ISP and reseller Trunk Networks talks to Comms Business Magazine about they worked with Virtual Access to provide a bonded ADSL solution for a multi-national Australian company.
Established in 2008 as the result of two companies coming together, Sussex-based Trunk Networks is a niche market ISP that also provides hosted services such as Microsoft Exchange email and cloud computing services based on the Citrix hosted desktop platform.
Trunk Networks Director, Drew Marshall explains his customer proposition, “We provide a desktop in the cloud. You can call it cloud computing or managed services but one of the biggest issues we have from a service provision point of view is that if the connectivity is not up to the mark then the customer thinks your product is poor.
Leased line connectivity is relatively expensive for SME customers and remote branches of larger organisations so we started to consider using multiple DSL circuits in a bonded configuration.
Having researched the market for solutions we decided that we liked the look of the GW7000 series dual ADSL router from vendor Virtual Access as it ticked a lot of boxes on the list of what we were looking for. A trial unit supplied by the company was tested at one of our customer’s premises in a bonded configuration and we immediately liked what we saw. In particular we liked their remote monitoring and management as well as the self-configuration capability of the router.
Trunk Networks provides hosted desktop solutions that we supply as a managed service to our clients and whilst the Virtual Access GW7000 router provides a resilient bonded solution through having two circuits their product made us think further about our customers and their needs.
‘Why is it?’ we asked, ‘that customers have to worry about how the Internet comes to them. Electricity and water are commodities, why should the Internet be any different?’ And why should customers worry how to make the Internet work?
So today, and in partnership with Virtual Access, we are offering Turnkey Internet out of the front of their router as a managed service. The GW7000 has four LAN ports and all we say to the customers is ‘There’s your Internet, it comes out of one of those holes in the front!’
We predominantly sell to SMEs but any size of business can enjoy the benefits of our managed service proposition. This allows us to supply and set up Virtual Access routers anywhere without having to go to site. This is achieved by our provisioning server supplying a suitable profile to the router as part of the router’s initial set up routine, when it is first powered on. Unlike most of their competitor products the Virtual Access GW7000 dual ADSL routers have a built in modem which can be used for out of band access for remote access, as well as remote provisioning.
Connectivity to the GW7000 can be ADSL Max, ADSL2+ Annex A or Annex M. In our experience, by bonding two DSL circuits you achieve approaching 1.8 times the speed of a single circuit in either direction. Typically we see 2.5Mbps upstream from bonding two ADSL2+ circuits.
The benefit for our SME customers is that they get faster broadband connectivity cost effectively. It means our customers have a resilient connection that enables them to run more applications at the same time.
Trunk Networks has put together a managed service bundle for our customers that includes DSL from BT Wholesale, enhanced care, bonding, the Virtual Access GW7000 router and network monitoring, which is actually a feature provided by the GW7000. We are also in the latter stages of adding BE Wholesale to our service offering, enabling customers to add resilience to the bonded packages by taking one BT Wholesale and one BE Wholesale line. We have many customers using the packages as a managed service and many just for the increased upstream speeds achieved.
One such customer, headquartered in Australia, needed to daily synchronise a dozen or more laptops located with staff based in London. Prior to our installing the Virtual Access GW7000 router this was a cumbersome daily chore for staff as they were restricted, due to location, to using a single ADSL Max circuit. Now, with two of these circuits bonded via the GW7000 the daily synchronisation is a realistic proposition.
The customer also likes the cost-effectiveness of our very neat solution. We charge £158.51 per month for the complete managed service bundle including up to 40Gig of data across the connection each month. As an alternative we can sell the router to the user for a little over £500.00 and reduced their monthly managed service fee.”
Drew Marshall is ebullient about the reliability of the Virtual Access products and the support his company receives from the vendor.
“Reliability is nothing less than perfect as we have had 100% uptime from the GW7000 routers we have installed and zero percent dead on arrivals. Support from Virtual Access has also been excellent where they insist on a one to two day training course, depending upon core skills of attendees.
The average cost of a leased line, say a 10Meg Ethernet circuit, is now around £700 to £800 per month. It’s a good product, but for many SMEs and remote offices of larger organisations you have to question the value for money: do they really need that connectivity and SLA package or will a bonded ADSL solution be a better proposition? It’s highly likely that bonded ADSL is the most cost-effective way to go, however anyone taking a fully managed ADSL service can upgrade to a leased line if their needs change, and without penalty. The Virtual Access GW7000 can terminate either or both together, so you can have a leased line with automated fail over to bonded ADSL. Now that’s a resillient service!
In reality, bonded connectivity with Virtual Access GW7000 is reliable too. I’ve just checked the figures for last month and we returned five nines uptime for our Australian customer. It’s a great option and with Trunk Networks managed service package the customer only has one call to make if anything goes wrong.”