Freeway Communications, LLC offers a new hosted Voip service that replaces the need for a premises-based phone system and the multiple vendors required to provide popular applications like voicemail, conferencing, and unified messaging. The features and applications are not only delivered to a customer's phone via a single dedicated Internet access pipe to the business, but the service can be individually customize by the user. For businesses, the solution provides centralized management and control that allow them to perform their own moves, adds and changes from an Internet connection.
How does this type of solution differ from other Internet-based call management solutions on the market?
Freeway is hosted in a carrier-grade network, not the Internet. The applications were built with a browser-based model in mind, making it easy for the service provider and the customers to administer, manage, and update their features (such as speed dial keys, phone templates, and moves, adds, and changes) as if it's their own system. Therefore, a PBX is not required-- Only phones. Other Web-based portals, such as those offered by Vonage, are simply PC-based solutions with a Web-enabled front-end for making calls over the Internet. Calls over the Internet may be satisfactory for consumer grade calling, but businesses require a higher quality of service. Freeway gives the user the same voice quality they have been accustomed to with their own PBX, unlike other Voip solution that may transport voice traffic over the internet.
What is the difference between voicemail and Unified Messaging?
There are two options for messaging: 1) Standard voicemail solution is hosted and accessed verbally through your phone keys as most systems work today; and: 2) Unified Messaging allows your customer to access their voice messages through their e-mail, and they can send voice messaging through email. They can "see" who called them and listen to their voice messages on their PC via Microsoft Outlook.
What about conferencing?
Conferencing offers the end-user an on-demand conference service and the ability to schedule conference calls via the Portal. Its unique Web-enabled features such as question queue, voting, text chat, volume control, conference record and playback, and many other additional features enhance the end-user experience. Conferencing is capable of hosting 100's of active participants and 400 passive or listen-only participants per conference call.
Who manages this service?
Once the service is ordered, the technical and / or office contact designated within the end user customer will be sent the details (via-email) on setting up the service for the company. They will have their own Office Administrator Portal, separate from their own personalized PCM, which will allow them to –for example-perform moves, adds and changes for any user, maintain their company directory, and administer hunt groups and even ACD groups. From an operator's perspective, this is very much like owning an in-house PBX or Key system, without the difficulties of managing a physical piece of equipment. Since this Web-based interface is also hosted in the Freeway Data Center, the administrator can manage a remote office, or work on changes from home or anywhere he or she has access to an Internet connection. You can't do this with an in-house system, and the Freeway interface is much easier and intuitive to use than any PBX (or IP-PBX) on the market.
What about redundancy and fail-over capabilities?
The service is engineered to be as reliable as any other carrier-grade network product. Since all of the data is stored in the network, the data itself is intact. The system has been tested to have "five 9's reliability (99.999%), including (and especially) customer data.
What happens to the voice quality when several users are using their phones, and several other users try to do large data transfers?
Freeway will determine what the correct bandwidth will be required for the number of employees, as well as an evaluation of the customer's LAN. The system will be provisioned and installed to ensure voice quality and the number of users and / or date being transmitted won't effect voice quality.
So what about QoS? Are we able to guarantee that a user's voice quality won't degrade when the network or Internet is busy?
Freeway performs traffic engineering on a per-customer basis. In addition, Freeway traffic is transmitted over a managed IP network, not the Internet. This network is engineered for voice traffic. If the Internet is busy, it will only effect the response time of your PCM, which you do not need in order to use your phone and make calls.
What do customers need?
Customers will need to go through a qualification / provisioning checklist to determine what specifically will be needed, including selecting the most appropriate service packages for the business. Once this is complete, the customer may only need new phones, or they may need additional cabling, a router and phones.
What phones are supported? Is any additional equipment necessary to attach those phones to the service?
The service will work with any analog phone (no LCD support possible), Cisco IP phones, and Polycom IP phones. If the customer has had a Toshiba DK Key system, their phones may also work with the solution, as well as a Nortel Meridian system. These can be converted to IP phones by means of an IP adapter Gateway.
What about E-911, Local Numbering Plans and, well, just all the "stuff that goes along with offering a complete solution"?
We currently offer the most sophisticated E-911 on the line-side and work with the Class 5 to support the trunk-side, network-facing functions of e-911, LNP, and 800 services. Our E-911 solution has unique capabilities that, for example, address the situation in which a business has multiple locations all served by the hosted service but the business has moved a phone number from one location to another. Since 911 requires the call to be routed to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) associated with the physical location, we have a technique that allows us to ensure the 911 call is routed to the correct PSAP with the correct phone number. Here's another example that demonstrates that what we can do with IP is much better than what a business gets with a PBX solution. As far as a local numbering plan, each phone will have a specific DID that does not need to be published in a public directory. In other words, only the customer's main number needs to be published. A 3-, 4-, or 5-digit dialing plan is available for internal extension dialing, depending on the needs of the customer.
What about security? Could someone "hack into" my network?
The hosted communications servers are fully secured in the network, thereby ensuring that only authorized end users and network servers can access the system.
What if I have a firewall? How would it work?
They have multiple approaches for delivering IP telephony while keeping their firewall intact. The solution operates outside of the firewall and can utilize a Network Address Translation device. (NAT) that only allows voice calls to the specific IP addresses through the firewall.
What kinds of reports are available to the end user to manage this service?
The Office Administrator Portal provides users with a report that allows them to view each phone number and the services assigned and provisioned to that phone number. Every time a change is made to an account, the report is automatically updated and can be viewed from any Internet connection.
