What vexes VoIP users?

Jay Ashworth jra at baylink.com
Mon Feb 28 18:24:30 CST 2011


----- Original Message -----
> From: "Joe Greco" <jgreco at ns.sol.net>

> 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.

Ok, sure.  But probably to an RSU, which -- as I noted to Owen just now --
is engineered and monitored to quite a bit higher standards than I'm 
betting Comcast or FiOS is.

> > 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.

Oh, I'm not arguing that.  

The question, for me, has always been "are we taking full account
of the *features* we get from traditionally engineered copper POTS" in
doing our cost benefit analysis to newer technologies...

and my answer was always "don' look like it to me."

> > 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.

That's possible; there are *lots* of end-site use cases.

But that's end-user engineering; you could *always* improve your 
diversity if you were willing to put the time, though (and money)
into it.

> > 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.

"some people" is, for me, the important phrase in that sentence.

Cell phones have killed off pay phones and utility-grade watches;
I'm not sure we're the better for it in either case.

And SMS to 911 is still a *teeny* little capability; I think there's 
*one* whole PSAP in the US equipped for it so far.

> > >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...

"...to political arguments on NANOG".  Sorry not to show my work.  :-)

Cheers,
-- jra




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