As an emergency communications provider, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to best meet the needs of our clients, often stemming from technological developments and always focused on service. The use of landlines is becoming fewer and fewer with early adopters being in the business environment and specific to our customers, in the storage, commercial office and multifamily residential space. As the trend continues, you may ask yourself, what are my options?
As reported by James Grahame of Retro Thing, AT&T declared POTS (plain old telephone service) lines and the PSTN (public switched telephone network) which are over 100 years old “relics of a bygone era” and in a letter to the FCC requested permission to phase out its analog service. But what does that really mean and where does that leave you, the consumer?
First, let’s define terms. What is a POTS line and what is the difference between analog, digital, cellular, mobile, wireless and VoIP?
- POTS or analog lines service the PSTN by making a connection through copper wiring by transmitting voice signals into electronic signals or pulses. It has been the standard system across the globe since the 1880s and is very reliable. Think telephone poles strung with wires. Profits from POTS lines have been steadily declining and with new technologies it doesn’t make sense to invest more money in what is becoming an outdated system – we certainly cannot blame the telecommunication giants for their logic here. However, the advantages of analog have traditionally been two-fold. First, you can maintain service when your power goes out. Secondly, 911 is able to easily identify where you are calling from.
- Digital lines connect through digital cabling. Using radio waves, voice signals are compressed into binary code or bits. Although it provides better sound clarity, the data may not be as accurate as analog since it is dependent on how much information is transmitted. That means it must guess at what data is missing. This is why many music fans prefer vinyl (analog) recordings to digital.
- VoIP (voice over internet protocol) converts analog signals to digital via the internet. While VoIP is a commonly sought-after solution in the business environment, we do not recommend using VoIP for your emergency phones – learn more details here.
- Mobile simply means a portable device that requires an internal battery for power. Your iPhone is a mobile device.
- Wireless does not mean mobile (portable) but rather refers to the network such as a local area network (LAN) which uses a router to make what was once a cabled connection wireless or wide area network (WAN) which uses 3G or 4G technology.
- Cellular is a two-way radio connection over a network where the last link is wireless. Clear as mud, right? This solution uses an ADA compliant handsfree phone but completely eliminates your dependence on POTS lines. A cellular transceiver is placed outside of the concrete and steel-lined shaft with the cellular unit positioned for signal strength and access to power. The signal is sent via cellular communicator but copper wiring is still required to connect that communicator to the elevator.
So when thinking about emergency communications, isn’t a POTS line the best choice? Not necessarily and that’s where Kings III has you covered – regardless of what technology you are using.
When seeking out POTS replacement, you need a solution specifically designed for emergency use if you want a reliable response for any emergency call placed from your emergency device. Enter Kings III’s Skyline Cellular Solution.
Skyline completely eliminates dependency on POTS lines by leveraging the LTE mobile network. For elevators, our solution uses a traditional ADA-compliant hands-free phone in each elevator cab. The cellular transceiver is located outside of the concrete & steel-lined shaft.