Understanding 9-1-1 over VoIP

Map showing emergency vehicle going to the location of a 911 call

In the world of 9-1-1, it’s very important to stay up to date on the latest technologies and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) continues to grow rapidly.  As VoIP services are inherently nomadic and becoming more mobile-driven, effectively delivering emergency 9-1-1 can be challenging. In particular, the challenge of what location the call originated from and delivering that location information to the correct Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) can be difficult. Every second counts in an emergency situation. So businesses need to be able to abide by the law to ensure end-users receive help when it matters most.

The evolution of 9-1-1

9-1-1 is a well established uniform number to call for emergency support. Calling 9-1-1 provides users quick and easy access to a PSAP, which are call centers responsible for answering emergency calls to help dispatch emergency responders. 9-1-1 calls also allow the PSAP to recognize a caller’s location through a display of the caller’s phone number and address. Communications technology is advancing in the marketplace, including the area of 9-1-1, allowing for more accurate and detailed information to be utilized in emergencies. So, as VoIP services continue to evolve and grow, what does this mean for businesses as they’re migrating their telephony to VoIP?

Moving to VoIP? Understand the Rules

If you are considering moving to VoIP, or are fairly new to VoIP, you need to understand the requirements and how critical 9-1-1 call routing is. The FCC requires that carriers and interconnected VoIP (IVoIP) providers must meet industry 9-1-1 standards. This includes systems that automatically provide a call-back number and accurate emergency location information. Since 9-1-1 is a mandatory service feature for IVoIP service providers, you’ll want to choose a partner that supports all the tools necessary to make it easy to meet changing regulations.

How 9-1-1 over VoIP Works with Bandwidth

When you dial 9-1-1 from a VoIP phone, your call is automatically routed to a PSAP, which will then dispatch a local emergency responder to the address you have most recently registered as your location. Even though the registered address is automatically presented, callers will always want to be prepared to validate their name, location, and contact information. Beyond traditional IVoIP services, new VoIP calling services are being developed that are even more mobile in nature.  As a result, Bandwidth has developed a service called Dynamic Location Routing, which features the latest Internet Protocol standard PIDF-LO (Presence Information Data Format-Location Object). Dynamic Location Routing is principally designed to support enterprises that may face call location challenges associated with large or multi-tenant addresses such as high rises or large campuses. Whether using a mobile IP device or IP devices anchored to the cloud, emergency responders will be given the most accurate, current location information available when emergency callers need them.

Future of 9-1-1

While the national 9-1-1 system is decades old, new technologies to meet the needs of our increasingly mobile population are being deployed. As more users access 9-1-1 through IP-enabled mobile devices and are growing to expect imagery, audio, and video within these technologies, providers need to be ready.  One new development in the 9-1-1 ecosystem is the development and deployment of Next Generation 9-1-1. Next Gen 9-1-1 is designed to capture the promises of IP networks and eventually replace traditional telecommunications emergency service networks. As state and local authorities roll-out Next Gen 9-1-1, you’ll want to be sure your 9-1-1 provider is Next Gen ready with the latest IP-based emergency capabilities.

Want to learn a little more about 9-1-1 services and staying up to date? Talk to one of our experts today!

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