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  #51  
Old 10-18-2019, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jnglmassiv View Post
Burglar alarms, fire alarms. Don't forget, I'll be jamming cell, gps & wifi while I ransack your home.
In many US regions the fire marshal or local codes required a POTS (ie copper) line for a fire alarm in commercial buildings. Yet this is changing since that copper line requires an entire separate AT&T network to make it work. With dwindling customer revenue, AT&T does not want to support that POTS network.

Also new commercial developments are not pulling copper lines. Everything is digital, served by fiber or coax. It doesn't matter what the fire marshal wants if copper lines (and the upstream Signaling System 7 infrastructure) are dying out. The irony is in some locales they permit a cellular-based backup system for fire alarms. Cellular!

A digital phone network as provided by Comcast is different than VOIP. They may both run over the same coax to the premises, but the spectral layout and upstream handling is different. If a backhoe cuts your cable your are down. But if an internet meltdown happens affecting VOIP traffic, in theory Comcast (and similar) digitally-served landline phones can still work. Maybe someone more knowledgeable could comment.

There is a good argument that a combination of digital telephony (not necessarily VOIP) and cellular are more reliable than POTS ever was.

When Hurricane Michael hit the FL panhandle in October 2018, the copper and coax infrastructure was broken in thousands of places. Local telecom providers flew cellular antennas on drones several hours per day. You can't do that with a physical cable system.
  #52  
Old 10-18-2019, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
Every security system I've seen installed in the last 15 years, has included a cellular dial out. But jnglmassiv has apparently uses a cell blocking device when he breaks into homes.
I mean if burgulars show up with suppressed rifles, body armor, cell phone jammers, they cut the coax and phone lines connections which are exposed right on an outside wall in almost all homes, and they come in wearing night vision - yeah. They are gonna get my stuff. And if I am there at the time and they don't want any witnesses, they are probably going to successfully kill me. Whether or not I sleep with a pistol under my pillow is unlikely to make any difference.

But in normal situations, nobody is using cell phone jammers. Generally if your cell doesn't work it's because you are in a dead spot, the batteries are dead, or the phone got dropped too many times. And this is, on average, barely any less reliable than land lines, which cost $120 a year.

So the obvious fix is to have a second cell phone. Maybe on a different carrier, but this will cost more than bundled lines do.
  #53  
Old 10-18-2019, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by joema View Post
Also new commercial developments are not pulling copper lines. Everything is digital, served by fiber or coax. It doesn't matter what the fire marshal wants if copper lines (and the upstream Signaling System 7 infrastructure) are dying out. The irony is in some locales they permit a cellular-based backup system for fire alarms. Cellular!

There is a good argument that a combination of digital telephony (not necessarily VOIP) and cellular are more reliable than POTS ever was.

When Hurricane Michael hit the FL panhandle in October 2018, the copper and coax infrastructure was broken in thousands of places. Local telecom providers flew cellular antennas on drones several hours per day. You can't do that with a physical cable system.
I don't know if this is being done on a regular basis, but if you wanted to make that fire alarm signal always get through, you'd do the following:

1. Redundant electronics modules. That is, for the same set of alarm wiring, have, in locations separated by at least 10 feet, 2 complete electronics modules. That means a whole metal box with a separate backup battery, set of all the circuit boards, and cellular modem.
2. SIM cards that connect to all the carriers. Again, not sure if this is a thing. I know it is possible through eSIM. Basically, the alarm system would try to maintain an active link through <whichever carrier is cheapest>. But if the preferred carrier is down, it would be able to connect to one of the other 3 carriers, with a fee automatically paid when this happens, to send it's message.
  #54  
Old 10-18-2019, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
I don't know if this is being done on a regular basis, but if you wanted to make that fire alarm signal always get through, you'd do the following:

1. Redundant electronics modules. That is, for the same set of alarm wiring, have, in locations separated by at least 10 feet, 2 complete electronics modules. That means a whole metal box with a separate backup battery, set of all the circuit boards, and cellular modem.
2. SIM cards that connect to all the carriers. Again, not sure if this is a thing. I know it is possible through eSIM. Basically, the alarm system would try to maintain an active link through <whichever carrier is cheapest>. But if the preferred carrier is down, it would be able to connect to one of the other 3 carriers, with a fee automatically paid when this happens, to send it's message.
But. of course, all that extra electronics and wiring increases the probability that something will go wrong and cause a fire.
  #55  
Old 10-18-2019, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
Care if I ask, who? Who would prefer receiving a fax? With scanning and email, what purpose would you need to fax?
There are some cases in Financial, Legal, and Medical where scans and emails are not accepted forms of documentation.

