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Free Car Insurance Comparisons – What is the Easiest Way to Do Car Insurance Comparisons For Free?

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Q: Are the multitude of web sites that offer car insurance comparisons on the internet helpful? If so how do I choose which one to use? I do not want to enter personal information into ten different web sites.

A: Car insurance comparisons are indeed all over the internet. It can be difficult to choose which one. Our problem with many multiple quote sites is that they often return very generic quotes based on minimal information.

For instance there is no way you can get an accurate quote rate by entering your location, DOB, and make of your car, but many web sites will offer you a quote based on these answers.

That’s fine for as far as it goes, but there seems to be a great deal of information missing here. To form a typical quote the typical car insurance will use at least some of the following information:

*Driving history

*Age

*Marital status

*Credit history

*Location

*Make and model of vehicle

*Color of vehicle

*Sex

As you can see to receive a quote that is tailored to your specific needs would require you to input a significant amount of information into a web site. Since you are not interested in doing this we recommend calling each insurance company individually and doing car insurance comparisons the old fashioned way.

An even better idea is to obtain car insurance quotes online. This will allow you to quickly compare rates from the top companies. When it comes to saving money on auto insurance, comparison shopping is one of the easiest ways to save a bundle.

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Medical Liens – Healthcare & Law’s Proverbial Catch 22

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While meeting financial demands may be nothing new for healthcare facilities, for today’s medical providers a legal climate exists that has been described as an ‘economic gauntlet. Just keeping the lights on for some healthcare facilities is an issue facing far too many healthcare providers. How does this issue affect you? Let us explore this question.

Nationwide medical care providers deal with tough issues daily, in part such issues range from; rising operational costs, State and Federal funding cut backs, reduced corporate donations created by a tough economy, and Federal legislation ensuring emergency medical care for all patients. Granted while such challenges are just a sample of the issues facing America’s medical providers, make no mistake, these issues alone are reason enough for a “fiscal juggling act” providers face as demands increase while capital is decreasing.

For the federally subsidized medical institution, each provider is compelled by Federal statute to provide emergency medical treatment to all patients, irregardless of the patient’s ability to pay. To date; the financial impact such regulation has on medical providers has been defined by recent statistics that show over 50% of all emergency patients admitted annually have no proof of insurance at the time of admission. So what’s the correlation? Patients who receive emergency medical care benefit from the current legislation, as each receives medical treatment without a guarantee of financial responsible for such treatment. For medical providers the losses associated with patient care is absorbed as taxable deductions as well as passed on as increased healthcare costs to insured patients. Thus insured or not this situation affects us all.

For the healthcare providers who are profitable, a “taxable write ” for uncollected patient accounts provides an advantage, but for medical provider whose write offs exceed revenue, there’s a real paradox. For providers to meet fiscal demands while not generating sufficient capital to meet overhead, and yet expected to provide quality care, well is too much being asked? Not if you’re a patient who’s standard of care falls below that guaranteed by national standards.

For the profitable medical facility write offs provide a slight advantage, but the reality is a “business as usual” approach to healthcare can not continue as at current because the facts are; a day of reckoning in on the horizon for us all. For medical facility executives to keep the books balanced money must be available to meet financial demands and absorbing losses doesn’t meet the demands incurred by wages, salaries, supplies, utilities, equipment, bank notes and the like. And while you’re calculating the hundreds of millions in expenses just for these categories, add to the equation the legal costs of collections for unpaid uninsured accounts. Now as you wear out your calculator, are you beginning to understand the economic crunch medical facilities face when treating the uninsured and ending up on the short end of the “financial stick”?

Granted while most U.S. consumers find themselves shedding no tears for multi-billion dollar healthcare facilities, you may find yourself feeling differently the next time you’re in need of emergency medical care and none is available because, the once prosperous medical facility is closed due to the economic reasons. Something to think about wouldn’t you agree? Are there other options verses the standard way of doing business? Absolutely. Now let’s explore uninsured patients and the financial solution medical providers have available.

