Saturday, November 23, 2013

VOIP: The Wave Of The Future

     And like much of the future, it sucks.  My Mom has it -- so she can't dial 911.  Mind you, her VOIP service comes from the very same Big PhATT Phone Co. she has always had, the very same outfit that she gets cell phone service (with functioning 911) from, but by the eternal howling flame of the spirit of Mr. A. G. Bell, they can't figger out how to make her VOIP tell the system where her house is and find the right 911 call center to connect to.

      They also seem to have gnarfed up her first effort at a wearable call-for-help button.  Something about the connection provided by the plain-old-phones jack on the VOIP multimodemockery has the call-for-help hub convinced it should otta pulse-dial and there's no way to correct this short of getting the provider of that service to dial into it.  This, of course, they will happily do Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., when it is well-nigh impossible for me to be there to plug the thing in.  Can't leave it connected, you see, because then it complains, loudly, every few minutes, asking, "PLEASE CHECK THE TELEPHONE CONNECTION.  PLEASE CHECK THE TELEPHONE CONNECTION," and who doesn't love that?

     Made of freaking win.  Or not.  Oh, Don Ameche, we hardly knew ye.  And we never appreciated what we had.


Keads said...

Indeed. In fact, the FCC is trying now to push the circuit switched stuff over the cliff in favor of packet switched VOIP. I think Frontier Communications and others might have something to say about that.

AT&T fell apart after I left IMHO!

Old NFO said...

VOIP is made of FAIL... Period... When enough folks die because Rescue can't find them, it will change... NOT before!

Lazy Bike Commuter said...

Somehow Tmobile can get them your address when it uses VOIP from a cellphone*, but AT&T can't figure out how to do it with a VOIP landline?


*Granted, it's dependent on the account of the phone rather than the location of the phone, but at least it's something. And landlines aren't know for moving around.

jon spencer said...

Like that comedian said "we have gone from, 'you can hear a pin drop' to 'can you hear me now" .

Anonymous said...

I have a very nice phone sitting on my desk: big, black, labelled with the exchange code (FRontier 5 digits, Answer 1 ring). Short of taking wire cutters to the copper, it will always work (assuming the switchgear in the village doesn't have another mouse nest!) without any static.
The other advantage of a big old rotary? It makes hanging up on people Much more satisfying. Stabbing a midget sized button has no comparison with slamming down a receiver.
But the phone company would dearly love to get rid of it. They keep trying.

Gewehr98 said...

Why can't her VOIP service use 911?

My Vonage box has been 911-capable since I signed up circa 2002. I've been using it in both Florida (RoadRunner) and Wisconsin (Charter)ever since. I did have to give Vonage a physical address in my account settings for 911 ambulance/fire purposes.

It's running my Western Electric USAF red alert phone, and I'm about to plug my ancient Stromberg-Carlson crank phone into it.

I'm not going to diss VOIP as "fail" in such broad brush strokes. Not when I know for a fact that at least one of the VOIP providers works just fine with 911.

Robert said...

As a note, any modern cell phone can dial 911 even if has no SIM card and no account. For your oldsters, buy 'em a cheap flip phone w/ big buttons. The downside is that they have to remember to keep it charged up, as even off it will still drain down the battery eventually.

Anonymous said...

The 911 center should have a full phone number that can be called. Check with the phone company and the fire/police dept. that would need to be called.

Roberta X said...

Gewehr98: Mom has the ATT-Uverse package and it sux, is why it won't do 911. You get what they offer, and what they offer around here won't make nice with 911, presumably because that would be too much work for the poor old telco and their legislator-palm-greasing dollars.