Telephone System Networks - Reposting of a comment in a thread that died. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I resigned my position with one of the Regional Bell Operating Companies, hint: South-Central US! Was working as a Communications Technician/Engineer in one of the busiest Network Operations Centers in the US. Our job was to program trunk line circuits within central switching offices (local exchanges) for inteconnections between other switching offices and other telephone companies (providing local and long-distance services).

Among the many reasons for my departure from one of the largest phone companies in the world was the fact that the company's position was, is ... "If we replace ALL of the desktops in the company, then by default, the company will be compliant." When I raised concern to my supervisor about the deeper problems NOT being addressed, I was subjected to a tirade of abuse. Was informed that I was merely a very small cog in an enormous wheel that was run by 'experts.' Obviously possessing an MS in Electronics Engineering with a specialty in telecommuncations systems did not qualify me as anything more than peon. Also, please note that a large part of my job was repogramming switches after replacement of controller computers in the central office for y2k remediation. No work on embedded systems, no work on individual switch controllers, only desktops used for overall switch monitoring, command, and control; both in the Network Operations Center and the central office.

Operations Center personnel staffing is spread exceedingly thin ... work loads and quotas are mind-numbing. Mistakes and errors are rampant. Nerves are toast. They can barely keep up with 'normal' day-to-day operations ... when TSHTF there is no way that they are going to keep up with additional work-loads.

Bottom line: limited local exchange service MAY continue, but many of the interconnects out of your neighborhood probably won't.


Added Personal note: I will be more than happy to answer any intelligent questions with equally intelligent responses. Been reading the threads on this site for about a month, just started posting a few days ago, my first forays onto BBS systems. Trying to help get this discussion back on track.

-- hiding in plain (sight@edge. of no-where), November 22, 1999


See thread...

Y2K No Threat To Telephony 001pYL

-- Diane J. Squire (, November 22, 1999.

Thank you for the head's up on interesting information, hiding in plain sight.

Time for the string 'n tin can, perhaps :-)

Don't take it personally when threads die or meander or are taken hostage by trolls.

Also, one of the strangest aspects of Y2K is that the meaty threads languish with 1 or 2 answers, while troll drivel generates heated multiple responses.

Even the supposed GIs really don't GI.

It Is Going To Happen, soon now.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, November 22, 1999.

Hiding, can i ask the qualifications, technical or otherwise of your supervisor? his/her supervisor? Interested if the technical knowledge penetrates management level.

-- Noone (, November 22, 1999.

Noone - As for technical qualifications of 2nd tier supervisors - out of 25 assigned to the N.O.C. division (overseeing ALL aspects of network system operation, monitoring, control, and fault resolution) only 2 had any technical background in telephone systems prior to their current assignment. Most had risen up the ranks in sales or customer service.

Our 3rd tier out of 6 - was a former salesman.

4th tier was a former sales engineer.

BTW - CEO was former outside line repairman ...

-- hiding in plain (sight@edge. of no-where), November 22, 1999.

BTW - as an example - our imediate supervisor had NO idea what we, the workers did or how we did it. was magic to her. Only thing she wanted to see or hear was job completed boss! Problems relayed to her were relegated to it's YOUR fault, go fix it!

-- hiding in plain (sight@edge. of no-where), November 22, 1999.

Funny you should say something, plain sight. I too have many years in telecom, looking after local and wide area networks. Within the last couple of years I have seen a terrible decline in reliability of the frame relay that I administer. Local T1 service, through the same lec that you probably work for is usually the problem. It has gotten so bad that I have even reset the cards in my own slc 50 I have at my demark, lots of slips on the fiber, even ISDN can be unreliable. The last two T1's I had put in a month ago took three trips by the lec to get the smart jack to loop back! Incredible. I only hope there are enough people around to gut this thing out without running for the hills.

-- (Mr., November 22, 1999.

Mr. Wilfred - ISDN Provisioning was in deep dung when I left. Upper management kept refusing upgrades to their operating system ... over-budget! Training was rescinded for all new hires and promotions. Their manager was one of the few management level personnel in the region who had an honest to god engineering degree. Was repeatedly told by him that his degree was viewed as not important ... all that matters was revenue!

What switch are you running?

-- hiding in plain (sight@edge. of no-where), November 22, 1999.

Thank you "Sir Sight" - we appreciate the heads up.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (, November 22, 1999.

If so, there goes my job. All phone related.

About what I expected, one way or another.

-- mushroom (, November 22, 1999.

Hiding- If all PC's puke after the first of the year as predicted in this thread msg_id=001pZn...What happens to telecom?

-- Brian Bretzke (, November 22, 1999.

Brian - What Telecom?

BTW - another 'fun' thought:

If the GPS system controllers go down, so does world-wide telephone service... that is where the digital timing chain comes from that 'frames' ALL telephone communication systems ... no GPS, no clock; no clock, no phones. ALL telephone is now digital from local switch to local switch and all points in between ... world-wide.

-- hiding in plain (sight@edge. of no-where), November 22, 1999.

"Hiding", do you mean that communications between CO's might be disrupted or do you mean between CLECs?. I think that as long as the local switch works and the local related hardware then the whole CO should work and since more of the CLECs use common hardware (for the most part) from CO to CO they should carry ok.

I have a feeling that POTS voice grade circuits have a much better chance of living through the rollover than the channelized T1s and clouds.

-- hamster (, November 22, 1999.

I administer 4, Wisconson has a Lucent G3R, LA, NY, KC, are rolm 9751 cbx mod 10's. I do this remotely with terra nova and hyper terminal for the rolm switches. I look after a data network that, in the USA has 9 locations with a full T1 of data at each location. 106 sites throughout the world. Most of these have 128k to 256k for e-mail etc. We are a Manfacturing co. we have 7 IBM as400 s30's to support these 100+ locations. We run a mix of Novell & NT file servers. I don't sleep so well anymore.

