Aruba introduces voice over WiFi emergency call location

Aruba Networks has partnered with E911 vendor RedSky Technologies to introduce a voice-over-WiFi emergency call location solution for campuses, branch offices and teleworker offices.

Aruba said WiFi call location has been challenging since most solutions have relied on IP parsing that translates the IP address of the closest Ethernet switch or router to a physical location. But that capability does no good when the caller is roaming around the building. The RedSky solution can match a phone with the nearest access point to determine the location of an E911 call and provide the address, building and floor a caller is located on to emergency personnel. The technology doesn't require any forklift changes in the WiFi network and is compatible with a number of other vendors' equipment.

Mike Tennefoss, head of strategic marketing with Aruba, told FierceBroadbandWireless that oftentimes the hold up of voice over WiFi in the enterprise is a lack of E911 capabilities. He's expecting a bigger wave of campuses that have their own security forces to look at the new offering. "A general concern is that as dual-mode (3G/Wi-Fi) handsets become more popular on campus, the primary method for calling will be WiFi, and dispatchers can't send first-responder help."

In related news, RedSky introduced a downloadable smartphone application called My e911 that provides personalized E911 protection on college and corporate campuses. At the same time the emergency call is routed when a user dials 911, the My e911 app notifies campus or corporate security with a Google map pinpointing the location of the caller.

The app captures the best available location information when the call is places using a hierarchy of GPS, then WiFi then cell towers and continually polls for new location information.

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