Do you understand VOiP 911’s inherent risks?
911 is the U.S. emergency services number; it’s the equivalent of the European Union’s 112. Enhanced 911, or E911, is a potentially lifesaving GPS-enabled smartphone feature that automatically shares a caller’s location with emergency personnel. But if you’re using VoIP technology, calling for emergency help isn’t as cut and dried. Here’s what you need to know about VoIP and 911.
If you’re traveling, be sure to check the emergency services number for the country you’re visiting. 911 call on a cellphone Interconnected VoIP vs. Non-Interconnected VoIP
Whether or not you have access to 911 depends on if your VoIP service is interconnected or non-interconnected.
Non-interconnected VoIP, also known as “peer-to-peer” VoIP, lets people call others using the same VoIP app. When you talk to a friend via Xbox Live or another gaming system, for example, you’re using non-interconnected VoIP. You wouldn’t be able to call the friend’s smartphone or landline phone.
Interconnected VOiP services use the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to make and receive calls to and from smartphones and landlines. Among other features, interconnected VoIP services provide 911 functionality.
How Does Interconnected VoIP Handle 911?
The FCC requires interconnected VoIP services to offer 911 as a standard feature and not let users opt-out. These services have to comply with E911 standards, which means they must obtain and transmit their customers’ physical locations and callback numbers whenever possible to the emergency services teams at the nearest 911 call center.
Because users can make VoIP calls wherever they can find an internet connection, the 911 call center can’t know exactly where they are unless they’ve registered their VoIP device to a specific physical location. This means it’s up to the user to register their physical address with their VoIP service provider and notify and update their address with the provider if they move.
Service providers are supposed to make this an intuitive process, but it’s still the user’s responsibility to keep the system updated.
Inherent VoIP 911 Limitations
Even with the FCC’s directives and VoIP services’ cooperation and best intentions, there can be problems accessing 911 via VoIP:
911 calls via VoIP may not work if there’s a power outage, or the call may drop if there’s an internet outage.
If a user doesn’t update their physical location with their VoIP provider, 911 emergency teams won’t be able to find them.
There may be a problem automatically transmitting a caller’s physical location to the emergency responders, even if the caller is able to reach the 911 call center.
A VoIP 911 call may go to an unstaffed call center administrative line, or be routed to a call center in the wrong location.
The FCC requires VoIP service providers to explain these potential VoIP 911 limitations and problems to their customers, so they’re aware of possible risks. Users must acknowledge that they understand and accept these risks.
How Do Top VoIP Providers Handle 911?
Each VoIP service provider does its best to properly handle 911 services for its customers. Here’s a look at what some top providers say about 911 calls.
Vonage stresses the importance of customers maintaining an accurate physical address so that 911 services can reach them. You’ll need to activate a physical 911 address, and the company makes it easy to update this address via your Vonage account. Dial 933 from your Vonage phone to check your 911 activation status at any time.
The scope of Vonage’s 911 services differ depending on your location and whether you’re using Vonage on a mobile phone or landline. Some customers will receive E911 functionality, while others will be able to access only basic 911 and must be prepared to share their address and contact information with the call center.
Like Vonage, RingCentral offers basic or E911 services, depending on your location and device. You’ll need to register your physical location with RingCentral and notify the company if you move. If you use the RingCentral app to place a 911 call, your wireless provider will handle the call if service is available.
Line2 requires users to add their physical address to their Line2 account via a web browser or its iOS or Android apps.
Intermedia also offers basic and enhanced 911 services, but stresses that it’s the user’s responsibility to keep the company apprised of an accurate and updated physical location. Intermedia warns users that factors outside of its control, such as network congestion or hardware and software problems, may limit the call’s effectiveness.
The Bottom Line
While VoIP 911 functionality has greatly improved since the early 2000s, users should understand that the process has inherent limitations. If you’re primarily using a VoIP service for most of your calls but are concerned about the potential risks of VoIP 911, consider keeping a landline or mobile phone handy.
