North American Network Operators Group

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Re: How relable does the Internet need to be? (Was: Re: Converged Network Threat)

  • From: Adam Rothschild
  • Date: Sat Feb 28 03:23:18 2004

On 2004-02-27-18:43:50, Daniel Senie <[email protected]> wrote:
> >With Vonage you have to tell them where you are located so they can set
> >your 911 service up to the proper 911 center.
> You can take your Vonage with you. Some people do this. It's a bad idea to 
> dial 911 on a Vonage setup that you have on the road with you, but the 
> question of mobility certainly can be studied using this service.

I'd take your argument a step further, and argue that it's a bad idea
to blindly rely on any carrier, VoIP or otherwise, to provide 911
services, period.  Test it periodically (and of course, make your
intentions clear, and confirm that there is no real emergency to
report), lest you'll find yourself in a position where you need to use
it, but can't.

Vonage's E911 implementation (which in actuality is outsourced to some
provider whose name I forget offhand) is broken in too many ways to
enumerate in this forum without totally losing it and committing
multiple NANOG AUP infractions.  Try it; chances are you'll be routed
to your local coast guard platoon commander, or the highway patrol, or
dead air, or just about anywhere other than your loca PSAP.  Not to
merely single out Vonage, I've had my fair share of encounters with
other PRI- and VoIP-based CLEC's who are equally broken, or at best,
will hand off your calls to the proper PSAP, but with blanks for all
informational fields except your BTN.

Our 911 system is broken and vulnerable enough as-is.  I question the
business ethics of anyone who would want to add additional layers of
complexity and inadequately tested technology (like... *cough* VoIP),
risking life and limb in the process, and say it will be there for you
when you need it.  And, much as it pains me to say it, things aren't
going to get better until the FCC comes down hard, and fines all the
basement establishments with 2 BRI's and a mic^H^H^HAsterisk box who
purport to offer [E]911 service and in fact... don't.

Finally, quick show of hands for you RBOC's and cable operators out
there... how many of you can say with confidence you've got battery
backup on all your DSL-enabled RT/DLC's?  Cable headends?  Active HFC
distribution gear and amplifiers in the field?  I rest my case.

> The simple response to this situation is to say "tough luck. Use a
> wireline phone."

Yes.  Very much agreed.