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How E911 Actually Works

Posted by Media Shower on Oct 21, 2014 3:20:38 PM

Everyone's familiar with 911, the national emergency number, and how it's the go-to number to call in case of a fire, medical emergency, or crime. But like everything else in today's increasingly advanced world of telecommunications and mobile computing, 911 has undergone at least one interesting change, and that's the creation of enhanced 911.

If you've never heard of enhanced 911 (or e911 if you want to be current and hip), you should check this out and get brought up to speed.

Enhanced 911 means you can get help even if calling from a mobile phone

Enhanced 911 Defined
When someone calls regular 911, the call gets forwarded automatically to a PSAP (public safety answering point), otherwise known as a 911 call center. When the emergency call is answered, the operator is given the ALI (automatic location information) which pinpoints the call's precise location. That's great for land lines, which are static. What about mobile phones? That's where e911 comes in!

With enhabced 911, the 911 operator can ascertain the general area of the call, but can't pinpoint the exact location. When you realize that, according to the Cellular Telephone Industry Association's findings over 150,000 emergency wireless calls are made in the USA each day, you can see the problem.

Implementing e911
Back in 1996, the FCC stepped in and mandated that all traditional mobile phone carriers had to support e911, and, as of May 19, 2005, certain VoIP providers. After that date, the FCC required that any Internet Service Providers (ISP) that has interconnected VoIP calls with the public switched telephone network must provide enhanced 911 service.

The implementation was accomplished in three phases.

Phase Zero:  All 911 calls must be routed to a PSAP whether or not the caller is a customer of the network being used.
Phase One: Mobile phone carriers must allow a number to be displayed along with each wireless 911 call. This way, the call center operator can call back if there's a disconnection.
Phase Two: In this last phase, the FCC requires that carrier place a GPS in each phone so that specific latitude and longitude co-ordinates can be sent. This information must be accurate to within 50 to 300 meters (or 164 to 984 feet).

How It Works
All of the phases have been implemented, with Phase Two initiated back in 2005. Today, the cell-phone user's number, also known as the Automatic Number Identification (ANI), as well as the address and location of the receiving-antenna site are sent to the E-911 Tandem. The Tandem is the switch which routes the 911 call to the right PSAP, which is based a geographic location as defined by the ANI. When the caller's voice and the ANI are transferred to the PSAP, the call center operator can view a graphic display that shows the longitude and latitude of the caller as accessed via GPS satellites. The operator's computer then links to the ALI database, which in turn stores caller information such as address and other details. Just so long as the caller doesn't decide to hop in their car and take off, the operator can pinpoint their location.

What The Future Holds
It's conceivable that the FCC will require even more stringent and precise locations in the coming years, in order to better narrow down the source of a 911 call. But what all of this e911 hoopla means is that making an emergency call on your cell phone can be just as effective as a call made on a land line. Considering how many of us use mobile phones, that's a comforting thought.

Byline: John Terra has been a freelance writer since 1985. His work is often featured through

Photo Credit: J D Mack3

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Topics: E911

Chat with Nat: VoIP Fraud. VoIP Security. VoIP Features.

Posted by Natalie DeCario on Oct 17, 2014 2:45:26 PM

Happy Friday and welcome back to another Chat with Nat! We’ve been busy in the BackOffice this week trying to add or update a few new voip features for our customers. Take a look at the list below to see what’s new:

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Topics: Chat with Nat

VoIP Fraud Defined

Posted by Ben Stegner on Oct 16, 2014 10:17:08 AM

Surely you've heard of (and hopefully never personally experienced) fraud — essentially any dishonest action that results in gain for the perpetrator. Common forms include credit card fraud and telemarketing fraud, but did you know that VoIP fraud is an issue, as well? Let's take a look at what VoIP fraud is and how it's typically performed.

The Definition: VoIP fraud falls under same category as any other type of fraud. It is defined as the unauthorized use of paid communication services charged to someone who isn't expecting it, whether that be the service provider or the customer.

