Replacing Legacy Selective Routers: Why Does It Matter and What Is the Sense of Urgency?

A fundamental and powerful change is taking place in the emergency request for 9-1-1 service. And with it comes choices and benefits 9-1-1 Authorities have never had before.

At the heart of your Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) planning are significant questions that need to be addressed. For example:

  • Are your 9-1-1 calls still served by legacy 9-1-1 trunks and/or by legacy selective routers?
  • Are you preparing to transition your 9-1-1 legacy call routing and call delivery to IP to take advantage of Next Generation?
  • Are you aware that legacy call routing solutions are end-of-life and are not upgradable?

A vital step in your move to NG9-1-1 and its full realization is the replacement of legacy 9-1-1 call routing equipment that likely serves you today. This may include selective routers and/or 9-1-1 tandem switches - all terms that refer to legacy routing. The problem with this equipment is that it can only deliver voice or limited in-band signaling (e.g., ANI). This means it is not capable of delivering any NG9-1-1 content, rendering it end of life with no future upgrade path.

The solution to enable NG9-1-1 is to replace legacy selective routers, such as those mentioned, with NG9-1-1 IP routers and replace analog 9-1-1 trunks. The reason is because IP technology not only delivers 9-1-1 voice calls (voice over IP or "VoIP"), it also relays location information and non-voice content, such as text/SMS messages and future emergency data to come, such as images and videos, among other call content.

Without IP connections, PSAPs can't take the next steps to safeguard their citizens, and therefore, won't realize NG9-1-1. We need end-to-end, IP-enabled PSAPs.

The most compelling guides for NG9-1-1 implementation are the recommendations of the Task Force on Optimal PSAP Architecture (TFOPA), an FCC Advisory Committee. TFOPA's final report, published January 2016, describes the actions PSAPs can take to "...optimize their security, operations and funding as they implement NG9-1-1."

TFOPA confirms the challenges PSAPs face: "Any transition comes with difficult decisions... the evolution to NG9-1-1 technology presents potentially even greater challenge since it is not merely a linear progression, but a paradigm shift."

And, we are facing a paradigm shift from the legacy request for service to the Next Generation request for service. But, it doesn't mean we have to be overwhelmed or we can't be successful.

The TFOPA Work Group 2, which specifically addressed PSAP architecture, recommends a phased approach to implementation because it offers the greatest opportunity for success. It provides PSAPs a logical structure to follow that takes into account many factors that can impede NG9-1-1 implementation. These include inadequate funding, incomplete standards, technical advancements required by carriers, a lack of understanding of what full NG9-1-1 means and more. At Airbus, we are aligned with the FCC's TFOPA recommendation and know how to help PSAPs follow this phased approach. We do so realizing NG9-1-1 won't happen overnight; it will happen with a smart transition we implement with confidence and expertise to get there safely.

PSAPs interested in gaining greater assurance about their move to NG9-1-1 should plan to join us in a special education session in our Innovation Theater at APCO, Monday, August 14 at 11:00 AM. Here, we will dive deeper into the urgency to replace legacy selective routers, TFOPA recommendations, including the NG9-1-1 Readiness Scorecard; and most importantly, your questions and concerns.

The paradigm shift is here and ours to embrace. The sooner we do, the sooner we realize the choices we have for the best safeguarding of our citizens.

For more information, contact us