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Communications AT&T United States

FCC Wants To Trial Shift From Analog Phone Networks To Digital 218

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-will-they-support-my-rotary-phone?! dept.
An anonymous reader sends word that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has given the go-ahead for telecommunications companies to start experimenting with an IP-based telephone protocol. From the article: "The experiments approved by the FCC would not test the new technology - it is already being used - and would not determine law and policy regulating it, FCC staff said. The trials would seek to establish, among other things, how consumers welcome the change and how new technology performs in emergency situations, including in remote locations. 'What we're doing here is a big deal. This is an important moment,' FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said. 'We today invite service providers to propose voluntary experiments for all-IP networks.' The move in part grants the application by AT&T to conduct IP transition tests as companies that offer landline phone services seek to ultimately replace their old copper wires with newer technology like fiber or wireless."
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FCC Wants To Trial Shift From Analog Phone Networks To Digital

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  • by rossdee (243626) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @01:12AM (#46132139)

    Aren't a lot of people already using digital phone service?
    (at home we have phone service via Charter cable)

    • Re:Huh? IP already? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Of course! Anybody not using POTS is already VOIP. Of course, even POTS customers are VOIP if they call beyond their local exchange, probably.

      On the plus side, if done right (HA!!) POTS would still be POTS but from the neighborhood Uverse/FIOS/etc box rather than from the central office - think many neighborhood exchanges rather than one or 2 per town. Or maybe each neighborhood on a phone co. PBX. The concept goes downhill from there ...

      And if that works they can get rid of some central offices which are o

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cusco (717999)

        Just what we need, to let the emergency services (POTS-line based) have to rely on Cisco and its army of CCNIdiots for communications.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by symbolset (646467) * on Sunday February 02, 2014 @02:22AM (#46132333) Journal
      Most people have been digital from the central office for over 20 years. Only the last mile has been analog for a rapidly shrinking fraction.
      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

        by stox (131684) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @02:36AM (#46132355) Homepage

        Digital has been around a lot longer than that, T1's were introduced in 1962. This is changing from circuit switched to IP. Enabling the carriers to jam more call over less wires/fibers than before. This will, of course, increase profits, but not reduce your bill.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by symbolset (646467) *
          Well yeah. I didn't get into the game until 1984. People have a strange aversion to change wrt telephony. By 1989 I had gone cellular and had way too many conversations like "no, what is your HOME phone number?". "My cellular phone IS my home phone. When I am home that is how you call me. When I'm not home, you can still call me. Now can I rent the movie?"
          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            People have a strange aversion to change wrt telephony.

            That hasn't been my experience. When phones went from dial to touch tone, people threw old but perfectly working phones away en masse. Cell phones took off slowly because of the cost, when new they were not only bulky but incredibly expensive to use, three or four bucks per minute while landlines were unlimited usage for a very low monthly fee.

            When very few people were cell-only, and everyone was used to everyone having a landline, of course people were

        • YEA INEFFICIENCY!

          Seriously, who gives a flying crap if their expenses go down, if theres no downside? Is your primary goal in life to "stick it to the man"?

          • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by cusco (717999) <brian.bixby@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Sunday February 02, 2014 @12:58PM (#46134515)

            I live in Seattle, where even backed up rush-hour traffic can saturate the cellular network. We had a windstorm here a few years ago that made everything but a POTS line utterly unusable for three days. We also have earthquakes, floods, wildfires and several big honking volcanoes in the area. Cell phone might be more convenient, but if I want to add that little bit of extra security to my wife's life we'll keep the POTS line until they finally go away.

        • by xaxa (988988)

          This will, of course, increase profits, but not reduce your bill.

          Haven't you seen prices go down? The cheapest phone+broadband deal in the UK seems to be £10.50/month. I'm sure both the phone line and the dial-up access each used to cost more than that.

          It's not a perfect market -- the cheapest phone-only deal seems to cost about the same. It's also not that easy to compare prices, when every company seems to offer it's own kind of deal. But there's lots of advertising trying to get people to switch.

