The Last Days of the Plain Old Telephone System

March 30, 2022
Daniel Verastiqui

Written by Daniel Verastiqui

Daniel Verastiqui is the Director of Client Services and Corporate Communications at Uplogix, Inc.

I was emptying my junk folder the other day when I stumbled upon an email asking if I was ready to comply with FCC Order 19-72A1, which has something to do with the phasing out of copper phone lines at telecommunications companies. Despite not having used a POTS line since high school, this news made me a little sad. In pre-Internet times, phone lines were the only things connecting us to Bulletin Board Systems, and when it rained, you’d get a bunch of line noise and garbled characters on your terminal. And if your dad picked up the phone to make a call? Well, there goes your game of Trade Wars 2002. POTS lines have been largely phased out for home use these days, but do you know who still relies on them? A lot of our customers.

I know! POTS lines are so last century, but they’re robust, and they don’t have the overhead of network services or cellular options. They’re not 100%, but that’s why redial exists. Here at Uplogix, we don’t judge. If you have 1,000 sites with POTS lines and need the most advanced remote network management platform to answer the phone, we can help out with that.

But what if your telecom company is about to pull the POTS rug out from under you? The deadline for FCC Order 19-72A1 is August 2, 2022. What if they turned off service or worse—jacked up the price?

Well, Uplogix has you covered there too.

We can support POTS all day every day, but if that’s not available, our cellular options combined with secondary Ethernet and even services that go to space and back (like our Iridium LEO kit),  we can ensure your Local Manager will be reachable regardless of the state of the network.

Questions about moving to another solution? Let’s dig in.

How do I switch to cellular? Do I need to buy a new Local Manager?

The Uplogix LM80 and LM83X appliances (as well as their predecessors) are built with modular modem bays. That means switching to cellular is as easy as shutting down, popping out the v.92 modem, and slotting in one of our many cellular modems. Hook up the antennas and you’re good to go. And there’s no need to buy a new Local Manager; both platforms support every modem we make.

What kind of Cellular options are there?

Good question. The nice thing about POTS lines was that it was copper that ran right to the wall, even if that wall was in a bunker ten stories underground. Depending on where your Local Manager is installed, carrier options may vary, but we have you covered with a variety of modem types.

Our Verizon/AT&T CAT-4 combo modem will get you 150 Mbps down and 50 Mbps up thanks to two high-gain antennas. If one service provider works better in a certain geographic region, just swap out the SIM cards and flip a switch in software. No need to buy separate modems where Verizon has better coverage.

If you work in a missile silo or at the Umbrella Corporation’s Hive Facility, you’re going to need a modem that can operate at the lowest signal quality levels. Our Verizon/AT&T CAT-M1 modem works great in these situations, lowering the throughput to 300 Kbps down and 100 Kbps up to make sure the connection is stable (which is plenty of speed for CLI interaction). 

Want to use Sprint’s cellular network? We have a modem for that. Need to send some Local Managers to the EU or Australia? We’ve got modems for that too.

As an Uplogix customer, you’ve got access to our Technical Services team who can help you determine which modem is best for you, site-by-site, rack-by-rack.

You mentioned something about space?

Yes! If there’s just no way to get a cellular signal from your rack, we can always use our Iridium Satellite Kit and run up to 500 feet of Cat5 to an externally mounted antenna. We typically deploy the LEO-I Kit on oil rigs and ships, but there’s no reason you can’t use them on land. There’s also a GPS component so you can be notified if your datacenter starts to float away.

What if my network is super redundant?

Instead of using POTS, cellular, or Low-Earth Orbit  satellites for out-of-band, we can hook up the Secondary Ethernet interface on a Local Manager to a separate network. If the primary goes down, we spin up the secondary automatically. It’s not truly “out-of-band” in the way we use the word, but if you’re one of those eternal optimists who thinks two separate networks would never go down at the same time, then this is definitely an option. The best part? There’s no extra hardware needed. Every Local Manager ships with two Gigabit Ethernet ports to use in bonded or outband mode.

How do I get started?

First, give us a call. Someone on our Technical Services team will set up a time to talk about your existing deployment and provide recommendations on how best to migrate each site. We’ll create a runbook and a timeline that fits your schedule and make ourselves available to you and your team when you’re doing the actual work. Ordering cell modems, getting service from Verizon or AT&T, how to best position the antennas—we’ll help every step of the way. It’s all part of being an Uplogix customer.

Want to know more? Drop us a line at support@uplogix.com!

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