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From Analog to Digital Easing the transition The advent of new technologies or innovative processes al ways pu sh t h e edg e s of P rog re ss. The Sto n e Ag e p rov i d e d i m p rove d t o o l s ; t h e B ro n z e Ag e a d d e d unprecedented strength, and the Iron Age fostered unparalleled advancements in material sciences. All of these compounded and, ultimately, led up to the First Industrial Revolution. The world has since witnessed the Second, Third and now a Fourth Industrial Revolution. At the heart of this advancement is the near-obsessive commitment to new digital technologies. (also known as the IP Transition), analog Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) are being phased out and replaced by IP networks to obtain improved signal quality, increased speeds, longer lifecycles and reduced overall maintenance. A portion of this IP Transition is focused on assets such as fax machines, monitoring equipment and phones that still rely on analog networks despite the carrier’s migration to digital networks. What is Analog vs Digital? The First Industrial Revolution, largely driven by water- and The introduction of wireless and/or cellular technology steam-power, resulted in the mechanization of production— in the 1990s has steadily replaced analog phone lines the act of producing materials and goods. The speed and t o t h e p o i n t t h a t , a c c o rd i n g t o H a r va rd B u s i n e s s accuracy with which companies were able to make products Review, as few as 20% of homes use analog lines today. had an almost atomic effect on the world. Those who were As a result, in 2014 the FCC began asking carriers to unable to keep up were quickly swallowed by the changing submit research proposals. The goal was to test and technological tide. The Second Industrial Revolution find effective ways to help migrate customers away displaced water- and steam-powered machines with f ro m a n a l o g n e t wo r k s . I n J u l y, t h e F C C m a d e a n electric power and, combined with division of labor, gave announcement allowing network operators to shift rise to a new era of mass production. Companies that away from legacy networks to IP-based services were unable to make the shift were pushed to more quickly and efficiently than before. Legacy the side. Following the same pattern, the Third copper line networks, according to a 2013 Industrial Revolution did the same thing re p o r t re l e a s e d by B e l l L a bs , a re pois ed As few when it took automated production to s u n s e t i n 2 02 5 . P rev i o u s regu lat ion s as 20% of to the next level via electronic and m a d e t h e t ra n s i t i o n c u m b e r s o m e a n d informational technologies. d i ffi c u l t f o r t h e n e t wo r k o p e ra t o r s t o homes use make the switch, which may have negatively Much of the world is currently witnessing analog lines impacted customers in terms of pricing, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, otherwise signal strength and availability. Under the today. known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Like new guidelines, operators can have their Harvard Business those b efore it , t h is revol ut i on ha s t he applications automatically granted as long Review pote ntial to b oost g l ob a l i ncom e l eve l s, as they can provide comparable network increase productivity and improve quality of life performance metrics, ensure access to 911 services across the globe. However, unlike the revolutions and confirm that their services are compatible with that preceded it, the IoT is characterized not by any select home security systems, medical devices, credit card technology, but by a technological synthesis of digital, readers and fax machines. physical and biological systems. Understandably, this new set of systems is putting increasing demands on Just as each revolution improved or evolved the technology legacy communication networks and sparking the need for o f p rev i o u s i t e ra t i o n s , t h e I P Tra n s i t i o n h a s b e e n new Internet protocol (IP) networks. In tandem with IoT replacing legacy analog phone lines in favor of digital lines. “ ” In the past, analog phone lines have ruled over the Expense communications sector due to the role played by phone Although implementing any type of new service or process co mpan ies in dat a t ra nsm i ssi on. Ana l og l i n e s , a l s o comes with a price tag, the price of passivity is much steeper referred to as “Plain Old Telephone Service” (POTS), than moving forward with new technology. For instance, transmit information by modulating continuous signals analog communication data lines, according to James Brehm (i.e. voice and video). Analog lines support a multitude & Associates, already cost between 4 and 10 times more to of devices and machines, including standard home run than cellular lines— and are expected to double in price phones, fax machines and modems, and are typically in the near future. found in hospitals, pharmacies, homes and small offices. The remaining analog customers largely consist of The majority of those costs have to do with maintenance. older residents in rural areas. Digital lines, which are According to Larry Downes, Internet industry analyst and m o re promin en t in l a rg e r corp orate offices , project director of The Georgetown Center for break the signals into bits of data Business and Public Policy, nearly 50% of wireline ex p re s s e d i n b i n a r y c o d e . D e s p i t e expenses went towards maintenance in 2013. analog lines being part of the “Old Current operating expenses