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POTS Replacement and the FCC Forbearance Order 19-72A1

POTS lines (Plain Old Telephone Service) are conventional analog signal transmissions rendered over physical copper wires (twisted pair) and the technology relies on the antiquated dial-up infrastructure. It is the basic telephone call service that individuals and businesses use today. However, POTS technology originates from Alexander Graham Bell’s phone system, which dates back to 1876.

This also correlates to the technology being well over 100 years old and relatively unchanged. To put this into perspective, the Windows OS has been in use since 1985 and it has encountered 27 iterations, 39 versions, and 59 editions in a span of just 36 years.

Why is there a Need to Replace POTS Lines?

Overall, the POTS line technology has remained technically unchanged for over a century. Telecom providers consider these analog phone lines superannuated, which prompted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to report that POTS lines are no longer sustainable and proceeded to issue a mandate to terminate the copper lines. The FCC’s order stipulates that resellers and customers who utilize POTS line services must shift to an alternative service on or before August 2, 2022.

Due to the services pending termination, the two immediate effects of this mandate are a continuous reduction in provided support and a continuous increase in the service’s monthly cost.

In general, the pain points that merit this need for innovation exist in three distinct categories. They are as follows, the expense of maintaining and operating POTS lines, their inherent lack of monitoring capabilities or remote management functionality, and the lack of support. Even if these universal issues are considered individually, each of these three facets would singularly warrant the need to switch to an alternative solution.

The POTS Line Ecosystem

Typically, when we discuss copper POTS systems, phone or fax lines are the first thing that usually comes to mind. Although this is correct, the ecosystem encompasses a vast selection of devices and use cases. For example, the majority of elevators, emergency call boxes, and alarm systems rely upon POTS lines for their functionality. Another use case is the Blue light towers located on college campuses that are backhauled by POTS lines to get calls out to the internet. In addition, most fire alarm systems employ POTS lines to achieve functionality.

Only after we understand the scope and importance of POTS Line technology, and all of the mission-critical systems it affects do we see that it is an intricate component that impacts every business, individual, and industry.

What Does the FCC’s Mandate Mean?

The FCC Forbearance Order 19-72A1 requires that all POTS Lines in the U.S. be replaced with an alternative service by August 2, 2022. The order effectively ushers in an end-of-life scenario for traditional analog copper POTS line systems. This also means that this aging and disintegrating infrastructure which provides life-saving emergency communications for our various mission-critical systems must be replaced without disruption. The challenges of this replacement mandate can and will provide an enormous challenge for businesses, individuals, and industries alike.

The more important factor besides the task of replacing such a critical component is the urgency needed to address it. Keep in mind, that critical systems like voice and Fax lines, credit card machines, HVAC systems, ATMs, elevators, security systems, fire Alarms, and many more will cease to function properly or completely. This disruption can lead to loss of revenue, reduced production, and decreased customer satisfaction for your business. However, if we consider the other systems affected by this technology, disruption can lead to slower response times, an inability to relay distress, or even loss of life.

POTS Replacement Options

Although the urgency and effects of POTS replacement are all-encompassing, the methods to effectively replace the technology are not. There are two primary methods for modernizing POTS Line technology, and they are VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and cellular. However, there are distinct differences between Cellular and VoIP Lines. Although they each format audio into signals that are carried along to a receiving party before reverting to audible form, that is where the similarities end.

VoIP lines require the internet for functionality and Cellular, of course, utilize cellular networks for functionality, but both are cost-effective in comparison to POTS lines. Though the major difference between cellular and VoIP resides in the methods they employ when transmitting data signals. VoIP’s functionality employs a packet-switched network whereas cellular lines utilize a circuit-switched network. In a circuit-switched network, the line is protected from superfluous traffic whilst remaining open.