The “Solution”…the “Medical Lien”

The medical lien is a legal security provided to a medical provider when a patient later becomes a plaintiff in a legal case. In such a situation if settlement occurs, medical providers are compensated as the attorney of record compensates the provider out of the insurance collection proceeds. However, as financially sound as a medical lien appears to be, in a real world application, untold losses occur each year from the use of the medical lien.

While medical liens are a nationally used legal tool, for the millions of patients treated annually under this devise the facts are, all too often a medical lien leaves the providers who rely on them with the “short end of the financial stick”. Revenues the medical lien are designed to generate instead create liability for the medical facility, and thus the results are, beyond emergency care, some medical providers decline patients or at best limit the amount of patients they accept whose care is secured by the medical lien.

For the patient who becomes a plaintiff, the injured more often than not need ongoing medical care in order to achieve maximum medical recovery. “MMR” is the sought after goal for the attorney in order to achieve settlement, satisfy the medical lien providers, be compensated themselves and the patient-plaintiff.

As an illustrative example when an auto accident occurs and the uninsured injured receive emergency medical care. In such instances the patient-plaintiff needs ongoing medical treatment in order to ultimately achieve mmr which ultimately correlates to an insurance settlement. This is where for the medical provider, the patient-plaintiff, and their attorney the proverbial “catch 22” begins.

For medical providers the paradox is such must maintain positive cash flow in order to provide services. Because medical liens do not provide guaranteed compensation a growing number of medical providers refuse to provide ongoing medical care under the auspices of the medical lien. For other medical providers who limit the services provided or the amount of patients accepted whose file is secured by a medical lien, are forced to do so because of the lack of guaranteed compensation combined with the shear length of time involved in achieving compensation.

For the patient-plaintiff this paradox is critical as financial pressures and “pennies on the dollar” insurance settlement offers leave the injured with no-win choices; accepting an offer for settlement before achieving mmr, or searching for medical providers who accept medical lien patients, which in many instances takes months to receive treatment and delays a possible settlement even farther.

For the contingent attorneys in such cases the paradox occurs as their compensation is adversely affected by the amount of settlement achieved when the patient-plaintiff accepts an insurance offer without achieving mmr. Ultimately the values of the injuries sustained are not compensated for and the value of the case is not achieved.

Why then do medical providers decline or limit their care of medical lien patients? Let’s look briefly at what occurs for the medical provider:

Fact 1 Medical Liens Provide No Guarantee of Payment: For medical providers medical liens provide no guarantee of financial security if the pending litigation case is lost, period.

Fact 2 Medical Liens Take Years to Provide Compensation: Medical providers wait years for resolution as each has no leverage to enforce an “at fault” insurance carrier provide prompt payment for cases they must assume liability for.

Fact 3 Medical Liens Result In Reduced Payments: Medical providers under a medical lien are negotiated with to reduce the accounts payable after absorbing the costs of care while waiting years for settlement.

Fact 4 Vexatious Delays: Vexatious insurance companies control settlement revenue which allows the insurance company time to continue to earn interest on settlement monies in their possession while the medical provider looses revenue to interest.

Fact 5 Medical Facilities Face Loose-Loose Business Decisions: Medical facilities are forced to make “business decisions” everyday regarding absorbing losses for unsuccessfully litigated cases or spending more resources pursuing patient assets with still no guarantee of recovery.

Thus from both a financial and administrative perspective the Medical Lien Letter of Protection makes “keeping the lights on quite challenging as this legal instrument has proven after decades of use to not be the most effective solution for fiscal medical management.

Is There a More Effective Solution?

The answer is yes. A long past due financial solution has been developed as an innovative approach to fiscal medical management and has been recently launched by a professional financial consulting firm, 1st Choice Funding. As financial guru’s, 1st Choice Funding offers an amazing fiscal solution for medical providers, patients-plaintiff’s and their attorneys. This innovative financial solution has been appropriately called “No Risk…No Delay…Payment Today” Medical Lien Portfolio Funding.

