APCO International

CC9S

NG9-1-1 VoIP and SIP Trunking

What is VoIP?

“VoIP is a technology that allows telephone calls to be made over computer networks like the Internet.  VoIP converts analog voice signals into digital data packets and supports real-time, two-way transmission of conversations using Internet Protocol (IP).

VoIP calls can be made on the Internet using a VoIP service provider and standard computer audio systems. Alternatively, some service providers support VoIP through ordinary telephones that use special adapters to connect to a home computer network.” [1]

How does It Work?

A VoIP telephone is connected to either a computer or a modem which provides connectivity to the Internet.  The user experience is virtually the same when you place or receive a call however unlike current analog systems, with VoIP your voice is digitized, converted into data packets, then sent over the internet much like your E- mail.

This service can be delivered by a variety of providers including phone companies, cable companies, and virtually any organization offering services as an Internet Service Provider. When you pick up the VoIP phone you dial just like any other telephone but your voice is digitized and put into small individual groups of data called packets. These packets of data go over the internet and arrive at their destination where they are reconstituted into voice signals for the listener.

One interesting thing to note is that the packets do not always travel together.  However, VoIP technology allows for them to arrive together, based on routing, and complete a call as if you were using the telephones of today.

Static vs. Nomadic VoIP

Static VoIP is when a computer or VoIP telephone service is not movable. The service is provided by a cable company, for example, where the telephone does not leave the residence.  Nomadic is usually a VoIP phone installed in a portable computer which can be taken with the subscriber. Calls can be made from anywhere in the world there is no need for a “hard wired” phone line, only an Internet connection.

Public Safety Challenges of VoIP Services

“Traditional phone services have generally associated a particular phone number with a fixed address. Portable interconnected VoIP services enable consumers to take their home or business phone service almost anywhere. Because certain interconnected VoIP services can be used from virtually any Internet connection, the location of the caller cannot automatically be determined.

This portability raises a number of challenges for the emergency services community. The FCC has recently taken action to make sure that emergency calls from these VoIP services will get through to the appropriate public safety authorities, but there are certain things that consumers need to know.

When you call 911 from a traditional telephone, the call in most cases is sent to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) that is responsible for helping people in a particular geographic area or community. PSAP personnel often can automatically identify your location and direct the closest emergency personnel to that location. They also often can automatically identify your telephone number so that they can call you back if you are disconnected.

Because VoIP service works differently from traditional phone service, consumers who use it should be aware that VoIP 911 service may also work differently from traditional 911 service.” [2]

For more regulatory information on VoIP and 9-1-1 please follow the link below:

http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/voice-over-internet-protocol-voip-and-9-1-1

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