Business mobile connectivity Net phones

Roll up, roll up, get yer acronyms here #MAM #MDM #CoIT #BYOD #MPLS #VoIP

Being a progressive high technology company we have a department that is dedicated to coming up with new acronyms. Ok that’s not an entirely fair description of the marketing department – engineering also does it 🙂

We have been upping the ante on mobile products in the last year or so.  The mobile world is rapidly moving on from merely the selling of phones, minutes and handsets (plus BlackBerry of course which has been an added value sell for years).

Unless you have been in a cocoon for the last six months (and you might)

broadband Business internet

Broadband Connectivity: Superfast IP Networks, 21CN and MPLS Mixing and Matching

Superfast all IP networks are not just around the corner they are here already, at least if you are a business. The big growth area in business networking is in Ethernet data circuits that are rapidly replacing ADSL as the business connectivity of choice.

In fact businesses are keeping their old ADSL connections as a backup to their new Ethernet circuit so whilst the market for broadband is relatively flat the general business of internet connectivity is seeing a boom.

At Timico we will see almost twice as many Ethernet circuits installed in 2010 as we did in the first five years of our existence. Next year we expect the number to at least double again.

Cloud Engineer internet

Flagship MPLS project

I don’t normally go about overtly selling Timico in this blog but sometimes, when the customer is doing it for you in the trade press, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do*.

Flagship Housing is a recent customer of Timico.  We implemented an MPLS network for them. They love it enough to

Business internet mobile connectivity voip

What are ISPs doing about Voice?

The question is being asked “what are ISPs doing about voice?” This is particularly relevant as the market consolidates and B2B ISPs not only seek economies of scale but additional sources of revenues.

Timico was founded as a fully converged ISP from the outset. Early on we had to decide whether to simply white label services from other ISPs and ITSPs or do “get into manufacturing” and do it all ourselves.

At the outset there were no real white label VoIP options. You had to do it yourself. However there were plenty of ISPs providing Virtual ISP services.

End User internet UC

Weather what weather?

I love this weather.  I’m a big kid really. I want it to snow so much that I get stuck in the house and can’t make it into the office. This isn’t just me talking.  I bet that most people in the UK are saying it right now.  Some of them will be stuck at home and those poor unfortunates, like me, will actually have made it in and are busy making cups of tea, talking to customers, running the internet (delete as appropriate).

Staying at home of course doesn’t mean that the world of commerce has to grind to a halt. I was quite thrilled as I wandered around the Timico sales floor talking about colours (this is topical – if you don’t know I’m not telling you) when one of the team mentioned that they had had a customer cancel a visit on them but had replaced it with a Meet Me Now web conference session.  What’s more they had pretty much closed an MPLS network opportunity during the call.

2010 – memorable for the best winter in (some people’s) living memory and the expansion of the VoIP online web collaboration market.

PS if you call me you won’t know whether I am at home or in the office anyway – 16 x 7 x 330.  Stack those snowballs up ready!

Business internet Regs

Review of 2009

If you have managed to keep a job in 2009 it has probably not been a bad year for you. For consumers, fuel apart, costs have by and large come down as vendors compete more aggressively in the tough market conditions. In the UK we haven’t started paying for it yet. If you have been out of work in 2009 I guess it will have been a different story.

At work Timico continued to grow both in sales and profitability. It hasn’t been easy but the year end looks as if it will be significantly up on last year.

Highlights in the year include decommissioning our last 155Mbps ATM connections to BT, followed later in the year by our 622Mbps pipes. They have been replaced by resilient Gigabit Ethernet Hostlinks.

We also set up our new Network Operations Centre in Newark and saw the successful move of the NetOps team up to Nottinghamshire from Ipswich.

One of the big success stories of the year is the growth in the high bandwidth leased line business. Uncontended (ie dedicated connectivity) leased lines are becoming more affordable and companies are increasing offloading (at least some) corporate resources into the ”cloud”. We have similarly seen a growth in our MPLS estate with some customers signing up for hundreds of connected sites.

