SkySwitch Featured In Telecom Reseller Podcast

Jayson Jones, Executive Vice-President of Business Development at SkySwitch was recently featured in a podcast with Douglas Green, Editor & Publisher of Telecom Reseller. In the podcast, Jayson discusses the recent expansion of the SkySwitch network, the Active-Active architecture that is used to deliver high-availability and the impact of the new Las Vegas geo-node on load balancing and network capacity.  They also follow-up on an earlier podcast that featured a discussion about the integration between SkySwitch and the Amazon Echo/Alexa products.

Jayson also explains the SkySwitch business model and how white label UCaaS providers realize significant benefits when they place their customers and VoIP traffic with SkySwitch.

You can listen to or download the podcast from this link.

https://telecomreseller.com/2017/11/21/podcast-skyswitch-bulks-up-network-capacity-staying-ahead-of-demand/

 

SkySwitch Announces Network Expansion

 

Turn-up of Las Vegas Geo-Node Increases Network Capacity By More Than Twenty-Five Percent

SkySwitch, provider of the ultimate white label platform for hosted telecom resellers, announced a new West Coast point-of-presence today with the availability of their new Las Vegas geo-node. This is the fourth geo-node in the SkySwitch network, adding to the current locations in New York, Dallas, and Minnesota. This node increases network capacity by more than twenty-five percent and provides added flexibility in managing network load.

“While other white label providers are struggling with capacity and reliability issues, this expansion shows that SkySwitch is able to continue meeting the demands of its fast growing base of users,” said Eric Hernaez, Founder and President of SkySwitch.

SkySwitch provides service from geographically diverse locations in order to maximize system resiliency. The new geo-node was introduced without interruption to ongoing operations because the system was designed to expand on the fly. New geo-nodes can be joined to the network, and new server resources can be added to any geo-node, in a way that’s transparent to end users.

In addition to easing network growth, this system architecture has allowed SkySwitch to maintain industry-leading uptime. Unlike other high-availability redundancy schemes, that rely on a primary and failover system, the SkySwitch system is Always Available. That means that SkySwitch provides identical service across multiple nodes in real-time. With seamless and transparent failover between nodes, service disruptions are avoided because customer connections can be automatically transferred to any nodes available in the event of trouble.

SkySwitch chose to deploy the new geo-node at The Lone Mountain Data Center, operated by viawest. The data center, a best-in-class, carrier-neutral facility that received Tier 3 certification by the Uptime Institute, allows SkySwitch to deliver the reliability and stability demanded by its resellers.

“SkySwitch is well positioned to continue the triple-digit growth we have seen in the past twelve months,” concluded Hernaez. “The geographic diversity and ease with which we can increase capacity help to ensure our customers that they do not have to worry about the type of growth related problems that have ensnared other providers in this industry.”

About SkySwitch
SkySwitch (http://www.skyswitch.com) is a US-based, next-generation communications platform provider. SkySwitch delivers a comprehensive white label communication service and back office support to our resellers. This enables our resellers – communication, telecom, IT service providers – to offer a branded, cloud-based, Hosted PBX Service and unified communications and collaboration services (UCCaaS) to their subscribers without the requirement to invest in or manage the platform from which the service is offered. The SkySwitch platform includes not only the infrastructure to deliver feature rich voice, video, text and fax communications, but also all operational and business support systems necessary for a reseller to experience rapid growth and profitability. This includes billing, carrier services, DID porting services, and regulatory compliance.

Source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/11/prweb14869188.htm

SkySwitch High Availability Explained

We are often asked how we achieve such phenomenal uptime and are able to offer 99.99 service level guarantees. The answer lies in the revolutionary network design that serves as the foundation of our unified communications and collaboration platform.

SkySwitch n-Share ArchitectureThe SkySwitch WebCentrex platform uses always-available n-Share clusters co-located in New York and Dallas.

Most high-availability or n+1 redundancy schemes rely on a primary and failover node. In contrast, the n-Share system is Always Available.  That means that we provide identical service across multiple locations in real-time. With seamless and transparent failover between nodes, service disruptions are avoided because customer connections are automatically transferred to any nodes available.
So, a voicemail can be left on a Dallas feature server, and retrieved on the New York server immediately, even if the Dallas server is no longer available. It also means that feature options (such as call-forwarding or other * codes) take effect across all servers immediately.

