Location, Location, Location – Everywhere!
The old fashioned phone system in the US uses something called the North American Numbering Plan to identify phone numbers. The “1” at the beginning of a phone number is actually a country code representing the entire NANP which is the US, Canada, and parts of the Caribbean. As everyone knows, the next three digits are the area code. Some know that the next three digits are the exchange, a further geographic division. These first seven digits are more or less the basis for long distance charges because they roughly establish how many miles of copper and how many connecting switches the circuit would have to use.
An interesting advantage of modern private stream-routing networks is that an endpoint is no longer tied indelibly to the location of those physical wires that used to point to a phone number. Instead, that phone number could go into a gateway device where the call is digitized and added to the private network. This has proven particularly useful to those wishing to be available as if they were local to a place which would be “long distance” under the old fashioned telephone system.
Other uses for this capability exist for travellers, mobile workers, and others who need freedom of movement or freedom from the time constraints created by an anchored phone line. This freedom is similar to the freedom created by cellular phones, but with the convenience, comfort, and increased quality of a real handset call.
Finally, on a private stream-routing network, real phone numbers are only for reaching outside the network to the old telephone carriers’ customers. Inside the network, numbers are still the easiest identifiers if handsets are the intended endpoint, but they are largely arbitrary. Many of our private networks do not access the old network and select numbers that are more reasonable to their own size and purpose, some as small as three digits, and others as large as fifteen matching membership numbers or other readily available numbers that already exist for other purposes. A large number of users who migrate from the old telephone industry simply use their old phone numbers as their in-network numbers while others use both their old numbers and new, smaller numbers for convenience.
- “About the North American Numbering Plan Administration” from NANPA
- “North American Numbering Plan” from Wikipedia
- “VoIP Gateway” from Wikipedia