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Selling mobility? What does the category “mobility” actually mean in channel? From fixed wireless to backup, IoT and management and actual devices, there is no shortage of solutions to sell.

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TBI's Emily Ball and Bryan Reynolds deliver September Channel News.

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The infiltration of mobile devices in the workplace isn’t new news; although it may be hard to believe, mobile devices entered the workforce just a little more than a decade ago. More recently, the influx of BYOD, the ever-growing number of remote workers, and the mind-blowing pace at which technology is advancing have kept IT departments on their toes and CIOs awake at night trying to manage it all. As such, it should come as no surprise that with this increase comes growing strain and an increasing number of obstacles facing a CIO; they and their staff need to continuously shift their priorities and strategies to accommodate the current challenges that are plaguing their organization and adapting to the constant changes.

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Telecom Master Agent and technology distributor, TBI highlights Woman of the Channel, Iliana Herrera from TBI.

As a Cable Specialist, Iliana assists TBI's enterprise partners through the entire order process, from quoting to installation, to ensure that their often large-scale orders are handled with the utmost care. 

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With a 230-person workforce and more than 20 open positions across sales, marketing, support finance, and engineering, it is safe to say TBI is a rapidly growing organization. As we know, growth in business goes hand-in-hand with growth in headcount. It is because of this growth, TBI decided it was time for a bigger headquarters.


2019 Newsletter September Blog 2

In June, TBI moved to a new office building, a nearly 28,000 square foot, single floor office space that enables our Chicagoland team to work more collaboratively. Our swanky new digs offer several upgraded features, including the Technology Evaluation Center (TEC), a lab showcasing technology solutions, hands-on training, and a place to perform proof-of-concept solution testing. We also installed a fully-equipped video studio that enables our videographer to professionally produce in-house video content for TBI as well as our vendors and partners.

It is no secret that moving a server environment can be painful, time-consuming and a nearly overwhelming amount of work, but it doesn't have to be. With proper preparation and the right resources, this process can simple, straightforward and secure. We recommend utilizing the best practices we put in place when moving a server environment; working with a master agent or technology consultant who has experience in relocating an entire server environment.

Before purchasing equipment, TBI took an inventory to determine the overall port density we would require and the number of PoE and non-PoE ports that would be needed in our core switch. This was done to make sure we had an adequate port density across our chassis switch line cards while maintaining adequate room to grow as our headcount continued to increase. We evaluated the security market to determine the best firewall infrastructure for our edge. Ultimately, we decided on Fortinet based on the advanced security feature set and support for high bandwidth optical networking between our core switch and carrier CPEs.

From a network perspective, TBI took great care to ensure that we developed a well-thought-out Layer 2 and Layer 3 addressing scheme to ensure our network and corresponding departments were segmented. We put all our departments on separate VLANs and subnets to ensure network resources were restricted to only those who need them and to make network management simpler. We also put our voice and IoT devices, such as lighting, printers, and cameras, on separate VLANs and networks. IoT devices like smart TVs and lights are inherently insecure, so we wanted to ensure that they could not communicate with anything else on the network, where a device could potentially be compromised. 

2019 Newsletter September BlogAdditionally, we built out a very detailed port mapping scheme and Visio diagram to show how our equipment would be racked in our server closet and how all the corresponding endpoints and devices would link back to our network core. Because our network footprint is small relatively speaking, we collapsed our access, distribution and core layers into just one core layer to guarantee high performance and fast packet switching across our LAN.

TBI was very determined to make certain we possessed a high-availability environment to maximize our network uptime in the event of any sort of outages. As a result, we have large stacks of TrippLite UPS systems for power outages that provide our network and server equipment enough time to back up their configurations and save any running data in the event of complete power failure. Typical power trips in buildings like ours only last 15-20 minutes; we, therefore, made sure to have an adequate battery backup to keep our devices running without power cycling and bringing the network down in case of an outage.

Our security consists of a high-availability pair of Fortinet firewalls that instantly failover between each other in the event of either device failing for whatever reason. Our HA pair of firewalls have redundant trunk links to our Cisco 9410R chassis switch spread across multiple line cards for further redundancy. Also, our Cisco chassis switch is advanced enough to specifically failover between PSUs and line cards based on the importance of the services running off the interfaces across the line cards, thus ensuring our critical systems remain up as long as possible. We ran multiple LAG groups across our PoE switches, running our Aruba WiFi APs so that if one switch dies, coverage is not significantly impacted and our WiFi continues to run. For added security/segmentation, our guest network was completely isolated from our production network. We accomplished this with a circuit that was diverse from our two primaries, going into its own separate firewall.

Even with a great deal of preparation, TBI faced some roadblocks during the move. Our main challenges came from the deliverables of our ISP vendors. We have two fully disparate ISP connections for redundancy and high uptime, but both missed their due date for circuit delivery and TTU. Further, after extensive testing we determined that we were not getting the throughput that we were contracted for—we were getting only 50-60% of the bandwidth we had contracted for—and needed to troubleshoot with the service delivery teams to determine why our ISP connections seemed to be bottlenecked.

Due to our strong relationship with the ISPs we contracted through our master agent contracts, we were able to engage various levels of escalation to receive priority support on remediation. Before intrusive testing, we isolated each ISP circuit to a single interface on our core switch to bypass our firewall and confirm no security services were hampering the connection. Once we established that our firewalls were not impacting the performance of the circuits, we were able to conduct more extensive testing to determine that there were auto-negotiation issues on the carrier side that were preventing us from getting our allotted bandwidth. With the escalations provided by our carrier contacts, we were able to get Tier 3 engineering support that diagnosed the issue and remedied the negotiation issues to bring our connections up to their full capacity.