Last edited by Spud; 10-18-2019 at 08:34 PM.
  #56  
Old 10-18-2019, 09:07 PM
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Wait, what? You still use a fax machine? I haven't faxed anyone anything in about 10 years.
Agencies like the Social Security Administration and others do not make their email addresses public, but they still include fax nos.
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Last edited by Crossbreed; 10-18-2019 at 09:08 PM. Reason: various typos
  #57  
Old 10-18-2019, 09:55 PM
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We still have a land line, and we'll be keeping it for the foreseeable future. There's a couple of reasons for that:

1) We get power outages fairly often -- at least a couple of times a year, usually due to summer storms knocking a tree limb into a power line in the area. And, it's not like we live in the middle of nowhere -- we're in the near-in suburbs of Chicago. But, it's an old neighborhood, with old trees, and the power utility has not done a good job of trimming trees along their right-of-way. While most of those outages only last a few hours or so, five or so years ago, we had a summer in which we had four different outages, each of which lasted for 48 hours or longer.

2) We suffer service interruptions from our cable company (Comcast) fairly often, too -- easily at least once every few months, for at least a half-hour or longer. We actually have a phone line as part of our Comcast bundle -- as several others have noted, it wound up being cheaper to get the TV and internet service if they gave us a phone line, too, but we have never used that phone line.

3) Cellular service in our area is pretty unreliable. Our cell service is with one of the carriers which has, overall, a very good network. But, we're in an area that has a lot of forest preserve land, plus the suburb immediately to our east (Riverside) has strict laws about placement of cell towers in their preservationist-minded neighborhoods. So, in and around our house, getting only one signal bar is pretty typical. AT&T gave us a microcell a decade ago, which works tremendously well, but if the power or the internet go out, so does that.

And, despite all of the power outages and such, in the 23 years we've lived here, we've never had the telephone landline go down. So, yeah, we're paying for a security blanket; I'm OK with that.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 10-18-2019 at 09:57 PM.
  #58  
Old 10-18-2019, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Spud View Post
There are some cases in Financial, Legal, and Medical where scans and emails are not accepted forms of documentation.
Yes. A scanned copy of a signature isnt valid but a FAXed one is, for some really fucking stupid reason.

Mostly by people who just havent changed the rules since 1984.
  #59  
Old 10-18-2019, 11:26 PM
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Care if I ask, who? Who would prefer receiving a fax? With scanning and email, what purpose would you need to fax?

Business tax and banking stuff.
  #60  
Old 10-19-2019, 12:07 AM
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Care if I ask, who? Who would prefer receiving a fax? With scanning and email, what purpose would you need to fax?
Security reasons. There's less danger of someone eavesdropping on a fax than on email. I get medical records faxed to me frequently as well as exchanges of info with the Social Security Administration. Both of those contain my clients' protected personal health information. The legal profession has gotten better about using email over the last fifteen years, especially with the integration of electronics filing, but the medical profession is still cautious because of HIPAA.
  #61  
Old 10-19-2019, 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Personal View Post
Security reasons. There's less danger of someone eavesdropping on a fax than on email. ...
I have my doubts.
  #62  
Old 10-19-2019, 06:01 AM
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My reason for keeping my Plain Old Telephone Service is quality. I lke being able to hear what is happening on the other end even when I am talking. When in conversation with someone on a cell phone, I often can't hear them when I am talking, and vice versa. There is less of a sense of presence. I feel like the quality of telephone communication has decreased over the last 20 years.

Also, I like using a fax machine to send documents. Scanning results in an attachment, which many email systems don't like. A fax requires a constant connection, both ways. Voice Over IP breaks data into packets, which means there is no constant connection. Bandwidth is not so precious anymore, so why cant we get full duplex connections over fiber networks?

In a large city, will there be enough bandwidth for everything to be wireless?
  #63  
Old 10-19-2019, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Personal View Post
I get medical records faxed to me frequently as well as exchanges of info with the Social Security Administration. Both of those contain my clients' protected personal health information. The legal profession has gotten better about using email over the last fifteen years, especially with the integration of electronics filing, but the medical profession is still cautious because of HIPAA.
I still have a fax machine at work, even though junk faxes outnumber legitimate faxes 2:1.

Security of fax transmission relies on the sender using the correct fax number. Years ago a local Highschool nurses office sent me a fax that was dozens of pages long. I called the school and told them they screwed up. A few days later I got another wrong number fax from the nurses office and I called again. They were costing me money and I was getting pissed off.

The third wrong number fax broke the camel's back. It was again medical info, and I sat down and read it. Then I called the landline of the student involved and spoke with student's mom. I told her I was some stranger, and for all she knew a pervert. I then told her details about her daughter's health, and I told her I knew this info because the school sent it to me.

