Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Calling 911 with an OBi

The use of a VoIP service to call 911 has been available for some time, but it should be noted that not all VoIP services support 911 emergency services calling.  Since the OBi device has the capability to be used with many different kinds of VoIP and (in the case of the OBi110) land line services, Obihai make it a point to warn users that the services they configure on the OBi may or may not support emergency services calling. OBi users should take precaution to ensure that the emergency calling capability is known to those who use the phone. It is also a very good idea to have alternative means of reaching emergency services, e.g. a mobile phone or traditional land line service.

Emergency Services Calling Options Available to OBi Device Users
1. Traditional Land Line Service:
[OBi110 users only] Maintain a service to a traditional land line service which connects to the LINE port interface of the OBi110.  By default, if the phone(s) connected to the OBi110 PHONE port dial 911 the call will be routed to the LINE port.  If the LINE port is connected to a traditional telco, cable company or other VoIP adapter-based service which supports 911, calls to 911 will be routed to this service.  If no service is connected to the OBi110 LINE port, the 911 call will fail and the user will hear a, “There is no service available,” announcement.

2. Any VoIP Service that Supports E911:
Every OBi device supports at least two VoIP services which can be used to reach regular phone numbers. One of the services can be used as the Primary Service to which most calls will be sent.  If this service is a service that supports 911 calling, like that provided by Callcentric and VoIP.ms, calls to 911 from the phone attached to the OBi will be sent to this service. It should be noted some OBi users choose Google Voice as their Primary Service to make calls to such numbers.  Google Voice is not capable of placing or receiving emergency service calls.

The OBiTALK service configuration page allows the OBi user to set-up a VoIP service on the secondary (SP2) VoIP service and select a box indicating, “Use This Service For Emergency 911 Calls.

In the examples above, an OBi user is using Google Voice as the Primary Line to Call Out, and they are using Callcentric as the service to which 911 calls will be sent.  The OBiTALK configuration screen warns users who place a check-mark in the 911 service routing box to, “Check only if you are sure this service is capable of placing and receiving emergency service calls.”

When the two services are running on the OBi device the status displayed on the OBiTALK portal would appear as shown in the following screen shot: