Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Quack, quack

Martin Geddes - Telepocalypse


Just a few quick small thoughts on E911 service and the recent decrees issued in the US.
I think most observers are viewing this from their “inside the network” viewpoint — the tech equivalent of “inside the beltway” DC myopia.
As far as the consumer is concerned the “looks like a duck, quacks like a duck” test is really simple. Can I plug my standard POTS phone into it? If so, and it uses a PSTN number, it’s a duck. All the problems around Skype, Yahoo/Net2Phone el al just go away. PCs, iPaqs etc are not POTS terminals. People don’t expect to use their PC to make emergency calls (even if they should!). Is it really so hard to spot an RJ45 jack and rule accordingly?
This would simply eliminate all the service-centric billable hour fodder for lawyers that any other approach is likely to generate. Services have a zillion variations; RJ45 connectors don’t.
My opinion is that a better approach overall is to burden the connectivity provider, not the service provider, with the core problem of locating the user. Evolving my earlier thoughts, the connectivity provider knows roughly where the endpoint node is, even if the node does not.
Someone else (apologies, lost the link) suggested decomposing this into its atomic elements. For example, we simple extend DHCP, DNS or the IP assignment databases to make it easy to discover your location. We force service providers to co-operate to populate these databases. BT might supply me with unbundled copper loops, and Zen Internet, my retail ISP, will be responsible for populating the RIPE database with the right data, taken from BT on service provisioning.
Any VoIP service can then take this information and do the right thing. Even if you’re roaming around on Wi-Fi, it still works.
The question is how much you put into the record, and who takes liability for it. Should there just be a location, or the SIP URI of an access gateway to the emergency service provider, or a full service provided by the connectivity provider? As usual, all the classic issues of which layer of the stack to work in, but complicated by the fact that emergencies are in physical places whereas the application layer is isolated from geography by many layers of interstitial abstraction.
There’s also an issue of ensuring accountability. If you’re roaming on a public open access point, how (if at all) do we deal with timewasting emergency calls when you don’t need to authenticate yourself or your device?
One thing is certain: the current system sucks at many types of emergency. It doesn’t handle wide-scale disasters well. It doesn’t handle emergencies where a distributed, rather than centralised, response is appropriate. Sometimes you need the nearest person trained in CPR, not an ambulance. Is there a portable defibrillator in any nearby buildings? Who knows!

6 Comments:

Blogger Jeff james said...

Hello, nice stuff on your site. I need to spend more time on my site about VOIP and other broadband phone voip stuff. Thanks for some ideas.

7:56 AM  
Blogger trotter said...

free voip

11:29 AM  
Blogger Shock Carlos said...

Neat blog, very interesting indeed. I'll bookmark you and come back later.

P.S. I have a blog/site about isp provider. If you get a chance, stop by. Especially if you are interested in isp provider in any way.

Later on...

12:03 AM  
Blogger bloger2us said...

Could you please explain me if you have tried a voip services and let me know which one I should be using. Thank you and good luck with your blog.

11:54 PM  
Blogger bloger4us said...

For those of you that do not know what voip stands for here a definition:

Short for Voice over Internet Protocol, a category of hardware and software that enables people to use the Internet as the transmission medium for telephone calls by sending voice data in packets using IP rather than by traditional circuit transmissions of the PSTN. One advantage of VoIP is that the telephone calls over the Internet do not incur a surcharge beyond what the user is paying for Internet access, much in the same way that the user doesn't pay for sending individual e-mails over the Internet.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Addison said...

Hey, I recently added a news widget from www.widgetmate.com to my blog. It shows the latest news, and just took a copy and paste to implement. Might interest you too.

7:26 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home