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This article gives an introduction to an Fixed Cellular Terminal(FCT), the interfaces are supported by an FCT, how an FCT allows the enterprise PBX to make calls over GSM/CDMA, some applications of the FCT and also an introduction to Fixed Wireless Terminal (FWT) which provides 3G data support in addition to the voice.
What is a Fixed Cellular Terminal (FCT)?
Have you noticed that some landline calls arrive as cell phone numbers in your cell phones? There is a good chance that their enterprise PBX dialled through the FCT. A Fixed Cellular Terminal is a device that allows the enterprise PBX to make/receive calls over the GSM/CDMA networks. The FCT can hold one or more GSM/CDMA SIM cards and connect as “Trunks” on the trunk ports of the enterprise PBX. The PBX (which can have a combination of wireline trunks as well as these Fixed Cellular Terminal trunks) can decide which network to route the outgoing calls to. Generally, the PBX decides this based on a LCR – Least Cost Routing calculation. If the calls from your company land line is to mobile phones, probably they could be routed through the FCT as mobile to mobile calls are cheaper. If the calls are to other land lines, then they could be routed through the normal analog trunk lines from the telephone company. FCT supports one GSM/CDMA SIM card to 8 GSM/CDMA SIM cards or even more, depending on the manufacturer. FCT is a simple device, but could produce some serious cost savings. To learn how, look at some applications below:
Applications of Fixed Cellular Terminals (FCT):
¤ Remote Location connectivity: Suppose a company has a branch atop a hill or in a remote village/ inaccessible location where the telephone wired lines cannot go, but has GSM/CDMA cellular coverage, then the PBX in that branch could use an FCT as their trunk lines to send and receive calls. Here it doesn’t save cost, but helps give basic connectivity to remote locations.
¤ Reduction of Charges when dialling to the cell phones of company employees: Think of this: A company generally has a corporate connection with a cellular provider. Which means that generally, all the employees of the company use the same service provider for the cell phones. Mostly the calls within the employees(in the company) are free of cost or have very low tariff. But the fact is many a time, the help desk representatives or receptionists or even employees call other employees from the landlines. So, if you configure your PBX to send all these calls through the FCT on the cellular network, there would be good cost savings. This could be extended to other cellphones too, as cellphone-cellphone calling is cheaper than landline-cellphone calling.
¤ Cheaper One Number service: Many PBX support what is called as one number service – they forward all the individual employee calls to land line in the mornings and to the cell phone after the evenings. Some PBX also support parallel ringing – ring both cell phone and landline, and which ever connects first, transfer the call to that. But there is one issue with this service – when the call is forwarded, there are charges to the cellular network based on the number of minutes. This, for an incoming call! So, when FCT is used with a GSM/CDMA SIM card of the same cellular service provider as the corporate cellular service provider, when the calls are forwarded, there will not be additional charges / very little charges as the mobile SIM card is calling the same mobile SIM card (from the same cellular service provider) and both are having a corporate connection. This makes this service cost effective and useful.
Fixed Wireless Terminal (FWT):
Fixed Wireless Terminals are like the FCT, but they provide much more than voice connectivity – They provide data connectivity via 3G, they provide IP Fax, voice, broadband, built-in Wi-Fi, mini-switch etc. But this one is used more like an alternative to the fixed line broadband. So, you can plug in your GSM SIM card in to FWT and connect your PC/laptop to it to experience 3G data connectivity. You can plug an analog phone in to an RJ-11 port of the FWT and receive the calls on your cell phone number in a land line. They also support Wi-Fi connectivity/ mini switch to connect other computers. This could be very useful for a SOHO or a small office that doesn’t want to invest in a PBX/Wireline systems or even in homes.
Watch out for: