NG9-1-1 for Managed VoIP Services. Team Members: Aditya Ramadurgam, Ashish Raj, Vishal Pratap Singh, Upasana Dangi

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1 NG9-1-1 for Managed VoIP Services Team Members: Aditya Ramadurgam, Ashish Raj, Vishal Pratap Singh, Upasana Dangi A Capstone paper submitted as partial fulfilment for the Degree of Masters in Telecommunications at the University of Colorado at Boulder Faculty Advisor: Dr. Dale N. Hatfield

2 Abstract Response to emergency calls can be most effective if the correct location of the caller is known to the responder. The current E9-1-1 architecture poses challenges for location tracking for E9-1-1 callers from managed Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). In order to provide efficient emergency response, location identification capabilities for managed VoIP networks must be improved. This capstone paper focuses on determining the limitations of managed VoIP environments for E9-1-1 calls and provides a high level framework for dynamic location determination of a VoIP E9-1-1 caller to relay it to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). In order to understand the limitations, the network faces due to the use of legacy technologies such as Time Division Multiplexing (TDM); we implemented a managed VoIP network and documented the issues we observed. We also analyzed various VoIP E9-1-1 software available in the industry that provide the location of a VoIP caller to the PSAPs. As a resolution/addition, we studied the possibility of the Global Positioning System (GPS) integration with managed VoIP services to improve location tracking and addressed the challenges associated with the integration. Based on the results from our capstone, we conclude that GPS, with its significant progress, can be used to provide dynamic location of a VoIP caller to the PSAP responder in an end-to-end IP environment.

3 Table of Contents I. Introduction... 1 i. Introduction and Background... 1 ii. Research Problem... 2 iii. Research-Sub Problems... 2 iv. Scope of the Study... 2 II. Literature Review... 3 III. Research Methodology... 6 IV. Research Results... 8 i. CAMA and PRI Lines... 8 ii. Single routable DID and shared phone lines... 9 iii VoIP Software CER and RedSky Cisco Emergency Responder... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2. RedSky... Error! Bookmark not defined. iv. Concerns raised during Interviews v. GPS vendors NextNav and iposi vi. New Architecture for dynamic location tracking V. Discussion of Results VI. Conclusion and Future Research VII. References Index of Figures Figure 1: VoIP call signaling message has no location information field... 9 Figure 2: Proposed Architecture for VoIP and GPS Integration. Error! Bookmark not defined.8

4 I. Introduction i. Introduction and Background Enterprise VoIP services are unlike traditional wireline and wireless phones, as VoIP phones inside a managed environment are Internet Protocol (IP) based solutions and offer mobility to the end users. Traditionally, an E9-1-1 call originated from a VoIP endpoint is directed through analog lines or Primary Rate Interfaces (PRIs) to the Public Safety Answer Points (PSAPs) and these PSAPs look through their databases to determine the location of the caller based on the calling number. The continued use of analog platforms implies the failure of services to keep on par with emerging communication technologies, as IP solutions allow for greater mobility than the fixed landline phones and, therefore, should not rely on fixed databases anymore. This research paper proposes to address the limitations of the use of analog line solutions for E9-1-1 calls for managed VoIP endpoints and suggests measures to improve the framework for location tracking services of the E9-1-1 calls for enterprise managed VoIP deployments. Typically, an E9-1-1 call made from an enterprise VoIP phone, goes through a Centralized Automatic Message Accounting (CAMA) trunk to the PSAPs, which is essentially an analog line, not an IP solution. The PSAPs then map the Caller ID with an associated address in a database to determine the location of the caller. Historically and till date, the E9-1-1 services are primarily dependent upon manual databases to provide location information of the caller. In this paper, we introduce a solution to avoid the dependency of analog lines to track the location of a call from a managed enterprise VoIP endpoint, and rather use an end-toend IP solution. In addition, we propose few methods to perform dynamic location tracking 1