I assume she freaked out on the school, as they finally corrected their problem.
  #64  
Old 10-20-2019, 08:28 PM
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I didn't read the whole thread, but I can say that having your cable bring in both your phone and your internet makes it very easy to (start to) diagnose the problem if you have no internet connection. Does the phone still work? If so, then the problem is somewhere after the cable comes into the house, and we have a chance at fixing it. If not, then we basically have to wait for the cable to get repaired.
  #65  
Old 10-21-2019, 01:08 PM
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I didn't read the whole thread, but I can say that having your cable bring in both your phone and your internet makes it very easy to (start to) diagnose the problem if you have no internet connection. Does the phone still work? If so, then the problem is somewhere after the cable comes into the house, and we have a chance at fixing it. If not, then we basically have to wait for the cable to get repaired.
Not true. We've had multiple times when there was no Internet but the phone still worked and the problem was on Cox's side. Ditto the other way around.
  #66  
Old 10-21-2019, 07:35 PM
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Not true. We've had multiple times when there was no Internet but the phone still worked and the problem was on Cox's side. Ditto the other way around.
Like it or not, the AT&T PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) system will be shut down in the relatively near future. That means all analog copper phone lines will go dead.

It's not an issue of whether it might work better on some edge cases. Rather, making that copper analog phone line work requires a gigantic expensive expensive infrastructure which a dwindling number of people use.

https://hbr.org/2014/03/the-end-of-t...-phone-network
  #67  
Old 10-22-2019, 02:17 AM
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Originally Posted by joema View Post
Like it or not, the AT&T PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) system will be shut down in the relatively near future. That means all analog copper phone lines will go dead.

It's not an issue of whether it might work better on some edge cases. Rather, making that copper analog phone line work requires a gigantic expensive expensive infrastructure which a dwindling number of people use.

https://hbr.org/2014/03/the-end-of-t...-phone-network
I don't doubt that your assertion is correct. But I will point out that the link you supplied announcing the end of the POTS infrastructure is from 2014. And it's still here.
  #68  
Old 10-22-2019, 04:50 AM
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Most VOIP units have a large internal battery that keeps it operating when the power goes out.
Does the battery keep the internet going? Or just the phone? Because I think you need the internet to make any call over VoIP.

OP- you said the landline was only for emergencies so I assume your cell phone is your primary phone. I don't see what VoIP would do for you that your cell phone won't. Don't be tripped up by the cable company calling it a "landline", it's not.

Quote:
Originally posted by Joey P
The way I see it, you're about as likely to lose your VOIP service as your POTS
Around here, internet is far more likely to fail than landline service and I imagine that's true in most places. As for cell, I have never lost cell service. Ever. I have been out of range in a huge forest, but cell service in general (because it doesn't have to be your provider's towers when it's a 911 call) has never failed any place I have ever been (me being out of range is not a failure).

I see no reason for the OP to have VoIP for non-emergency use because he already has a cell phone. And I see no reason for the OP to have VoIP for emergency use
because it won't be as reliable as a true landline, IMO.
  #69  
Old 10-22-2019, 06:11 AM
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... And does it really get your location to the 911 center like a "real" landline will? Anyone have any experiences? Thanks!
So long as your cable landline can transmit caller id information then you have an option to keep your local 9-1-1 center informed. Contact them on their business line and ask how you can have your physical address details updated in their database. This can ensure that your number will cause their call handling system to pull up your home address.

The 9-1-1 center can provide you a ten digit number that will ring into their emergency lines too. That can allow anyone to program a contact into their home phone that will call 9-1-1 by dialing the ten digit number.

The warning is that if you move do not forget to update both the old 9-1-1 center and the new one (assuming you move to a new PSAP coverage area) to keep your information up to date. Some telco companies and PSAPs are good about doing regular updates to their Some are not.

Last edited by Iggy; 10-22-2019 at 06:12 AM.
  #70  
Old 10-22-2019, 07:35 AM
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Does the battery keep the internet going? Or just the phone? Because I think you need the internet to make any call over VoIP.
When I had VoIP direct through Verizon, the unit included a battery intended specifically to allow the phone line to function during a power outage.

As for the utility of a "landline", the nice thing about mine (which is now Ooma-based) is that it's just a more satisfying phone experience. My cell provider has lackluster coverage inside my home, so calls can drop or otherwise not be easy to hear. Eventually I'm sure I'll drop the landline, but for now it still has marginal value.
  #71  
Old 10-22-2019, 08:58 AM
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Does the battery keep the internet going? Or just the phone? Because I think you need the internet to make any call over VoIP.
Um. "Keep the Internet going?" Well, you're going to need a bigger battery.

There's a cable. At their end they need power to keep their equipment going. At your end you need power to keep equipment going.* For VoIP that means at the minumum your cable modem and your VoIP device. You may need also to power a router.

