It is axiomatic that a VoIP call is only as good as its network. Users know this. Service providers know it. Ruben Magurdumov knows it.
"VoIP customers are very focused on having a very fast response and having the best connectivity thats out there," said Magurdumov, vice president of operations at GalaxyVisions, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company offering managed Web hosting, dedicated server rentals, collocation, and shared Web services.
To provide the kind of connections VoIP requires, GalaxyVisions recently spent close to $100,000 to upgrade its facilities, adding new Cisco gear, power system upgrades, and other enhancements to its network capabilities. "We felt that for us to target VoIP, we needed to do this," Magurdumov said.
The company does not provide VoIP services. Rather, it acts as a pass-through or conduit, automatically routing calls between telephony resellers and six Tier 1 carriers in an effort to achieve the best and fastest connections.
GalaxyVisions primary clientele include a range of companies in need of hosting: Software development companies, currency exchange providers, and diverse business customers from a variety of industries.
That being the case, a telephony play might seem like a stretch for a company whose primary business is babysitting boxes. Magurdumov doesnt see it that way. Rather, VoIP is just one more form of data traffic moving through customers systems housed in his facility.
Still, the company does take a special interest in its telephony tenants, with systems in place not simply to deliver but rather to optimize their traffic. VoIP clients enjoy redundant fail-over networks, efficient routing and fail-safes to ensure 100 percent uptime. Likewise, having those half-dozen top tier carrier partners to choose from is integral to GalaxyVisions program, in which call quality is perhaps the most compelling selling point.
The company puts special emphasis on the speed and reliability of its calls to the Middle East, though there was no deliberate effort to target that market. Rather, demand in that region has grown organically since the companys founding in 2003.
"It was mostly referral business," Magurdumov said. "We had customers doing business there; they were starting to get a good response on the network side and so we began to get more customers just based on the kind of service we provided."
As a hosting site doing double duty as a VoIP pass-through, GalaxyVisions has tried to distinguish itself on the customer service side as well. Where other hosting companies may ask their tenants to handle the care and feeding of their own servers, Magurdumov and his 25-person team try to be more of a full-service shop.
The company monitors equipment 24/7 and will troubleshoot as problems arise. That can make a difference come budgeting time. "A lot of companies could get two to three administrators off the payroll just by having us on board," Magurdumov said.
These managed services start at $100 per month. Thats in addition to the fees VoIP users typically will pay for making use of the facility, which range from $85 to $100 per month.
Even before the recent upgrades, GalaxyVisions focus on the VoIP sector seemed to be scoring points. It claims that 90 percent of VoIP customers have grown from half rack to over two cabinets in under a years time.
At the same time, Magurdumov is aware that given the sensitivities of VoIP traffic, especially the need for reliable speed and consistency, not all of his customers are going to want the full-service option: Some prefer to do their own troubleshooting when the alarm bells ring. "Just like any business, there are always people who want things to get done their way," he said.
Geography could be a long-term play here. Today GalaxyVisions is especially strong in its ability to get calls through to the Middle East without latency or packet loss, and it is this kind of connectivity that could drive VoIP into the next frontier: The underdeveloped world.
As providers look to pass calls through to countries with weak networking infrastructures, they likely will be looking to data-routing partners with facilities robust enough to get calls to their termination points unimpeded. In building out its VoIP capacity today, this Brooklyn company may be positioning itself to secure a piece of that expanding business tomorrow.