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19 April 2010

Phone Line Sharing: Top 5 Applications

1. Point-of-Sale system integration
2. Remote out-of-band access for network equipment
3. Automated meter reading
4. Fuel tank monitoring
5. Small Office/Home Office phone line consolidation

1. POS systems in fast paced retail environments typically use broadband for transaction processing. In many cases, dial-up modems are used as back-up in case of a network outage. Paying for a dedicated phone line for emergency use only is costly and wasteful. Multi-unit restaurant and department store chains save thousands of dollars annually by installing a phone line sharing device with a fax line and POS back-up line and significantly reduce fixed telecom costs. In a scenario with fewer POS transactions (only a few per day), a dial-up line is more economical. Sharing this line with a fax or phone is a practical way to lower overhead costs while processing sales normally.

2. When the network is down and normal in-band access is denied, how do you recover the network equipment? Remote Out-of-band access to serial console ports provides an efficient back door method for recovery. This can be through the use of a backup dial-up modem via the PSTN. However, paying for a phone line that you hope you never use is expensive.

Phone line sharing saves money for IT departments and MNS groups by eliminating costly phone lines dedicated for out-of-band dial up access to remote network equipment. Fixed telecom costs are dramatically reduced and a 3 month R.O.I. is typical. In addition to savings, the Polnet ACP is engineered to provide an additional layer of security to connected devices. Vulnerable pathways to equipment via the PSTN are protected by programmable Security Access Codes up to seven characters. There are over 35 million combinations to choose from, effectively creating a telephony firewall for dial-up connections.

3. Automated meter reading, or AMR, is the technology of automatically collecting consumption, diagnostic, and status data from energy metering devices (water, gas, electric) and transferring that data to a central database for billing, troubleshooting, and analyzing. This advance mainly saves utility providers the expense of periodic trips to each physical location to read a meter. Further savings can be achieved by sharing a POTS line for dial-up modems with multiple on-site meters and RTU’s. Installing nine devices on one phone is more cost effective than having nine individual lines to pay for.

4. Fuel tank monitoring is a method by which underground fuel tanks are measured for capacity and leak detection. Multiple modems connected to gauges can be accessed with only one phone line with a phone line sharing device. C-stores are a prime user as well as industrial fueling stations for commercial, government, and military use.

5. SOHO’s have always been a major consumer of phone line sharing. The basic set-up of the home office has remained unchanged over the years with the phone, PC, and ubiquitous fax machine, or all-in-one with fax capability, as the essential business tools. Phone line sharing devices such as The Stick have been equally important, helping to save the small business owner as much as $600 a year just by consolidating the fax and phone on the same line.