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Did You Know That...

1948 years ago in AD 63 an earthquake in southern Italy by the gulf of Naples seriously damaged the ancient city of Pompeii causing an undetermined number of deaths and spread out destruction, but the locals went to work rebuilding in the same spot until they were buried by the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano 16 years later in AD 79.

Galveston TX Hurricanes

Average Brushed or hit every 2.94 years
Average Direct hit every 8.63 years

The Great Storm of 1900 - Sep 8th 1900 - Pop: 42,000 residents
Category 4 @ 135 mph -Great loss of life between 6,000 and 12,000 individuals – officially 8,000

The 1915 Storm, August 17th, Category 4 @ 135 mph
42    people dead in the Galveston area
$60 - 1915 million dollars in damage

Ike Sep 13th 2008 - The third most destructive hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States
Final landfall in Galveston Texas as a strong cat 2 with cat 5 equivalent storm surge winds extended 120 miles from the center.

Blamed for at least 195 deaths – 74 in Haiti and 112 in the USA 300 still missing. - Damages estimated at 24 billion (2008) US Dollars

Resulted in the largest evacuation in the state of Texas history and the largest search and rescue operation in US history

Nuclear Issues

Chernobyl, An Experiment Gone Wrong

On Saturday, April 26th, 1986 at 1:23 am, one of the reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded.
Ironically, the experiment consisted in testing how the power plant would respond in the event of an accident. The operators at the plant wanted to bring down the power output of the reactor to 25%, but over-confidence, poor training and poor knowledge of how a reactor works caused them to overdo it, and they ended up bringing down the power output to 1%. When they then tried to bring it up to 25%, the reactor overheated and exploded causing the worst nuclear accident in history.

Five U.S. nuclear reactors in earthquake zones

Status of the Nuclear Reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant

How a Reactor Shuts Down and What Happens in a Meltdown

Hazards of Storing Spent Fuel

Timeline: Nuclear Plant Accidents

Why the Fukushima disaster is worse than Chernobyl

In graphics: Fukushima nuclear alert

Fukushima victims: homeless, desperate & angry

Japan Panel: Fukushima nuclear disaster "man-made"

More, Did You Know That


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Products - Services

I T: 20 Questions to Ask About VOIP
Posted on Tuesday, July 08 @ 13:54:17 PDT by editor
Before You Buy – Twenty Questions to Ask Your Supplier About Voice over IP

By Paul F. Kirvan, FBCI, CBCP, CISSP

The use of data networks for transporting voice communications is a reality through a technology called voice over IP (VoIP). This is typically referred to as "convergence" and offers potentially significant value for IT and telecommunications managers. However, the decision to transport voice communications over data networks introduces risks and other potential operational issues for IT/telecom professionals.

Following are questions and issues that should be addressed with vendors and network service providers before signing on the dotted line.

1. How does the network and terminal equipment handle congestion? When a network node accumulates a "rush" of frames, throughput - particularly as it applies to voice communications - could be slowed, packets could be lost, and overall performance can suffer. Perhaps the overall network configuration needs to be redesigned to more efficiently handle high-traffic periods. Flow control features can be incorporated into the network to control congestion.

2. Are network devices (e.g., routers, switches, gateways) compatible? Even though Vendor A states its equipment supports VoIP standards, it might not be totally compatible with products from Vendor B. Each vendor must ensure product compatibility; service level agreements are an appropriate way to handle this.

3. Do long distance and local network operator networks support IP switching? If the network has nodes in numerous cities, the carrier may not be available in all cities. That means IP networking may come from two or more carriers. Each carrier must be able to demonstrate (and, if possible, guarantee) compatibility with others.

4. How will network monitoring and maintenance be handled? The nature of converged networks is such that regular performance monitoring and measurement are essential elements of the overall network strategy. Numerous products and services are available to address these issues.

5. How will lost packets be handled? At least two options are possible: software in the network access equipment or a resident feature in the carrier's network. Check availability and compare pricing for each.

6. What happens if network synchronization is lost? What will the carrier/vendor do to ensure the clocking sources are maintained?