5 of the calling endpoint from an enterprise VoIP solution, which will present an alternative against a manual database lookup for location services for a call from a physical VoIP endpoint inside a managed VoIP enterprise solution. ii. Research Problem To improve the location tracking capabilities of an E9-1-1 caller from an enterprise managed VoIP service by avoiding dependency on analog lines and incorporating next-gen features such as GPS to dynamically locate an E9-1-1 caller from managed VoIP services. iii. Research-Sub Problems In an attempt to propose a solution to improve location tracking services for E9-1-1 calls from managed enterprise VoIP solutions, following sub-problems have been identified: a. Issues with location tracking for calls originating from managed VoIP endpoints when placed through CAMA/PRI lines. b. Limitations due to single routable Direct Inward Dial (DID) number and shared VoIP phone lines when integrating with CAMA/PRI lines or newer software such as Cisco Emergency Responder (CER) and RedSky. c. Location tracking features of VoIP software applications such as RedSky and CER and their limitations. d. Research the possibility of using existing or advanced GPS solutions for location identification of a call from a VoIP endpoint and determine the possibility for integration of the same with the managed VoIP architecture. 2

6 e. Propose a high level framework to merge the GPS solution with managed VoIP services for E iv. Scope of the Study The research is limited to the limitations of E9-1-1 calls originated from VoIP soft and hard endpoints inside a managed VoIP network. In addition, the research is limited to the architecture of the United States. II. Literature Review Telecommunications is no longer based on fixed locations [1], rather the location of the user is mobile, which is evident with the demise of analog landline phones and increase in the usage of cellular and IP phones. With fixed landline architectures, the caller s location is easily determined by referring to the user database of all the landline numbers and their billing address. However, for VoIP phone users there is no accurate method available to determine their location. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) states that 72.7 percent of calls are made from wireless phones and an average of 56 percent of wireless calls [2] are made from indoor locations. Also, with a wide spread usage of smartphones and VoIP phones the statistics mentioned above are predicted to go higher in the near future and location tracking in those particularly challenged area need to be accurate to track the exact/precise location of callers [2]. The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) VoIP Deployment and Operational Guidelines relies on the usage of location databases for translating a VoIP call 3

7 into an address for the location determination of an E9-1-1 call [3]. However, the dependency on a database is not always reliable as the VoIP networks lack physical mapping of caller ID to a fixed location; and database might not have the latest mapping of the network. In the FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 2005, the FCC realized that there are VoIP services that pose a significant challenge for E9-1-1 implementation as compared to landline or cellular devices [4]. FCC cited the limitation as, IP communications are routed to devices and not geographic locations [4]. In this research paper, we want to propose a new architecture to remove the dependency on legacy technologies such as analog lines and the user database of all the landline numbers and their billing address. We wish to explore new possibilities of incorporating technologies such as GPS in the architecture for managed VoIP services to provide dynamic location tracking capabilities. Although, time and again GPS solutions have been put forward to alleviate the situation [5], challenges continue to remain in this implementation such as indoor signal for GPS, number of satellites to get a true fix of the location, and time to get the first fix [6]. The Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council III (CSRIC) recently determined that although indoors location tracking has shown significant improvements, the results obtained lead to a requirement of additional development [7]. In March 2013, the CSRIC Working Group 3 (WG3) issued a report discussing the results of the CSRIC test bed involving three GPS vendors Qualcomm, Polaris, and NextNav. Testing was carried out in four different environments such as Dense Urban, Urban, Suburban and Rural environments and the WG3 reports that all technologies tested demonstrated relatively high yield and various levels of accuracy in indoor environments [5]. This report also consists of 4

