Speakeasy: Flexible voice, data, and app hosting for small businesses

Speakeasy, Inc., headquartered in Seattle, Washington, opened one of the country’s first Internet cafes in 1994, and since that time has grown into a nationwide provider of VoIP, broadband, and hosting services. The company joined the BestBuy family of companies in April 2007, working with BestBuy for Business to provide technology for small businesses throughout the United States. Speakeasy assists small businesses by offering simplified voice and data solutions that improve the customer experience, increase employee productivity, and help cut costs.

Speakeasy’s national network is a private Layer 2 network that does not run over the Internet, with a current capacity that exceeds 30 gigabits of bandwidth. The company claims its network is fully redundant, consisting of multiple physical fiber paths and an architecture that provides an exceptionally stable infrastructure with low jitter and packet loss.

Major points of presence (POPs) are located in New York, Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. Secondary network access points (NAPs) extend from these POPs to regional markets. For example, the Los Angeles POP has links to NAPs in San Diego, Phoenix, Denver, and Salt Lake City. In addition, major routes, such as Los Angeles to New York, are served by direct links to improve performance and network load scaling. This backbone allows the firm to provide service to all major markets in the United States, as well as several hundred tier 2 and tier 3 markets.

The company offers a complete portfolio of services across many small business communications requirements.

Broadband services provide a full range of connectivity options, including T1 and Bonded T1 for speeds up to 3 Mbps; DSL service with download speeds up to 15 Mbps, and Business Ethernet services with symmetrical upload and download speeds of 10 Mbps.

Private WAN services provide a secure and private point-to-point connection for small- to medium-sized businesses that require a cost-effective alternative to Frame Relay service.

Managed services include managed servers to host a client’s website, e-mail, database, or proprietary software; or shared Web hosting that provides 99.99 percent guaranteed uptime on a managed Web cluster for Web, mail, or DNS hosting.

Phone services provide VoIP services tailored to the needs of any home office or small business.

Speakeasy’s phone services are divided into two different options: Integrated Voice and Hosted Voice.

The Integrated Voice service combines voice and data over a single, dynamic DSL, T1, or Business Ethernet connection, delivering 2 to 48 concurrent calls through an existing PBX or IP PBX. Connections can be made to PBXs accepting analog, digital T1-CAS, ISDN-PRI, or direct SIP delivery.

The Hosted Voice service is designed to combine simplified calling plans with flexible long distance options and advanced features, thus enhancing workforce productivity. This complete solution provides a wide range of options, including: multiple calling plans with national and international long distance options, a choice of broadband providers (either Speakeasy or another provider), a full range of IP features, plus a selection of Linksys, Polycom, and Cisco IP phones and associated hardware.

Three calling plans are currently available: EasyVoice Small Office, designed for businesses with five or fewer employees at a single location; EasyVoice Office, with more than five employees and predictable long distance usage; and EasyVoice Unlimited, which includes unlimited national long distance and is targeted at businesses with many long distance users.

The Office and Small Office options are priced at $19.95 per employee per month, plus an optional long distance package that is shared among the company. Of note, the unused national or international minutes carry forward from month to month, similar to the billing policies of many cellular providers. The Unlimited plan is priced at $29.95 per employee per month, and includes unlimited national calls, plus international long distance calls at a per-minute rate.

There are some ancillary service plans that address specific communications needs, including a Voicemail Only service that provides a dedicated phone number for voicemail retrieval; a Call Forwarding Only service, which provides a local telephone appearance in any location in the country; and a Dialtone Only service that provides only dial out/dial in capabilities and metered usage rates for low-use applications such as conference rooms or visitor/guest phones. In addition to the typical PBX features, Speakeasy makes add-on features available, including auto attendant, call center, conferencing, toll free numbers, and hunt groups, among others.

Further information on the Speakeasy solutions can be found at www.speakeasy.net.

Our next tutorial will continue our review of various service providers hosted voice solutions.

Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2009 DigiNet Corporation®, All Rights Reserved

Author’s Biography
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.

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