Norlight: VoIP, POTS, and a range of networking services.
Part 44 of Phone for Rent: Understanding Hosted PBX Services Norlight is a regional provider, serving both urban and rural areas in the Midwest and Southeast.
Norlight Telecommunications, Inc., headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, was founded in 1972 as a Wisconsin-based voice and data services company and since that time has grown to become a predominant telecommunications provider throughout the Midwest and Southeastern United States.
Norlight customers represent a broad spectrum of business interests, including local, state, and federal government, education, healthcare, and large enterprises. These customers are served by an extensive fiber optic backbone that reaches from the Gulf States on the south to the Great Lakes on the north, and from Oklahoma and Texas on the west to Virginia and Pennsylvania on the east.
Much of this expansion has been the result of a series of strategic mergers and acquisitions that began in the 1990s, with the present network offering a carrier-class, Cisco-routed and DWDM/SONET-based infrastructure that serves over 200 markets and nearly 650 POPs.
Norlight currently has a presence in many tier-1 metropolitan areas, and is continuing to expand its fiber connectivity into the rural tier-2 and tier-3 markets that other carriers have largely bypassed. This strategy includes locating its existing POPs in LEC central offices, thus allowing its customers easier connections to local service, plus the ability to custom-build fiber access all the way to a customers premises.
In addition, the Norlight network is supported by two redundant data centers, operated in Evansville, Indiana, and Brookfield, Wisconsin, that include earthquake-reinforced ceilings and 12-inch thick poured concrete walls.
Norlights extensive fiber network serves as a solid foundation that provides a variety of telecommunication services for both residential and business applications.
The residential offerings include local phone service, dialup Internet access, DSL in selected cities, and a wireless network that provides high-speed Internet access to rural areas of western Kentucky. Also available in selected areas of Indiana and Kentucky is the firms Broadband Digital Telephone service, providing unlimited local and long distance calling for $19.95 per month.
On the business side, Norlight's Hosted VBX for Business offering bundles local phone, long distance, and dedicated Internet access over a single, private IP connection, that is provided for a single monthly fee. This hosted offering is available with two feature sets: Basic and Professional.
The Basic set includes a specified number of either pooled or non-pooled long distance minutes, DID (Direct Inward Dial) numbers, 4-digit dialing, call forward always/busy/no answer; remote access to call forwarding; voicemail with storage for messages up to two minutes in length, with notifications via e-mail, pager, or telephone; call logs for incoming, outgoing, and missed calls; multi-line call park and retrieve; a night mode to re-route calls after business hours, and more.
The Professional feature set adds integrated messaging with voicemail retrieval via e-mail, find me/follow me for mobile phone integration, the ability to make calls from anywhere using remote phone integration, conference calling with up to four parties, and a fax-to-e-mail service. Both packages include a Web portal that allows the end users to view call logs, change settings, and perform other key administrative tasks. The system supports Cisco IP phones, and can also integrate existing analog phones for non-office environments, such as warehouses.
In addition to hosted IP telephony for business, Norlight offers voice services that range from POTS services delivered over copper pairs, to voice service for large businesses that require hundreds of lines. Q-Link Plus is a bundled service that consolidates local and long distance services, plus T-1 Internet access, over a single, private, IP-based connection, which Norlight claims results in a higher quality of service and higher Internet access speeds than comparable services that use a public Internet connection. In addition, this service can be provided with their Metro Ethernet access, providing even higher bandwidth options.
Other Norlight telecoms services for businesses include Web Services (Web hosting and development) and an e-mail service called CleanMail that filters messages for threats. Network Services includes a managed security offering that can tailor managed firewall, antivirus, intrusion detection, and prevention, Web site blocking, and content filtering, as well as managed VPN services.
Norlight also offers Metro Ethernet connectivity that provides both a committed and symmetrical rate for high speed network access and Wide Area Networking services that can include VPN and private line connectivity, plus a MPLS offering that creates a fully meshed private network that prioritizes voice, video, and data with a specified quality of service. The Business Internet Services build on Norlights experience as an ISP since 1994, and provide access at rates that vary from dialup to DS-3; while the companys business DSL service is offered in select cities in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
Further information on the Norlight solutions can be found at www.norlight.com. Our next tutorial will continue our review of various service providers hosted voice solutions.
Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2009 DigiNet Corporation®, All Rights Reserved
Mark A. Miller, P.E. is President of DigiNet Corporation®, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.