an ideal time to reevaluate your business’ unified communications. Contact your local Geeks On Call office for help with VoIP and other technology solutions.

Face Off: Cloud Storage vs. External Hard Drives

Posting Date: 12/17/2015  |   Filed Under: Data Back-up  |   No Comments

Data can be stored in a number of different ways, but what’s most important is that it’s safe, quick, reliable, and affordable – if of course you need a lot of space. The cloud is revolutionizing the way data is stored and backed up, but there is still controversy as to whether it’s as affordable as an external hard drive.

External Hard Drive Benefits

cloud storage versus hard drive image

The external hard drive is a separate device that plugs directly into your PC or Mac, and stores copies of your files in one location. The beauty of the external hard drive is that they’re transportable, and in the event of your computer or network crashing, your information is safe.

As more solutions move towards cloud-based applications, the external hard drive may be seen as a dinosaur, but they’re far from it. External hard drives are durable, reliable, and a way of essentially ensuring your precious data while holding it in the palm of your hand.

Another benefit of the external hard drive is the associated costs. As a general rule – the more storage you require, the more money you’ll pay. External hard drive users pay between 10 and 50 cents per gigabyte of storage, but exceptions are determined based on the manufacturer and other outliers.

To improve the overall speed and performance of your PC or Mac, backing up your data to an external hard drive will prolong the life of your laptop or desktop computer. By backing up your data to an external hard drive, you’ll prevent a potential mental meltdown if your computer unexpectedly reaches the end of its life. When a laptop or desktop computer crashes, gets stolen, or lost in a potential house fire, all of the internal data will be lost forever.

Cloud Storage Benefits

Cloud storage is a revolutionizing how data is stored online because it allows users to become more versatile on how they backup and access their data. Through the cloud, users can also access their data across multiple devices and virtually anywhere they have an internet connection.

Benefits of the cloud include better file encryption, meaning users have the ability to pull data from any point in time, whether it is from one week or one year ago. As a perk, cloud storage services also provide 24/7 live customer service support representatives in case you’re ever in a bind.

When it comes to cost, cloud services are going to be a bit more expensive than an external hard drive. Prices for cloud storage range from one cent to $10 per gigabyte of storage depending on the type of security, storage plan, and the level of support desired. Amazon is currently running a promotion on their Cloud Drive for unlimited online storage for one year for only $5.00 USD. Through Amazon Cloud Drive you’ll have unlimited storage for photos, documents, and other files, along with free apps for your mobile and desktop. Note that, after one year the Amazon list price of $59.99 per year will take full effect.

Your Best Bet

The cloud offers a range of plans to meet the needs of any user looking to backup a vast amount of data, so it is easily retrievable anywhere or anytime. External hard drives may seem like they’re going extinct, but that’s far from the truth. To ensure your data is fully protected, utilizing both storage methods is recommended. Having a plan, A and a plan B provides more security for your data because technology can fail. Using an external hard drive and cloud storage simultaneously is the best insurance for your data.