E-911: Understanding the Basics for UC by Howard Feingold

E-911: Understanding the Basics for UC

An overview of necessary considerations and complications that can arise with E-911 configurations.

portableIt seems safe to state that everyone is familiar with the basic concept of 911 services: A special number is called and a contact center mediates the emergency response. Many of us in the telecommunications field also are familiar with the basic challenges of 911 when dialing through a multi-user system in which dialing "9" is the common method for reaching an outside line.

However, when we discuss E-911 and next-generation 911 (NG911), the definitions and approaches get a little blurrier. The central advancement to basic 911 service has been the ability to pass location information to the public-safety answering point (PSAP) -- the specialized contact center that answers the phone when you place an emergency call. E-911 is roughly (very roughly) analogous to caller ID; it's in use today. NG911 is newer. It's in use, partially, in few places and can very generally be thought of as a pure IP upgrade to E-911. NG911 can more easily accommodate advanced functionality such as dynamically generating and providing location information. NG911 implementation will require significant investments in upgrades to the back end of 911 service.

Howard Feingold

Howard Feingold is President of Technology Plus, Incorporated, a 25-year-old independent consulting company specializing in technology solutions. His previous engineering...
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