With a UPS you can keep your end going for a bit during a power outage. If the outage doesn't affect the cable company's equipment you're good. One problem is there's going to be a cable company router not far from you. So an area-wide blackout is going to take that down. (Such a UPS combined with your wireless router is also good when using a laptop/tablet/etc. during a blackout.)

VoIP means that it uses the Internet just like any other networked device. (Mine is set to use a server with a name like "podunk2.VoipCo.com".) But keep in mind that some cable companies might offer phone service via POTS. That's not VoIP.

* Unlike POTS which provides power to classic simple phones. (Wireless phone base stations and such rely on wall power.)

Last edited by ftg; 10-22-2019 at 09:00 AM.
  #72  
Old 10-22-2019, 12:35 PM
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I don't doubt that your assertion is correct. But I will point out that the link you supplied announcing the end of the POTS infrastructure is from 2014. And it's still here.
I said "in the relatively near future". The link from 2014 has no bearing on that. It only illustrates this has been common knowledge for years.

The current phase-out date for the copper PSTN network varies from country to country but in some counties it will be phased out this year.

In the US, some copper lines which age or get damaged by weather are no longer repaired. So in a sense the PSTN/POTS infrastructure is already undergoing a quiet shutdown. Re the thread title of whether cable landline (or anything else) is a good substitute for a "real" landline, this is rapidly becoming a moot point because the copper landlines and associated PSTN infrastructure are going away.

As fewer people use the PSTN network, the costs per customer skyrocket. This cost must either be passed on to the customer or it becomes an unsustainable burden for the telecom, and/or hurts investment in the digital infrastructure. E.g, your access to fiber service might be delayed because of having to maintain the PSTN network.

There are legitimate concerns over rural customers who are not serviced by any other telecom method. However cellular coverage is still improving. Depending on how SpaceX's StarLink satellites work out, by the early 2020s nearly everyone on earth might have access to symmetrical low-latency gigabit service for a fairly low fee: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starli..._constellation)

Final Countdown to PSTN Sunset: https://www.edevice.com/the-final-co...to-pstn-sunset

British Telecom goal of switching all customers to IP telephony by 2025: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/0...phone_network/

Global phaseout of PSTN by 2030: https://www.spearline.com/blog/post/...bally-by-2030/

Ballooning costs of maintaining PSTN network: https://futureofsourcing.com/the-fut...g-up-or-pay-up
  #73  
Old 10-22-2019, 04:23 PM
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The phase-out of good old copper telephony contrasts with attempts at phasing out rotary dialing years ago.

In our state, the PUC required the phone companies to charge more per month for touch tone dialing, despite that having become cheaper than maintaining rotary. So many people kept their rotary phones to avoid the extra fee.

The local Bell went to the PUC: Hey, let's ditch rotary entirely. Drop the fee. And we'll give every customer with a rotary phone a free touch tone phone paid for by the savings. PUC: Nope. Grandma wouldn't like that and we love keeping grandma happy.

And that's nothing compared to replacing the old land lines. Lots of unhappy grandmas in the future.

"Phasing out" when mostly what they're doing is stop maintaining it and let it decay is just a euphemism.
  #74  
Old 10-22-2019, 05:43 PM
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Well, to close the loop on this thread, I made a decision. I did indeed transfer my "landline" number to Comcast, bundled with my cable TV and internet. It is saving me some money, and most importantly, saving me some government fees and taxes. Based on all the advice in this thread (thank you all very much!) I've decided that no, cable "landline" is not as good as a real landline, but it is most likely good enough for the likes of me.

Oh, and yes, when I made the switch, they did transfer me to a special automated service to make sure my actual physical street address was linked to my phone number. Which was my primary worry in the first place.
  #75  
Old 10-23-2019, 09:00 AM
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Something else I just thought of. IIRC, telephone companies are required to still allow 911 calls to any phone that's connected to their system, even if it doesn't have an account. If, after you cancel your service, you still have a dial tone, 911 should still work.

If all you really need the phone for is 911, that's probably the cheapest way to get it. Granted, there's not a lot of peace of mind that it'll work when you need it to, but technically it should.
Joey P is correct. You can drop your phone service and will still be able to call 911 from the phone. This is also true with disconnected cell phones. With your landline, we will see your address. We can't call you back, but as long as you stay on the line, we can talk to you. If you can't talk for whatever reason, we will still know your address.

Cell phones, whether disconnected or not, do not give us your address. We get a latitude and longitude that we can respond to, which isn't always correct. Right now, the accuracy can be anywhere between 10 meters and 1000 meters. If you live in an urban area, even a 10 meter accuracy could place you in several different houses, all of which would have to be checked until we find you.
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