E-911 And VOIP Systems
by Larry Hettick and Steven Taylor 

Published December 2002





One of the strongest selling points for voice over IP (VOIP) phone systems is that they can save enterprises up to 80 percent of the costs associated with moves, adds and changes. Thatís because VOIP users can easily move their own phones. But thereís no free lunch; in return for these savings and flexibility, businesses need to be aware of a potentially serious problemóa recently-relocated user might call 911, but his/her current location information might not make it to the 911 dispatcher.


Not all states require that per-phone location information be supplied by systems serving large buildings, businesses, schools, hospitals and hotels; in fact, the only states with such requirements are Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas, Vermont and Washington (see www.nena.org/9-1-1TechStandards/state.htm). But even if you arenít in one of these states, you will want to understand your E-911 VOIP choices, and the problems that need to be solved.


Properly identifying a VOIP callerís location and callback number in case of emergency can be problematic. Solutions exist when the user is calling from an enterprise-controlled LAN or through a PBX or gateway with PSTN connections, but each must be tailored to the customerís situation and the local E-911 dispatch centerís requirements. Itís not a show-stopper for IP-PBX implementations, but it is an issue that must be addressed to make sure that your employees are safe and regulatory requirements are met for all points in your network.


About the authors:

Larry Hettick is president of Telecommunications Market Consulting, Inc., and Steven Taylor is publisher of Webtorials.Com.



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