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Category: CLEC

West Corporation

Posted on August 4, 2015 by West Corporation 


Before You Go VoLTE, Read This

When I’ve spoken with non-nationwide carriers recently, I’ve noticed that there are more and more concerns about Voice over LTE (VoLTE), especially when discussing E9-1-1 for VoLTE. Questions vary widely. Here’s a list of six key areas (in no particular order) before embarking on a VoLTE project.

  • If your network is hosted, develop your VoLTE project plan with your IMS core and UTRAN solution provider(s) and, if you’re already working with Intrado, include us in the 9-1-1 portion of the project plan.  Specifically for VoLTE E9-1-1, you’ll need to consider the call path changes in your IMS core and new signaling e.g. diameter.
  • Consider location servers for Phase 2 location. You’ll need either an eSMLC network for E9-1-1 location or you’ll need to identify a solution provider, like Intrado, for hosted eSMLC.
  • Start the conversation early about SIP for voice path and signaling to your MME for location. The right partner should review all the signaling and connections needed to support VoLTE E9-1-1. Choose a provider that supports the signaling connection needed to support home and roaming device location queries in their MME. Remember, VoLTE is a new voice path that is IP-based (or SIP) and uses new signaling for location queries to and from the eSMLC to the MME and the devices.
  • Create a network checklist for all the regulatory requirements and changes that have to be supported with VoLTE i.e., E9-1-1 and CALEA. It’s essential to engage with the right provider early for planning and testing interoperability of your IMS voice core and MME.
  • As most carriers know, the customer voice call experience is key to a successful VoLTE launch. Not all devices are equal, so you’ll need to look at VoLTE support in your device ecosystem. We encourage testing each VoLTE device out to the cell site edge to ensure you don’t lose significant coverage when you migrate your customers from 3G voice to VoLTE. Beyond providing the best call quality possible, the new FCC rules on wireless indoor location means location technology support is more critical than ever.
  • Network location performance is a crucial component to a successful VoLTE launch. You need to consider tools that help you optimize location performance on your network, such as Intrado’s Location Performance Management (LPM) solution. This tool helps carriers meet compliance for coming changes in E9-1-1 accuracy, as well as enhancing overall commercial location performance on your network. You’ll be able to pinpoint which 3G areas are optimal to turn down first—and you’ll improve your overall customer experience as you roll out  exciting new services with VoLTE.

Want to learn more about upgrading to VoLTE? Contact us at info@intrado.com or visit us at booth #217 at CCA 2015, October 7-9 in Fort Lauderdale.

West Corporation

Posted on June 10, 2015 by West Corporation 


“Help man with gun in house” – 6 Years of Text-to-9-1-1

Last night, as I reflected on the day, I was reminded that six years ago – June 9, 2009, Black Hawk County, Iowa received the first successful test of a text-to-9-1-1 message in the country, supported by Intrado’s initial TXT29-1-1® service. I wanted to stop for a moment to recognize this important anniversary.At the time, the simple text of “help man with gun in house” was considered a breakthrough for the speech and hearing-impaired community. Today, a text-to-9-1-1 message is the best alternative to a voice 9-1-1 call in emergency situations.

Over 500 PSAPS enabled with Text Capabilities

Intrado has helped enable over 500 PSAPs with text capabilities, and wireless carriers provide text-to-9-1-1 support where available.

There are still challenges ahead, including improving funding to upgrade current 9-1-1 systems and increasing the public’s awareness about this capability in their jurisdictions.

Still, milestones like these remind me what a privilege it is to be part of a community that works collaboratively to leverage every available technology in the interest of public safety.

Remember, calling 9-1-1 is always best. Call if you can, text if you can’t.

 

West Corporation

Posted on May 12, 2015 by West Corporation 


New Advancements in Wireless Location Accuracy

PSAPs have good reason to be concerned about wireless indoor location accuracy. We believe a physical address – not just an X/Y coordinate – is the gold standard for public safety. In addition, our research shows that current solutions like reverse geo-coding provide an incorrect address in approximately 15% of all 9-1-1 calls.

New advancements in Wireless Location Accuracy provide cost-effective strategies utilizing available technologies that can help carriers provide a dispatchable address to PSAPs.

Residential Femtocells
Some carriers now deploy femtocells nationwide; passing the physical address of the subscriber with coverage of 150 meters. When their “personal cell site” is installed, the residential subscriber provides a dispatchable location. GPS data in the femotcell–in real time–provides geo-validation of the address and can detect femtocell movement. This dispatchable location and the X/Y location of the femtocell or handset is delivered to the PSAP and displayed on the call taker’s console without any changes.