As financial experts with a cutting edge solution oriented philosophy, 1st Choice Funding provides a fresh approach, an “outside the box” perspective to the medical-legal patient-plaintiff dilemma. By taking an objective approach to medical liens and the inherent issues they create, 1st Choice Funding provides a “No Risk” financial system that removes 100% of the risk for medical providers which will change the way medicine views the use of medical liens. How is such possible? Simply put: because 1st Choice Funding has unlimited investor resources which when utilized provide a guaranteed cash infusion to the medical provider who sells the medical lien portfolio which converts uncollected patient accounts into a guaranteed cash avalanche.

With “No Risk” Medical Lien Funding medical lien patient files are then converted from “potential risk-to-capital” in days. And with this programs implementation, healthcare facilities are taken out of the business of law and kept in the business of healthcare. A sound financial option indeed. With “No Risk” Medical Lien Portfolio funding, medical facilities who utilize this program comply with Federal guidelines for uninsured patient services while not being left with financial consequences for doing such. The facts are for unpaid medical lien accounts, medical providers who utilize “No Risk” capital receive:

Capital Today Instead of Capital Delay

Capital Today Instead of Capital Outlay

Capital Today Instead of More Capital Pay “No Risk” Medical Lien Portfolio Funding is just that simple. With this unique financial tool medical providers receive an unheard of ability to increase patient volume and revenue without consequence. For the first time in medical history, healthcare is being offered the most effective “financial bridge” designed to bring Government, Finance, Law, Medicine and Patient Care together effectively and simultaneously. “No Risk” Medical Lien Portfolio Funding is good for medical providers, for patient-plaintiffs, and for their attorneys. “No Risk” Medical Lien Portfolio Funding is a savvy financial solution and is a 100% winner for everyone involved.

Unlike health insurance carriers or government agencies whose red tape and never ending delays cost medical provider’s more in fiscal resources waiting for compensation, 1st Choice Funding’s investor capital is eager to provide the financial remedy without delay. For a further examination of 1st Choice Funding’s “No Risk” Medical Lien Portfolio program consider these facts:

“No Risk” Medical Lien Funding Eliminates Financial Risk For Medical Providers

“No Risk” Medical Lien Funding Provides 100% Capital on Unsuccessfully Litigated Cases

“No Risk” Medical Lien Funding Eliminates Medical Lien Collection Expense

“No Risk” Medical Lien Funding Provides a Positive Environment Improving Patient Relations

“No Risk” Medical Lien Funding Provides Cash Infusion from Lien Portfolio Sale

“No Risk” Medical Lien Funding Provides Capital When Services Are Rendered

“No Risk” Medical Lien Funding provides tomorrow’s effective financial solution….Today!

For More Information Log on to: Medical Lien Information at 1st Choice Funding [http://1stchoicefunding.com/Medical-liens.html].

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Important Elements of PPC Management Campaign

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Nowadays, most search marketers are complaining about the escalating level of complexity with the PPC management services. It is practically not feasible to stay up-to-date with the infinite stream of updates to AdWords search targeting. The newest AdWords feature keeps PPC management services providers so heavily occupied that they often miss out the basic pay per click best practices. Naturally, this ends up in account winds up suffering. The situation is worse for small businesses, budding entrepreneurs and busy marketing director. None of these people can learn all the newest Ad Words features and functionality on their own.

And without these updates, the idea of maintaining a clear, organized approach to PPC management services seems impossible. Current researches and analysis show that a good number of SMBs spend thousands a month on paid search and put on show advertising at every possible every ad extension. Also, they are avidly making efforts to turn on all experimental features. But unfortunately, in the race to get better and more advanced, they are missing out on basic things. Many basic requirements such as blocking and tackling negative keywords, sound use of match types, ad copy testing, and more have been neglected.

Essential to Begin a PPC Campaign

In the game of PPC management services, it is much more important to understand the basics, than starting to learn the way to build a solid methodology around it. Hence in this article, we are going to brief our readers on the basic essentials of it to help advertisers understand the right approach to begin the set up of their campaign with the list of primary sections needed to be focused on. The list includes:

  • Keyword research
  • Campaign structure
  • Free or affordable tools make your first campaign go off the ground
  • Very critical, initial bidding strategies
  • Negative keywords
  • Match types
  • PPC landing pages
  • Ad copy best practices
  • Account settings
  • Measuring results

It goes without saying that all the small business owners attempting to discover a way to collect maximum returns from AdWords should strengthen their ability to understand what makes for solid, efficient campaigns.

