Moving from analogue to cellular with GPRS and GSM

Lift emergency phone regulations require that emergency-communication phones be available at all times for lift passengers in the event they become trapped in a lift. Traditionally this requirement is met with the employment of fixed landlines as the means of transmission for lift emergency phones.

In the UK, BT (British Telecom) is the main provider for fixed landline solutions. UK’s communication regulator, Ofcom’s recent review included a request for the promotion of Fibre-To-The- Premises (FTTP) investment and support, from the CEO of BT. BT prefers that copper lines be replaced with fibre lines and that these changes meet lift emergency phone regulations.

Recent quarterly results from BT, show a reduction in copper-line rentals which are offset by the growth of fibre-line-based solutions.

This change has already been seen in other countries, including Australia and by Deutsche Telekom in Germany. Deutsche Telekom began removal of fixed or ‘dedicated analogue lines’ no later than 2009. This saw the permanent removal of analogue telephone lines and transitioned to a digital fixed line or modem.  Though fibre is a faster and more efficient technology for telephone transmission, this cannot be always relied upon when using legacy lift equipment.

What is fibre?

Fibre broadband and other fibre services such as FTTP use optical fibres. These thin fibres can be delivered straight to premises and deliver almost unlimited speed. They efficiently deliver data at very high speeds and require less space than copper lines (being only a fraction of the size of copper).

As a result, fewer copper landlines are being installed. Delays and waiting times are increasing and maintenance of the lines already existing is decreasing.

Due to this, BT has increased the cost of copper installation and has stated its intent to begin full copper line recovery by 2025. The effect of cost has also been seen in countries such as Australia, where NBN has led the removal of a predominantly copper network, to rollout their Multi Technology Mix (MTM) leading to the complete removal of their copper network.

Fibre application in the lift industry

Due to the standard EN 81-28, emergency lift telephones are required to, at a minimum, carry out three-day background calls to confirm they are working and performing to correct specifications. Later generation devices can perform these checks through the data network, however analogue devices cannot without assisting technology. Instead, they make use of analogue DTMF signals to keep to the requirements.

Traditional copper landlines are capable of analogue transmission only, which has made them the traditional method of choice. Current fibre optics lines are capable of analogue simulations, and could, in theory, be installed instead of copper lines. However, BT has stated that they intend to make fibre digital only, removing the analogue simulation and thus making it incapable of carrying DTMF tones for background calls. This is forecast to occur by 2025 also and thus does not make the technology applicable for the future use of legacy equipment. This has already occurred in Australia where the new NBN network was incapable of analogue transmission from the beginning, leading to many compatibility issues.

What are the alternatives?

With the removal of all analogue-compatible landlines planned, Global Service for Mobile Communications (GSM) and General Packet Radio Services (GPRSare alternatives that adapt analogue devices to work with fibre lines.  GSM and GPRS technologies are capable of transmitting DTMF tones across a fibre cellular network and have already been used in multiple countries and industries.

Please see our other articles about lift emergency phones, for a more detailed description of how network technologies are applied in the lift industry.

Contact our team directly to learn about the Avire products that will help you transition your analogue lift emergency phones to compatibility with digital technologies.

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