for IP networks Both Guard” communication technologies, can be as much as 90% less than operating businesses d i g i t a l t ra n s m i s s i o n h o l d s s t ro n g costs for POTS lines. Copper lines also advantages, such as improved line have shorter lifecycles when compared and end users will quality and increased data capacity. to fiber lines and are more expensive to migrate from POTS install and or replace. Analog circuits require amplifiers “ towards IP & wireless which add distortion and noise to Coverage the signal, resulting in transmission communications Another challenge to the analog-toerrors. In comparison, digital amplifiers over the next digital migration arises from the enormous regenerate signals, exactly and eliminate scale on which it’s occurring. It’s occurring cumulative errors. With digital amplifiers, decade. on a global scale and both urban and rural incoming signals are sampled, their value residents are affected. Residents and businesses determined, and a new signal is generated in rural areas still heavily rely on traditional copper from the bit value—whereas analog signals networks and phone lines in order to conduct business amplify both the noise and the data values. In addition and go about their daily lives as wireless coverage may be to noise-related interruptions, analog line signals also inconsistent. As analog networks phase out, broadband have limited data capacity. Since digital lines transform and wireless networks are filling in to improve coverage. the signal into binary code, this allows for more data to Rural customers still need a reliable communication lifeline. be transmitted. Because of this, Internet-based and wireless technologies have now been embraced as the Back-up Battery Requirements best option to handle the exploding level of demand As carriers continue to sunset POTS lines, there have for voice, video and data transmission. been concerns surrounding failover systems for certain equipment that must remain connected at all times, The Pain of Progress including access to 911 and other emergency services. Looking back, the confusion, struggles and challenges Traditional analog networks provide a level of security associated with the transition from the old to the new can that digital lines sometimes cannot currently provide get glossed over in favor of the positives. With the Fourth during emergencies. The FCC encourages network Industrial Revolution (the first three consisting of the providers to inform businesses on ways to back-up construction of railroads across the U.S., the introduction their assets. This is primarily resolved through back-up of the telegraph and the Internet, respectively) we are b atte r i e s o r g e n e rato r s th at c a n sw itc h on du rin g reminded of the difficulties in moving to a new paradigm. emergency situations and or outages. However, some And because adopting new technologies can be difficult, of these back-up batteries need to have a wireline many forego their window of opportunity and wait too long connection. In order to smooth over the transition for to join the march towards progress. Technical disruptions users, the FCC requires all consumer applications shifting are best leveraged by the forward-thinking and adaptable from analog to digital lines to be able to provide access —and the IP Transition is no exception. to emergency services at all times. Similar to the 2G cellular network sunset, where cellular Overcoming the Bias of Obsolescence customers needed to migrate off of 2G technology and onto faster networks, the IP Transition is a series of The FCC’s recent push for the IP Transition to be completed advancements where packets of IP-based communications by 2025 is most likely a generous valuation of the expected replace traditional analog signals. Both businesses and timeline. The analog-to-digital migration has begun and end users will migrate from POTS towards IP and wireless there are several opportunities for businesses to make communications over the next decade. Some of the a graceful transition to wireless communications using challenges included in this transition are migration analog-to-wireless converters, which can be obtained from expense, coverage, back-up battery requirements, and trusted hardware providers like MultiTech. overcoming the bias of obsolescence. ” MultiTech Makes the Analog-to-Digital Transition Easy A transition doesn’t have to require a complete redesign of expensive assets in the field. Analog-to-wireless converters allow the asset to continue operating in the field as The nature of revolutions is to be disruptive, breaking before, but change the communication technology to a down the Old in favor of building up the New. You need cellular transmission, instead of a point to point analog to follow industry leaders that have weathered transmission. MultiTech offers a unique analog-to-digital multiple revolutions within the communications space converter which can reduce your communication costs. to make this transition a smooth one. MultiTech The MultiConnect® AW analog to wireless converter relies on a 45-year industry track record of allows the field equipment to continuing working excellence in Machine-to-Machine (M2M) efficiently and effectively within a cellular Communications and IoT. MultiTech environment. Customers are not only able to MultiTech continues to deepen its experience keep their assets in-field and operational, offers safe in both analog and cellular techbut they can also save money on lower nologies, and also leads in providing passage to ongoing operational communication costs. Low Power Wide Area Network