Mystery Caller – January 2015

Our Mystery caller is fed up with the dismal wi-fi signal in the office and he wants to do something about it. All of his staff are bringing various devices into the office and many of them are now using them for work tasks, whilst the boss wants to embrace the idea of BYOD he is also worried that he can’t monitor what his  employees are doing on their own devices. He wants to find out what his options are regarding the Wi-Fi and if he goes ahead with the upgrade will he be opening a can of worms he would of wished he hadn’t. In an ideal world he wants to enable his staff to be more productive without leaving his business exposed. Find out how he got on below.

Orbital Net

After a bit of Googling I came across Orbital Net and after having a look at their website I was intrigued. They offer wireless connectivity in the south east and now sell a number of other services across the top of that like hosted products and IP telephony. After a few minutes on hold, where I was constantly being reassured I was first in line Emma picked up the phone. I explained my situation and Emma basically said they could provide us with new wireless connectivity but if we just wanted to improve the Wi-Fi element in the office then we were better off phoning one of their partners AA computers. Emma obviously thought I was a proficient Googler as she didn’t offer me a number to call, or perhaps she was missing the last few minutes of Cash in the Attic. Before I knew it she was gone!

As I got ready to verbally explode onto this very page my phone started buzzing, it was Steve from Orbital who said he had missed a call from my number! I had obviously been previously diverted through to a non-sales department!

Take two: I explained my issue to Steve and he said the most likely reason was our upload speeds. As more people were using the network via their devices the bandwidth becomes heavily contended and it is affecting our speeds. Orbital offer symmetrical speeds up to 50 meg which would more than cover us. Steve asked me about my current setup and where our office was located to see if we were in their range for their WiMAX services. Upon further inspection and after a few more questions Steve said it looks as if we are just outside their range of coverage but there are a few things we could do to try and improve the situation anyway. He said if we have the old BT router that came with our current service then look to change that to a newer one, apparently some of the older BT routers have a habit of kicking people off the network when they get a bit stressed out! Secondly we could also try and upgrade our package to increase our upload speeds. He said we should really go through those steps before looking to change the connectivity entirely.

Total 19/30  Steve probably would have scored a little higher if he had answered the phone first. Despite this he offered me some very good advice and explained their coverage is expanding all the time and he will be in touch when they can offer a service in my area. 

AA Computers

I did have someone else down for this second call but as we all operate in a world of strategic partnerships I thought it best to go with Orbital Net’s recommendation AA Computers. Alan answered the phone and he was very clear and concise from the get go. I explained my problem with the WiFi in the building and Alan said he could help. They specialise in IT business support and network infrastructure so this sort of issue was right up their street.

Alan said they work with businesses of all sizes and actually supply a big care home group with their connectivity and WiFi. It’s a big client for them and as you can imagine, in healthcare there isn’t much room for poor service or downtime. This was Alan’s roundabout way of saying “Whatever your issue is, we can deal with it.”

When I asked more specifically what they might do for a small business like ours Alan said it could just be a case of dropping a new piece of hardware and setting up multiple access points. He didn’t want to say too much because he stressed it really depends on our current setup. He said that a site visit would be the first thing they would do so they could assess our needs and take a look at the building, that would include a site survey at some stage also.

Alan went on to say they could even control what people were accessing over the network so they could stop employees choking the bandwidth up with streaming media from YouTube or similar activities. He said he knew that BT does suffer from contention issues at certain times of the day so they could look at load balance connections and multiple redundant connections also. Either way it really had to start with a site visit.

Total – 24/30  Good call! Alan was great on the phone and really went into various scenarios where he could help solve the issue. He also pushed for a meeting from the start and was clear in all his explanations of what he could deliver.

Round up

Two very different calls this month which demonstrated how partnerships can work well in the Channel. Although I felt Orbital palmed me off at first Steve called me back and actually gave me some good advice. He wanted to sell to me but was hindered by his network reach, he left me with some good places to start looking…so I looked to one of their ‘unofficial’ partners. Alan at AA Computers was exceptionally knowledgeable and friendly and wasted no time in trying to get a date in the diary for him to come out and see us…easy


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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine