911 doesn't work, try a FAX

At the last NANOG several folks chuckled when I pointed out that
many real emergency plans include sending a FAX as a backup when
the phones don't work. I thought I would pass this news story along.


This is why HAM radios and the appropriate licenses can come in very
handy, especially in cases of emergency or natural disaster. Does anyone
in the business use RF for backup communications?

To make things worse, many of the new CLECs don't have adiquite trunking
to the 911 tandems or PSAPs. Many of my CLEC customers try to only run the
minimum number or channels to get approved. Most of them also run all of
the 911 over the same circuit or if they have more then one, out of the
same MUX.

So, don't count on much working during an emergency with deregulation
many times comes less stable networks.

Faxes tend to be on analog phone lines. They will still work even
when a companies phone system is down.


I've found, from my experience, they tend to be on analog PORTS on phone systems (e.g., they're given a DID in the PBX, but it just comes out on an analog port instead of a digital one).

Thus, if the PBX dies, so do most of the fax machines, at least in larger companies...


You mean we're not ALL licensed amateurs? :wink:

Well, there tend to be at least one HAM on shift here at any

  My network my not be the scale of many here, but due to the
local we have an active recovery plan. We see high winds (gusts
clocked at 100+mph during a *normal* winter storm), etc often. We can
expect power failures > 30 min at least twice a month during the
winter. Broken lines due to water contamination in the cables and
snowplows eating those little green boxes are common. Summer is not
so bad, but the other 7 months are not fun.

  Standard setup for all our network facilities includes, onsite
cell phone, onsite direct analog phone, 2 hrs minimum UPS power, in
most cases an onsite battery bank/inverter setup and/or standby
generator. All contact numbers are posted in multiple places on

  At the first floor locations we have gone so far as to rig a
external charging option, to allow the battery bank to be charged by a
vehicle. (Have had several issues with generatore, including a
generator shack getting buried in drifted snow, and a block cracking
when autostart kicked in at -50F)