As network traffic grows, SkySwitch adds capacity by deploying additional n-Share nodes. Newly added nodes are added to the n-Share mesh and automatically become available to share call processing tasks across all nodes dynamically and with zero downtime.  This means that we can expand to accommodate Reseller growth with zero impact on the availability of services to end users.

Where other high-availability schemes require the use of active and standby servers (with the standby servers left idle in readiness for a problem) n-Share creates efficiencies by dynamically distributing load across all available servers. This means that load can be dynamically shared across all connected nodes based on geographic distance from the user. Especially in cases where media-anchoring is required, this optimizes quality of service by ensuring voice and video payload will take the shortest path between the sender and receiver.

Mobile workers are now using SIP mobility clients (such as the ReachUC apps) running over 3G and 4G wireless networks, where network conditions are often unpredictable. As a result, the ability to maximize quality of service in a scalable and reliable way is becoming more important than ever.  On that front, SkySwitch has you covered.

How SkySwitch Improves VoIP Quality for SIP Mobility

While I was working for NetSapiens, I wrote a blog called Maximizing VoIP Quality Over Wireless Links with Codec Selection that explained how a service provider might improve VoIP QoS by using the iLBC codec.

Now, with the availability of the SkySwitch Mobile VoIP solution, I am happy to say that we are putting theory into practice.  One way we do this, is by using our Always Available geo-diverse architecture to anchor media at the switch that is geographically closest to the end user.

But the most important strategy we employ to maximize QoS for users of the PBX Fone app is to leverage iLBC, the best available codec for callers over WiFi, 3G and 4G wireless networks.

The term codec  refers to the sampling rate and compression scheme used to digitize an audio stream and, as might be expected, codecs with higher fidelity require more bandwidth. The table below (borrowed from Broadcom) shows the perceived speech quality and bit rates of ten different codecs across different languages.  In a VoIP call, the goal is to use the codec which results in the best possible user experience.  But because  packet loss and delay reduce voice quality, a trade-off must always be made  between codec fidelity and bandwidth consumption.

Most service providers consider G.711 and G.729 as the “standards”  because virtually all of their existing vendors (SIP carriers and trunk providers) and equipment providers (SIP CPE and gateways) support these codecs – and therefore compatibility issues are less likely to arise.  As reflected in the bandwidth calculation chart below (borrowed from Cisco),  including overhead, G.711 requires nearly three times more bandwidth than G.729 (87.2 Kbps vs. 31.2 Kbps).  It’s obvious then, that G.729 is a better choice than G.711 when bandwidth is an issue.

 

But, bandwidth consumption is not the whole story.  There is another factor to consider when choosing a codec as a service provider:  loss concealment.   (Software developers often argue about the merits of a codec based on license cost, computational requirements, whether it is open source or encumbered by patents, and other such things.  These issues, though interesting, are immaterial to the typical service provider and will be ignored in this discussion.)

In many wireless last mile situations (including WiFi and cellular data 3G/4G), bandwidth is subject to packet loss and/or unpredictable drop-outs due to ambient conditions.  In these cases, after all the factors are taken into consideration the iLBC codec is the better choice because:

  • among the narrowband codecs, it has similar payload size and fidelity to G.729
  • it is supported by many SIP CPE/handset vendors (e.g. Linksys, Polycom, Apple iOS, Android, and many others); and
  • it performs well in lossy conditions (referred to as robustness).

While there are other codecs with smaller payload size, or greater robustness, they are generally not supported by commonly available SIP Phones, and are therefore impractical choices.

The diagram below, taken from COMPARISONS OF FEC AND CODEC ROBUSTNESS ON VOIP QUALITY AND BANDWIDTH EFFICIENCY,  illustrates that the call quality (referred to as MOS) of G.729 at 8% packet loss is equivalent to the call quality of iLBC  at 15% packet loss – a nearly 100% improvement – in a typical WISP deployment scenario (by “typical”  I mean a network segment where UDP packet loss is anticipated, but packet delay is not an overt problem).  And, in real world usage, I have found that it is possible to carry on a reasonable conversation with packet loss approaching 30%, when using iLBC.

SkySwitch utilizes iLBC transcoders to allow calls from the SkySwitch mobilty app to accommodate the often lossy conditions of WiFi, 3G and 4G networks.  Give it a try for yourself and see the difference that strategic codec selection makes.