When is a landline not really a landline

Fusion Voice service, features and help.
9 posts Page 1 of 1
by susanjom@sonic.net » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:02 pm
After all of the disruption of the fires, there have been a lot of articles reporting that even people with 'landlines' lost their phone service.

It has always been my intention to keep a 'real' landline, because I thought I knew that that service wouldn't be disrupted in a power outage. I have always kept a simple AT&T phone so that I could call out in the event of a power outage. But now I'm not sure how to ascertain that I still have that security. My account says I have Fusion Phone Service.
Does this mean I still have POTS.
And if so, will I be notified if this is ever not the case
by dane » Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:48 am
I've been meaning to write up a blog article on this topic, because there is a lot of confusion.

For our traditional Fusion Broadband+Phone service, the broadband is xDSL (ADSL2+ or VDSL2), and the voice service is line-powered POTS voice. It's backed up by the batteries and large generator systems in the central office where our equipment is located. Assuming your phone itself does not require power (cordless ones do, as do some with answering systems), a Fusion voice service of this type should just always work, regardless of premise power, or internet access. And if you have a battery for the modem/WiFi router, your Internet would remain online too. We have many customers who were "camping" at home, watching Netflix by candlelight, using a small battery UPS to keep their router up. But that's go no bearing on the phone service, to be clear.

By contrast, some AT&T POTS lines are served out of remote neighborhood huts or remote terminals, and these generally have batteries but not generators. This is likely why some AT&T "landlines" lost service during the recent long public safety power shutoff events. And the same goes for their UVerse service, where both phone and internet come from a small "VRAD" cabinet, the newer tan colored cabinets with cooling systems on them. The batteries eventually die, resulting in an outage of internet and phone, even if the customer has invested in a UPS on premise. This also affected Sonic members who use our resold AT&T service, IP Broadband, which uses the uVerse network.

Comcast ended up in the same boat, because their cable nodes require power, and are backed up by batteries. These are often on poles - you'll see a roughly 2.5' square box often labeled "Alpha", the maker of the power system, scattered around town. After the 2017 fires, I saw that Comcast added generators either at the base of the poles, or in at least one case, built a small platform up there for a generator. Then these must be fueled daily, etc - it's a challenge.

Back to us and our customers, Sonic's fiber service also benefits from a lack of dependency on power at remote locations. Because our fiber network is a "passive optical network", the cabinets you see on poles or on the ground which are Sonic splitter locations do not have any electronics in them: they're simply passive light splitters, taking the light from one fiber and splitting it to go to around 30 homes. But with fiber, the voice service is delivered using voice over IP, and premise power is required for voice functionality. So, for our members with Sonic fiber, during a power outage they would need to use a UPS or generator to provide power to the optical network terminal (small white Sonic labeled box that outputs Ethernet and voice). And to keep their WiFi up, power for the router that connects to it.

During the 2017 and 2018 fires and the 2019 fires and PSPS events, Sonic's traditional Fusion & Fiber to the home networks were unaffected, and Sonic customers phone service was not interrupted by these events. But for internet access and for fiber-based VoIP service, a premise UPS or generator would be required.
Dane Jasper
CEO
Sonic
by susanjom@sonic.net » Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:52 am
Thank you for all of that.

You mention a battery for the modem. Does the Pace 4111N have a battery option? I can't seem to find that information.
If not, is there a modem which can be used instead of the Pace 4111N for the same Fusion service and which does offer a battery?
by susanjom@sonic.net » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:35 am
Ah, a bit more reading suggests that I would need a UPS.
Is there one you recommend for use with the Pace 4111N?
by dane » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:49 am
susanjom@sonic.net wrote:
Ah, a bit more reading suggests that I would need a UPS.
Is there one you recommend for use with the Pace 4111N?


Any UPS should be fine - the bigger it is, the longer it should last. Something like this might be a good start though:

APC UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector with USB Charger, 600VA Uninterruptible Power Supply (BE600M1) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FWAZEIU/re ... ZDbJ59BGWW
Dane Jasper
CEO
Sonic
by Lisa Stadelhofer » Fri Apr 10, 2020 4:24 pm
dane wrote:
I've been meaning to write up a blog article on this topic, because there is a lot of confusion.

For our traditional Fusion Broadband+Phone service, the broadband is xDSL (ADSL2+ or VDSL2), and the voice service is line-powered POTS voice. It's backed up by the batteries and large generator systems in the central office where our equipment is located. Assuming your phone itself does not require power (cordless ones do, as do some with answering systems), a Fusion voice service of this type should just always work, regardless of premise power, or internet access. And if you have a battery for the modem/WiFi router, your Internet would remain online too. We have many customers who were "camping" at home, watching Netflix by candlelight, using a small battery UPS to keep their router up. But that's go no bearing on the phone service, to be clear.