The PPC Campaign Maintenance

Post the launch; it is the task of maintenance that boggles your head completely. PPC management services mean much more than just measuring results and moving more and more close to increasing ROI. People often tend to get lost at this stage. The road seems foggy. This is the time when owners should go through the sessions of trouble shooting specific issues you may choose to read a good range of FAQs regarding issues. Also may learn how to make your campaign deliver improved results. Purposeful and efficient insights can be gained from the various available resources, guides and e books on PPC management services.

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Be Aware of a Common Cause of Lung Cancer

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Cancer is a serious disease that affects millions of people and often has no known cure. Environmental surroundings or lifestyle choices can contribute to some kinds of cancer. There are many people who have been exposed to high levels of asbestos without ever realizing it. The production of asbestos as a commercial insulation material began more than 125 years ago. It was only a generation after that, at the turn of the 20th century, that physicians and scientists began to make connections between asbestos exposure and lung diseases. Since then, researches have continued to learn about mesothelioma, a rare cancer that affect the pleura (a sac or lining) around the lungs and lining the chest wall. Scientists continue their research about mesothelioma.

If you have been exposed to asbestos, you can take steps to make sure that you are not putting yourself in further danger. Higher levels of exposure increase the chances of acquiring cancer. If you have been exposed to asbestos, you should consider being screened for cancer as soon as possible. It is never too early and never something that should be put off. Even if you do not have cancer, it is worth going through the screening just to be sure of it. Should you be diagnosed with an early onset of lung cancer, it is better to discover this early as more treatment options may be available.

Chemotherapy is one of the most common methods used to treat cancer. The most frequent chemotherapy technique is by injection into a vein. Depending on the type of cancer and the drug used, chemotherapy drugs can also be administered by mouth, injected into the muscle or skin, or placed directly into a body cavity which is known as intracavitary chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs may be given as single agents, but often, two or more drugs are given simultaneously in combination therapy.

As science advances, treatments for mesothelioma and other lung affiliated diseases move forward as well. In February of 2004, the FDA approved a new drug called Alimta for victims of mesothelioma. Patients treated with Alimta along with cisplatin experienced measurable improvement in their symptoms, including less pain and shortness of breath. Trials also indicate that patients who use this treatment may live up to 30 percent longer.

The more you learn about asbestos and the relation it has to cancer and other serious illnesses the less likely you are to neglect potential symptoms. If you have been exposed to asbestos, stay educated and keep current with screenings, tests and regular checkups.

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Service Scheduling Software: Improve the Appointment Process by Turning to Cloud Applications

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Ask a service provider what’s one of the most important considerations in running a successful business, and he or she is most likely to say accurate appointments. From massage therapists and chiropractors to auto service centers and pet groomers, these small business operators rely on effective and efficient appointment-setting methods to ensure a good customer experience, the best use of staff time and resources, and, ultimately, a full calendar with every available time slot taken.

The appointment-setting process seems simple enough, but in many cases it’s a tedious and time-consuming task that requires a significant amount of staff hours and resources to properly handle. This is especially true for service providers who continue to rely on traditional and outdated scheduling methods, such as booking appointments and reservations primarily over the phone and recording the details and customer contact information in a paper appointment book, file or spreadsheet.

In today’s tough economy, few businesses have the option of one or more staff members devoted entirely to answering phone calls and writing down appointment information. That’s why a growing number of service providers are turning to Web-based scheduling systems to help them improve this important process.

INTERNET CONNECTION IS ONLY REQUIREMENT

Many small business owners and operators cringe at the very mention of computers, software and technology, as thoughts of expensive installations, hardware and ongoing maintenance flood their head. Cloud technology has eliminated the need to spend a small fortune on most software programs, and now many are as easy to access and utilize as online banking, social media sites or e-mail. They function in the same manner as any other Web site. Users simply go to the Web site or online portal, log in, and access their software. Such is the case of most Web-based appointment-scheduling software applications, which only require an Internet connection to implement.

