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Video-conferencing for SMEs

Video conferencing has just become a reality for businesses of all sizes as the cost of high throughput, managed connectivity in the form of an MPLS VPN drops to less than half the traditional price of a Diginet line.

This offering from local Internet Solution Provider (ISP) XDSL delivers all of the security, reliability and throughput needed to ensure a quality video conferencing interaction. It removes the single largest barrier to uptake and opens up new opportunities for channel players.

Says Danie Fourie, director at XDSL: ‚”Video conferencing, with its ability to minimise travel expense and time, and make impromptu multi-national or international meetings a reality, can cut a lot of cost out of the business, seriously boost productivity and increase collaboration within the business, with clients and with partners. The initial investment in hard- and software is high but it’s a winner all around – except that it needs at least a 640kbps line to drive it. That bandwidth requirement has made the business case hard to justify.

‚”ADSL may be cost effective but its best effort 384 – 512kbps upload capability translates to an unreliable, questionable quality video conferencing connection. On the other hand, the only serious contender, a 2 Megabyte (MB) Diginet line, bats the running costs of a video conferencing solution out of the affordability ballpark. Until now, that is.‚”

An XDSL MPLS VPN can carry and route several types of network traffic securely across public networks and offers guaranteed throughput and reliability. The offering is fraction of the cost of other similar offerings, and it includes a lot more value adds. For example, 1024kbps normally costs around R8 000.00 and a 1986kbps about R13 500.00. With XDSL, 1024kbps only costs R2300.00 and 1986kbps costs R4 400.00. All prices exclude VAT. Line rental and the rental of Cisco routers will only cost R300 per month.

How does it all fit together and how do you know you will get the same quality and throughput that a dedicated line like Diginet offers? Fourie explains: ‚”An MPLS VPN harnesses the power of Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) to create a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN extends a private network and the information it contains in that network securely across public networks such as the Internet. An MPLS VPN provides the flexibility to carry and route several types of network traffic using the technologies of a MPLS backbone. Importantly, an MPLS network makes use of Quality of Service (QoS), which means you can prioritise video conferencing over other traffic so there is reduced latency and packet loss. However, an MPLS VPN can also be used for voice, data or video it doesn’t have to be exclusively reserved for video conferencing. For backup and redundancy, the XDSL MPLS VPN offering makes use of Diginet in the last mile which is included in the cost.‚”

This low cost MPLS VPN offering from XDSL represents an immense opportunity for businesses and channel players.

‚”With a cost effective, reliable, high speed and high quality voice, video and data transmission, businesses can now truly leverage the power of video conferencing to improve operational costs, lower their eco-footprint, and improve business interactions. Vendors and resellers of videoconferencing solutions have the opportunity to bundle the XDSL service with their videoconferencing offering, making their offering more ‚’palatable’ and gaining competitive advantage. Resellers of other information and communication technology solutions and services can expand their focus, introducing new revenue streams with the introduction of a cost effective videoconferencing solution.‚”

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