Q- What are POTS lines?

A- POTS lines are analog telephone lines.  POTS stands for Plain Old Telephone Service, which are constant current, analog telephone lines that run into residential and business buildings.  It consists of a single, twisted pair of wires, and is extremely robust in operation. No power is ever required to call out or receive calls on analog phone lines.  In emergency situations, like power outages caused by wildfires, earthquakes, or other natural disasters, analog phone lines continue to operate, so they are often used for emergency dialing services.

Q- Do businesses still use POTS lines, and why do they need them?

A- Up until recently, almost all businesses utilized POTS lines for the office.  Now voice over the network, or VOIP, has taken over most installations.  But POTS lines have several features that VOIP phones lack….. robust no-power operation and vital caller location reporting.  When a customer dials an emergency 911 call, these analog lines automatically transmit the calling party’s location to emergency responders, helping to direct them to the place of the call.  This service does not exist for VOIP telephones, therefore businesses usually keep some POTS lines installed and route emergency calls through those for automatic location identification.  This location reporting is vital for first responders and emergency dispatch centers.

Q- How does POTTR test a phone line?

A- POTTR performs several tests on a phone line to determine if it is operational or not. POTTR can determine if a phone line is broken or disconnected, if the wires are shorted or defective, if the phone line has been disconnected by the telephone company, if someone is using the phone line, and even if that phone has been left off the hook for an extended period of time. These tests can be conducted at regular intervals to make sure the phone line is in good working order, and this status is reported back through your network monitoring software.

Q- Can POTTR detect when a phone line is being used?

A- POTTR is available in two versions which are focused on different types of use cases.

The POTTR 210 is used for installations where the POTS lines are available for general use. Maybe it’s a fax line or a security reporting line that is used occasionally by some type of equipment. POTTR 210 does extensive line checks to make sure the phone line is alive and has a working dialtone on it.

The POTTR 220 is used for installations where the POTS lines are only used for emergency 911 dialing. This is common in public transit locations or elevators. POTTR 220 reports immediate line status to indicate disconnected or off-hook (in-use) conditions, so that emergency situations can be identified and acted upon.

Q- How does POTTR report errors or status?

A- POTTR works with all standard SNMP monitoring software, including SolarWinds, PRTG, and Nagios.  Most company networks use a SNMP monitor program to regularly scan and check hardware, and POTTR works seamlessly with any network monitoring system. Simply add POTTR as a SNMP monitored device and it will report phone line status. Detailed register and operational configuration information is also available for manual setups.

Contact us for more information on how POTTR can specifically help address your organization. We are dedicated to providing the best service and product possible.