One of the biggest knocks on VoIP is that you can’t rely on it entirely, or so people claim. Historically speaking, VoIP used to be unable to call 911 dispatchers and therefore would have been a liability in an emergency. However, today you can call e911 services by paying less than $1 per month. But what if you don’t have internet service at all? That’s where RingCentral Persist comes in.
Why Would a Business Need to Make VoIP Calls Offline?
If this seems like overkill to you, then perhaps you don’t need this service at all. But for some businesses, a system like Persist is absolutely vital. Many hospitals and emergency response services like fire departments and ambulance companies have been unable to switch to VoIP because the government requires that they always be able to take a call no matter what the situation.
These businesses often use generators or battery backups to keep their systems online. Traditional phone lines will work without external power, but VoIP doesn’t have that advantage. It needs internet service, and that often depends on electricity as well as your local ISP. The massive power outages in Texas in early 2021 are a good example.
In that situation, power went down on such a wide scale that even internet service was affected. If you depend on VoIP in an emergency, you were in trouble. So, how do you solve this problem? With Persist, RingCentral’s solution to offline VoIP calling. It’s not magic, it’s just brilliant engineering.
How Does RingCentral Persist Work?
We need to preface this with one disclaimer: You need a landline to use Persist. Since landlines typically maintain connection even in the worst of circumstances, this is an absolute must before you can start using Persist.
If you’ve got that covered, let’s see how it works.
Installation and Configuration
The secret sauce that makes Persist so tasty is a special piece of hardware known as a “session border controller”. This device acts as a bridge between your local area network and your phone line. Normally, when you use VoIP to place a call your call goes through your computer’s internet connection and out to the world through your company’s ISP.
In this case, the ISP isn’t there. So, your computer tries to call through your network, but once it reaches your switch, it has nowhere to go. That’s where the session border controller comes in. This device is installed in your server rack near your switch. It’ll link up to your phone lines and join the Public Switched Telephone Network (PTSN) to your LAN.
The session border controller is one smart bridge. Let’s say you call 911 from the third floor on your computer. They can actually call you back because the controller remembers what IP your device had, and so it can route a call back from 911 to your device. If you’re interested in Persist, contact RingCentral to coordinate a visit from a certified installer.