2009 also saw some major technology introductions. ADSL2+ was introduced early in the year. The technology is capable of “up to 24Mbps” though we only quote 16Mbps to our customers – most users will not get the max performance and I think it is better to manage expectations in this way rather than have unhappy customers.

Timico was the second ISP in the country to sell Ethernet in the First Mile and have also been participants in the BT Fibre To The Cabinet  (FTTC) trials, the early stage of the much promoted £1.5Bn investment in Next Generation Access technology.

“Digital Britain” was also a much used “buzzword” during the year. It is easy for me to criticise and I realise it is a lot harder when you are making the actual decisions but I am afraid that we will look back and decide that the present Government did not do a good job on this one. The first 4 months of 2010 are going to be very important with laws being passed or not passed that will potentially adversely affect every internet user in the UK.

Don’t get me wrong though. 2010 is going to be an exciting year with lots happening. More tomorrow.

Business internet

The market for IPVPN

I note that three carriers have launched a wholesale IPVPN proposition. BT, Cable and Wireless and Opal have all opened up for business into the reseller channel. This really does reflect the growing opportunity in this space brought on by lower cost IP connectivity and greater use of internet/cloud based services.

Timico has been offering such MPLS based services for almost five years.  We call them Private Wide Area Networks (PWANs). This year the number of Ethernet leased lines we will have installed for customers looks like being 50% as many as we did in the first five years and next year the way things are going I expect the estate to double.

When we started to offer PWANs in the market there were very few ISPs doing it.  This was partly because the vast majority of ISPs had low bandwidth 34Mbps central pipes that did not support L2TP, a practical necessity for the provision of MPLS PWANs.  Many still don’t have the technical knowhow even if they have the right connectivity and it is quite common for small ISPs to resell another’s IPVPN and claim it as their own.

This announcement from these 3 carriers effectively creates a dividing line between the haves and the have nots. Those who can build their own networks and those that just resell others’.  None of these “builders” has the reach to provide a network that is exclusively their own.  They all buy tails from BT Openreach for the many locations in the UK outside their own network footprints.

Our own approach is not to offer wholesale connectivity.  We want to build up the Timico brand in the  business end user community. We do operate our own MPLS network though and I see this as being of strategic importance in building the successful  Communications Service Provider for the business market of the future.

Engineer internet security

The buzz of the Network Operations Centre

It always gives me a great buzz to sit in our NOC. It’s because when we started Timico only 4 years ago there were only four of us sat in the room of Tim Radford’s parents’ stable block (it was cheap and there was no room at the inn anyway). Now on a normal working day there are more people sat in the NOC than there were in that original room. It is a world away.

Today sat in the NOC some of the engineers were setting up a MPLS PWAN for a customer. This particular PWAN had over 80 sites – a mixture of leased lines and ADSL. In itself it isn’t a big news item. It isn’t our biggest PWAN by a long chalk. However it is another new customer and an endorsment of what we set out to achieve four years ago sat in the stable block.

It is a good feeling to be at Timico.

broadband Business

Multi-Site Broadband VPN Deployments

If your company is deploying multi-site broadband VPNs you need to consider using a L2TP Private Wide Area Network. A PWAN employs Virtual Route Forwarding to offer complete security over a shared MPLS backbone.


The beauty of this approach is that you don’t need expensive MPLS connections – an ADSL line will do which can be a very cost effective way of providing security to remote sites.


Moreover there is a choice of PWAN with or without internet access. A company that needs only an inward facing network, for example for streaming music or messaging to stores completely removes the need for firewall support at each remote site.


For a slightly more sophisticated network with internet access and, say broadband VPN connectivity for mobile workers, only one centrally located firewall is needed (or two for resiliency).


This means that corporate resources such as billing platforms and CRM packages that would normally be located at the corporate HQ can now be located at a centrally positioned data-centre. This is then accessible to every site on the corporate network without the need to provide an expensive beefed up IP connection to the HQ and removes this as a single point of failure.


Typically not every ISP offers this kind of PWAN. It relies on BT Central pipes that support L2TP which the smaller pipes do not do. Larger consumer oriented ISPs that may well have the technology are potentially not interested in supporting what is essentially an unique circuit design for every customer.