Straitshot's Aim: More Bandwidth For Less

bandwidth SMB

"[IPN is] a solution that is not only priced properly for the SMB market, but brings sophistication to the SMB market," said Robert Hogan, chairman and CEO of Straitshot, Bellevue, Wash.

The prize for Straitshot partners is an SMB service that can deliver highly redundant, high-speed bandwidth that handles data and voice for as little as $179 per site per month, Hogan said. Reselling the service requires little telecommunications experience and pays residual commissions of between 11 percent and 20 percent, making it a potentially lucrative proposition. And there's room for new partners right now, he said.

Straitshot is serious about growing its reseller channel, launching an official partner program July 17. Free sales and technical training, promotional tools, discount demo networks and joint marketing efforts are all part of the new program, Hogan said.

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

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What differentiates Straitshot from competitors such as Masergy Communications or tier-one bandwidth pro-viders such as AT&T is Straitshot's ability to pump high bandwidth into small environments without cleaning out a customer's wallet, Rizzo said. With Straitshot, Adapt can set up a small office using an ADSL connection and guarantee at least 75 percent of the available bandwidth. This means, for example, a small office of five people can 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 [service-level agreement], because Straitshot guarantees over 99 percent in-sequence packet delivery and latency of between 70 and 80 milliseconds, which for voice is good," he said.

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

"What we do is couple the Layer-2 ADSL connection with a fractional, lower-speed T1 about the same size, so the customer can use both those circuits, which are different types of technology on different equipment. So the service becomes very bulletproof as far as failover. If one goes down, all the calls go over to the other circuit," explained Hautala.

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

"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."

Straitshot, which does practically all its business through the channel, has a flock of about 50 partners, Hogan said, adding that he would like to see that number swell to about 200 partners within the next year or so.