Saturday, June 27, 2015

"Reliability" Isn't What it Used to Be, and Most of US Don't Really Mind

How to supply power to fixed network voice service phones is an acknowledged issue for fiber to home or cable TV voice services. They are, in fact, less reliable than legacy phone service when consumers do not buy optional battery power backup.

But few consumers seem to do so.

The problem of inability to use a service when the user device loses power is no longer unusual though. It applies to all Internet access services, mobile phones, cordless phones, televisions and all other consumer appliances generally.

In fact, it would be a fair generalization to say that most devices and apps using communication networks are “less reliable” than they used to be. And most users seem to adjust quite well.

There are understood protocols for services or apps that occasionally crash. One reboots. One “calls back.” One waits a few seconds or minutes. One switches to another app.

That is simply an adjustment to connectionless protocols that underpin modern apps and battery-powered end user devices.

Even in the restricted area of fixed network telephone service, most consumers long ago made decisions that ensured they would not have “telephone service” when local electrical power was disrupted.

The culprit is the cordless phone, which most consumers seem to use, when they have fixed network phone service at all. By definition, cordless phones require local electrical power to function.

So when there is a local power outage, even when the network is up and running, a customer cannot use a cordless phone.

So there is an easy solution for consumers who buy fixed network telephone service and want the ability to use their phones in the event of a local power outage: do not buy or use cordless phones.

That will be the case for some years to come. Eventually, however, battery backup is likely to be the only option for powering cordless phones or other consumer appliances in the event of local power outages.

One might argue the problem sort of goes away by itself, over time, as most consumers who care about network-powered phones tend to be in the higher age cohorts. Over time, most consumers, who do not especially worry about such things, will become 100 percent of the market.

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