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E911 Back In the Dirt

As if there weren't enough issues looming around VoIP related to patents, it seems the US Senate is looking again into E911 according to a post on TechDirt.

This is a volatile issue, and one that needs addressing, but rather than piecemeal out how E911 is handled for landlines, VoIP, Mobile and other devices, a total overhaul of the entire system is needed.

Currently the WiFi phones have no real way of being located, yet when you sign up for the service with say, Earthlink, you have to designate where the phone is. When you go "Nomadic" with the device then the triangulation of access points comes into play, but that isn't good enough in my mind. GPS in the devices would add costs, but would solve the problem, but then who wants to be followed around all the time.

What would be great is a passive GPS that kicks in when only an Emergency call is placed or when the user voluntarily activates LBS (location based services.)

E911 is a necessity, but the current approach of divide and conquer only benefits the industry providers but not the public at large.


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Brad Templeton

GPS is a silly way to do this until we have 802.11 roaming, and even then I doubt it. This is something that belongs in DHCP -- both for wifi phones and even for wired phones and laptop soft clients. When you get your IP address, it should tell you both a location, and in fact the SIP or other URL of the 911 service. Ie in a corporate lan, it could go to corporate security as the pbx often does.

If nothing comes from DHCP, you can have backups, like an address registered with the service or in the phone.

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