8 recommendations put forth by WG3 on how best to tackle the improvements for indoor location accuracy. This report stated that the beacon technology used by NextNav is novel and had the capability to provide vertical location information. The technology enables the first responders to approximate the floor-level accuracy while the two other technologies, Assisted GPS/Advanced Forward Link Trilateration (AGPS/AFLT) and RF Fingerprinting adopted by Polaris and Qualcomm, are already in commonplace for emergency services [5]. In addition, the CSRIC Indoor Location Test Bed Report also stated that the participating vendors are currently working towards improvement on their location technology and that the vendors are considering advancements to improve location tracking. Taking the efforts of CSRIC and the GPS vendors in consideration, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on February 21, 2014 that sets the standards for indoor location tracking requirements. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking summarized the following points: [2]. a. Horizontal location (x and y axis) within of 50 meters of the caller for 67 percent of the calls placed from indoor environments within two years, and 80 percent of indoor calls within five years [2]. b. Vertical location (z-axis) within 3 meters of the caller for 67 percent of the calls placed from indoor environments within two years, and 80 percent of indoor calls within five years [2]. c. Vendors would demonstrate compliance with the above set standards by participating in an independently administered test bed program modeled by CSRIC [2]. 5

9 d. PSAPs can seek Commission enforcement of these requirements within their jurisdiction, but only as long as they have implemented location bid/rebid policies that are designed to obtain all location information [2]. During our research, we found that two vendors, iposi and NextNav have claimed to produce promising results in terms of horizontal and vertical location accuracy in different environments. iposi is a company based in Denver and Boulder, Colorado that focuses on developing accurate mobile and fixed indoor positioning via Assisted GPS (AGPS). NextNav is a company based in Sunnyvale, California that focuses to solve the indoor positioning problems by creating a nation-wide footprint of beacons that assist in location tracking. Based on our interview with the senior management at iposi (see page 22: List of Interviewees from iposi Management) and an analysis of WG3 report on CSRIC test bed for NextNav, we have evaluated the viability of using these positioning solutions for VoIP endpoints. We have discussed our findings in the Research Results section below. The hypothesis made by us is that, in spite of the challenges traditional GPS poses for location determination in dense indoor environment, there are some solutions in the market that make GPS a better candidate for a long term solution for tracking E9-1-1 calls made from VoIP endpoints. In this capstone paper, we have put forth a framework that possibly extends GPS technologies to VoIP endpoints to provide dynamic locations of E9-1-1 calls to the PSAPs, thus removing dependencies on manual databases for accurate location identification of the emergency callers. III. Research Methodology 6

10 To resolve the first sub-problem as described in bullet a on page 2, we studied the signaling standards of CAMA trunks and PRI lines. We replicated an enterprise VoIP setup in the lab with Cisco Unified Communications Manager (PBX), and routed the calls through PRI lines to PSTN, and studied the various fields in ISDN signaling standard to check the viability to include location information. The aim of the implementation was to observe the limitations due to the use of CAMA trunk lines to deliver the E9-1-1 calls to the PSAPs from managed VoIP networks. To resolve the second and third sub-problems as described in bullet b and c on page 2, we studied the current state-of-the-art solutions for managed VoIP environments namely Cisco Emergency Responder and RedSky. The study was done to recognize the software functionality, implementation, and requirements in real-world scenarios for identifying the location of E9-1-1 calls. The study focused on three aspects for the software: a. Features provided. b. Solution offered for a single Automatic Number Identification (ANI) representation for the whole company to PSAP, irrespective of location. c. Location determination method to track soft VoIP endpoints. In order to validate our findings, we interviewed eminent personalities from the E9-1-1 and public safety community. The scope of the interview was to primarily address VoIP deployments and its challenges for E9-1-1 calls with regards to mobility and dynamic location. To deal with the fourth sub-problem as described in bullet d on page 2, the research paper identifies two companies namely, NextNav and iposi which claim to provide better 7

