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IDG Contributor Network: Wi-Fi 911: Running with scissors?

VoIP News June 6, 2016

Emergency 911 services first materialized in the United States when the Alabama Telephone Company established the service in the sleepy little town of Haleyville on Feb. 16, 1968. At that time, phone companies knew the installation address and phone number of each and every telephone device, and calls were routed based on this information. While seemingly unsophisticated by today’s standards, at the time, it was considered quite a feat of engineering.

The process remained valid until Sept. 21 of 1983 when the world changed forever. In a historic decision by the Federal Communications Commission, the Motorola 8000X, the world’s first commercially available portable cell phone, was approved for service and personal mobility took on a brand-new meaning. What was the cost of this miraculous technology? For just under $ 4,000, consumers could ‘cut the cord’ that tethered them to the wall — a small price to pay for a device that would revolutionize and redefine telecommunications history.

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IDG Contributor Network: Enterprise 911 — Lost in translation

VoIP News June 1, 2016

If you work in an office, your work days include the standard routine of commuting to work and taking your place at a cubicle in a corporate facility amid your fellow employees.

Most likely, your employer has provided you with a desk and a laptop, and on your desk is a telephone connected to the corporate multi-line telephone system (MLTS) known as an MLTS/PBX. Alice in accounting or David in sales is easily reached by directly dialing that person’s extension number. Reaching someone outside of your company is just as easy. First, an access code is dialed, then the 10- or 11-digit telephone number of the desired remote party. The rest is telephone network magic that is likely out of sight and out of mind.

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IDG Contributor Network: Emergency call location for mobile UC: slow progress on E911 improvements

VoIP News May 29, 2016

Making enterprise voice-over-Wi-Fi systems comply with emergency call regulations requires shoehorning new techniques into a very old architecture. It also exposes some unfinished technology and fragmented implementation models. We can do it, but no one is happy with the contortions.

There’s a large population of enterprise unified communications (UC) systems from Microsoft, Cisco, Avaya, Shoretel and others using Wi-Fi endpoints, whether dedicated Wi-Fi phones or client apps on smartphones. When it comes to emergency call functionality, we should expect these to work at least as well as landlines, PBX extensions and cell phones.

One of the most important emergency call (E911) functions is locating the caller. To make emergency call location work, we first need to find the location, then send the call, with caller location attached, to the correct emergency answering center in a form it can understand. Both of those steps present problems.

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