      • by segin (883667)
        But even though it's a digital system, it's logically circuit-switched. Part of this is to also move to the packet-switched domain.
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Most people are already digital from end to end, since landlines are dying outside of businesses. Everyone I know with a landline is over 60, and even geezers are giving them up. When everybody has a phone in their pocket, there's no use for a landline.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fdrebin (846000) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:54AM (#46132625)
      <rant>

      The trend away from analog for the last mile is astonishingly stupid, but I suppose inevitable. Why do I say that? What happens when your power goes out and you have Charter-crap or Comcast-shite or UVerse-dung ? You're screwed. Got POTS? You've still got a landline as long as you have at least 1 PODF (Plain Old Dumb Phone)

      I've had POTS service for going on 60 years with precisely 0 failures, ever. I also have and have had a variety of cell, wimax, voip & voip-like services, and even used to demo voip and billing thereof for the carriers. Terms such as "Reliable" and "Quality of Service" don't apply. (Well, 99.9% is great until there is an actual emergency)

      </rant>

      And for you young smart/dumb-asses who think I'm a cranky old fart (which I am) I also still make my living writing a variety of relatively smart software - networking, complex computation algorithms, 3D graphics, etc. So I ain't your grandma (though I might have curled her toes back in the day)
      • When your battery goes flat, you do what people did for millions of years before there were telephones: You go outside and talk to a neighbours. Imagine that.
        • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by sjames (1099) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @05:31AM (#46132861) Homepage

          If your neighbor is a paramedic, that might work fine. Otherwise, not so much.

      • by icebike (68054)

        Meh, get a UPS.
        That's exactly the way POTS works, banks of big batteries.

        I keep my cable modem and router on the UPS. My cell phone, and my spare battery will carry me for about 3 or 4 days. If power is ever out longer than that I'll first up the generator, an charge the UPS and the phones again.

        My cell phone does VoIP now, its called Internet Calling, and some carriers let you do that on cellular, others, only allow it on WiFi, but third party apps let you use VoIP regardless of the network.

        If the FCC can

        • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

          by sjames (1099) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @05:51AM (#46132923) Homepage

          The difference is that the phone company has a humongous UPS with a diesel backup maintained by professionals. Your grandma would likely get one from BestBuy and have no idea they have batteries that might fail without warning.

          Your cellphone might carry you for 3 to 4 days, and your generator might go indefinitely, but how long will the cable network itself stay up? Remember, it was designed at a time where if the power was out, so was anything that might be connected to the cable. And that was fine since it was just TV, the phone was for emergencies and important news came from a transistor radio. I know in my area there is no UPS on any of the network hardware. If the power glitches the network goes down.

          • by Bengie (1121981)
            Don't allow VOIP over cable to replace POTS, only non-powered fiber networks. Cable networks need AMPs, fiber typically doesn't even need repeaters at all.
          • by bbn (172659)

            If the power is out for 3 to 4 days you have no food, no water, no gasoline, no heat. The phone service is the least of your worries.

            Truth is that people today have a much better chance of getting emergency services with their cell phones.

            • by sjames (1099)

              We have had a few such blackouts where I am. We still had food. Gasoline wasn't much concern since the roads were impassable anyway. The heater wouldn't run, but we still had natural gas, and so hot water. The phone still worked.

              The typical cell tower is lucky to go 24 hours on battery so good luck using your cellphone for 911.

          • by karnal (22275)

            My current house and the last house I lived in still maintains access to the cable network (TV and internet service) during a localized power outage. I'm guessing with the proliferation of their own VOIP service, they've had to do the same thing the telcos have - keep things up using batteries. 5+ years ago the midwest was hit with severe wind - and my neighborhood was out for 7 days. At that point I bought a generator shortly after - and I haven't had any notable losses since, but at this point I'd rath

      • by Sique (173459)

        I've had POTS service for going on 60 years with precisely 0 failures, ever.

        Then you are either very, very lucky, or you just never noticed the outages because you weren't calling or expecting a call during outages. Since my parents moved to their new home 15 years ago, they had a reliability of 99,85% on their landline. Why is that? Because there was a big flooding in their region, knocking out the local switch their landline was hooked up to. Shit happens also to POTS.

      • by sjames (1099)

        It seems like they should continue providing power on the line for whatever equipment may be connected. There's no reason they can't include a copper pair in a fiber run for emergency power.

      • by ras (84108)

        What happens when your power goes out and you have Charter-crap or Comcast-shite or UVerse-dung ? You're screwed.

        I don't know about Charter-crap or Comcast-shite, but here in Australia I can tell you what happens with a PODF. Initially batteries in the exchange power the PODF, and it's all good as you say. But if the outage is caused by a category 5 cyclone named say Yasi [wikipedia.org] then some of the exchanges will be isolated, so the next thing that happens is the batteries go flat. Not a huge problem as the diese

        • by fatphil (181876)
          > Turns out determined human with car and mobile beats PODF every time.

