But they use a different method and the traditional 911 is much more
robust. With "regular 911" the telco sends info directly to the call
center and everything pops up on the operators screen. Its a robust
system since everything is directly connected. The VoIP carriers
actually make an automated phone call to a regular voice non-emergency
number at the call center you designate. The call has to work, someone
has to answer it and then understand the message and key the information in.
Agreed. So can INCUMBENT telco landline service, but not even close to
And you can bet that the INCUMBENT (former RBOC - Regional Bell
Operating Company), still subject to performance testing and
requirements, will provide service in the same emergency that is
SUPERIOR to the lesser-capable [cable TV company] phone service that is
less tested or required to comply with performance minimums.
In the event of "slow dialtone" from landline service in a disaster
area, one need only STAY on the line and dialtone will be presented
I suspect that current wireless technology requires constant "redialing"
to eventually, if ever, complete the call as, I believe, wireless calls
fail or time-out after a preset, relatively short interval.
When Ike hit here, cable phone was out for 28 hours (or more). Regular
phone service wasn't out at all.
Their (cable company's) battery backup lasted 4 hours, and it was
another 28 hours before they got a generator connected to the cable
If you can't get through, emergency services isn't going to have
anyone to send to help you anyway. Best to wait until things calm down
if you can. If you can't, put your head between your legs and kiss
your ass goodbye...
A little programming could block 90% of trivial
calls allowing only 911 calls to go through. It
could be an interesting twist to giving more
control of the network over to FEMA for emergencies.
I know that at one time, the national phone system
could be basically taken over by the federal
government during The Cold War. If I'm not mistaken,
the feds have their own separate network now. All
that extra fiber that was run during The Internet
boom and bust hasn't gone to waste.
Define "trivial calls".
If emergency workers are trying to coordinate the efforts via cell-
phone, how would they do that?
You might respond by saying that "official" emergency workers would/
should have their own network, but what about the thousands of workers
from volunteer organizations that are helping out?
At any given disaster, there are innumerable people who chip in to
supplement the "official" workers - people whose skills and efforts
are really needed. If only 911 calls were allowed to go through, their
efforts would be extremely hampered.
And then there is the law of unintended consequences. Cell systems can
prioritize traffic but they don't. Lets say there is an emergency of
some sort and you are trapped. The all knowing and powerful FEMA workers
are yammering away on their prioritized phones and your phone no longer
works because it doesn't have the right priority.
If you can get away from the TSA and deal with the police, you'll be okay.
My squeeze was taking a flight from Houston to New Orleans to attend a trade
show. As you can imagine, lots of scurrying about with last minute details.
Anway, as she was going through the X-Ray security, the machine went "TILT"
over the pistol in her purse!
Immediately she was taken to a room in the basement, one bright overhead
light, drain hole in the middle of the floor, strange terminals and
protuberances on the walls.
Cops come in. "Tell us about the gun," they say.
"You'll find a concealed handgun license in my purse," she replies. They do.
"Go forth and sin no more," the cops say.
They wouldn't let her take her gun on the plane; her son had to go to the
airport and retrieve it from the constabulary.
But everybody on the TSA shift got a Gold Star beside their name that day.
I was pulled out of line while waiting to board for "Additional Random
Screening." The TSA droids had picked four of us at random: Me, a senior
She is lucky they let her have a relative retrieve the gun. Most places,
once a gun is in their hands, you never get it back, even if no law is
broken. Taken for elimination purposes, recovered stolen property,
whatever. And since the leftish folks think guns in civilian hands are
EVIL, none of the 'public interest' groups holds the local power
structure to account over it. Most individuals can't afford to hire a
lawyer over a $400-500 gun, so, there you go.
There is a class of cell service that basically echoes the old 'flash
priority' on AUTOVON in the old days. It bumps civilian cell calls. As
to the wireline federal networks, they are mostly virtual networks at
this point, riding leased lines or the public switched lines. Try
dialing 10-10-FTS sometime. Yeah, the line between ATT Long Lines and
the Fed was rather fuzzy in the old days. Not so much anymore, but the
fed phone network is still basically a Bellcore creation.
From what I've read about the Cold War era AUTOVON
system is that it ceased to be used in the 1990's
replaced by DSN. I'm sure the feds have their own
pathways through the national network but there's
some really bizarre proprietary stuff me and thee
will never see that they use for secure communication.
I spent some time at a US Missile Defense Command
facility 20 years ago and there was a lot of secure
microwave, satellite and fiber optic communication
equipment there. Now, there's no telling what they
are using but it certainly takes up less space.
Does the term 'single point of failure' ring a bell? If all your
connectivity to the outside world is through a single pipe, if that pipe
has any problems, you are cut off. I have 3rd-party DSL that rides a
separate pair of wires. I have had it go down, and the POTS dial tone
still worked. I have had the POTS dial tone go down, and the DSL still
worked. I have Satellite for TV, but I also have a roof antenna for days
the satt is being cranky. I even have a toy pre-paid cell, mainly for
travel, but I still keep a 2-way radio in the car.
Yes, I always recommend to people that they keep their copper line. I
also recommend they keep one stone-age line-powered corded Real
Telephone plugged into it. Like the ones they had in the house as a kid,
the Ma Bell WE style. Modern phones are disposable, and subject to
silent failures. The old 500/2500 desk sets are damn near indestructible.
This is a very interesting discussion, but we still haven't heard back
from the OP as to whether 911 is the reason why he wants to run both
cable and TelCo phone service.
Hey Bert - you still out there?
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