Voice Over Internet Protocol and 911 Emergency Service

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Voice Over Internet Protocol and 911 Emergency Service


VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol is a technology which allows you to place telephone calls using your broadband internet connection, as opposed to using the traditional (analog) telephone lines.

VoIP technologies are valued for there competitive price, free calling features, voice quality, and usability. Most Voice Over Internet services are based at a standard rate and treat long distance phone calls the same as local phone calls, and there is no limit to the amount of minutes or calls you may use or place. Also, VoIP usually offers (for no additional cost) services found with traditional phone services that typically cost extra, such as caller ID, three-way calling, call-forwarding, etc. Also, the voice quality is typically noticeably better due to the use of wideband speech technology.

VoIP services are also valued for there ability to be integrated with other internet services, such as video conversation, data and message exchange during conversation, audio conferencing, address books, etc. Voice Over Internet Protocol service is also expected to become even more useful and popular with the incoming integration into Wi-Fi products like notebook computers and cell phones.

However, it is important to be informed on all aspects of VoIP service, and especially VoIP's compatibility with 911 emergency services. First, let's discuss how Voice Over Internet Protocol calls differ from traditional phone service.

In the United States as well as Canada, a 911 call placed from your telephone is routed to PSAP (Public Safety Answering Points). Your number and location are reported when this call is placed. Knowledge of the phone number allows the 911 dispatcher to return the call if necessary and the location is of obvious importance to route an emergency response team.

One of the key features in which the emergency dispatcher has come to rely on is the Caller Line Indication (CLI). This is a number unique to every telephone line attached to the public network which makes it possible to trace the location of the telephone that made a call from the CLI. The CLI is what enables fire, ambulance, and police services to locate where they are needed, should the caller be able to tell them.

A telephone call placed through VoIP service is recognized not by a CLI, but by its IP address, which has no geographical meaning. It is not possible to determine where a VoIP call is originating from, making the use of VoIP for emergency calls less than ideal.

However, all is not lost. The FCC has been addressing this issue for some time, and there is an emerging standard called e911 which is trying to resolve this restriction and provide emergency services with the information they need. Some VoIP services require you to give them a physical address when you sign up for service. This physical address is what may be used for emergency services.


Source by Budda Oliver

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