          Not *every* time. Not the time when PODF is working fine but you've got no mobile coverage.
      • Thats really only because analog phones were also providing power. Such a thing exists for digital phones, too.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I've had POTS service for going on 60 years with precisely 0 failures, ever.

        When two tornadoes tore through Springfield in March 2006, my neighborhood had no power, phone service, or cable; all of the utility poles were broken. Power was out for a week, POTS for three weeks, and cable six weeks.

        My cell phone worked through it all, charged in the car. So my two questions are, why do you still have a job and a landline? I turn 62 in April and am retiring this month. After more than four decades of doing what

      • by Bengie (1121981)
        I haven't owned a POTS in over 10 years now, just a call phone. I had POTS back in the 90s when I was a kid and I had the phone go down many times and had several times where the static was do bad I could not effectively communicate.

        I don't know about cable/dsl, but any fiber system can have a lot of up time with a small UPS. You're talking about a fiber device that consumes 5watts under load, less when idle. A small car battery will get you almost a full week of up-time. You can get a small hand-crank ge
      • Since everyone has a cellphone today, why are power outages such a deal-killer for you?
      • by Kumiorava (95318)

        I think cell phone with 99.9% reliability that is always in your pocket is much better 100% reliability at your office desk. Out in the countryside 100% reliability for land line is not possible. Especially when there is a strong storms, lightning storms or any major event, which happens at least once a year. For example when lightning strikes inside home via phone line blowing the phone in pieces. When that happens and has happened I much rather use my cell phone to call fire department or ambulance. I als

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 02, 2014 @01:14AM (#46132141)

    My POTS line works great, works in power outages, and sounds way better than any other phone service I've had the misfortune of being exposed to. Of course the FCC wants to screw it up.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by profplump (309017)

      Really, because my POTS line goes down every couple of months, sometimes mis-routes calls, only supports in-band DTMF signaling, and often has lower quality audio than my VoIP line.

      It's almost like the underlying signaling technology is not the sole determining factor in quality of service, and there are a number of ways to meet (or fail to meet) desired service goals. But I know that's a silly idea -- we know from history that older == more robust, just like older cars start better in cold weather and olde

    • Well as for working when the power is out we have power over Ethernet already.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It works this well because it is /mandated/ that the resources required to /make it reliable/ are /spent/ to make it so.

      If wireless networks were provisioned with the battery backup/generators necessary and the redundancy of overlapping coverage to account for faults in towers (or some random drunk plowing in to one) then they too would be this 'reliable' (though the software in the stack would be in question; having multiple brands/models of phones would help).

      • by mysidia (191772)

        It works this well because it is /mandated/ that the resources required to /make it reliable/ are /spent/ to make it so.

        The commission report states their standard of reliability...They are holding the new technology to a lower standard of reliability.

        24 hours of backup power after a power outage

        During winter storms and other similar events; I have experienced 3 to 5 day outages on occasion: POTS lines never went down, so emergency calls could still be made, even when there was no cell service...

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          The whole power outage thing has always seemed like a red herring. If the power goes out, my phone is going to get a couple of hours worth of calling before it dies. It will sit for two days ready to go if I am not making calls. If all that fails, I can go start my car and charge it there and that is only if I don't have a back up battery for my phone.

          On the other hand, if a branch falls on the phone line, there is no phone. Plus, power and phone are generally put on the same poles, so if a pole goes
          • by sjames (1099)

            The cell tower your phone talks to will last 24 hours at best. After that, it doesn't matter if your cellphone is charged. I have seen a few multi-day power outages but the phone has always worked.

    • My POTS line works great, works in power outages, and sounds way better than any other phone service I've had the misfortune of being exposed to. Of course the FCC wants to screw it up.

      I was home for the holidays over Christmas and the power went out at my parents place during an ice storm. The battery backup for the IP phone started beeping. They asked what it was for and I had to explain to them that they had signed up for VoIP service and that it needed power to the internet router to keep the phones working. The battery lasted about 8 hours.

      So, while VoIP works quite well, POTS has the advantage of pretty much always having a dial tone, even when the power is out.

      If they do decide

      • by symbolset (646467) *
        This is great if a transformer blows. For many people their pstn wire is on the same poles as their power and if the lines are down, the lines are down.
        • by mysidia (191772)

          This is great if a transformer blows. For many people their pstn wire is on the same poles as their power and if the lines are down, the lines are down.

