Technology resources

Time to upgrade? You may be able to save your business big money by switching to the latest tech.

By Jonathan Blum

(Fortune Small Business) -- Check out these key sites to get up to speed.

FSB's 8 Tiny Companies That Play Big: How small companies are using new technologies to compete like champions.

Business 2.0's The Next Net 25: While it's getting crowded on the web 2.0 frontier, here are some startups deemed most likely to strike gold in 2007.


FCC overview: The Feds do a decent job of explaining the ins and outs of voice over internet telephony, including softphones.

Also check out the major vendors:

Skype for Business: An estimated 120 million users worldwide can't be wrong.

Vonage Softphone: The VoIP innovator attempts to keep up with Skype.

Cisco Softphone: For you corporate types.

Office software

Here are Google Apps and the Microsoft Office 2007 pages. Try both demos head to head. Expect to have your concept of office-software shattered.

If Google Apps is too big a step, give OpenOffice a try. Still free after all these years and now a legitimate alternative to Windows.


WiMax is an emerging spec surrounded by hype and industry jargon. So the learning curve is steep, but potentially worth it.

Wikipedia's explanation: Start here to get the lay of the land.

Next hit the WiMax Forum and to lead you to a provider in your area. But check back often; WiMax development is only just beginning. Meanwhile, here's a brief provider overview:

TowerStream. Founded in 2000, the company says it has established networks in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, the greater Boston area, Providence and Newport, R.I. Its pricing may be a better fit for more established businesses: A decent T1 line substitute, the company's pricing ranges from T1 Internet backup for $175/month to high-availability T1 for $600 a month.

Valtech Communications. Valtech, founded in 2003, is competing directly against Sprint in Ohio and offers basic phone and data access with dial-up service running $19.95 per month.

Clearwire. Founded in October 2003 by telecom veteran Craig O. McCaw, Clearwire says it offers service in 36 metro areas in California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho and Minnesota. Probably the more friendly to small business of the bunch, it offers a direct competitive product to DSL and cable in some markets.

Sprint Nextel. Profit-hungry Sprint Nextel (Charts, Fortune 500) holds licenses covering most of the United States and says it plans to build a "Nationwide advanced wireless broadband network expected to cover 100 million people in 2008."

NextWave Wireless. This provider just raised $335 million and holds licenses, makes chips and owns some back-end software for many facets of the wireless industry.

AirCanopy. Offers wireless internet services south of Dallas. Pricing starts at $49.95 for broadband. And the company offers a full package of telecom options to that area. AirCanopy recently announced it bought "Open Range Wireless Internet" to extend its reach into a 15-mile radius in the Waxahachie, Maypearl and Midlothian areas of Oregon.

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