GlobalPhone Corporation, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, is a facilities-based carrier that provides services to 500,000 customers in over 130 countries, and maintains a network of over 300 business partners around the world.
The privately held, debt-free company began in 1995 as an international long distance provider and is profitable, employing approximately 25 people in engineering, sales, and support positions.
The company’s services include hosted PBX service, SIP trunk or IP trunk service, call center solutions, and a variety of long distance phone services such as prepaid and postpaid phone cards, international callback, and international toll free numbers.
GlobalPhone’s infrastructure utilizes a SIP-based, multi-location, redundant Broadsoft switching platform and ACME Packet session border controllers. Level3 provides the underlying network with local presence in most metropolitan areas in the United States—although the company maintains additional business relationships with many of the world’s largest carriers, including Global Crossing, Teleglobe, MCI, Qwest, and Verizon.
GlobalPhone provides hosted PBX and SIP trunking services for businesses throughout the lower 48 states, and has approximately 8,000 hosted PBX seats in production. Its hosted PBX service, GlobalTone, is targeted for small to medium-size businesses, with the average customer subscribing to 5 to 15 seats—but with some customers ranging as high as 300 seats—supported by a system that can scale up to 100,000 phones.
GlobalPhone provisions new customers in one day, and then drop-ships the preconfigured phones and routers for remotely supported self-installation by the customer. As an example, GlobalPhone recently restored communications for a fifty person company overnight after the windows of its high-rise headquarters in Houston, Texas were blown out, forcing the company to move out of that building.
The GlobalTone service is hosted in a carrier-grade network, not the Internet, so it can provide the same voice quality as a legacy PBX solution. The system also includes many features typical of on-premises voice solutions: Class 5 such as call forwarding, call transfer, call waiting, call park/pickup, and so on. It offers a robust voicemail application that includes features such as password encryption, mailbox quota warnings, customizable prompts, and broadcast messages. GlobalTone provides remote calling to support telecommuters and remote workers—as well as a find me/follow me function.
Monthly service charges are based upon the number of features desired, and range from a Basic package—with both in-bound and out-bound calling plus Caller ID for $19.75 per user per month—to the Premium package with the most advanced features such as Line ID blocking, Outlook integration, and remote office capabilities that goes for $34.75 per month. The system supports unlocked, non-proprietary SIP phones. The primary phones installed are those manufactured by Polycom, Cisco, Linksys, and Aastra, although the system will support additional brands if the customer already owns them.
GlobalTone’s user interface is especially robust providing integration with Microsoft Outlook, and a web-based administration for feature management and personal preferences. This system was designed with a browser-based model in mind, making it easy for both network managers and end users to administer, manage, and update features, including speed dial keys, phone templates, moves, adds and changes. This web-based interface is hosted on the GlobalPhone network, allowing the network administrator to manage a remote office, or any other configuration details, from any location with Internet access. It includes the capabilities for logging calls (see Figure 1) and recording calls (see Figure 2).
Customers have full web-based control over their PBX to restrict international and various inbound and outbound calling, plus sophisticated fraud detection algorithms to protect against toll fraud. GlobalPhone uses the Intrado 911 network, which claims to provide the most robust coverage in the United States. Customers may contact the GlobalPhone call center or go on-line to make any modifications to their 911 address.
One of the most useful features of GlobalPhone’s service is their VoIP Quality Testing Site that enables existing hosted PBX customers to quickly identity LAN and WAN issues that affect their phone service. GlobalPhone developed this site after determining that over 99 percent of all VoIP problems are located in the local network and service provider connection, and that customers needed an easy way to test these connections to ensure that they are working properly. These tests evaluate time-sensitive application parameters, including upload/download speeds, data throughput consistency, jitter, packet loss, and others. To look at this very useful implementation tool, check out GlobalPhone’s Hosted PBX on-line support center here.
Further information on the Global Phone solutions can be found at www.gphone.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.