Ask the Experts: How Does LAN Impact VoIP Solutions?

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle discusses why LAN readiness is one of the critical elements of delivering quality VoIP solutions with John Scarborough, former CMO and SVP for MegaPath. Learn more about UCaaS solutions from the MegaPath team here:

Andrew: Okay. Another Ask the Experts session here, guys. We’re sitting here with John Scarborough. John is the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Management for MegaPath, one of our go-to suppliers. John, welcome to the studio, man.
John: Thanks so much, Andrew. Great to be here.
Andrew: All right. Good deal. Hey, listen, I wanted to talk about LAN readiness. We’ve been chatting about all the different components that go into a local area network, things that you need to kind of validate and make sure are operating well. Make sure that they’re kind of up to par and ready to handle real-time traffic like voice and video and so forth. You guys bring a different complexity to this as well, because one of MegaPath’s strengths is this distributed enterprise space. The idea that I can take a 1000 seat customer but it’s spread across 200 locations. How do you tackle this issue of LAN readiness when this customer is spread across so many disparate locations? Speak to that real quick. What’s your process on that?
John: Yeah. Great question, Andrew. Particularly for the widely distributed enterprise space, hundreds, if not in fact thousands, of locations across the country. Typically though, it’s fairly cookie-cutter type environments, in the sense that each location, generally speaking, sort of kind of looks like the next location and looks like the next. They all end up, in a way, looking the same. So the key is always the preliminary investigation and the identification of what seems to be the standard configuration at each one of those sites. Typically, the LANs are designed more or less the same way at all of the sites. But the key is communications with the customer themselves, understanding if there’s any wide differences in different types of locations or not. But really, the way that you have to solve the problem, is that you have to run a very thorough pilot across the main locations or if there are any substandard locations, in order to really build a blueprint. A blueprint for success, frankly.
Because just like you said, IOs usually refer to this as “the three legs of the stool.” In other words, you have the LAN, you have the network access or connectivity, and then you have the actual hosted voice application in the cloud. All three of those legs of the stool, if you will, have to be working the same way. The call quality itself is only as good as the weakest link of those three. And in our experience, probably 20% of the time, when a customer is complaining of call quality, it ends up being something within their LAN.
So it’s really important. I think a lot of customers don’t understand how VoIP really operates. So they’re thinking to themselves, “Oh my gosh, your voice service isn’t working.” In fact, the voice service is working quite well. If you look at what’s happening in the cloud, it’s operating at five ninths of availability. It’s perfect. BroadSoft is operating great. You have visibility into the network connectivity by way of the EdgeMarc, typically is what we’re putting in place. And you know whether or not the circuit’s working or not; up or down and how it’s passing traffic. And then by the process of elimination, if it’s not leg of the stool number two or leg of the stool number three, if you will, you’ve got to really kind of zero in on what’s happening on the LAN. And so there’s education that goes on there with the customer, with their IT resources, in order to make sure that…
Andrew: Yeah. Got it. Makes sense. So you standardized on an EdgeMarc device on each of these locations, correct?
John: That’s right.
Andrew: Let’s spend a moment and talk about what that is and the purpose that that box serves. It’s an important one.
John: Yeah. The EdgeMarc is vital in a managed VoIP type of an application or service delivery because it really serves as a multifunction box. It’s not only serving as a termination device of whatever kind of connectivity that you’re using, but it’s also a firewall and more importantly it’s providing QOS. In other words, quality of service. It’s prioritizing the voice traffic over the data traffic. The real-time traffic that you were mentioning over the data traffic that can endure a little bit more latency in whatever the transport is, whatever the application is. So it’s really critical if you’re talking about a managed solution. The EdgeMarc, in our experience, has been a superior box to be working with.
You, of course, compare that to an unmanaged solution. In other words, it’s typically over the top of whatever the service may or may not be from a broadband connection; may have some sort of random router in there that the customer picked up from Best Buy down the street. There’s a lot of dynamics there and all of that is fraught with problems, potentially causing call quality issues to the end user. So you really have to avoid that to deliver a quality VoIP solution.
Andrew: Got it. Makes a lot of sense, John. And it sounds like you guys do a really thorough job of that. Great stuff, man. Thank you.
John: Hey, thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to be here.
Andrew: Guys, that’s John Scarborough. He’s the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Management for MegaPath. If you have any distributor enterprise deals guys, those customers that have hundreds of locations, small number of devices per location. That’s not an easy deal to deploy and manage. MegaPath has really cut their teeth on it and do a great job. Check them out. You can learn all about them at the MegaPath learning center here at the Cloud Services University. Go deep with them and make sure you understand how they deploy and support these types of services. You getting smarter about MegaPath will help you close more MegaPath UCaaS deals. Good selling.