11 GPS accuracy with proven reliability either in lab experiments or test environments. These GPS solutions claim to provide sufficient 2D and 3D accuracy indoors, as well. The technical viability of these vendors has been studied and identified with respect to FCC regulations for and challenges associated to GPS indoors. To deal with the fifth sub-problem as described in bullet e on page 3, we have proposed a technical frame-work for integrating GPS technologies with existing software VoIP solutions. The new frame-work will help supply real-time location tracking information to the PSAPs on an IP backbone. We evaluated technologies that may enable us to deliver the location through IP backbone, and designed a high-level architecture proposing a complete end-to-end integration to relay the E9-1-1 call to the correct PSAP. IV. Research Results i. CAMA and PRI Lines Currently, CAMA/PRI trunk lines are widely used in telephony backbone for calls. CAMA trunk lines provide the location information of the E9-1-1 caller through the DID number or the Caller-ID number, which is essentially a publically routable number. The CAMA trunk lines search against a database to identify the billing location and identify the caller s address through the Calling number received. This approach does not serve the VoIP phones efficiently as a VoIP endpoint mostly identifies a person, not the device itself [6]. The implication is that the location of an individual is no more limited to a single station. He / She can login into any VoIP device within an organization and be able use the same DID number from any part of the U.S. or the world. In our PRI based enterprise VoIP lab 8

12 simulation, we did not find any header in the signaling message that can be used to provide location information. Figure 1 contains the header information fields. Figure 1: VoIP call signaling message has no location information field ii. Single Routable DID and Shared Phone Lines The traditional E9-1-1 solution using CAMA lines does not help if a call is made from a shared line number from a VoIP phone. A shared line implies two or more physical devices or VoIP phones sharing a single DID number. Two or more VoIP shared line phones can reside in the same building, different buildings or even different cities. The location tracking for these endpoints renders the old system of finding location useless. It is because it is not possible anymore to lookup for the caller s address in the database against the Caller ID number. iii VoIP Software CER and RedSky Software such as Cisco Emergency Responder (CER) and RedSky are extensively used in enterprise VoIP environment to manage E9-1-1 calls 1. Cisco Emergency Responder: 9

13 In its current architecture, CER is integrated with Enterprise Call manager, through Java Telephony API. When a user dials 9-1-1, the call is first routed to the CER software, where it finds corresponding Emergency Location Identifier Number (ELIN). After which the CER replaces the calling number (ANI) by ELIN and sends it to the service providers. The service providers provide the ELIN to the PSAPs and the PSAPs look through Automatic Location Information (ALI) database for the correct Emergency Response Location (ERL) and call back number. CER tracks users based on IP subnets and switchport for on-premise users. A network administrator typically maps various parts of the building to different DID numbers, which are mapped to the ALI database [7]. Location tracking mechanism for an off-premise user, such as an employee using softphone on his desktop is different. Off-premise users need to enter location information manually before the phone registration. However, it is not mandatory, and the phone can work even without this information entered [7]. If a user enters his information, it seems like an efficient method for location tracking but it has the following drawbacks: a. CER cannot support multi-vendor switching platforms; it works only with Cisco switches to do MAC based tracking to determine the change in location of the device. b. Soft-phone clients cannot do accurate call routing for off-premise users. c. In the case of a shared line phone calling center, the ELIN number sent out will ring back all the devices of a shared line in case of a call back. d. In case of soft-phone clients, the E9-1-1 caller/user is responsible for reporting his/her own location, which may be prone to errors. 2. RedSky: 10

14 RedSky is another leading organization that provides software solutions for managed enterprise VoIP environment. Its initial implementation like the CER, is based on dividing a building logically into multiple network regions or groups, each with a different set of IP addresses for location determination of a VoIP endpoint. Based upon the caller s IP address, call servers determine the network region of the VoIP endpoint and associate that network region with an ELIN which triggers the correct ALI record at the PSAP. In large multistory buildings where network region planning is not feasible a layer 2 port level discovery method is used, known as Network Discovery. With Network Discovery, each port on a switch is assigned an ERL and an ELIN and exact location of an IP phone can be found by identifying the port and network device that the phone is plugged into [8]. Off-Premise users need to provide manual self-location information whenever they register their VoIP endpoint to the E9-1-1 manager [8]. The RedSky approach for location tracking is not vendor-specific, but like CER it has some inherent drawbacks. a. A Network Administrator needs to make many crucial decisions and understand network complexity in order to provide location information. The Network Administrator needs to reserve the IP Pool and keep the records for each region and needs to have granular information of the network topology. b. Network Discovery and IP addressing are not effective if VoIP endpoints are latched to the network wirelessly. iv. Concerns Raised During Interviews 11

