The number RFC5985 should be burned into the collective consciousness of all broadband service providers. That is a number five years in the making, which represents the first-ever standard for enabling location service on any IP-based network. In the future, you’ll probably see it referred to as HELD, standing for HTTP-Enabled Location Delivery. HELD is a major step forward in the location-based services market, especially for network operators competing against third-party location providers.

HELD has positive benefits for consumers and network operators.


HELD is a protocol for supplying location services whether a device user is connected via broadband DSL, enterprise LAN, Wi-Fi, or mobile 3G and 4G. For consumers, this means location-based applications will work the same however they are connected. For network operators, HELD means they no longer have to invest in embedding client software in devices to support a multitude of location technologies. HELD means that interoperable products can now be built, sold and deployed, making network location services accessible and relevant to a wider and more varied group of devices—laptops, netbooks, navigation devices—than just phones and smart phones. This will create more opportunities in the location space for network operators who support and deploy HELD in their networks.

HELD is going to be fundamental to next generation emergency calling, which will be built on IP protocols. HELD also represents a new business model opportunity for operators, who can become trusted brokers of location information for their customers. No longer will consumers have to look outside of their service providers for reliable, cost-effective location information. HELD makes delivering location information across all network types possible and practical.

CommScope’s Andrew Solutions had a couple engineers highly involved in the HELD specification effort. We are excited that their efforts have contributed to this step forward in the location industry. And now that there’s a definitive reference for Internet location service, RFC5985, we really look forward to seeing what new products become available that implement HELD and are interoperable with each other.

About the Author

Martin Dawson

Martin Dawson is director of CommScope’s Andrew Solutions’ GeoLENs® Mobile Location Center team based in Wollongong, Australia. Previous to Andrew, Mr. Dawson spent 10 years at Nortel involved in the cellular location industry, working on intelligent network services and wireless intelligent networks. He is a member of the North American National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and co-author of the book IP Location.

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Location Wireless

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