Optimum Lightpath, the division of Cablevision Systems that offers Metro Ethernet services to business customers, has launched a new product – Lightpath Hosted Voice.

Hosted Voice’s claim to fame is that it will provide up to five times the bandwidth offered by competitors for voice and Internet service. In Optimum Lightpath’s service area, which covers the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut metropolitan area, the competitors include Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Broadband.com and M5 Networks.

Glenn Calafati, director of product marketing and development for Optimum Lightpath, explained that some voice and data providers set up a facility at the customer’s location. "This gives the customer the feel of being on an IP network, but it really isn’t," he said.

Hosted Voice is more comparable to traditional phone Centrex services where the switches are located back at the service provider’s offices. For an explanation of Centrex, see this March 2007 CT story.

Over-the-top providers don’t have a broadband pipe into the business, Calafati said. They will take several DS-1 lines and bond them together to make a pool of bandwidth. The bonded DS-1s may reach 3-6 Mbps of bandwidth to be shared among voice and data.

But the sharing can create problems. "The more phones you have off hook, the less data you have available," Calafati said.

Optimum Lightpath’s Hosted Voice over its fiber-optic network offers speeds of 5 Mbps, 10 Mbps, 20 Mbps, 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps.

"Our (data) goes through the wire at the speed which you’ve contracted," Calafati said. "You’re not dicing it up like bonded DS-1. This service is IP all the way back to the switching facility that’s controlled by us."

For an in-depth analysis of business voice technology, see this July 2008 CT story.

Besides speed, a hosted service provides change control, according to Calafati. If an employee wants to relocate his office, he can simply move his phone to the new location. If he has local area network (LAN) connectivity, all of the features will follow. There’s no need to submit a work order and change the connections.

– Linda Hardesty

Read more news and analysis on Communications Technology‘s Web site at www.cable360.net/ct/news/.

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