Enterprise Femtocells
Enterprise femtocells often cover definable indoor spaces such as offices and public structures. They are installed by a carrier or the enterprise and can provide a level of accuracy comparable to wireline with a dispatchable address. Devices with GPS can be used to reliably validate the address.

Geo-Relevant Wireless ALI
Using existing technology, geo-relevant wireless ALI provides a dispatchable location associated with the emergency caller. The ALI address data is collected from multiple sources including a user-provided address, public records databases and, potentially, a billing address.

For example, if a caller provides their home address, and the X/Y location shows the call is originating near the residence, it’s very likely that the call is being made from within the residence. In this example, the absence of any GPS coordinates would make it even more likely that a call is originating from inside the residence.

Even an associated address nearby (of a relative or a previously provided address) has extreme value to PSAPs as it provides them with a starting point of investigation. Initial testing indicates that 15-30% of all wireless 9-1-1 calls using this solution can deliver a dispatchable location.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacons and WiFi
BLE and WiFi radios exist in most new smartphones, so this is a low cost solution and ideal for residential applications. Dedicated 9-1-1 beacons can provide highly accurate and manageable dispatchable locations. An attractive feature of this option is that BLE beacon or WiFi addresses can be stored in the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD) and passed to the PSAP at the time of the call.

Handset Assisted Indoor Location – Location Fusion 
We are excited about a development in wireless 9-1-1 that would be forward-compatible with any new smart device enhancements. Intrado is now testing the ability of smartphones to sense satellite signals along with nearby WiFi access points and BLE beacon locations to narrow the location for callers using enabled devices. This solution blends location technologies (such as commercial location detection used by retail stores) in a secure, always-on mode. Implementation of this technology could potentially support VoIP, Voice over Wireless LAN, VoLTE, and CDMA/UMTS voice.

There isn’t currently a single, standalone technology that meets all of the requirements of the new FCC rules. The future of location accuracy depends on the convergence of a several technologies working in tandem to deliver a physical address.

To learn more about the FCC’s ruling and the technologies outlined here, view our recent Wireless Location Accuracy webinar here.

West Corporation

Posted on April 29, 2015 by West Corporation 


10 Things You Need to Know about the FCC Wireless Location Accuracy Ruling

Earlier this month, I spoke at a webinar, Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Forward: Advancements in Wireless Location Accuracy. If you missed the live broadcast, we discussed the FCC’s new Fourth Report and Order concerning wireless E9-1-1 location accuracy, and provided an overview of current and emerging solutions to help carriers comply with the new regulations in a cost-effective way. Here are 10 things you should know about the new regulations:

    1. The ruling introduces the concept of “dispatchable location” as the gold standard for public safety while also setting forth improved horizontal location requirements.
      • 40% of all wireless 9-1-1 calls within 2 years
      • 50% of all wireless 9-1-1 calls within 3 years
      • 70% of all wireless 9-1-1 calls within 5 years
      • 80% of all wireless 9-1-1 calls within 6 years
    2. Non-nationwide carriers receive extensions to the 5-year and 6-year deadlines mentioned above (by 6 months and 1 year, respectively) based upon the timing of VoLTE deployment in their networks.
    3. Within 3 years, all carriers must deliver uncompensated barometric pressure data (for calls originating from capable devices).
    4. Carriers must develop a Z-axis solution within 6 years. Both uncompensated barometric pressure data and Z-axis data are somewhat controversial given that an altitude coordinate without a fixed starting point (such as sea level) may not be of practical use for most PSAPs. Non-nationwide carriers have an additional year to meet these requirements.
    5. Performance of location accuracy will be measured based on live 9-1-1 call data.
    6. Carriers serving any portion of a test city (San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver/Front Range, Philadelphia, and Manhattan Borough) have 18 months, after March 2015, to report aggregate data of the location technology used.
    7. The ruling establishes the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD), a centralized database for wireless carriers.
    8. Carriers are required to provide a location within 30 seconds, as well as meet a confidence level of 90% for E9-1-1 calls.
    9. These new FCC requirements do not replace existing Phase II mandates concerning outdoor calls.

The positive news for carriers is that it is possible to provide a dispatchable location in a cost-effective way.