          That is possible, but usually what happens is the electricity gets switched off due to a fault / short-circuit, or transformer blowing... like you said.

          One fault in the electrical system, and the circuit breakers gets thrown on a very large number of people.

          Your telephone line is a private circuit. Chances are, if someone's phone line got a short cir

          • Your telephone line is a private circuit. Chances are, if someone's phone line got a short circuit -- the other circuits are intact -- it's not everybody elses.

            That may be true if you're a rural customer and/or have DSL. However, if you live in a (sub)urban location and don't have DSL, chance are you're provisioned from a SLC-96. If so, your line is only private between your residence and the SLC-96 cabinet. From that point on to the central office, you're sharing a circuit with 23 other customers (a SLC-96 cabinet has 4 active DS1 circuits, with 1 spare; 4 x 24 = 96, hence the name).

      • by mysidia (191772)

        though, that the phone companies can't just hook up the VoIP phones to the analog battery banks due to differences in power requirements.

        During an extended outage; I can power the bloody VoIP devices myself, via a local generator. MY concern is, that even if I power up the VoIP phone, and all my on-premises equipment, the network link will be dead, because the phone company's nearest repeater's battery has died --- I.E. the remote unit somewhere in their infrastructure that lights up a fi

    • by antdude (79039)

      And phone companies want to dump the copper wires! They won't even give me fiber for FIOS. :(

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      My cell phone works when the power goes out too. Not only that, it also works when someone plows into a telephone pole, tearing the phone cables free from the line.
    • by lxs (131946)

      My POTS line went dead one day, and while waiting on hold for over thirty minutes on my cellphone trying to reach the phone company I signed up for VOIP from my ISP (ADSL over the same wire still worked fine). I would claim that I switched out of spite but it was really out of boredom waiting for tech support.

    • by icebike (68054)

      My POTS line works great, works in power outages, and sounds way better than any other phone service I've had the misfortune of being exposed to. Of course the FCC wants to screw it up.

      You think POTS sounds good, wait till you hear VoIP.

    • That's unrelated to analog vs digital or circuit vs packet. The phone company can put power on a digital line just as easily as they can put power on an analog line

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm not at all saying that the FCC is pushing towards surveillance with this, but I question whether or not this makes it easier, more difficult, or the same. I'm under the impression that it would become easier to spy on the content of calls (the so called "metadata" wouldn't see any change, of course).

  • by LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @01:16AM (#46132153)
    More delays that make conversations frustrating! Woohoo!
    • by binarylarry (1338699) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @01:29AM (#46132193)

      I'm alllllllll!@#>#@$ using Slashd |!@#!$%>>,,,,,,,,, over IP

      It's totally rad!@#XCCVZ...........

      NO CARRIER

    • by deconfliction (3458895) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:44AM (#46132589)

      Yup, more latency as you mentioned, and also likely to accompany it- worse audio quality as more calls are put through the same amount of bandwidth. Ain't progress grand? 30 years ago when I was a child, you could flip cable channels with maybe 0.25s latency for the picture to stabalize, now you can stare at a black screen for a few seconds. (not that my ability to waste my life channel surfing is defensible, but it's the same basic issue. And yes, DVR features do outweigh the degradation of channel change latency, but again, I'm just highlighting that tradeoffs are being made, and it isn't always a net win on user experience)

      • by Bengie (1121981)

        you could flip cable channels with maybe 0.25s latency

        Kind of like YouTube or Netflix. Other than YouTube tends to have ads at the beginning of videos. uhgg.

  • The real motive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stox (131684) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @01:18AM (#46132157) Homepage

    AT&T and Verizon are pushing this. Why? Digital services aren't currently unregulated. Digital services are non-unionized. Digital services don't currently require universal service. Digital services are not required to be repaired in a timely basis. Unless the FCC declares digital services to be common carriers instead of information providers, we are going to get screwed and hard!

    • Re:The real motive (Score:5, Informative)

      by stox (131684) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @01:20AM (#46132163) Homepage

      Make that "ARE currently unregulated."

    • AT&T and Verizon are pushing this. Why? Digital services aren't currently regulated. Digital services are non-unionized. Digital services don't currently require universal service. Digital services are not required to be repaired in a timely basis. Unless the FCC declares digital services to be common carriers instead of information providers, we are going to get screwed and hard!