For more direct help during an emergency, keep the phone numbers for your local public safety dispatcher or police station prominently handy.
To learn more about VOIP options, email us here:
Photo by Joshua Sukoff on Unsplash
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The Data doesn’t Lie…it’s Time to move to Teams, BUT thee are caveats / Not all users need, or have a Desktop to make a call using TEAMS. That is where we and our vendors come in. Read on…..
If you had to take a guess on how many collaboration services your clients are running, would you say 1, 2, or 5? Our survey of 247 Executive, IT, and Sr. Operations professionals revealed that most mid-market businesses are running an average of 2.4 collaboration services today, most of which were implemented by departments outside
Challenge #1 – When we asked these same organizations if they preferred having a single solution, an overwhelming majority (56%) said ‘yes’, while only 14% preferred having multiple collaboration solutions.
Challenge #2 – 41.5% of organizations are using Microsoft Teams today and 36.5% plan to deploy Microsoft Teams in the next couple of years. Microsoft recently announced that they now have over 20 million active daily Teams users, making Teams the fastest adopted service in Microsoft’s history!
Challenge #3 – Nearly 1/2 of the 247 businesses that responded (47.5%) told us that their preferred collaboration system MUST integrate with their communications solution, while 30% were still undecided.
Challenge #4 – For those businesses that demand a voice-integrated collaboration system, nearly half plan to re-evaluate their voice provider, while only 17% plan to use their current UCaaS provider to deploy their collaboration suite.
Here’s the rub. Microsoft Teams doesn’t support all of the enterprise voice features required by mid-market and enterprise businesses! Learn more about those gaps and missing features at our Blog https://appliedconsultinggroup.net/blog/
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“Confused by the cloud? You are not alone,” was written by Kirill Bensonoff in December of 2013, and while some of the specific stats may be out of date, the information contained is still relevant today:
Everyone seems quick to throw the word “cloud” around like it’s this decade’s biggest buzzword.
As a concept, the cloud can actually be traced back to the 1950s, when multiple terminals were first connected to one main computer to make more efficient use of expensive mainframes. As technology evolved, scientists naturally turned toward methods of connecting multiple users to one single server located offsite.
In Citrix’s study, 54 percent of respondents stated they hardly ever use cloud computing. Ninety-five percent of those respondents were wrong. Consumers use cloud computing every day to check web-based e-mail, conduct online banking activities, store photos and music, and more. The social media sites frequented by 72 percent of all online adults also count as cloud computing, since users connect to servers located far away to communicate with loved ones and share photos.
A cloud is a remote server, located in a data canter owned by a company. Rather than connecting a server in his or her own home or workplace, consumers use the internet to log into one of these faraway sites. For instance, a user’s web-based e-mail is stored on Google’s servers or Microsoft’s servers, secured with a password known only to the user.
Some cloud services charge a subscription rate to store files, media, and even an organization’s entire network infrastructure. For a small monthly fee, a business can pay some other company to take care of all of its files and apps. Each worker in that business can connect to that server from any internet-connected device, accessing all of those files and apps from home, from the road, or while in the office.
Workplace of the Future
The cloud has opened up big possibilities for the future of the workplace. Citrix’s study found that 59 percent of those surveyed feel that the workplace of the future will be housed 100 percent in the cloud. This is convenient for the 40 percent of respondents who stated that being able to access work at home while wearing nothing but their “birthday suit” is the cloud’s biggest advantage.
With the cloud playing such a big part in the future of corporate America, it’s no surprise that many Americans pretend they know what cloud computing is. More than one-fifth of Americans have pretended to understand how the cloud works, while 14 percent have pretended for the sake of a job interview. Consumers are even acting as though they understand the cloud in their personal lives–17 percent of respondents admitted to having lied about knowing how the cloud works while on a date.
Gradually, cloud technology is changing the way we shop, play, and even work. Its important consumers fully understand this game changes the way they dress for work every day.