Why VoIP E911 is Challenging for Business


Business challenges with E911 calling has its history tied to traditional analog calling and residential VoIP calling.

Prior to VoIP technologies, all E911 calls were analog and made over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) with a 1-to-1 relationship between phone numbers and their physical locations.

VoIP calling was first introduced to the world in the mid 1990's with PC-to-PC calling only. VoIP started to be mass-marketed in 2004 with both the proliferation of consumer broadband usage and advancements in IP switching and routing equipment. Initial coverage for E911 calling was rudimentary because there was typically only one number per residence.

E911 calling for businesses is a bit more complex because, unlike analog calling, VoIP phone numbers are tied to an IP address and not a physical location.

When business VoIP calls are place, the critical factor for call termination is the ability of the network to identify the location of the IP endpoints – wherever they may be on the network – as in anywhere on the Internet.

E911 first responders need to know the physical location of the caller in need; VoIP service providers used to be able to only supply the physical address for the subscriber. Regulators have since established protocols for both subscribers and services providers to improve the flow of information to proper emergency personnel.

VoIP-based E911 solutions do exist that relay physical locations of callers, but ultimately, it's up to a business's employee communicate where exactly they are calling from.

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