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Topics: VoIP Security

How To Enhance Your VoIP Security

Posted by Ben Stegner on Oct 15, 2014 4:08:50 PM

Staying safe is important in all aspects of life, and VoIP is no exception. We've written about VoIP fraud and what a headache it can be, and ideally, you'll never have to experience it. To maintain a strong defense against those who would use your services for malicious purposes, let's go over a few ways to stay safe with VoIP.

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Topics: VoIP Security

Chat with Nat: Checking in with your favorite wholesale VoIP Company

Posted by Natalie DeCario on Oct 10, 2014 4:03:52 PM

Hello everyone! I know we missed last week's Chat with Nat, so I wanted to check in with everyone today. I mentioned a short while ago and the we just launched a new Carrier Ranking System in our wholesale VoIP BackOffice. Have you been using it lately? Make sure to leave your feedback in the Comments section below this post!

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Topics: E911

4 Quick Facts About E911

Posted by Ben Stegner on Oct 1, 2014 10:26:25 AM

When you consider the phone system in the United States, one sometimes overlooked but very important aspect is 911, the national emergency number. Even if you've never called it, the number surely has a place in your mind, just in case.

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Topics: E911

How will WebRTC Transform the Future of VoIP

Posted by Natalie DeCario on Sep 29, 2014 2:55:35 PM

WebRTC or Web Real-Time Communications is the latest technology that has piqued the interest of businesses and corporate across the world. The technology, supported by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), enables real time communications like voice, data, video and instant messaging through web browsers that follows the open standard. Majority of the new technologies project money-saving as their USP but Web RTC helps the developers to create customized communication systems through integration of the technology with other applications. This automatically cuts down the need for other communication software. WebRTC is supported by the popular browsers like Mozilla and Chrome whereas Internet Explorer and Safari do not. Apple and Microsoft are presently developing browsers that would actually support Web RTC in the near future. Interested in some other areas that are related to the future of VoIP? Check these out:

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Topics: WebRTC

Chat with Nat: New BackOffice Feature and Other Wholesale VoIP News

Posted by Natalie DeCario on Sep 26, 2014 2:40:15 PM

Welcome back to another weekly Chat with Nat where I get to fill you in on some great wholesale VoIP news. I want to first mention that on Monday we’ll have a brand new employee starting in our Support Department. His name is Tim Klein and we’re excited to have him start and get up to speed.

Speaking of other new things, this week we launched a Carrier Ranking System for our wholesale VoIP BackOffice. This new system is going to be great for our customers because they’ll be able to see very specific key metrics for each carrier such as their last outage or average time for port completion. They also see where that carrier ranks and they have the ability to add their own one to five start rating. For more information on the Carrier Ranking System, take a look at this blog post we published yesterday.

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Topics: Wholesale VoIP

New Carrier Ranking System is Launched!

Posted by Natalie DeCario on Sep 25, 2014 3:39:22 PM

Yesterday we released a new Carrier Ranking System that allows our ustomers to view detailed information about each of our carriers Origination, Termination and Porting. The rankings are based on the behavior of the carriers over the past 6 months, as well as a user ranking feature that allows customers to give 1-5 stars based on their experience. This feature is designed to help customers make the best decision for which carriers to use when porting, ordering, or purchasing DIDs.

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Topics: Carrier Rating,

5 Common Misconceptions About Telecommunications

Posted by Ben Stegner on Sep 24, 2014 2:31:24 PM

Have you been considering a switch to VoIP for your business, but don't see the benefits in doing so? Or perhaps you have an image of what telecommunications is in your head and can't seem to get over it. If you fit into either of these descriptions, you've come to the right blog post! Let's look at some common myths and clear up the truth about VoIP and what it's all about.

If you're interested in reading about more factual information on VoIP, check these out:

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Topics: telecommunications

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