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A More Connected World
December 2018

The Power of Internet Exchanges, Peering and NWAX

Peering via an Internet Exchange (IX) can be a huge benefit to Voice over IP applications for a number of reasons. So what is peering and why should a company consider joining an internet exchange such as NWAX?

What is Peering?

Peering provides two networks a connection to exchange traffic in a direct way. It allows for the handoff of traffic between connected networks without a third party to carry the traffic across the open internet. Peering is often done through an internet exchange (IX) which is an ethernet switch or set of switches in a colocation facility or data center which allows networks in the facility to connect to the exchange. With the shared connection, participating networks can peer with each other across the network fabric in a direct way which keeps the traffic local. This can cut out ISPs who may carry the traffic halfway across the country before delivering it to a network that may be within the same building. This direct connection  improves performance with faster connections, which help deliver crystal clear audio for realtime applications like VoIP.

What is NWAX?

The Northwest Access Exchange (NWAX) is a facility-neutral, not for profit internet exchange (IX) located around Portland, Oregon with the goal of improving the quality of the Internet in the region by keeping local traffic local and building a community of connections. NWAX serves over 90 public and private networks and is the 14th largest IX in the nation and 2nd largest non-commercial IX in the country. NWAX can be a great benefit to companies in and around the Portland area. To become a member of NWAX, organizations are required to have an Autonomous System Number (ASN) and be running the BGP routing protocol. If your organization meets these requirements we recommend visiting their website for more info or email them at to inquire about joining the exchange. ​

The Benefits of an Exchange

  • More Control: If you are not peered and communicating with each other directly, you are doing so over the public Internet. If an outage occurs or routes change, operations could be impacted and there isn't much that can be done, except wait for the ISP to address it.
  • Sub-millisecond latency: With peering, in the best case, you are communicating directly between networks - this means stable and fast communication with nothing in between. Perfect for real-time applications like VoIP.
  • A community of cooperation: In a peering arrangement, you often have a way to contact the other party directly or the operating IX to assist if issues occur. This expedites issue resolution because both parties in the peering setup are affected.
  • Affordability: Peering can be affordable, NWAX offers the first gigabit port to members free.

NocTel is proud to be a member of NWAX, and encourages our users to consider joining the exchange if they meet the requirements in order to benefit themselves and the community.
Holiday Toggles and Schedules

If you use an adjustable toggle or a schedule for your holiday call routing make sure you make the needed switch so the alternative routing can take effect! Also, remember to change them back when you return from the holidays! 
Voicemail Notifications

Going to be away from the office for an extended period for the holidays? Make sure you enable voicemail notifications for your extension and check the box to include a copy of the recording for easy access while you are away.

When Phone Scams Target Those We Love.

Phone scams are a dime a dozen these days and ones that target elderly are a big issue, stealing hundreds of millions from the elderly each year. These scams are especially heinous targeting the kindness of people and preying on fears. 

Recently both of my Grandmothers were targeted by a phone scam commonly called the "grandparent scam." In this scam, the caller pretends to be a grandchild or relative of the person targeted. They will start the call off with lines like "hello grandma can you guess who this is" or "Hello grandpa it's your eldest grandchild."  They are phishing for more information to help build the scam. The scam usually continues by saying they are in an emergency and need help. The scammer may tell them they need to wire cash or call a number to talk to a lawyer or another authority figure to help get them the money they need. In some cases, the caller may even start off saying they represent the relative that needs help. Often times the scammer pleads that their parents should not be informed and that help is needed urgently. While it may sound like a simple scam, the scammers are well practiced at their craft, preying on the tendency toward goodwill within the family.

Thankfully, my grandmothers did not give the callers money or personal info, but my grandmother that was targeted first was left upset and shaken by the call thinking that I was in real danger and she was unable to help me. I was able to warn my other grandma of the scam and she was able to nip it in the bud quickly when she was targeted, giving them an earful that they weren't expecting. 

I despise robo and scam calls as I am sure most of you do - they are waste of our time, a huge annoyance, and can be devastating to our family lives if we become a victim or even target of their attacks. This holiday season, take the time to inform the less tech savvy, less connected and the elderly in your life about the types of scams that might target them. The grandparent scam isn't the only one. Others like the medical equipment or medicare scams are just as dangerous. Take the time to add or assist adding vulnerable loved ones numbers to the national do not call registry to stop telemarketing calls and warn them to never give out personal information over the phone to a person whose identity cannot be verified and confirmed to save them from being scammed.

If you or someone you know has been targeted by phone scams or may have fallen victim to one reach out to your local police to report the crime and get help immediately. If financial information was exposed your financial institution(s) should be informed immediately as well.

- Joey Macaluso, NocTel Support Team

From all of us here at NocTel

May your Holiday season be filled with joy, friends, and family; and your New Year bright and full of hope, health, and happiness. 

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NocTel Communications, Inc. · 3242 NE 3rd Ave # 230 · Camas, WA 98607-2408 · USA

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