In Wireless Location Accuracy Blog – Part 2, we’ll take a closer look at WiFi, Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons, small cells and other promising technologies that we think will help wireless carriers precisely locate their indoor wireless subscribers in an emergency.

For more detail on the FCC requirements and the technologies that support location accuracy, click here to view the recorded webinar.

West Corporation

Posted on April 2, 2015 by West Corporation 


New FCC Rules on Wireless 9-1-1 Location Accuracy: Now What?

Today, over 70% of 9-1-1 calls are made from a wireless device; it stands to reason that a very large percentage, if not the majority, of those calls are made from indoor locations. The FCC has witnessed this steady evolution in wireless calling behavior and recently introduced new standards that require CMRS providers to improve the location they provide to public safety for 9-1-1 calls.

The FCC’s landmark Fourth Report and Order which outlines new wireless E911 location accuracy requirements establishes an aggressive timeline for carriers to improve location accuracy and deliver a dispatchable location for 9-1-1 callers. Several solutions are in development to help carriers meet these new requirements – solutions designed to deliver a dispatchable location for virtually every wireless 9-1-1 call. These services utilize techniques and technology that just a few short years ago were not available or were too early in their development to deliver locations accurate enough for public safety use.

A combination of data sources and technologies can significantly improve indoor location accuracy and identify the caller’s address for wireless 9-1-1 calls. Together these services will enhance emergency responder dispatch accuracy and reduce the time required to serve those in need. The technology is available to improve location accuracy for indoor callers but it will take collaboration and partnership across the industry to meet the FCC’s new indoor location standards. Together, we can redefine wireless 9-1-1 location accuracy and save lives.

If you are a CMRS provider and would like to learn more about what we are doing to improve 9-1-1 caller location accuracy, I encourage you to participate in our upcoming webinar on April 7, Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Forward: Advancements in Wireless Location Accuracy.

The webinar will address new location accuracy standards and what is being required of all CMRS providers. We will also discuss specific timelines and milestones of the FCCs Fourth Report and Order, as well as current efforts to help CRMS providers identify and deliver on the requirements for dispatchable location.

West Corporation

Posted on December 8, 2014 by West Corporation 


New Consensus Plan on Location Accuracy: A Big Step in the Right Direction

On November 14, 2014, the four largest U.S. wireless carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon) and two key industry groups (APCO, and NENA) announced they reached consensus on a plan to improve wireless location accuracy for both outdoor and indoor environments that they will present to the FCC.

This is big step in the right direction!

The consensus plan proposes:

  • 1 Year: Create a technology test bed.
  • 2 Years: Obtain location fix using heightened location accuracy technologies for 40% of wireless 9-1-1 calls that provide a dispatchable location or x,y within 50 meters.
  • 3 Years: Obtain location fix using heightened location accuracy technologies for 50% of wireless 9-1-1 calls that provide a dispatchable location or x,y within 50 meters.
  • 5 Years: Obtain location fix using heightened location accuracy technologies for 75% of VoLTE wireless 9-1-1 calls that provide a dispatchable location or x,y within 50 meters.
  • 6 Years: Obtain location fix using heightened location accuracy technologies for 80% of VoLTE wireless 9-1-1 calls that provide a dispatchable location or x,y within 50 meters.

To put this in context, consider that earlier this year the FCC put forth a Notice of Public Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing increased location accuracy standards and urged that industry participants bring forth their expertise to collaborate in the industry-wide discussion. From the onset, the initial proposed standards were viewed by many industry stakeholders as being too aggressive to achieve in the given timelines.

The consensus plan, while being more conservative in terms of the percentage of location fixes than the FCC’s NPRM, spotlights “dispatchable location”. This is a very important detail because public safety does not dispatch to an x,y coordinate. They need to dispatch to a location and this plan emphasizes that very critical point. The plan also states the utilization of multiple location technologies including Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth®. We couldn’t agree more that to solve the very difficult problem of accurately finding a 9-1-1 caller in an indoor environment (and providing a dispatchable location) will require leveraging several existing and emerging technologies.

We applaud the carriers, APCO and NENA for coming forward with a plan that sets a stake in the ground for an aggressive but realistic future location accuracy goal. Having a well defined goal and evaluation criteria creates an open and competitive environment that encourages many vendors to develop and test solutions that can help the carriers meet their goals and provide better location accuracy to public safety.

We look forward to continuing to partner with our carrier customers to help them meet the goals put forth in the consensus plan.


West Corporation

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