WAN Services Vendor Straitshot Kicks Off New Partner Program


Straitshot can deliver highly redundant, high-speed bandwidth that handles data and voice for as little as $179 per site, said Chairman and CEO Robert Hogan. Reselling the service requires little telecommunications experience, and VAR partners can earn residual commissions of 11 percent to 20 percent, he said.

Maximum bandwidth at minimum cost is what Straitshot's Intelligent Private Network (IPN) service is all about, according to Hogan. "[IPN is] a solution that is not only priced properly for the SMB market but also brings sophistication to the SMB market," he said.

The new channel program includes free sales and technical training, promotional tools, discount demo networks and joint marketing efforts, Hogan said.

Straitshot does practically all of its business via VARs and integrators, and the company is seeking more partners. Hogan said Straitshot now has about 50 partners and aims to grow that figure to about 200 within a year or so. No certification is required to become a partner, and although most Straitshot partners hail from the telecom arena, IPN is more a traditional IP network solution than a legacy telco application, he added.

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Straitshot is ideal for SMB customers, said Alfredo Rizzo, a sales engineer at Adapt, a Chicago systems integrator.

Unlike competitors such as Masergy or tier-one bandwidth providers like AT&T, Straitshot can pump high bandwidth into small environments without cleaning out a customer's wallet, Rizzo noted. For example, with Straitshot, Adapt can set up a small office using an ADSL connection and guarantee at least 75 percent of the available bandwidth--meaning that an office of five people could get guaranteed bandwidth sufficient for about nine VoIP calls, he said.

"An office of five people is not going to have nine VoIP calls going over the WAN, so they've got plenty of headroom and a high SLA, because Straitshot guarantees over 99 percent in-sequence packet delivery and latency of between 70 and 80 milliseconds, which for voice is good," Rizzo said.

Emergency failover is factored into Straitshot's per-site price through the creative use of multicarrier redundancy, said Jeff Hautala, vice president of customer development at Straitshot and a company co-founder.

"What we do is couple the Layer 2 ADSL connection with a fractional, lower-speed T-1 about the same size so the customer can use both of those circuits, which are different types of technology on different equipment," Hautala said. "So the service becomes very bulletproof as far as failover. If one goes down, all the calls go over to the other circuit."

Jeffrey Lowe, senior solution engineer at Black Box Network Services, a Murfreesboro, Tenn., solution provider, said reselling the Straitshot solution is like having his own frame-relay cloud without the added cost of all the PVCs (permanent virtual circuits).

"The cost-to-value ratio is the primary business reason to consider Straitshot," Lowe said. "You could pay more and get a private circuit, but that does not make sense to our clients." And Straitshot is all about bandwidth, which adds value, he noted. "Fast circuits, that is what they do. No dial tone, no long distance. Just service."

Adapt's Rizzo said IP networking professionals can get a knack for IPN pretty quickly. "We have seen old PBX dogs really get stuck by this application because it's different. It's really a data application that has a telephony component in it," he said.