The Web accessibility aspect also makes online scheduling software ideal for businesses with multiple locations and owners, administrators and staff that routinely conduct business from outside the office and need access to their appointment schedule from home or on the road. It’s also what differentiates itself from the more traditional “boxed” software that’s installed on individual computers. Those software programs typically confine the appointment calendar or schedule to one local computer, making access difficult unless the individual is working on that specific computer.

The science behind cloud-based scheduling applications also allow for some really beneficial features for both the service provider and its customers. Standard functionality found in online scheduling services includes:

• Online customer self-scheduling. This gives individuals the option to book their own appointments and reservations at their own convenience. The Internet is always open for business, and so are service providers who offer online customer self-scheduling. In addition to the benefit to customers who are increasingly conducting tasks online, this feature can also dramatically reduce the number of telephone calls, which in turn frees up staff for more pressing responsibilities.

• Automated e-mail and text message reminders. Reminders are appreciated by customers. They can also reduce the number of “no-shows” who fail to arrive at their scheduled times. They also can also require a considerable amount of staff time, resources and money. Some online appointment-scheduling programs will automatically send e-mail and text message reminders to customers prior to their scheduled appointment and reservations times.

• Record-keeping and reporting. Proper record-keeping is important for most business operations. But for many service providers, managing appointment details and contact information involves managing separate calendars, appointment books and spreadsheets. This information must then be sorted and organized to include in operating reports. Online appointment-scheduling software helps simplify this important task by centralizing all inputted information in one easy-to-reach location. Some programs even provide standard reports that take only a mouse click or two to generate.

• E-marketing capabilities. It goes without saying that accurate e-mail addresses are a key component of a successful e-marketing campaign. But maintaining and continually updating customer e-mail can be a job in itself. Just as online appointment scheduling software makes record-keeping and reporting a snap by centralizing and maintaining information, this concept also makes e-marketing a simple process. In some instances, a service provider may be able to send the marketing message right through the schedule without any additional steps. And because customers have the ability to update their contact information, the likelihood that the e-mails pulled are current is much greater.

Regardless of the type of service a business provides, chances are it can benefit from online appointment-scheduling software. Users of this technology include spas, salons, massage therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, home service providers, remodelers, pest control technicians, auto service shops and many others. For most operations, there’s not a more efficient or effective approach for managing, automating and improving their appointment-scheduling and reservation-booking processes. And since most appointment-scheduling providers offer a free trial of their service, there’s nothing to lose. Except, of course, the old and tedious way you previously scheduled appointments!

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Behavioral Sciences Online Career Training Options

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Gaining the education needed to pursue a career in behavioral sciences can be done by enrolling in an accredited online school or college. Students can choose to pursue their desired career by gaining the necessary skills and knowledge from the comfort of home. Online educational training is available at various levels of study for those looking to enter into this exciting field. Students can pursue an accredited associate, bachelor, master, or doctoral degree in behavioral sciences. Training is available in a number of specialized areas for students to choose from.

*Counseling

Students can train for a career in counseling or pastoral counseling with an online school or college. Training can last anywhere from four to eight years with a bachelor, master, or doctoral level degree. Coursework will vary by level of education and desired career. Subjects can include biology, human development, statistics, psychology, and many other relevant courses. Training in counseling will prepare students to enter into careers as mental health counselors, school counselors, counseling psychologists, school counselors, and other professions. Training online for an accredited education in this area will open a world of career opportunities for students.

*Human Development

Online schools and colleges allow students to train for a career in human development at their own leisure. Accredited programs can be completed at the associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral degree levels. Students can expect to spend two to eight years on study depending on the level of education desired. Training is available through a number of subjects such as adolescent development, child abuse, adulthood, gerontology, and much more. Students can gain the skills needed to pursue careers in education, counseling, and more. Accredited online training in this area of the field can provide students with the means to enter the workforce.

