POTS is telco industry talk for Plain Old Telephone Service – in other words the boring old analogue phone that works on those rusty bits of copper wire coming into your place (and swinging in the breeze no doubt).

In my office we’ve moved to a VoIP world, whereby our phone lines are ported over to our broadband connection and translated to telephone signals by a fancy little box. VoIP gives way more features, lower cost and the ability to feel that one is on the “bleeding edge” of telecommunications.

But unfortunately it’s not simple. Under POTS – we had a Telecom supplied phone number that ran on Telecom supplied cables – if something was wrong there was very little doubt whose fault it was.

In this world there is a much more complex situation. Telecom supply the number but port it over to the VoIP provider. They send it down a broadband connection (potentially supplied by someone else) it then comes through a DSL router and into a whizzy box where it is translated into something a standard phone can plug into. That leaves a significant wiggle room where various vendors can blame others for service failures.

Over the past couple of weeks our VoIP has been a nightmare – quality degradation and more often than not complete loss of service. Our VoIP provider has tried to be helpful but they’ve succumbed to blaming the cable, the exchange, the modem and the whizzy little box. Add to that the fact that in this VoIP world no one actually comes out to service a fault and you’ve got a recipe for stress.

No easy answers at the end of this post – I’m sure our service will be sorted in the next day or so and I’ll be a happy camper again but it is worth noting that sometimes one pays a price for progress…

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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