What vexes VoIP users?

Joe Greco jgreco at ns.sol.net
Mon Feb 28 18:09:38 CST 2011


> ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Joe Greco" <jgreco at ns.sol.net>
> 
> > With end-to-end digital, you can have reliable call supervision and
> > status, OOB Caller-ID delivery, crystal clear call quality, probably
> > the ability to handle multiple calls intelligently, no hook race
> > conditions, etc.
> > 
> > When you throw that one stupid and pointless analog hop in there, you
> > are suddenly limited and broken in so many ways.
> 
> Sure.
> 
> But I don't think it's the analog hop that people are really concerned
> about *per se*... it's the fact that the traditional analog last-mile 
> *connects you to a "real" CO*, with a "real" battery room, that's 
> engineered -- in most cases, to cold-war standards, *through a loop with
> very low complexity*.

Yeah, um, well, hate to ruin that glorious illusion of the legacy 
physical plant, but Ma Bell mostly doesn't run copper all the way
back to a real CO with a real battery room these days when they're
deploying new copper.  So if you have a house built more than maybe
20 years ago, yeah, you're more likely to have a pair back to the CO,
but if you've ordered a second line, or you're in a new subdivision
and you're far from the CO, the chances you're actually on copper back
to the CO drops fairly quickly.

> If you have DC continuity and good balance to ground on a copper pair, 
> you are *done*; no intermediate gear, no batteries, no config files,
> nothing.
> 
> All I need at the residence is a 500 set, and the complexity of *those*
> is super low, too.

Yes, it's elegant in a traditional way.  I certainly agree.  It has 
some benefits.  It also has some downsides in terms of usability,
things we wouldn't have noticed in 1970 but today we do.  In an age
when cell phones can handle multiple calls and deliver Caller-ID
for a waiting call, it's nice to see feature parity on your landline.

> The real, underlying problem is that people take insufficient notice
> of all the complexity pinch points that they're engineering into loops
> in exchange for the extra controllability they get because everything's
> digital end to end.

Looked at a different way, the "cold-war" reliability of the POTS network
maybe isn't quite as important as it once was.  If you have a cell phone 
and a VoIP line, maybe you're actually better off.  If a plane crashes into
your local CO, perhaps you lose POTS and even your cell because the tower
was at the local CO.  But if you've got a cell and a VoIP line that runs
over cable, maybe you actually have more diversity.

> When I'm bringing 31 T-spans into my call center, that extra complexity
> is easily justifiable.
> 
> For grandma's phone?  Not so much.
> 
> And it doesn't *matter* whether it's riding on a cable internet link
> the complexity of which is already amortized: you're now *adopting* that
> complexity onto the voice service... the semantics of which (used to
> be) very well understood and not at all complex at all.

Yes, but you *gain* capabilities as well as losing some of the benefits
of the old system.  We're gaining the ability to do things like texting
and transmitting pictures to 911 via the cellular network, for example.
Things change.  Maybe some people do not need a cold-war relic of a 
phone anymore.

> >From the user perception standpoint, I think, it's a tipping point
> thing... just like Madison WI.
> 
> Cheers,
> -- jr 'that was *not* an invitation' a

What, you want me to invite you for pizza in Madison?  I hear there's
some good places near the Capitol...

... JG
-- 
Joe Greco - sol.net Network Services - Milwaukee, WI - http://www.sol.net
"We call it the 'one bite at the apple' rule. Give me one chance [and] then I
won't contact you again." - Direct Marketing Ass'n position on e-mail spam(CNN)
With 24 million small businesses in the US alone, that's way too many apples.




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