      In addition, my understanding is that while a customer can opt to get phone service from an alternate provider over POTS - meaning it's Verizon's copper, but you get your service from [not-Verizon] - a customer is not allowed this option using fiber - a concession granted to the telcos for running their new, expensive fiber.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        In addition, my understanding is that while a customer can opt to get phone service from an alternate provider over POTS - meaning it's Verizon's copper, but you get your service from [not-Verizon] - a customer is not allowed this option using fiber - a concession granted to the telcos for running their new, expensive fiber.

        You are either grossly miseducated or trolling. Phone service isn't delivered on raw fiber. It comes in on IP, and you can get it right now on basically any internet connection. The ISP won't do QoS for you if you get the packets from anywhere but them, but any decent router will do it and you should never be running a router with stock firmware anyway if you love yourself.

    • by Virtucon (127420)

      Why? Because it gets rid of the traditional, local Communications Office (CO) and eliminates a lot of maintenance and infrastructure costs because POTS lines require the local CO to have switching gear and a whole lot of batteries to maintain them. That's why you can still get a dial tone during a power outage on a POTS line. Sure from the CO out it's all digital now but doing this allows them to reduce costs while not providing better service necessarily or reducing prices paid by customers. For exampl

  • Switched to VOIP at work. Immediately I lost the cues I use in lieu of body language, and cutting into a conversation went from a graceful maneuver to a bludgeoning due to a tiny extra delay.
    Was this a poor implementation, or par for the course? Can we expect better clarity from VoIP or more muffled sounds as I heard? Loss of dynamic range, audio compression, transmission, and some form of noise gate or raised floor made me half as effective as I should have been, and I worked remotely so I needed that edge

    • Hate to break it to you, but most phone call trunking is VoIP already. I also guess that you don't never made an overseas call, own a cell phone, or used a two way radio.
      • by fdrebin (846000)

        Hate to break it to you, but most phone call trunking is VoIP already.

        Yes, but not precisely. The trunks are not the same VOIP that you get when you use your MagicJack or Skype (Skype works pretty well for me actually). You essentially have a digital SVC (Switched Virtual Circuit) that is indeed digitized and compressed, sliced, diced etc. but the more-or-less dedicated bandwidth is 64k. Your cell phone connection is 3k-8k at best. And latency is indeed lower because AT&T set that stuff up back in the days when they actually cared.
        Disclaimer: I used to work for carriers

    • by Animats (122034)

      Are things different now?

      No, VOIP still sucks. Cellular sucks. Cellular plus VOIP really sucks. Lags as high as 1 second.

      Telephony has gone from "You can hear a pin drop" to "Can you hear me now?".

      • Re:Hate it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by symbolset (646467) * on Sunday February 02, 2014 @02:28AM (#46132343) Journal
        They never said *when* you would hear the pin drop.
      • by Foresto (127767)

        No, VOIP still sucks. Cellular sucks. Cellular plus VOIP really sucks.

        Eh. POTS worked okay for me most of the time, except when wet weather made call quality worse than normal. VoIP works well for me most of the time, except when a bad route makes call quality worse than normal. At least VoIP gives me more alternatives with which to work around a problem, and is a hell of a lot cheaper. I look forward to the day when better codecs (on both VoIP and cellular) and encryption raise the "normal" bar, for basica

    • If you set the VoIP to low bandwidth requirements (sometimes erroneously marked as low quality), it'll be almost exactly like a POTS line -low latency and low fidelity. If you use a high bandwidth setting, you'll get high fidelity, but more short drop outs and latency. Personally, I much prefer the low bandwidth setting.

      Similarly you can choose different codecs. This is voice , not music, so you don't want hi-fi. A restricted frequency range actually makes voice much MORE intelligible because 95% of the

  • Great ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705)

    Just what the phone company needs to charge us even more money ... a new-fangled phone system.

    And, of course, while they're robbing us blind for something which should already be cheap and ubiquitous (but now newly gets to be the new expensive hotness), Big Brother should have an even easier time tracking everybody.

    Why the fuck does the future always have to seem like bleak-cyberpunk?

    Because there is no way we don't end up spending twice as much for essentially the same service.

