LightEdge Solutions, Inc., headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, was established in 1996 as the ISP Lighthouse Communications. After considerable success in the broadband market, the company’s investors brought in the current management team to take the company to the next level with VoIP, IP, hosted unified communications, and data center services. In 2008, the company was purchased by Qwest founder Phil Anschutz as his next foray into telecommunications.
The company has been an Inc. 5,000 ranked company for 3 consecutive years and was recently listed by Gartner, Inc. in the Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service. In addition, LightEdge recently completed an in-depth audit that validated the controls and operational effectiveness of a number of its data centers, including physical security, environmental security, computer operations, computer maintenance, logical security, and customer provisioning. This audit resulted in a SAS-70 Type II certification, developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which allows the company to expand its service to customers in industries with strict regulatory compliance requirements, including those in banking, finance, and healthcare.
LightEdge delivers hosted solutions to small and medium-size businesses in the upper Midwestern states of Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Illinois, targeting firms with 215 to 350 employees. The company’s installation experience ranges from systems to serve a single-person office to one serving over 800 users in multiple locations.
The firm offers fully managed, end-to-end network services through a secure, private MPLS network that enables the enforcement of stringent Quality of Service (QoS) benchmarks. These services are all tied into an integrated suite of unified communications offerings, and include hosted PBX voice, converged access voice, SIP trunking, call centers, audio/Web conferencing, Microsoft Communicator, Exchange and SharePoint support, and Blackberry Mobility Data Service. All of these services are designed to increase staff effectiveness through the use of business productivity tools, while providing end users with the flexibility of receiving calls on their desk phone, cell phone, home phone, or a Web-based phone portal.
In addition to the hosted applications, LightEdge provides a number of wide area networking and data services, including private MPLS network access, metropolitan Ethernet with data rates up to 1 Gbps; meshed IP WANs to integrate operations for both headquarters and remote locations; and enterprise-grade security that includes managed firewalls, dynamic packet filtering, event detection with email notification, traffic management, and proactive monitoring on a 24/7/365 basis.
Lightedge’s voice-specific services include SIP trunking and Hosted PBX capabilities. The SIP trunking delivers voice calls over a dedicated IP connection from the LightEdge network, which can be used simultaneously to deliver Internet, WAN, and hosted application traffic. This service is compatible with PBXs from a number of manufacturers, including Avaya, Cisco Systems, Mitel, Nortel, Panasonic, and Toshiba. An interesting capability of this service, called the hybrid voice model, allows customers to expand beyond the capabilities of their existing PBX by adding hosted seats. When the existing PBX is fully depreciated, then all users can be converted to a hosted PBX solution.
A fully hosted PBX service is available for customers that do not want to deal with a premises-based communication solution. This alternative includes the capabilities for remote office configurations (making and receiving calls from an alternate phone, complete with the office Caller ID number); find-me/follow-me service, a series of features including call forwarding, simultaneous and sequential ring that allow users to receive calls on one or multiple alternative phones; voicemail to e-mail conversions, with voice messages converted into WAV files; and application integration, which enables users to access phone features, personal and group calling lists from an integrated toolbar in Microsoft Outlook or Internet Explorer. Management support for these features comes from an online voice feature portal, which allows the users to modify their phone configuration at any time from a secure online system.
The hosted PBX service includes a long list of key features, which are divided into functional groups. These include: Personal Features: busy lamp field, call forwarding and return, intra-office paging, Outlook/Explorer toolbar, one-click transfer, selected call accept or reject, and others; Messaging Features: message indicator, message notification via e-mail or text message, voice messaging retrieval and call back; and the Group Features: auto attendant, call center distribution policies, hunt groups, LDAP or Outlook directory integration, and receptionist.
Further information on the LightEdge voice solutions can be found at http://lightedge.com/. Our next tutorial will continue our review of various service providers hosted voice solutions.
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.