Blog skyhook logo What is E-911?

Jan 19, 2021 9:30:00 AM

What is E-911?

Posted by Oleg Kamenetsky

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E-911, short for Enhanced 911, is a service that allows first responders to locate users of a mobile phone when an emergency call is placed. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires all wireless licensees, such as network operators, to achieve a horizontal accuracy within 50 meters, or provide a dispatched location, for 80% of all wireless 911 calls. A similar requirement exists in the European Union through the EU Directive E112.


As a result of these regulations, all mobile handsets, whether they are feature phones or smart phones, operating on networks in the United States and across Europe must be able to satisfy this requirement and send an accurate location to operators at a Public Safety Answering Point, from which emergency services are dispatched.


Skyhook enables emergency phone location through a device-based hybrid approach, using GNSS, Wi-Fi, ECID, and barometric pressure. Rooted in a legacy of deploying nationwide networks for E-911 for AT&T and T-Mobile, Skyhook understands the requirements and nuances of emergency location and can deliver features including:

  • Standalone crowd-sourced Wi-Fi and ECID positioning methods with global coverage, in accordance with the 3GPP TS 38.305 technical specification.
  • Help with completing a device-side location fix on handsets, without network assistance, when a location request is triggered by an emergency event.
  • Network-only (Wi-Fi and Cell) results or hybrid location results to the solution (depending on the integration).
  • Device-based hybrid (DBH) positioning over LPP and LPPe per the 3GPP 38.355 specification for E911 in the United States.
  • IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) VoIP and VoWiFi emergency location reporting per the RFC4119 specification.

Through collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., close relationships with chipset manufacturers and operating system vendors such as KaiOS, OEMs can take advantage of hardware that is pre-validated with Skyhook location software, which streamlines the development process of making devices that meet emergency location requirements.


Beginning in April of 2022, the FCC will expand E-911 location requirements to include:

  • Floor-level Z-Axis positioning within 3 meters of accuracy
  • Horizontal positioning within 50 meters of accuracy for 80% of all wireless calls

In support of the upcoming FCC standards, Skyhook’s solution can also provide floor-level Z-Axis positioning through a pre-certified integration with trusted Skyhook partners. Z-Axis integration is set to be available in the 25 most populous regions in the United States.

Find out more about how Skyhook helps network carriers meet E-911 and 112 requirements.
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