15 During our research, we interviewed people from the community and the VoIP industry. A complete list of interviewees is mentioned in the Reference section (see page 22: List of Interviewees). We found that the concerns raised were aligned with our research subproblems and are as follows: a. Shortcomings of CAMA / PRI lines: Most people think that when they call 9-1-1, their location information is being relayed to the appropriate PSAPs but in reality the only data is the Caller ID. The Caller ID field only contains static mapping and in many cases, the number is mapped to a single DID number representing the whole enterprise and typically spanning multiple buildings or locations. The Caller ID or the ANI field does not prove to be efficient in that case. b. Technical challenges associated to mobility/nomadic VoIP users: To address the challenge related to mobility, the interviewees had a common view that most of the VoIP software require manual address entry. The challenge with this approach is that often it is not practical for users to update the location changes every time upon movement. Some software applications also mention the limitation for calling in their disclaimer statements, but almost all of the time a user ignores the disclaimer. c. Limitations of available software: The panel almost unanimously stated that, If the VoIP software is configured correctly, the proper location can be determined from CallerID. But they also asserted that it requires very detailed and careful planning by the Network Administrator designing the system for the managed VoIP services. One more 12

16 common issue that came out during the interviews was that many managed VoIP Network Administrators configure calling as or calling, which may cause confusion among callers. The extra prefix of 9 or 8 is configured for calls out of the enterprise intranet. d. GPS technologies and challenges: The major challenges put forward in regards to GPS were time to fix, signal fading inside dense urban indoors, and accuracy levels of the current GPS technology. The interviewees recognized that using GPS for any communication technology either VoIP or wireless, present the same set of challenges. Although much work has been done and is still going on in that direction, there is no reliable and proven technology that is currently available in the market that they are aware of. e. TDM to IP transition: Although the FCC has taken a positive step in the direction of TDM to IP transition, yet most of the efforts are in the planning stages, and less has been done to implement those transitions. There is a lack of funding and incentives for the state agencies, the service providers, and the technology manufacturers to implement the transition. The interviewees also stated that though the transition needs to be encouraged, maintaining support to existing services is critical during this transition period. v. GPS vendors NextNav and iposi 13

17 NextNav uses a terrestrial positioning constellation with a nation-wide footprint of beacons that provide highly accurate horizontal and vertical positions of the caller [9]. NextNav beacon signals synchronize themselves at a coarse level using GPS [9]. The receivers use a chipset that is responsible for locking onto the best receiving beacon and calculate the horizontal position taking the beacons as a reference point [9]. Also, these receivers compute vertical position based on barometer sensors and NextNav encodes real time environmental reference information in position data payload [9]. On the other hand, iposi claims to have a reference design featuring a software designed Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) radio the host processor processes the location data. Given a good operational environment and calibration, both the vendors claim to provide location positioning systems for wireless users and small cells, but we feel that VoIP services can integrate with the embedded chips, as well. Since NextNav uses a receiver that is integrated with the device, VoIP phone providers will need to embed these receivers within the device to provision the software needed for calculations. NextNav uses its own receivers/software integrated with the device, and the location information processed by the chipset will be relayed to the concerned destination as an overlay service on NextNav s standalone network. Whereas, iposi claims that if the VoIP handset is installed with their proprietary embedded chip / software, the handset could be located three-dimensionally (3D) within minutes, and it continues to survey so that the software can achieve optimal accuracy and improves with time. The incremental cost of the handset is claimed to be less than the cost of standalone GPS that is otherwise not designed to overcome deep signal fading inside most buildings. 14