*Sociology

Students who wish to gain the education needed to pursue careers in sociology can do so by enrolling in an online educational training program. Online studies are available at the diploma, certificate, associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral level. Programs can range from six months to eight years depending on the level of education. Coursework may consist of social problems, humanities, social theory, communication, and more. Training will allow student to enter careers in administration, corrections, education, counseling, business, and much more. Students can prepare for their desired career by enrolling in an online sociology program.

*Psychology

Training for an accredited education in this area of the field can be done through various online schools and colleges. Students can gain degrees ranging from the associate level to the doctoral level. Training can be completed in two to eight years based on the individual student’s desires. Courses can include the study of biology, statistics, cognition, social science, development, and more. With training in these areas students can seek employment in therapy, psychological research, social services, and much more. Training in psychology will prepare students for the exciting career they desire.

An accredited education can be obtained through a variety of online programs. Students can gain the quality education they desire by ensuring that the school or college they choose carries full accreditation. Agencies like the Distance Education and Training Council (http://www.detc.org) are approved to accredited online behavioral sciences career training programs. Students can start by enrolling in the program of their choice today.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

Copyright 2010 – All rights reserved by PETAP.org.

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Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Satellite Internet Service Provider

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If you are a corporation in search of disaster recovery networking solutions, a first responder who may need connectivity from anywhere at any time, or you simply need broadband internet connectivity from remote locations you have probably considered that satellite may be your only reliable option. In the midst of a disaster many businesses and first responders may find themselves without communications of any kind due to the loss of terrestrial infrastructures, or the lack of it ever existing in the first place.

The problem is that most business professionals and emergency service workers do not have a complete understanding of the satellite business and the idiosyncrasies of communications via satellite, and why should they? Satellite communications is not their profession. In the quest for a satellite internet service provider there are certain questions you should be prepared to ask before you get locked into a contract for services that won’t satisfy your needs:

1) Do you have Non pre-emptible satellite space segment?

Satellite operators such as SES Americom, Intelsat among others lease space segment to satellite service providers. There are different levels of protection available in varying price ranges. Many service providers will opt to contract for pre-emptible space segment because it’s much less expensive and they can make larger profit margins which they may or may not pass on to their end users. Pre-emptible space segment gives the satellite operator the ability to deny access to the satellite for the service provider in the event of an on board equipment failure, or to make room for a service provider who is willing to pay the Non pre-emptible premium.

During large scale disasters such as the hurricanes in the Gulf States in 2005 many pre-emptible segments of satellite space were cleared to make room for government requests for satellite service leaving other service providers with no access. If you are considering contracting for service for disaster recovery applications it is highly recommended that you find service providers that guarantee that they have contracted for Non pre-emptible space segment. The service provider should be able to provide you with evidence of their service agreement with the operators if you ask. You may pay a little more each month for your non pre-emptible service, but at least it will be available when you most need it.

2) What is your “Over Subscription” or “Contention Ratio”?

Most satellite service providers who are providing Internet services are operating systems that use TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) based systems. A TDMA system is normally controlled by a central hub location which will command the remote units in the field to transmit their data when the hub is ready to receive it. This allows for many remote units to share the same slice of bandwidth improving the overall efficiency of the system. The transmissions from the remote units are sequenced at a very high rate, many times per second, which makes the service appear to be continuous.

However, the more units that are added to the system, the slower the service will be. A true enterprise level operator will never allow their contention ratio to exceed 20:1 or essentially 20 terminals per segment of bandwidth. Many operators that offer lower grade services will over subscribe their systems as high as 40, 80, 120:1 or more. Some operators may not be willing disclose this information to their end users. If a service provider will not tell you their contention ratio, you might consider looking elsewhere as their ratios are likely to be high. This will directly affect the quality of the service you receive. Enterprise level operators with contention ratios of 20:1 or less will charge more for their services since they have fewer users for their contracted space segment. But, you get what you pay for.

3) What is your system Latency, and does your hardware or software include TCP/IP acceleration?

