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April 08, 2010

Avaya IP Softphone Users Get Accurate E911 Support

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

E911 is an essential public safety service, of course. However, providing softphone users with simple, reliable E911 support has been a challenge. Frequently it requires the manual provisioning of locations by users or telephony administrators.

As an alternative to these cumbersome processes, 911 Enable (News - Alert)introduces the E911 Softphone Locator, an application which helps automatically track the locations of on-campus Avaya IP Softphones for E911 purposes.

The increased deployment of softphones - a good thing - has been complicated by the ever-growing body of E911 legislation. Currently, 16 states have passed legislation making E911 support obligatory for organizations operating IP phone systems such as Avaya (News - Alert)Communication Manager and IP Office.

Such legislation typically requires organizations with IP phone systems to deliver a user's accurate location to the correct Public Safety Answering Point when 911 is dialed, but determining the precise location of a softphone user is challenging.

The automatic tracking technologies used for landlines cannot be used for softphones, so additional E911 products for, say, school dorms, required on-campus users to manually enter and validate their locations each time they logged into their IP softphone.

So 911 Enable offers the E911 Softphone Locator, which enables automatic tracking of on-campus softphones while not requiring the user to update their location when logging-in.

What makes this possible is a component of 911 Enable's Emergency Gateway (News - Alert). 'Softphones may be tracked via layer 2, layer 3, or Wireless LAN discovery, without requiring additional input from the softphone user or telephony administrator,' 911 Enable officials say.

As a result, by supporting a variety of discovery methods, enterprises have the flexibility to locate softphones using the method best-suited to their deployment. The ESL also reduces the occurrence of provisioning errors due to manual entry, and telephony administrators benefit from lowered support demands.

'Ultimately, the ESL allows users to take advantage of the advanced features offered by the Avaya IP Softphone, while maintaining reliable and accurate E911 support,' 911 Enable officials note.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Alice Straight

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