Ultimately, the AW converter is a stepping those seeking ( L P WA N ™ ) e q u i p m e n t . M u l t i Te c h stone which allows customers to keep o ff e r s a broad line of Industrial IoT to transition th e i r a s s e t s i n t h e fi e l d l o n g e r, w h i l e (IIoT) connectivity hardware, in both transitioning to a full cellular platform. towards the boxed an d emb edd e d form fa c tors. These include routers, modems, gateways Use Cases New. and mod u les. R e l y i n g o n i t s d e e p l y The magnitude on which this IP Transition is happening t e n u r e d t e a m o f engineers, MultiTech offers has an impact at both the home and business level. safe passage to those seeking to transition towards However, the MultiTech Analog to Wireless converters can be the New, and has successfully helped many companies utilized as a transition product in the analog to digital cycl e th rou g h differe nt te c hnol og i c a l revo l u ti o n s migration. Some of the use cases include end users, medical many times over. devices, telecommunications and monitoring equipment. “ ” Devices & Data with Analog Modems Traditional Analog Configuration Sunsetting Insight + Action + Control Energy Alerts Financial / Retail Real-Time Management Healthcare Remote Monitoring PSTN Analog Modem Bank Asset Management Platform Reports (Public Switched Telephone Network) AFTER Energy Alerts Financial / Retail Healthcare Real-Time Management RJ-11 Connection Remote Monitoring MultiConnect® AW Converter Wireless Data Service Provider Asset Management Platform Reports End users are also affected by their telecomm and broadband providers. Broadband telecommunications and cable The healthcare industry is being affected by the IP Transition. providers have been offering bundled services for customers. One of the obstacles blocking healthcare institutions from These bundles include cable, phone, Internet and security transitioning to using digital devices is the cost-prohibitive services rolled up into one bill and through one broadband nature of medical equipment redesign. The healthcare network. This provides convenience to the customers and industry is highly regulated and the approval cycles are long. reduces cost overall for the carriers. However, then Many home medical monitoring devices customers are reliant on a single IP network and co nti nue to t ran sm i t d at a on P OTS subject to network congestion and other lines. As POTS lines becomes harder to issues. Generally a back-up battery system procure and rise in cost, and transmission Analog is needed to ensure 911 services are available quality suffers, offering an analog to cellular during an outage. data lines already co nverter makes se nse. It a l l ows t he cost between 4 and medical equipment to stay in the home Moving Forward but moves the data transmission off 10 times more to run History has proven that innovation POTS lines and onto to a cellular data than cellular lines, and will overturn the status quo and force network for transmission. the world to reassess its processes. are expected to double While the sun may set on one technology, in price within the End users another will rise. Businesses can rest near future. Daily life is increasingly lived online and assured that companies like MultiTech James Brehm & businesses have taken notice and begun to will remain steady throughout the innovation Associates respond accordingly. For example: some and continue to provide dedicated service apartment complexes have begun requiring and quality to clients. Technological challenges residents to pay for rent and/or utilities through a will continue to be solved by MultiTech engineers company website. However, that doesn’t mean that analog as they have proven many times over. By selecting a line services aren’t still needed in the home. Traditional trusted partner like MultiTech, one with a decades-long analog dial up landlines are still used in some homes track record and an extensive portfolio of successful throughout the U.S., primarily in rural areas and among technology migration programs, companies can get a older users. Analog lines are also used in Point Of Sale deeper understanding of what is occurring and how to (POS) terminals and kiosks, such as ATMs, gas pumps, and best solve these challenges until this revolution is like in-home security systems. those before it, just a thing of the past. Healthcare “ ” Sources: 1. “PSTN Industry Analysis and Service Provider Strategies: Synopsis” Acatel-Lucent. 2013-04. Retrieved 2016-08-01. http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/nmr-2013/responses/BT_annex_5.pdf 2. Downes, Larry “The End of the Wired Telephone Network is Coming...But Not Soon Enough” Forbes. 10-30-2013. Retrieved 2016-08-01. http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrydownes/2013/10/30/ the-end-of-the-wired-telephone-network-is-coming-but-not-soon-enough/#12dbc8fb51e0 World Headquarters EMEA Headquarters Multi-Tech Systems, Inc. 2205 Woodale Drive Mounds View, MN 55112 U.S.A. Tel: 763-785-3500 Toll-Free: 800-328-9717 Email: [email protected] www.multitech.com Multi-Tech Systems (EMEA) Strata House 264-270 Bath Road Harlington UB3 5JJ U.K. Tel: +(44) 118 959 7774 Email: [email protected] www.multitech.co.uk CONNECT WITH MULTITECH Trademarks and Registered Trademarks: MultiTech and the MultiTech logo, MultiConnect: Multi-Tech Systems, Inc. All other products and technologies are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders. Features and specifications are subject to change without notice. 2016-10 • 86003001 • © 2016 Multi-Tech Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.