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What’s IP-based, cost efficient and rapidly replacing Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) infrastructure? That would be 4G LTE. Over the past few years, many organizations are moving towards deploying newer technologies like 4G LTE instead of legacy POTS lines to use for Out-of-Band (OOB) connectivity or site backup. Opengear has been on the front of the technology wave, providing embedded cellular as part of our Out-of-Band offering since 2010. We understand the ins and outs of this technology boom- like how LTE allows for Smart Out-of-Band™ (Smart OOB) to be easily implemented into any infrastructure with its reliable, fast and secure failover for wireless connections.

Using POTS Lines

Remember the 80’s and 90’s and those sweet sounds of modems training up to provide blazing fast connections of 38400 Baud? Now do you remember the disconnects during downloads, the no answers and the busy signals? These memories are starting to quickly become not so fond. Do you want to run your OOB emergency access to infrastructure like this? Most would say no. The truth is carriers want to move away from POTS due to the cost of maintaining copper lines. This cost is passed on to you if you happen to be in an area where you can still get a POTS line. Most office phone connections today are now VOIP and running POTS over VOIP can be challenging as well. All of the these have contributed to the decline of POTS usage, in fact, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is vying for POTS lines to transition to wireless connectivity – which most already seem to be doing. The National Health Center has projected that only 6% of the population are actually using POTS lines.1

Top 3 Reasons For the Replacing POTS Lines
  1. Maintenance: The Communication Workers of America reports that many phone companies aren’t consistently repairing phone lines due to the cost, which delays how quickly linemen are sent out on calls. It’s estimated that $13 billion is spent every year to maintain old telephone networks – and from that kind of investment the benefits gained in return aren’t notable.2 In fact, in 2018 carriers including Verizon and AT&T will no longer have to install or maintain existing POTS lines. This means that POTS lines services and maintenance prices, which already are high, may increase. The Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) states that there’s disincentive for phone companies to spend on infrastructure.
  2. Inclement Weather: Rain, lightning strikes, snow and tornadoes, when inclement weather strikes, many times phone companies are left to try and quickly remediate the issue not knowing where to start when the damage is excessive. In just a matter of seconds, these weather events can take out a landline.
  3. Costs: When it comes to maintaining POTS lines it can become costly with all of the purchasing needed for onsite hardware, IT resources needed for reconfigures and power cycle modems that are not responding. On average, it can cost $50 to $100 per month to have one POTS line and keep in mind you need two, one calling line and one answering line. Anyone that has already invested in the infrastructure can head on over to POTS to cellular return on investment (ROI) calculator to see how cellular will pay for itself.
Failover to Cellular by Opengear

Opengear has made the most dependable console server which can be seen within the features of each device. Our console servers enable uninterrupted availability for remote networks utilizing 4G LTE for either OOB needs or failover needs and remediates network issues remotely by providing a cellular backup to small remote sites. Need more reasons to switch to cellular?

  • Opengear’s IP interface is always available, but we also provide other options to have it deactivated by default and utilize SMS or Failover mechanisms for activation. This allows you to control when the IP address is reachable, eliminating unwanted guests. In addition, we also have a built-in firewall to allow you to tightly control who has access when the interface is active. Being an IP interface you can also monitor it with network tools ensuring maximum availability and visibility.
  • It’s inexpensive! Carrier plans start as low as $5/month for 1 MB of data. That doesn’t sound like much in today’s world – but for OOB purposes, it’s a great start. Your average SSH session to a router console to issue some commands run from 200 to 400k worth of data! If you do need more data, you can raise the data plan to accommodate your needs. Below are some going rates for the major carriers in the US:

Don’t take our word for it, reach out to your carrier of choice and ask them about their Machine 2 Machine plans for IoT devices. If you do plan on using Opengear as a failover connection, you will need to choose a data rate plan accordingly because there is more data than just for OOB usage.

  • Opengear devices provide both Out-of-Band and Failover to Cellular™ (F2C) capabilities. This allows you to not only use it for Out-of-Band, but also as a backup data circuit using the LTE interface as an internet connection, or if you add in IPSEC/VPN back to your main site, a backup link. This will allow your users to stay connected at remote locations if and when the primary WAN service were to go down.

Make your job easier. Don’t rely on antiquated modems and traditional lines as your troubleshoot, backup connection. Upgrade yourself to Opengear’s OOB and failover to increase your network’s resiliency using our embedded cellular technology. This means better availability, reliability, dependability monitoring and performance – all at a fraction of the cost of a POTS line connection.

To learn more about Smart Out-of-Band and F2C by Opengear, please watch our demo video.