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7. VOICE over INTERNET PROTOCOL (VoIP)
Two key differences between VoIP and traditional telephone technology are the network over which a call is transmitted and the transmission format. In traditional telephony, a call over the public switched telephone network (PSTN) generally results in the creation of an end-to-end circuit that establishes a physical connection between the caller and the called party through the wires, cables and switches of the telephone network. The circuit exists for the duration of the call until hang-up, and is typically dedicated to the voice signals flowing between the two parties participating in the call. In contrast, in a VoIP call there is no dedicated circuit. The contents of a VoIP call flow between the caller and the called party over various networks that comprise the Internet. This happens through a router or switch operated by the VoIP provider, which matches a telephone number with an IP address. Different portions of a VoIP call may be routed over different transmission paths, with the contents of the call moving over the Internet amidst other traffic, including other VoIP calls, e-mails, miscellaneous data and video traffic.
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A VoIP Gateway is a seemingly simple device that allows one to connect a standard telephone to one port, a broadband modem to another port, and a computer or network sharing device to yet another port for sharing of your broadband connection.
D-Link has this to say about their product:
Jason Kohrs of hardwareseeker.com describes the Primus gateway like this:
The DVG-1120 is a VoIP Gateway equipped with two standard phone ports, one lifeline voice port for fail-over to standard phone services, one WAN Fast Ethernet 10/100BaseTX Port, and one LAN Fast Ethernet 10/100BaseTX Port.
Whatis.com defines VoIP as
VoIP, in overly simplified terms, allows one to use a standard telephone to place calls over the internet, eliminating the need for a dedicated phone line (and all of the fees/tolls charged by the phone company).
“sending voice information in digital form in discrete packets rather than in the traditional circuit-committed protocols of the public switched telephone network”, with more information available on their site, if desired.
Such issues may include Port Blocking or Load Balancing (data shaping). Customers need to report such problems when encountered such that appropriate action, if at all possible, can be taken by Primus.
An ISP in the USA has already been fined by the FCC for Port Blocking a VoIP provider. The CRTC would hopefully rule similarly to the FCC.
The TBB default Emergency 911 service is tied to your Primary Number NPA-NXX (area code - exchange), and not to your billing address. Regardless of where you are physically located, 911 service will currently always connect you to an emergency call center, unless you meet the requirements for and have received Enhanced 9-1-1 service, in which case you will be routed directly to the 911 dispatcher.
Most TBB subscribers have a number in the 911 PSAP jurisdiction in which they live and have E911 service, so for the majority of subscribers this discussion is not an issue.
However, if you do not reside in the local calling area of your Primary TBB number, or if you use your TBB equipment from multiple locations, there are technical and administrative issues to resolve before VoIP 911 service can be routed and handled correctly by 911 centers.
How 911 currently works
Generally, 911 works where your call is routed to a 911 PSAP - (Public Safety Answering Point) - aka 911 dispatcher:
FOR EXAMPLE: If you live in Toronto and have 416 TBB phone number, your 911 call will go right away to the Toronto 911 center and will transmit your CallerID. If you live in Oakville (905), and have a 416 number, your 911 call will still be forwarded to the Toronto 911 center, which may or may not be able to transfer you (or your request) to the appropriate Oakville 911 center or help you in any other way.
Currently, your call cannot simply be routed to another PSAP (for your street address) for the following reasons:
With the new CRTC requirements, all TBB services are potentially nomadic (not fixed, as in Cable VoIP), so all 911 calls have to be routed to a special call center. This centre, in turn, will connect the call to the appropriate 911 PSAP.
This means that there is 911-like service for those with phone numbers outside of their local exchange or people on the move. On a flip side, this also means a (CRTC) legislated downgrade of service to the majority of customers who have their phone number within their local exchange. Instead of going directly to their local 911 PSAP, their 911 calls first go to an intermediate call center, before being routed through - losing a few seconds of valuable time!
Primus has received permission to have native/non-nomadic TBB users continue to connect directly to the local 911 PSAP (i.e. without the intermediate call center)- where the Primary Number is within their residential 911 calling area.