Even though we faced some challenges during the move, it was an overall successful experience with many lessons learned. We now know first-hand what goes into a well-orchestrated move that occurs in a short timeframe while also configuring a completely new network. TBI's knowledgeable, experienced staff, specifically our IT and engineering teams, as well as our master agent contracts, were the elements that made this move so successful. Moreover, having not only professional but personal relationships with our vendors made the process that much easier.

Set up a discovery call with one of TBI's engineers to discuss the technology infrastructure of your customers or your own business. Whether a company move, an equipment purchase, a solution upgrade, or an overall infrastructure assessment, we've got your back!

Watch a video recap of us moving into our new home!

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CHICAGO, IL – September 4, 2019 -  TBI, the white-glove technology solutions provider, continuing the tradition of positioning itself at the forefront of IT landscape through new strategic partnerships added one new vendors in July. The addition of CyrusOne not only provides partners with new sets of solutions, but also offers additional resources for end-user engagement. As always, TBI’s solution engineers are accessible to help all selling partners confidently to position, design and implement the new portfolio additions.

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We’re excited to collaborate with our new and existing TBI members to offer the opportunity to sell a blended portfolio of Verizon wireline and wireless business solutions. With over 25 million Small Business customer prospects, we have tremendous opportunity to leverage the scale and expertise of the channel to meet customers where they want to buy.

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Telecom Master Agent and technology distributor TBI highlights Woman of the Channel, Tori Stowick from TBI.

As a commissions manager, Tori works first-hand with her team on ideas and processes that can be put in place to best serve TBI's partners and providers, as well as TBI's internal teams.

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Telecom Master Agent and technology distributor TBI highlights Woman of the Channel, Deborah Deringer from NICE inContact.

Deborah Deringer is currently a National Partner Manager for NICE inContact. She started her career in the early 90’s, selling hardware and is very grateful for the journey this industry has provided her. She loves the opportunity to build and develop her career through the daily challenges the telecom industry presents her.

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Telecom Master Agent and technology distributor TBI highlights Woman of the Channel Vanessa Fonseca from TBI

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Understanding the Alphabet 

Before diving into network soup and getting a better grasp on how the various solutions work together, it is imperative to understand them individually.

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TBI's Emily Ball and Bryan Reynolds deliver August Channel News.

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Telecom Master Agent and technology distributor TBI highlights Woman of the Channel, Meredith Caram from Intrado (formerly West).

Meredith Caram is currently the Vice President of Global Distribution, Insights and Growth for Intrado (formerly West). Known for successfully leading transformational business initiatives, she is driven by a relentless focus on the customers, where success is measured by improved end user experiences, increased efficiency through productivity, and successful business outcomes.

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According to IDG Research , The SD-WAN market is expected to reach $8B by 2021. SD-WAN sales and implementations are growing. The report indicates that adoption rates increased from 35% to 54% over the past two years, with 90% of their respondents saying they are actively researching, piloting or about to upgrade to SD-WAN. And the reason for growth is to solve for a few business challenges, mainly: optimizing networks to support cloud technologies, simplifying network management and improving application performance which all, in turn, help deliver on a better customer experience.

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CHICAGO, IL – August 1, 2019 -  TBI, the white-glove technology solutions provider, continuing the tradition of positioning itself at the forefront of IT landscape through new strategic partnerships added two new vendors in July. The addition of CBTS and Spectrotel not only provides partners with new sets of solutions, but also offers additional resources for end-user engagement. As always, TBI’s solution engineers are accessible to help all selling partners confidently to position, design and implement the new portfolio additions.

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This article was originally published on PR Newswire.

NEW YORKJune 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Brosnan Security, the renowned national security officer firm, has unveiled its newest SmartTruck, transformed by MetTel IoT into a connected mobile command center capable of instant internal and external threat and efficiency detection, analysis and response.  Brosnan is rolling out the new SmartTrucks to big box retail store parking lots nationwide through 2019.

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CHICAGO, IL August 2, 2019 — TBI, the largest, privately-owned master agent and technology distributor, announced today that they’ve signed a distribution partnership agreement with TeraGo Networks Inc. (“TeraGo”), a Canadian-based company with over 20 years of experience that provides networking, connectivity and core infrastructure solutions, including cloud and hybrid IT across Canada.

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Telecom Master Agent and technology distributor TBI highlights Woman of the Channel Stephanie Sowinski from TBI

In her role as Omni Center Supervisor, Orders, Stephanie manages escalations and streamlines production for the Omni Center Support Team, offering day-to-day guidance and ensuring that her team meets project deliverables.
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Telecom Master Agent and technology distributor TBI Highlights Woman of the Channel, Lisa Frederick from Nextiva.

Lisa Frederick is currently the Director of Partner Program and Strategy at Nextiva. She is known throughout the industry as a driven leader, resulting in successful execution of programs and process adoption.

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Telecom Master Agent and technology distributor TBI highlights Woman of the Channel Holly Spitzer from TBI

As a Senior Proposal Specialist in TBI's Operations Department, Holly works directly with dedicated TBI partners to find the right solution for their needs rapidly, efficiently, and most importantly, accurately.

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