VOiPVoIP (Voice Over IP) Issues
Just what is all the Hub-bub about "VOIP"? What is this "VOIP" anyway?
Well, VoIP isn't really all that new. Being able to voice communicate across the internet has been around for some time. But for it to really be effective, one needs pretty fast Internet speeds. Well, as the phone and cable companies and the upcoming "WiFi" wireless providers grow, so is the availability of these faster or broadband internet connections. And with that comes the Voice Over IP communications software, hardware and even dedicated providers.
"So just what does VoIP stand for?"
Simply, "voice over internet protocol". VoIP is a mergence of hardware and software that allows users to use the internet as the means of placing telephone calls. This software breaks your voice into data packets which are sent using IP or "internet protocol" as opposed to the traditional circuitry of the standard public telephone system.
"So is there an advantage of using VoIP instead of traditional means?"
Sure is... it will mean the end of long distance phone charges among other things. You simply pay your monthly access as you normally do. Placing a VoIP phone call would be like sending an e-mail. Unfortunately, there's a big catch here and one that effects 9-1-1 services. The technology and hype of VoIP can and is spreading faster than service providers capability to integrate the technology with existing communication infrastructures.
"So what does that mean?"
When a 9-1-1 call is placed by conventional means (over traditional telephone lines), the call is sent through various telephone company switches that know how and where to route that call to the correct PSAP or "9-1-1 Center" that should receive the call. The problem with VoIP is that 1) there are so many more service providers, 2)internet access accounts can be opened closed and switched around so rapidly, that without the cooperation of VoIP service providers, there's no way to know where the 9-1-1 call is originating or which 9-1-1 center should receive and handle the call.Just as any other new technology, VoIP will eventually come into its own and be able to provide 9-1-1 service. Many responsible providers are working on this important aspect of the technology. One day, hopefully sooner than later, 9-1-1 service on VoIP will exist as it does with ordinary telephone service, but don't forget, if the power is out in your home or business resulting in your computer being off, unless you have battery backup, you still will be without communications.