    Which will be great for the b

  • needs a law saying no forced rent fees / must buy our hardware only from us or per phone outlet fees

  • In North America almost all trunking is VoIP already.
    • by symbolset (646467) *
      Old geezer confession... When things got really rough back in the day I used to take a break and sit in the dark switching closet and listen to the electromechanical relays go clickey-clack. Here a call, there a call, imagining the vast global web of conversations. Some would spark and the blue-green lights were a beautiful visual In the darkness, the transformer a barely audible bass hum.
      • by fdrebin (846000)
        Remember party lines? We got one once, by accident. Very entertaining (!). (1960's)
        Phone calls to my grandparents, even in the 60's: Call their neighbors, who had an actual phone, ask them to go get grandma, call back in 1/2 an hour (This was KY, neighbors weren't that close, physically). The neighbors and my grandparents were friendly, all right - 3 pairs of their kids married each other (one of them being my mother)
        • by symbolset (646467) *
          Yes, I do remember party lines, and grandma waiting up to see if there was news. It was like she had some addiction to new information. Gosh, it's nice we don't have that problem now.
  • by Casandro (751346) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @02:19AM (#46132323)

    Analogue telephone networks were phased out starting in the 1980s when digital transmission lines became affordable.

    The only part where you still can get an "analogue line" is the last mile. However even there the first thing that gets done is a conversion to digital.

    What the FCC is talking about is turning traditional digital TDM networks to VoIP networks. This has nothing to do with analogue or digital. With the proper adapters you can connect your dial phone to both, and your phone company can still charge you extra for touch dialling.

  • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @02:35AM (#46132351)

    They DAMN well better make digital service providers common carriers and subject them to all the same regulations as PSTN.

    Otherwise, we are truly fucked.

  • If I can't sing along with my friends on a phone call the connection is too laggy and the delay is going to adversely affect my conversation. I fear that this news will lead to the end of my sing-alongs, which means awkward, interruption-filled conversations (as mentioned by others).

    • by Bengie (1121981)
      Depends on your definition of VOIP. I use Mumble for gaming and it sounds great and has low latency, especially with the new OPUS CODEC. I live in the Midwest and I play games with other people in the Midwest. We used an LA Mumble server for a long time and there was no noticeable latency, yet someone else's Chicago TeamSpeak server had noticeable latency in the audio, even though the ping and jitter to the server was much lower.
  • Currently with POTS the phone company provides power to the line entering your home.

    Is there a way that you can provide VOIP or other digital means without having to power a home device locally?

    A few years ago we had a massive ice storm in MA and we had no power for 3 days. My "emergency" $10 phone from walmart worked like a champ.

    I supported ISDN back in the 90s... while I know that ATT/Verizon aren't considering ISDN, the thought of troubleshooting premises equipment again gives me chills.

  • POTS is simple and much more resilient than VOIP so, let's get rid of it. VOIP is a MESS, way to go FCC!

    • Just deploy SIP over a dedicated VLAN plus endpoint isolation, so you can't even ping the ATAs from the internet, nor between on another.

  • My understanding of this is that there are many government imposed limitations on the phone companies that benefit the average person, and if we switch to digital the TELCOs will no longer be bound to those regulations and will be free to become our new overlords.
    • by Bengie (1121981)
      Until people start complaining again. How do you think we got those regulations in the first place? Magic? They're well understood problems in the voice calling industry, and have been mostly "solved" for a long while. If they suddenly crop up again, I'm sure the FCC will come down hard and fast since they already have prior experience.

      Don't underestimate a bunch of 50+ year old people complaining en masse.
  • I, for one, can't wait until we have the actual possibility of 4chan being able to kill people via DDOS attacks on their phones when those people need to call 911.

  • by swb (14022) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @10:16AM (#46133687)

    Copper has been on the skids for a while, but I wonder if the MBA whiz kids have started doing the math on the long-term salvage value of copper.

    At some point, I can see them just start deciding they're just not in the analog business enough to start demo-ing all that copper they have for its metal value.

  • by macpacheco (1764378) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @11:38AM (#46134137)

    There's really nothing to it.
    I worked for two carriers that have been doing it (POTS over SIP using the straight Internet).
    Apart from TDD (which we never had to deal with), it just works as long as the customer is using the carrier's ip network (mainly if the customer needs to do FAX or data calls), voice works using third party networks well too.
    This is the typical case of slowing down the process, just migrate it already.
    At the same time, there are millions of phone lines running over triple play boxes (typically HFC fiber-coax networks from CATV providers) for at least a decade, the only difference is in that case you're 100% stuck with using the provider's network, but it's IP as well (typically MGCP).
    This looks like a case of pretending it isn't done already...

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