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Reporting Outages for VoIP and 911 Services

February 16, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 133

Over the past few years, VoIP has experienced an explosion of growth with all types of users. Predictably, the revolution started in the business world with entrepreneurs seeing the immense benefits of lower costs and improved features along with less tangible ones such as flexibility. The increasing adoption of smart phones however has given a boost to VoIP like applications which allow the user to make free calls to their friends over the Internet. True, not all VoIP services are built equally. Some are standards-based using the SIP protocol at their base whereas others create their own proprietary systems. But large VoIP providers such as Vonage have created a huge base of users who use their systems for their everyday communications.

When a particular mode of communication becomes widely used, the government has to take an interest to determine whether or not such services are reliable in the face of an emergency. The entire basis of the 911 service is the ability for people to get emergency help even when the regular systems are down - such as power for example. At the very least, such VoIP services need to provide statistics as to how often their networks experience outages so that users can make informed choices about what they want to use just in case they find themselves in a dangerous situation.

The latest order of the FCC provides for exactly this kind of functionality. The statement by this government regulated body is an acknowledgment of the growing influence of VoIP services in the lives of Americans. It is estimated that over one third of all land lines connected to the United States are based off VoIP. This is a sufficient population percentage for it to come under the FCC's purview and it is important for regular users to know the reliability of such systems on an ongoing basis.

Hopefully, such reporting requirements with even spur competition amongst VoIP providers for who has the maximum uptime. Just like popular hosts report on the percentage of uptime they experience and trumpet that as a selling point, VoIP services might resort to the same tactics as well. Perhaps over time this might result in the development of better secondary power systems to power VoIP phones when the main lines are down. This is because VoIP is based off the Internet which in turn stands on the electric grid. When the latter goes down, so does the Internet taking VoIP along with it.

Who knows what new technology might emerge in the next few years? The need for reliable 911 reporting is likely to play a large role in the acceptance of VoIP amongst the general populace.

Bhagwad is an expert on Business Phones. He also specializes in Hosted VoIP Systems.

Source: EzineArticles
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