By contrast, some AT&T POTS lines are served out of remote neighborhood huts or remote terminals, and these generally have batteries but not generators. This is likely why some AT&T "landlines" lost service during the recent long public safety power shutoff events. And the same goes for their UVerse service, where both phone and internet come from a small "VRAD" cabinet, the newer tan colored cabinets with cooling systems on them. The batteries eventually die, resulting in an outage of internet and phone, even if the customer has invested in a UPS on premise. This also affected Sonic members who use our resold AT&T service, IP Broadband, which uses the uVerse network.

Comcast ended up in the same boat, because their cable nodes require power, and are backed up by batteries. These are often on poles - you'll see a roughly 2.5' square box often labeled "Alpha", the maker of the power system, scattered around town. After the 2017 fires, I saw that Comcast added generators either at the base of the poles, or in at least one case, built a small platform up there for a generator. Then these must be fueled daily, etc - it's a challenge.

Back to us and our customers, Sonic's fiber service also benefits from a lack of dependency on power at remote locations. Because our fiber network is a "passive optical network", the cabinets you see on poles or on the ground which are Sonic splitter locations do not have any electronics in them: they're simply passive light splitters, taking the light from one fiber and splitting it to go to around 30 homes. But with fiber, the voice service is delivered using voice over IP, and premise power is required for voice functionality. So, for our members with Sonic fiber, during a power outage they would need to use a UPS or generator to provide power to the optical network terminal (small white Sonic labeled box that outputs Ethernet and voice). And to keep their WiFi up, power for the router that connects to it.

During the 2017 and 2018 fires and the 2019 fires and PSPS events, Sonic's traditional Fusion & Fiber to the home networks were unaffected, and Sonic customers phone service was not interrupted by these events. But for internet access and for fiber-based VoIP service, a premise UPS or generator would be required.


How do I tell which type of service I have, to know whether to get a battery backup? My new connection bill says Fusion. I know they were installing fiber to the house. I want to be sure that I have an emergency line that is PSPS-capable (I have an old phone plugged into the phone outlet of the white box on the wall on a splitter as I have had for a decade of AT&T DSL). What specific wording in my connection invoice tells me what I have?
by amayfield » Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:51 pm
Lisa if you are on our Fusion Fiber service then the voice service is VoIP (rather than POTS) and you would need a battery backup to utilize the phone in the event of a power outage.
Andrew M.
Community & Escalations Supervisor
Sonic
by pboggini » Fri Jul 03, 2020 3:27 pm
dane wrote:
susanjom@sonic.net wrote:
Ah, a bit more reading suggests that I would need a UPS.
Is there one you recommend for use with the Pace 4111N?


Any UPS should be fine - the bigger it is, the longer it should last. Something like this might be a good start though:

APC UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector with USB Charger, 600VA Uninterruptible Power Supply (BE600M1) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FWAZEIU/re ... ZDbJ59BGWW


Dane, any idea how long any of these UPS's last? I talked to a support person a few weeks ago and just today asking and they really don't have any info. Most of the recommendations I see are for UPS's that are really designed for computers and for somewhat immediate shutdown. For a VOIP line, we want something that doesn't need as much on demand current but we need something that has a lot of amp hours so that the line can stay up for 8, 12, 24 hours.

Here's my recommendation which I gave to both tech folk but it sounds like Sonic isn't the fun loving versatile ISP we all fell in love with years ago as it doesn't seem like anything they'd entertain. Still, my request is please go out and buy both of the following:

https://www.amazon.com/TalentCell-Unint ... 233&sr=8-5

and

https://www.apc.com/shop/us/en/products ... -CP12142LI

For the APC unit since you are unable to use the phone jack on the back of the Pace or Arris Modem that ATT supplies you need an ATA and it needs its own power. So, it would be nice if you could see if one could plug the ATA into the Pace or Arris USB port just for power. I'm led to believe that ATT disables the USB port (doesn't surprise me) but maybe, just maybe, they disable using it for a drive or a printer and the power is still there?

I would trust APC as a name brand more than the TalentCell but the problem is that we need two power connections (1 12V and 1 5V) for router and ATA and the APC only has the one 12V.

For the TalentCell, it would be nice to have someone see what size barrel connectors are on the backs of the Pace and Arris to see if the cables supplied with the TalentCell would work on the routers. Since the TalentCell has USB too, it would provide power for both and it looks to have about 50% more mWh's so it should last longer.

This is something that I'd love to see someone in the Sonic Lab test out and provide observations for. I think there are a number of us who would love to see the results so we know what to purchase.

Anyway, the TL;DR is, don't just plop UPS recommendations on us Dane, let us know which one works, about how long we can expect the router and ATA to stay up, etc.
by pboggini » Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:35 pm
In reply to my own post.

I decided to get the APC UPS as I tested the HT801 plugged into the USB port on the back of the Pace when I still had bonded DSL and now to the USB on the Arris with my IPBB setup. The ATA powers just fine from those USB ports.

I don't know how long the APC will last but it claims 15+ hours for the Arris BGW210-700 though I'm sure it's less time with the ATA attached too.
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