Any IP transport platform will have a certain amount of latency that is inherent to the structure of the system. Latency is normally measured by how long it takes for a TCP/IP “Ping” to be sent to a server on the other side of the transport link and be returned back over the link to the point of origin. Satellite systems, due to the physics involved will have much higher latency figures that any terrestrial link. Data is transmitted to the satellite at the speed of light, or 186,000 miles per second. The satellite is located 22,223 miles above the equator.

For a ping to make its round trip it must travel up to the satellite, back to earth to the server, up to the satellite again and back to the origination point. This is a round trip is approximately 88,892 miles. When calculated with the speed of light, in a perfect world the round trip will take about 448 milliseconds. When you add in coding delays and processing delays you can increase that figure by 100 to 250 milliseconds. On an efficient system, a round trip ping should take between 550 and 700 milliseconds (225 ms one way in each direction).

Many lower grade systems on the market today will actually return ping times of 1200 milliseconds or greater which is too slow to allow for functionality of certain software applications. Some system operators have added TCP/IP acceleration products to their equipment. This can either be a hardware or software solution. Acceleration of TCP/IP does not speed up the actual transmission as it is already being transmitted at the highest speed possible, the speed of light. The acceleration is achieved by modifying the TCP protocol in ways that allow for more efficient transmission over high latency networks such as satellite. Acceleration can significantly improve the speed of loading web pages, so it is a highly desirable product to have. Most of the products are not capable of accelerating encapsulated data such as VPN’s, but the system should still pass that data, however more slowly. Be sure to ask whether or not the system has an acceleration product included.

4) Does your system support VoIP, VPN, and Streaming Video transmissions?

If you have certain applications that you intend to operate, be sure to inquire whether or not these applications are supported on the system. VoIP (Voice over IP) for telephone connectivity is becoming a very common need in satellite communications. All types of users from emergency services to business continuity are asking for telephone connectivity. The biggest concern most prospective users of VoIP over satellite have is that the latency will be too high for effective voice communications. This has largely been proven to not be true. In fact, most cellular telephone systems will experience as much or more delay in their systems than VoIP over satellite. Most satellite providers will support these systems, but if the system latency is more that about 800 milliseconds, you may experience difficulty carrying on a conversation. Some service providers will also sell VoIP equipment. If you choose to purchase from them, or on your own you will want to make sure the equipment includes good voice compression.

Most off the shelf VoIP systems that are not designed for use with satellite will occupy between 40 Kbps and 90 Kbps of bandwidth to complete each call. If you purchase 128K of satellite uplink bandwidth you may consume all of your bandwidth with one or two phone calls leaving none for internet access for your computers. There are compression VoIP systems available that have been designed for use over satellite that will use as little as 8 Kbps per phone call and the call is toll quality. There are even compression systems that will allow for a 1544 Kbps T1/PRI connection over less than 256 Kbps of satellite bandwidth. You will also want to inquire about connectivity to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). When the signal lands at the hub it will need to connect your VoIP traffic to a telephone line. Some service providers will provide this service for a fee; some will not provide it at all, so be sure to ask. If you need to operate a VPN over the system, keep in mind that it will likely not be accelerated over the satellite.

Acceleration of VPNs can be achieved with external hardware; however it is normally up to the customer to provide that equipment. There are some systems, mostly consumer grade, that will not support VPN’s at all or there are additional charges so be sure to ask. The same goes for Video transmissions from a streaming device, or a web cam. Video streams are highly bandwidth intensive applications and most service providers will require dedicated bandwidth for these applications. The pricing for dedicated bandwidth will be substantially higher than the shared ratio pricing as it consumes 100% of the bandwidth 100% of the time. If you are planning to stream video to multiple receive sites it is recommended that you stream the video over the satellite to a server, and allow other users to get the stream from the server. This way there is only one active stream over the satellite where the bandwidth is expensive.

5) Do you offer CIR or CRA services?