Is LNP required?
LNP is required in most cases. If the service is moving from a competitive carrier, then LNP will be required, as with any service. If the customer is an existing customer, then LNP will not be required. The DIDs must be ported to the hosted system.
What about 800 Service?
Customers will be able to keep this as they do today. It will be treated as another DID number on the hosted service.
What about customers who need call accounting codes and billing codes?
Call accounting codes and billing codes are not currently supported.
What is Freeway's Business?
Freeway is a business-grade Voice over IP (Voip) service that is hosted in their Data Center. Freeway provides your customer with a fully functional, low-cost enterprise voice solution that replaces costly PBX or Centrex services. Freeway leverages the flexibility and durability of Internet Protocol (IP). With Freeway capability, your customers can change their communications financial model, meeting their communications needs at significant cost savings.
The service has extensive, standard set of Class-5 features, such as voicemail, conferencing, and the Personal Locator (find me / follow me). Additional features include call center functionality, client-billing codes, and remote systems access. Freeway also features a suite of browser-based capabilities for controlling personal communications, including Personal Locator controls, Microsoft Outlook integration with click-to-call functionality, call logs, and integrated messaging.
Freeway is a flexible, adaptive new approach to communications; it can connect to an existing dial tone network or replace it with a managed IP network- as an application, not as new infrastructure- and Freeway eliminates complex workarounds that require new capital. Telecommuters and small, remote offices can function in the same communications environment as headquarters. And, it enables new services to be delivered when needed.
What features are included?
- 3- Way Conferencing Calling
- Call Forwarding
- Station-to Station Dialing
- Call hold
- Call Park/Pickup-Redialing
- Call Transfer
- Call Waiting
- Message Waiting Indicator
- Caller ID
- Caller ID Line Blocking
- Speaker Volume Control/ Mute
- Dial Tone
- Direct Inward Dial (DID)
- Music on Hold
- Direct Outward Dial (DOD)
- Do not Disturb
- Local and Long Distance
- Favorite Contacts (Speed Dial)
- Flexible Dial Plans
- LCD Features Support/Soft Keys
- Flexible Features Mapping
- Handset Volume Control
- Hunt Group
- Hands-Free Dialing
- Hook Flash
How does Freeway work?
Freeway is based on Voice over Internet Protocol (Voip), a method by which voice is digitized and transmitted in digital packets rather than using traditional circuits-committed protocols of the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The IP concept is similar to the PSTN, except that instead of telephones it uses computers, and instead of telephone numbers every telephone has a unique IP Address. Thus, IP telephones use IP address. Probably the most significant difference with Voip, as compared to PSTN, is that backbone-trunking resources are not assigned in a dedicated, predictable manner to support a voice call. Instead, trunk bandwidth for a Voip telephone conversation is assigned on a random, as needed basis, via packet switching.
Advanced IP telephony includes many enhanced features, such as voicemail, conferencing, presentation viewing, and unified messaging for cell and PDA devices. These service applications reside on hosted-network servers, which deliver very fast response and provide all the features of Freeway.
Who is a potential Freeway customer?
Businesses with telecommuters and small, remote offices function in the same communications environment as headquarters. Industry verticals such as financial services, legal services, travel agencies, real estate offices, government, and higher-education organizations can benefit from using Freeway.
What service components are associated with Freeway?
Freeway provides a complete spectrum of local, long-distance and Dedicated Internet Access functionality. Specific service components delivered to customers depend on the Freeway package selected. Customers can choose from two service plans: Basic Plan, or Enhanced Plan.
What are the benefits of using Freeway?
Freeway provides the following key value elements:
- Create a "National" campus
- Remove physical limitations
- Connect remote employees seamlessly without costs
- Migrate easily
- Moves, adds and changes made simple through Web-based tools
- Implement 3- 4- and 5-digit dialing plans
- Simplify User Experience
- Shared company directory
- Prioritized call handling
- User-friendly conferencing service
- A unified voice mailbox
- Instant tie-in to remote workers and branches
- A web-based Personal Communication Manager (PCM) for all features management and personal preferences
- Save OpEx and CapEX Free "on-net calling- Eliminates long distance between offices
- Reduced support costs – Instant Moves, Adds, Changes with a click of a mouse
- Built-in disaster recovery
- Bundled packaging and pricing
- Minimized service calls
- Minimized system upgrade costs
- Minimized upgrade costs for new features
- No full-time employee needed to manage phone systems
- Customized to Meet Unique Needs
- Scale quickly up or down to meet staffing changes
- Adjust easily to each user through a browser-based Console
- Deliver predictable monthly costs
- Adapt rapidly to integrate newly acquired personnel
- Work from office, home, mobile, or customer site while still on the system
Who is the competition?
There are a number of service providers currently offering hosted services, including Level 3 , GoBeam, ICG, and other smaller CLECs throughout North America. These hosted services compete with key Systems, PBXs, and IP-PBXs; however Freeway bundles in all the applications and offers usage plans for a total solution.
Why would an end user subscribe to this? What is the end user value proposition?
This service allows small and medium business and multi-site enterprises to gain control over communications expenses and management difficulties associated with PBXs and IP/ PBXs by migrating to a new network-based hosted solutions. Freeway has all the features than most IP-PBXs on the market today. This hosted IP-Centrex offering promotes CapEX savings and ongoing cost savings due to browser-based Moves, Adds and Changes, on-net calling between offices, and bundled applications that businesses usually purchase separately (for example, voicemail, conferencing, and unified messaging).