18 According to the WG3 report, NextNav in dense urban environment has a horizontal accuracy ranging between 57 meters for 67 percent of calls to 102 meters for 90 percent of calls and in a rural environment NextNav has a horizontal accuracy ranging between 28 meters for 67 percent of calls to 45 meters for 90 percent of calls [10]. In addition to the horizontal accuracy, NextNav claims to have a vertical accuracy of 1-3 meters that are well within standards expected by the FCC [9]. iposi uses an augmented GPS assistance along with the computation resource of the handset to achieve indoor location in areas where the GNSS signal strength is -175dBm, and it claims to have an accuracy of 25 meters for 67 percent of calls [11]. In terms of vertical accuracy, iposi has claimed an accuracy of 10 meters. During our interview iposi has stated that it plans to exploit a joint GNSS-barometric sensor measurement method that incorporates indoor air pressure sensing with 3D GNSS measurements to improve the vertical position accuracy. The mobile small cell (or VoIP endpoint) device pressure can, therefore, be referenced to gauge its pressure relative to a static indoor point with a conjoined GNSS 3D/pressure reference. Both vendors have claimed to achieve the optimal accuracy levels after extensive testing in various types of environments. For NextNav, testing has been performed by TechnoCom according to the CSRIC test plan in Dense Urban, Urban, Sub-urban, and Rural environments. iposi has conducted their tests in Dense Urban, Urban, Sub-urban and Rural areas in locations such as basements, mid and higher floors in urban areas, old and new construction, though it has not yet been tested by CSRIC. Both the vendors use a standalone chip that processes the location information, and for that reason each VoIP endpoint needs to have its own receiver to relay location information. The method outlined above may also work well in the case of remote users logging into a 15

19 soft VoIP endpoint from home and the remote endpoint in this case needs to have the receiver housed on it. Based on our analysis and interviews with these GPS vendors, we have identified three major challenges: Time to First Fix (TTFF), 2D or 3D positioning, and Multipath problem. Both the vendors have tackled these challenges in the following ways. Time to first fix is an important criterion in determining the efficiency of the positioning system because it determines the time it takes for the system to fix on a particular location signal. NextNav claims a fast TTFF of 6 seconds, but in the CSRIC test bed NextNav has achieved a TTFF between 27 to 28 seconds [5]. iposi claims a TTFF of a couple of minutes. Further, 3D positioning plays a major role as it gives the first responders better chance of attending the caller because they can identify the approximate location of the caller and both vendors claim to provide both 2D and 3D positioning location information [12] [11]. Multipath can cause erroneous results if the distance between the receiver and location infrastructure is long. NextNav dealt with this problem in the CSRIC test bed by placing the location infrastructure close to the receiver [5]. iposi deals with this challenge by averaging over time and using additional methods to mitigate diffraction. vi. New Architecture for Dynamic Location Tracking Considering the shortcomings of the current system for managed VoIP services in regards to shared lines, single DID, mobility, etc., we propose a new architecture which may help to overcome the challenges associated with calls from Managed VoIP environments. With the current advancements in the GPS industry as outlined in the preceding sections, we believe that it is possible to integrate GPS into the enterprise VoIP 16

20 architecture to provide real-time and absolute location of E9-1-1 calls to the PSAPs. The advantages will be three-fold: a. It will help to remove the dependence on manual database entries to map location to numbers. b. It will help to resolve issues with shared phone lines or a single DID number for a branch office by delivering real-time location. c. For off-premise users, we will not need a manual entry from the user to identify their location. Figure 2 outlines a high-level overview of the proposed architecture. Explanation of Architecture: Figure 2 assumes that the telephony backbone is IP/SIP enabled. The IP phone is embedded with GPS/AGPS enabled chip, which can provide location information in the form of 2D/3D GPS co-ordinates even in dense urban environments. This location information can be embedded with the Call signaling information and can be incorporated in the Geolocation header of SIP signaling protocol. It is proposed that the Geolocation header information be included every time in call signaling parameters. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) draft for SIP Geolocation header defines location information in two ways, location by Reference (LbyR) and Location by Value (LbyV) [13]. The NENA i3 recommendations for Next Generation systems also discuss the same in their draft as well [14]. GPS technologies such as NextNav or iposi will enable an IP endpoint to send the location by LbyV in the SIP SDP Geolocation header, which we believe is much more ideal as compared to LbyR. Typically the location value will be there in the "locationuri, cid-url field" [13]. 17

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