CIR (Committed Information Rate) and CRA (Committed Rate Assignment) are different acronyms with the same meaning. It is dedicated satellite bandwidth that is usually required by the service provider if you intend to operate high bandwidth applications such as video streaming over the satellite. Most enterprise level service providers offer CIR/CRA packages, most consumer level operators do not. The pricing for these services will be significantly higher than shared ratio services, so be prepared. Some providers also require CIR/CRA services for VoIP. Be sure to inquire if this is something you need as some operators may not volunteer this information until it’s too late.

6) How many public IP addresses do I get?

Many consumer level services do not assign public static IP addresses for you to use. This is primarily why they don’t support services such as VoIP and VPN. Enterprise level providers usually provide at least one address, some will provide more. Most providers will give you a fixed number of addresses with your service and charge you if you want additional static IPs. The recommended way to avoid the additional charges is by using your own router on the system and natting your own addresses. Some systems will not support natting so be sure to inquire if this is what you need.

7) Do you have a FAP?

A FAP or Fair Access Policy is a set of rules that you agree to abide by when contracting for their services. They also will include certain restrictions on your service. Read this policy very carefully as the providers like to include wording that can seriously restrict your usage. Some service providers will “meter” your throughput on the system. If you reach a certain level of usage, usually recorded in Kbps, or Mbps they may restrict your bandwidth to a low level, or cut off your service entirely until the next billing cycle. It is very difficult to measure your own usage since most people have no Idea how many Kbps are sent or received when loading a web page. The FAP is also where the provider will spell out the rules of usage concerning applications such as streaming video and VoIP. Going over that document with a fine toothed comb will be in your best interest.

8) What will be my actual measured speeds?

The service providers will sell you a specific rate plan that will have an uplink or return data rate, and a downlink or forward data rate. This will usually be expressed in a manner such as “128/512” or sometimes “512/128”. The larger number will always be the forward channel which is your downlink as a user. Most providers will not tell you that the speeds include IP overhead. Every internet system whether its satellite or terrestrial uses IP protocols that require a certain amount of bandwidth to process the IP traffic. Because of the overhead you can expect that your actual measured payload speeds will be around 20% lower than what you are paying for. Actual speeds can be measured by running a speed test from a PC over the satellite link.

If the service provider has their own speed test server at the hub location this will give you a more accurate test of the satellite link than an Internet based speed server. The internet based servers have too many variables to obtain accurate results since the data is being transferred over connections that are not under your control, or theirs. Most systems will be similar in their IP overhead usage, but be aware of this when you purchase your service. If you don’t think the speeds will be high enough when you factor in the 20% overhead you may want to consider a higher service level plan.

9) What Pricing plans do you offer?

In your search for a service provider you will likely encounter a multitude of pricing plans. Each provider will create pricing structures that meet their business model, and that will give them an edge over their competition. Because of this you may find it difficult to compare price. All providers will offer full time 24x7x365 service plans. Some will also offer plans based on usage, and some will sell daily or hourly plans. There are even providers that will sell service for a fixed number of days each month. These plans can be attractive as you will not likely use a system designed for disaster recovery every day of the month, so why should you pay for full time service? If you are comparing price between providers it is easiest to look at their full time rates to determine the cost. However, keep in mind that operators base their pricing on their cost for the satellite space segment. If they are charging less it may be because they don’t have non pre-emptible space or because they operate with high contention ratios, or both.

10) Do you offer other services such as terrestrial connectivity and collocation?

Be sure to inquire about value added services such as collocation space and terrestrial connectivity. Unless you are only buying internet access and have no need for VoIP, streaming, or data backup, you will likely need these services. Some service providers will provide connectivity to the telephone network, and some will not. If you need dial tone you will probably want to contract for that as well. For disaster recovery solutions it is highly recommended that you originate your dial tone from a safe location that is far away from the affected area.

In many disaster scenarios the terrestrial connectivity including cellular phones will not be available. It is important that this is taken into account when designing a backup network. Some of the satellite providers will also offer services to back up corporate or government server data at the satellite hub location. This is highly beneficial to the customer as it provides both off site storage of valuable data, and easy access to that data via the satellite when it is most needed. A satellite hub with a collocation facility can be a powerful tool, and should be highly considered when contracting for satellite services.

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