-- (Mr., November 22, 1999.

Hamster - let me see if I can answer your query in a round-about way...

Basic Telephone Theory -

POTS (Plain Ol' Telephone Service, aka DS0) is a single phone line (such as your home phone) connected to an electronic telephone switch known as a Central Office (CO)in a group of 24 other customers. These stay alive as long as the swich is up and running.

T-1's (aka DS1) are a group of 24 DS0's going to a single location, ie: the PBX phones and similar configurations that feed businesses, gov offices, etc. Same problems with switch as above.

The switch receives incoming DS0 call on one of the DS1 inputs. Selects the appropriate outgoing DS1 (or higher) on which to switch the now outgoing call. Switch does not care if it is connected to another CO, a CLEC (Common Local Exchange Carrier, ie: another local telephone company), or a long-distance carrier.

If the desk-top computer controller for switch dies - so does switch. If GPS dies, switch goes to local clock (remains accurate for no more than 3 days without return of GPS). If local power company, primary power, goes dark, CO goes to generator backup, secondary power, till fuel runs out. Primary and Secondary power sources is used to charge 48vdc batteries which power the phone lines and equipment on the system. Average CO can run for a week on generators and 2 days on non-recharging battery power. Any one of the above 3 problem areas: controller, clock, or power goes out, no more switch - no more phone.

-- hiding in plain (sight@edge. of no-where), November 22, 1999.

Mr. Wilfred - B8ZS and ESF ???

You might also ask CLEC to audit for a clean tap free line between your offices and their CO at each locale. inline multiplexers on the SONET rings have a tendency to get messy at times, outside techs have been known to get in a hurry and do not clean fiber as well as they should, and are not as choosy about looking for unneeded beam-splitters. Also need to check termination characteristics at your network interfaces, again some installers are better than others.

-- hiding in plain (sight@edge. of no-where), November 22, 1999.

A reminder - the proper functioning of all systems is required on both ends of each connection: if one city has longer problems than another, the crossing signals - from one institution through the affected city to the next institution is likewise throttled.

Thus, a signal to through the phone lines (to a satellite, or to a control station) from a remote transceiver on a pipeline or on a power line to the controlling station requires the local source, remote receiving, and "controlling" (intermediate) signal stations to be up and on line. Not just the local (source city or county) only.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (, November 22, 1999.

hiding, Thanks for your answer. About what i expected ref management. Still, almost sorry i asked.

-- Noone (, November 22, 1999.

I posted a comment to your in support of your earlier note. Good move, this topic deserves its own thread. Looks like there are a lot of ex bell shaped heads here. Me too, 28 years. But be gentle folks I was one of those faux techie engineers and sales types. However after 28 years pushing voice and data a fair amount rubbed off.

Some key points here are that the public expects the phone to work. There is this simplistic view of picking up the phone to call Mom and the rest is magic. You don't retransmit a voice conversation.

And these days available dial tone is a lot more than calling Mom. Packetizing voice only works in an ATM stream. The deregulation of the industry, emergence of a lot of new players and new technologies has diluted hard and fast BSP (Bell System Practices) type standards. For you IT types with memories, its like all the different flavors of X.25.

Just like with IT remdiation, there are some different ways to approach the issue. Since the network cannot be taken down for end to end testing, a lot of fingers are crossed on this one.

A good point was raised about personnel. Once the RBOCs figured out how much it cost them to do business (they really did not know because of all the cross subsidies), a lot of reorgs and staff cuts hit in the name of worker productivity. Or, people like me who decided to cut their losses and bridge to retirement. What this means is a lot of not so professionally mature people holding things together. The NOC people who would do the work first and cover themselves with paper later are mostly gone.

IMH (and experienced) O, the network will probably be in better shape than power or dear God petroleum, but we won't know for a while.

-- Nancy (, November 22, 1999.

Well, safe at home. The wood stove is keeping the cold rain at bay. Today is the first time I have ever really posted on this board. Its funny, while I embrace technology as a way to make a living I'm typing this, on a pretty sophisticated pc, by oil lamp. I'm 40 now, old enough to know this genie we have let out of the bottle will not be returned. I spent the second half of today, along with some of my coworkers in the IS dept., loading some last minute upgrades on our client access software. We upgraded about 75 NT work stations. Applications will load their software on the as400's tonite. Tomorrow is promised to no one. This is the sum total of our y2k remediation on our erp system. My wife e-mails me about 20 posts a day from the various boards. I understand. If people understood how hard it is to keep a network alive in the best of times( about 2000 users spread over the USA) they would understand the trepidation most of us feel. However, we cut two trailer loads of hackberry this weekend and I'm going to get a nice big one for the stove, and pretend it will be better tomorrow. I don't know if I will be a regular poster or not, don't know why I was compelled to today, after 10 to 12 hours of fighting the good fight everyday I just don't want to relive it when I finally get home.

-- (Mr, November 22, 1999.


I was wondering if it was fairly recently that you resigned?


Since BELL SOUTHern company thinks new pc's are the answer, I would like your input on the article. Maybe in a different thread since the TROLLS are out tonight.


PS. PLEASE respond in English for us non technical types. thanks in advance

-- bob brock (, November 22, 1999.

Excellent Post, you know its almost exhilarating these days to find a great post, like a diamond in the rough, in this troll infested sight. The sysops are taking measures though - thank goodness.

A & L, I think a lot of the pertinent gems that are being posted are being read by the GI's. Not always necessary to post a response. I just file the gems away into the ever increasing "things that make you go OH Sh** file"

-- gem (, November 22, 1999.

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