7. Will the network management system support VoIP and other protocols? Assuming one of the many available network management systems is used, will the equipment and software support H.323 and related VoIP standards?

8. Have the right applications been selected for converged networks? Is the focus on voice applications only, or on a true multimedia environment?

9. Have real traffic volumes been accurately predicted? Today's data networks can handle periodic bursts of traffic, but might experience difficulties in extremely heavy traffic situations. Make sure the converged network traffic requirements are properly assessed and factored into the network design.

10. Are pricing elements for VoIP and other network services well understood? VoIP acceptance has been strong, and it is available from numerous suppliers. When researching service and equipment providers, be sure to compare the products and service offerings carefully, especially the pricing for equipment licenses and network services.

11. How motivated are the network service providers to sell IP services? Since converged networks promise new opportunities for savings as well as expanded application platforms, planners should ask themselves (and vendors): How can we get the best value for money by using converged networks?

12. Has the likelihood been considered that advanced IP-based networks will need to coexist with more traditional networks?

For example, a company may not be able to immediately replace all its traditional PBX systems with IP-based PBXs. And it may not make economical sense to migrate voice traffic onto data networks right away.

13. How will quality of service be ensured on an ongoing basis? Unique requirements of voice communications operating over converged networks suggest that the issue of quality of service (QoS) will be perhaps the most important, in addition to the use of standards. 14. How will IP network service billing be handled?

If a common billing scheme is not available, users will probably have to deal with different billing formats. Be sure you check on how your service will be billed.

15. What network disaster recovery plans are provided by major network service providers? Aside from the usual diverse routing, redundant network components, and redundant processing elements, determine how your carrier plan to reestablish network integrity/interoperability if there’s a crash on the Internet, a major cable is destroyed, a power failure disables a switching node, a software failure disables network communications, or human error accidentally disrupts service.

16. How will local service operators support converged network technologies, especially in a disaster situation? Loss of local lines connecting to a user's wide area network (WAN) could shut down the network and access to VoIP services. What provisions are available from the network operators, in addition to route diversity, central office backup power systems, etc.? Service level agreements should be activated to ensure the users and network operators have a clear understanding of the expectations for network performance in a disaster situation.

17. How will equipment suppliers support converged networks in a disaster situation? Equipment failure, poor performance, Internet disruptions, or other problems could disable the network. What provisions are available from the equipment vendors, in addition to backup units, quick-ship arrangements, and backup power systems? Service level agreements should be used to ensure that emergency arrangements are in place to keep the network operational.

18. How secure are the proposed carrier network services and VoIP equipment? Given the many types of information security solutions available, users should work carefully with their equipment and network service suppliers to ensure that both the network infrastructure and equipment are protected from security breaches.

19. Can a converged network infrastructure support evolutionary changes, e.g., as part of a firm's three-year network plan? The network should be engineered to be scalable and adaptable to the user's requirements, especially as the need for bandwidth increases.

20. Finally, what happens if the network operators or equipment vendors change the technology they support?

Or what if the carrier goes out of business or is acquired? All equipment and network services must be based on accepted technical standards, and the vendors (both hardware and network services) must be committed to supporting the products.

Successful implementation of converged networks means that business continuity professionals, as well as IT/telecom professionals, must be more network-savvy than ever. Regardless of management's decision to implement VoIP, for example, as part of a converged network strategy, they must ensure that it focuses on flexibility, scalability, standards, and support for multiple technologies. Recoverability and survivability must be built into the networks. Finally, the technology solutions implemented must support the firm’s business objectives while adding value to the business.

About the Author
Paul F. Kirvan, FBCI, CBCP, CISSP, is a Vice President with Marsh, Inc. Previously he was Senior Manager at Prevalent Networks, LLC in Warren, NJ and a senior consultant with Fortune Consulting and Telcordia Technologies. He has over 35 years of IT/telecom experience, over 19 years of experience in business continuity, and is a board member of the Business Continuity Institute (BCI). He can be reached at (908) 902-1545 or by email at .

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