AVAD Technologies, Inc., headquartered in New York, New York, is a small, business-oriented hosted VoIP provider that prides itself on having a cutting-edge line of integrated voice/data solutions.
Included in this line is a complete, customized hosted IP PBX solution, called Business PBX, which is designed to provide customers with the telecommunications tools required to compete effectively in their unique marketplace. AVAD's solutions include all of the hardware that is required for the installation.
The company's marketing efforts target firms with between 50 and 500 users, providing a service area that includes all of the continental United States and Canada.
Every firm in this hosted PBX market (which appears to be getting more crowded every day) looks for a unique marketing twist that will distinguish its service from the rest of the herd. For AVAD, that uniqueness is in their service guarantee: "If for any reason during the first 60-days following installation of AVAD Technologies Business VoIP PBX phone service does not meet your expectations, we will uninstall and refund any monies incurred by your organization for Capital Expenditures (CAPEX) promptly. It's pretty hard to dismiss a statement that demonstrates such a high confidence in both products and service.
As mentioned, AVAD Technologies offers a full suite of business communications solutions. The Voice Prioritized Business T1 Service provides full duplex bandwidth at the 1.5 Mbps rate, priority data routing on the AVAD private nationwide IP network, 16 static IP address, and up to 100 domain e-mail addresses. This service comes with a service level agreement that guarantees 99.99 percent uptime, 100 percent port speed, and 99.8 percent packet delivery.
The company also sells and installs a broad line of IP internetworking hardware, including IP conferencing and executive phones from Polycom, managed switches from EdgeConnect, SIP-compatible Analog Telephone Adapters (ATAs) from Linksys, cable, DSL, and WAN routers from Edgemarc, plus phones from Aastra and Cisco Systems.
Network management for the AVAD network is provided via two web portals.
The Administrative Web Portal provides the capabilities to modify the auto attendant (normal hours of operation, holiday schedule, name dialing entries, etc.); business hours call routing ("press 1 for sales, 2 for support," etc.); hunt groups (alternate numbers that can be set to ring a specific set of telephones in a particular order); a receptionist console (showing extension call states, such as available, unavailable, on the phone, etc.); a call center (identifying queue lengths, specifying music or messages while on hold, etc.); feature access codes (defining *72 for call forwarding, *21 for call forwarding to voicemail, etc.); and call management (alternate numbers that can ring a phone with a distinctive ringing pattern).
The User Web Portal provides user login capabilities (username with password protection); voicemail setup (message configuration, notification, and retrieval); call forwarding (sending calls to an alternate number, plus reminding the user when he or she returns to the office, so that this function can be deactivated); call forwarding selective (allows only calls that meet specific criteria to be forwarded to another number); simultaneous ring (lists phone numbers that should ring in addition to the primary phone when an incoming call is received); incoming calls (setting anonymous rejection, calling name retrieval, call notify via e-mail, etc.); and alternate numbers (which allow up to ten additional numbers or extensions to be assigned to the users phone in addition to the primary number or extension).
Costs for AVADs Business PBX services ranges from $29.95 to 59.95 per user per month.
The low end of $29.95 per month offers two different plans: A Virtual User/Extension Plan with unlimited United States and Canadian calling, plus an advanced set of enterprise-grade PBX calling features. The Low Usage Extension Plana which is designed for the occasional use in a conference room, break room or reception areaprovides unlimited calling, but only basic features such as call hold, transfer, and conferencing.
The Advanced Extension Dial Plan, at $39.95 per month, offers an extension off of the primary company auto-attendant, and comes with calling features that can be custom-tailored to each users individual needs, including hunt group routing, voicemail, and voicemail to e-mail conversions.
The Advanced Direct Dial Plan, priced at $49.95 per month, provides a private direct dial number, in addition to the features noted in the $39.95 plan. At the high end is the Premium Direct Dial Plan, the companys most comprehensive offering at $59.95 per month, which tacks on a number of other user features.
Further information on the AVAD solutions can be found at www.avadtechnologies.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.