However, VoIP lines transmit data through private and public networks in smaller fragmented data packets, which is the same way the Internet functions. This particular method can introduce distortion and irregularities that derive from the surrounding traffic and thus deviate traffic routes. There are also issues involving a lack of security for the data being transmitted. Since VoIP utilizes non-encrypted data packets, they are extremely vulnerable to being hijacked or subjected to DDoS (distributed-denial-of-service) attacks. As you might imagine, these issues and others like call tampering can cause VoIP calls to become uninterpretable, which makes VoIP unreliable in certain emergency situations.

In contrast, cellular utilizes a dedicated line managed by a telecommunication company, which inherently ensures data reliability. The other differentiator between VoIP and Cellular is the requirement for a backup power source. Functionally, VoIP technology is dependent on uninterrupted power to maintain internet connectivity which means a loss of power could compromise the safety of your security system. This, of course, is not an issue with Cellular since it continues to provide emergency call functionality during power outages.

The Smartest POTS Replacement on the Market

Our solution, Simplifi, enables IoT, business, POTS replacement, and work from home, by leveraging the connectivity of 4G and 5G Networks, UCaaS, and Smart products. Simplifi’s all-in-one technological approach brings Internet connectivity, voice communications, and collaboration tools into one platform that benefits every facet of your business regardless of industry.

Simplifi actualizes simplicity from complexity by combining everything you need to efficiently operate your business into one place so that your business can function effectively from anywhere. Like any business, whether working from home, an office, or somewhere in between, it all starts with your ability to maintain reliable, stable, and efficient internet connectivity.

Premier’s solution utilizes Simplifi’s VoiceLink technology. The VoiceLink Smart Dongle is specifically engineered to render POTS line replacement effortless. Its advanced tone stabilization and built-in management tools enable you to manage your device from anywhere. Today’s solutions require intelligence to meet your needs at the point of optimal resolution. The VoiceLink Smart Dongle is the intelligent solution that meets your need for POTS replacement at the point of optimum outcome. The VoiceLink Smart Dongle takes your complex issue and simplifies it by providing:

  • On-board echo cancellation
  • DTMF/fax tone stabilization
  • Up to 16kHZ HD audio
  • Compatible with the VoLTE network
  • Compatible with standard POTS/PSTN equipment
  • Up to 2 REN (Ringer Equivalence Number) line load
  • Measures line load, voltage, and impedance

Simplifi’s Failover Solution Advantage

Simplifi’s distinctive failover solution means you will always be online. Simplifi allows you to back up your existing network in 3 ways:

  1. As your primary router with a backup
  2. Provide backup when you have a router or an extender
  3. Enterprise failover

Since every example of Enterprise Failover is distinct, you should consult your network administrator before installing. However, a typical Enterprise failover application could include installing Simplifi on a Firewall in a network, PBX, or VOIP failover situation. As a result, by connecting an Ethernet cable directly to the LAN out port on Simplifi to the inbound WAN port on your firewall and configuring accordingly for in/outbound access in the event the mainline internet goes down, you are insuring your continued connection to the internet. Also, you can add another level of security to this environment by adding a Static IP Assigned SIM card. Our solution allows you to manage multiple devices across your entire facility with an ATA (analog telephone adapter). If your business requires an ATA-based POTS replacement solution, Simplifi provides an ATA POTS replacement as an add-on to their Connect series routers utilizing the Simplifi Lines platform.

The Simplifi Remote Management Portal (SRMP)

The SRMP or Simplifi Remote Management Portal is a critical component that promotes enhanced productivity, increased efficiency, decreased system downtimes, reduced maintenance time, reduced operational costs, and seamless updates and setup. The SRMP is a cloud-based management platform that enables the end-user to remotely manage all their deployed Simplifi devices simultaneously.

Through SRMP’s centralized console, it enables the customer to perform remote firmware updates, check the device status of deployed devices, modify device configurations, and reboot their devices. The SRMP also affords management features such as tracking data usage, location, Carrier type, band selection, and various other performance-enhancing features.

The most crucial benefit of the SRMP’s remote management functionality is, that it enables remote troubleshooting and contactless configurations. This translates into significant savings to your business because it negates the need to dispatch a technician, therefore reducing maintenance time, maintenance cost, system downtime, repair time, and operational costs.

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