Here's one for y2k Prairie Dog - some good news on telephones... : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Y2K - New Study Predicts Phones Will Work At Dawn Of 2000

By Mark Rockwell


The telephone network will probably survive the ballyhooed Y2K problems that threaten computers and computer networks alike, at least according to a study released Wednesday by a group of carriers and telephone equipment manufacturers.

The study, which tested the viability of the interconnections between various long distance, local, and wireless telephone networks under simulated end-of-the-century conditions, found those interconnections will survive the turning of the date from 1999 to 2000.

The industry group, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions' (ATIS) Internetwork Interoperability Test Coordination (IITC) committee said it, as well as a long list of carriers, had completed a months-long test that examined whether the connections that link various carrier nets together would withstand not only the Y2K bug, but also the increased calling volumes that would be accompany the date.

The group tested key rollover dates such as: Dec. 31, 1999, to Jan. 1, 2000; Feb. 28, 2000, to Feb. 29, 2000; Feb. 29, 2000, to March 1, 2000; and Dec. 31, 2000, to Jan. 1, 2001. It tested those dates on communications systems in long distance and local telephone networks. The tests were done in laboratory conditions, not on the real public-switched network.

Local-number portability, wireless to wireline connections, time-zone impact, and the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service system were all tested and found free of Y2K-related problems, said Daniel Currie, director of the IITC and member of the network architecture technical staff at New York-based Bell Atlantic.

Currie said the tests, conducted in laboratory environments, used all the major types of switches and transmission equipment that are normally found in the local and long distance central offices and signal transfer points.

The tests covered voice traffic only. The group said it plans to do similar stress-testing with data transmission equipment this month, Currie said. The networks in the most recent test had no Y2K-related problems, he said, though the organization said carriers could face more challenge with Y2K-related calling volumes than with the Y2K bug.

"If everyone picks up the phone in a calling area at once, then someone's not going to get dial tone," said Currie. Carriers are anticipating a big spike in people making calls on New Year's Eve to see if their friends or relatives are having problems, or simply picking up the phone to see if it works. Both actions tie up lines and pump up calling volume.

"Mother's Day is big for calling volume," said Terry Yake, ATIS vice chairman and vice president of applied research at Sprint. "New Year's will be bigger, but there's no way to tell how big."

Yake said carriers would probably have to block a lot of calls so as not to overload the network on New Year's Eve. Callers will get an "All lines are busy now. Try again later" message typical of overloaded telephone lines in disaster areas or areas undergoing some kind of crisis, according to Yake.

That's not to say the phone network will be in trouble, he said, just an indication that calling volumes are huge and the network is taking appropriate action to mitigate the overload to avoid crashing.

-- Andy (, April 18, 1999


"The tests were done in laboratory conditions, not on the real public- switched network."

Why not do it in the real world? Can't be done you say?

Then these "tests" essentially means nothing.


-- Andy (, April 18, 1999.

Please folks, don't pick up your phone at 2000-01-01 00:01:00 to see if it is still working. Unless, the power is out... even then, wait 'til, uhmm, 00:10:00, before you dial 9-1-1... <:)=

-- Sysman (, April 18, 1999.


Calling 911 if the power is out? Hmmmmm......please don't.



Kristi (EMT/Ambulance & EMS dispatcher)

-- Kristi (securx@Succeed.Net), April 18, 1999.

ABSOLUTELY do not call 911 unless you have an emergency of some kind - and "the power out" is NOT an emergency unless you have a medical problem of some sort. Look up your utility's emergency service number and put it by your phone. Remember that a cordless phone won't work if the power is out. If you have a medical problem that requires power, be sure to tell your power company ahead of time of your concerns of the problem - sometimes they will try to get to you ahead of others and if your medical concern is that bad perhaps you ought to consider buying a generator or renting one for Dec. 31 (reserve it now).

911 is for police and medical emergencies - especially if there is a disruption. We had a big storm here one Thanksgiving Day and people were actually calling 911 to find out how they could cook their turkeys and asking how long the power would be out or the cable (didn't want to miss the big game you know) - like police dispatch would know.It tied up the lines so bad that people with real problems couldn't get through.

-- Valkyrie (, April 18, 1999.

Interesting little 911 excerpt from recent FEMA testimony ...

Testimony of Federal Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Mike Walker

before the Government Management, Information and Technology Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee on March 22,1999 wlkrtst.htm

... At this point we can report that State-level emergency preparedness offices are making good progress but there continues to be a wide disparity of readiness, in general, in emergency service systems at the county and municipality level. ...

... Two areas, in particular, need increased attention: 911 and the fire services.

... "911": To date, 584 9-1-1 centers in 35 States (13 percent of the 4,300 centers) have responded to a mailing conducted in partnership of USFA with the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). The results show 17 percent of the centers are now compliant, and an additional 69 percent, or 86 percent in all, expect to be ready by January 1, 2000. Forty (40) percent have contingency plans in place.

... *Sigh*


-- Diane J. Squire (, April 18, 1999.

BTW, through the grapevine, I also understand that some of the smaller regional phone companies are replacing switching equipment, but with the extensive backlogs in delivery, it will mean they dont receive the new hardware until the Fall and thats not enough time to get it up and running in time for the rollover.

Got carrier pigeons?


-- Diane J. Squire (, April 18, 1999.

...Laboratory conditions...


-- K Stevens (, April 18, 1999.

Sir K Stephens - "The phones will fail!"

Don't be so sure of it - this is relatively early, and the test was positive, for what it tested, and it (the test) apparently worked.

Now, two problems - neither identified in this article, but critical to the real story nationwide. Earlier "phone" testing stories were not quite so conclusive, and a little more complete and technical in nature. Those indicated that the master systems DID need to be remediated BEFORE the integrated testing (under lab conditions, as you pointed out) worked. Miss "Troll Maria" - she of the phone systems remediation fame - agreed with the spirit and "letter" of these earlier reports, so they seem to be true - at least some level of remediation was required.

If so, for phone systems to work nationally, this would indicate that (1) remediation must occur nationally on all major systems (but at least "what to remediate" appears to be identified), and phone system power must either be available or locally supplemented with backup's

(2) most, if not all, of the local phone systems must complete remediation AND integration testing (business wise and hardware (switching and control)

(3) a vast majority of 911 centers must be upgraded, tested, then integrated. And, many are not planning to do thwat - else they would have responded with a planning date and progress updates.

(4) national carriers (who piggy-back on the local systems, plus use their own wires and fiber-optic cables) must be remediated and integrated.

This is a lot to do - but the stories don't mention this remaining work - consistently, they point out the successful finish of one test, and conclude that building one door, or installing one lock in one door, means the whole car is going to be delivered on time.

What this means is that the national phone systems know (or are pretty sure they know) HOW to integrate and test the national carriers' systems - they just have to go get the hardware and software installed and actually tested in the real world.

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, April 18, 1999.

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