To realize these cost savings, NGR worked with Optimum Lightpath to create a situation where it would deploy the provider's 10 Mbps Internet pipes in its Great Neck office, but also a 5 Mbps connection in its Garden City office. Adding to the bandwidth portfolio, Optimum Lightpath upgraded NGR's 10 Mbps pipe to 20 Mbps for free in the Great Neck, NY office.
"Now the VPNS work flawlessly and we never end up with any problems," he said. "By putting in the 10 Mbps pipes, we were able to get rid of 12 T1s and three fat pipes. It got rid of a tremendous amount of hardware for me."
Prior to Optimum Lightpath, NGR's options to scale beyond its band-aid three T1 method would have been to go to a much more expensive T3 circuit. By deploying Optimum Lightpath's converged network solution, NGR was able to shave off $20,000 a year from its communications spend, a major concern for radiology companies that continue to see the payments they get from insurance companies decline. "I am just glad that someone finally started to give people the option of getting larger bandwidth pipes rather than going to something like a T3 which is unbelievably expensive," he said.
In addition to creating data networking efficiencies, the new Ethernet links are also carrying NGR's existing POTS lines.
Interestingly, NGR did not have to convert to a new VoIP or IP-based phone system. Instead, NGR took all of its existing POTS lines and moved them right onto the same Ethernet network pipe it's using for its data applications. This meant that NGR did not have to add new hardware or migrate to VoIP.
All NGR had to do was to make sure that the phone numbers were there and the trees, hunt groups and fax lines were set up properly. "They are running POTS lines over an Internet T1 pipe, but I don't know how they are hooking it up on their end," Robbins said. "We did not have to go to VoIP to do this, which amazed me because I thought that's what we were going to have to do."
But with the demand for radiology data growing and Ethernet allowing customers to scale bandwidth more easily than a traditional TDM-based T1 circuit, does NGR foresee a need to scale above 10 Mbps? While Robbins won't rule out the need for more bandwidth down the road, he said what he's got is sufficient enough for now. "I could up this 10 Mbps to 20 Mbps, which would move the data better, but then it would become non-cost effective," he said. "Right now, the 10 Mbps link is plenty for what I need. The only time I run into an issue is if a lot of data is sending at once from an office then the amount of bandwidth available goes down, but that lasts for only about 10 minutes."