The current public switched telephone network (PSTN) provides a reliable voice connection to nearly every American. Considering how important those connections are, the move by communications carriers to replace circuit-switched technology with IP technology in their wire centers raises some important issues. The option of using IP technology in the telephone network is not a new idea, but the idea of IP technology replacing circuit-switched technology in the PSTN is—and may be subjected to numerous complications. Some factors to consider are whether the IP interface can deliver the same call quality, call completions, and availability we have become accustomed to when we pick up the receiver.
Will an IP telephone network give the same access to 9-1-1? Is an IP telephone network vulnerable to cyberattacks? Will the service remain functional through environmental disasters?
To identify potential problems in switching to an IP network, CTC Technology & Energy proposes that the FCC should require testing before carriers are permitted to shift technologies. Specifically, we have identified 10 network attributes that should be tested:
- Network capacity
- Call quality
- Device interoperability
- Service to the deaf and disabled
- System availability
- PSAP and 9-1-1
- Call persistence
- Call functionality
- Wireline Coverage
Furthermore, if these attributes are subject to testing, who should be involved – the FCC, the carriers, or an independent third party? Another possible solution is to have public safety, public health, and our state and local governments be involved. Our IP Transition report addresses these needs, indicates the testing required, and identifies key players to be involved for a successful rollout. While CTC Technology & Energy does not have a financial stake in the situation, we offer our proposal for the benefit of the public.
…read the full report here.