The Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) industry is booming for both business and residential solutions, but in the past the service was not without its issues. Particularly, connectivity with 911 networks was difficult to establish due to the fact that VoIP phones are not tied to physical locations in the same way that landlines are. While in most day-to-day use this is a plus, it makes emergency situations more difficult for first responders to arrive on location.
However, emergency networks are starting to become smarter and adapting to the widespread use of VoIP. In Morgan County, Ohio, General Dynamics IT engineers worked to integrate their emergency phone network with VoIP compatibility. Today's VoIP providers offer several services to improve 911 service on their own by registering addresses with the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) that correspond with VoIP numbers. Morgan County's network is unique largely because it incorporate's NENA's i3 architecture standards, which utilize end-to-end Internet Protocol signaling to quickly associate location information with IP-enabled public safety answering points.
This is particularly useful since it offers an alternative to traditional phone lines if they are in some way compromised, or otherwise unavailable in a home or business that relies on VoIP phone systems. Because VoIP is generally far less expensive than traditional telephony providers, switching home or business phone systems to VoIP has become a popular way to save money. Now, residents of Morgan County don't have to worry about compromising their safety in an emergency situation by doing so.
As VoIP technology becomes better, the disadvantages to using it over a traditional phone line disappear. Already, VoIP offers higher quality phone service at lower prices than landlines can offer, in addition to a variety of advanced calling features like call waiting and music on hold.