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Joined: Dec 2012
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This was one for the books... Got a call from a National who, in turn, was contracted by Cisco to replace a router at a site. They were so desperate they did not even care that I did not have Cisco cert (I am a lapsed CCNA so I know how to do the basics). Get to site and alarm light is on the WIC card on the router. Power down the router, replace card, power on, same. I figure telco issue. Telco has been to site 2 times already and tested clean to jack on NID. Customer has been down for a week. Best I can do is offer to come back with an Adtran Atlas 550 and place it between circuit and router and prove conclusively one side or the other.

Monday arrives and I come to site with my trusty Atlas 550. Plug everything in and all greens up. Customer has access! Put the original cord back and down again. Feeling like a fool for not thinking of the patch cord, I replace and same result. Back to the 550 all works! Now I play "one of these things is not like the other one...". The ONLY different thing is my cable from the router to the 550 is about 30' long and is a T1 crossover (Adtran requirement). I get a 25' patch cable and plug directly from circuit to WIC and all works!

Cisco is now mad since I am a little late calling them. When I explained my observations the tech comments upon "all I did was replace a cable?". I explain that it is not so much the cable but the length. They don't need a 25' cable and maybe the Line Build Out in the router is set to compensate for a long run. Tech has no clue what I am talking about and basically tells me that if everything is working I am to leave the site. I can see this is going nowhere so I coil up the cable neatly and sign out with the National.

Just a tale to amuse those in the know, no real point other than this. The one thing I walked away with is that the network gurus do not have any understanding of the telecom side and, for the most part, do not care to know.

Last edited by Meyery2k; 02/05/13 05:20 PM.

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All too often, the fix can be simple but finding it can be an ordeal. Dealing with issues on an installed site is far different from dealing with them on a test bench. Kudos for finding it!


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You can never appease your ideologue opponents.

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Had a good one the other day similar to this. A PRI customer was down when they came in Monday morning. So I log is and see OFLNE I reset card and still OFLNE. I call the carrier and report trouble ticket. Send the local tech (That i'm friends with) a text to check the circuit for me and give him the ticket number that repair gave me. He sends a message back says he's seeing a remote alarm they would be sending a tech out. This particular site is about a 100 yards away from the carriers CO and is fed with fiber.

He calls me when they get a tech on site and says it's testing clean. I asked him to have the tech on-site call me to make sure nothing got unplugged or if he unplugged anything to test that he made sure he plugged it back in. So I reboot the card, no go, do a power down, no go. I had a d-channel lock out and would not sync. I said to them can you make a test call from the circuit with your equipment? So they try 20 minutes later they call me back and said they are able to either!! I said I thought it tested clean?? My friend then tells me the tech that went on site to test the circuit his testing equipment was dead and all he did was look at the lights on the equipment and was working with another gentleman, not my friend so they said it tested clean. He was a little upset when he found this out. 7 hours later 5 people working on the circuit, and one unhappy customer, turns out to be a bad switch port that they were using for the fiber connection! They new it was bad 3 hours in but didn't tell me because there was only one guy that could configure a new port to move the circuit to!

Customer ask what she can do, I gave her the REP's name and number and said call barking! I get a call from the REP asking why I through them under the bus by explaining to the customer that they only had one person that could fix the solution and that what took so long! My response was "If you want me to refer customers to you, you better bring this up within your company as an issue and not berate me for your multi-million dollar company that cut costs so they don't have someone to fix shit that causes our MUTUAL customers grief since we were the ones that referred them to you for YOUR service"

End Rant!

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Well, since this is a similar story, I thought you-all might be interested.

1. In August of 2012, the PRI circuit went down that was installed 8 years prior and had zero down time. The system is a Mitel SX-200 EL.

2. I went to the site and found a bad PRI card and replaced. The circuit would not come up, no matter what I did. I called Windstream, and, of course, they looped the smart jack and they pronounced the circuit golden and I have equipment problems.

3. After several hours of swapping and testing, I contacted Windstream and asked how the circuit is provisioned? They responded, after several hours, with ESF, B8ZS, and NI2. I said NI2? The circuit was originally set up for DMS100 since that's the switch it works out of in the CO. After several more hours of dealing with their network people, they insist it has to be NI2. So, I changed the Mitel to NI2. The circuit worked, on and off until last Friday Feb. 2.

4. Windstream insisted the circuit was good. I replaced the PRI card in the Mitel, still no joy. Windstream says all channels are remote busy from the Mitel. I told them I changed the PRI module but the circuit is not working. The Mitel shows zero errors and the circuit is available and idle on all channels. I can see them take the circuit down as I get a red alarm, but they can't see me give them a yellow alarm. I request a network specialist to look at the circuit. I get some guy from Cleveland that says they looped up the smart jack, ran pattern for an hour and everything is golden. The Mitel is bad.

5. I hooked up my Fireberd to the Telco Smart Jack in the test ports, configured it for PRI and, to my amazement, the circuit started to work. Calls in, calls out, no problems. So, naturally, I leave everything hooked up for a couple of hours and everything works great. So, I disconnect the Fireberd and the circuit crashes!

6. In stunned disbelief, I hooked the Fireberd back up. The circuit comes back up and everything is working! No Fireberd, No work. Hook up just the receive side of the Fireberd, the circuit works. Hook up just the transmit side, the circuit does not work.

7. There is an identical Adtran smart jack at the site that is not being used. I call Windstream, told them my findings and they said swap out the smart jack. I did and the exact same set of conditions apply. The tech from Windstream insists it's the Mitel. I insist it's their circuit or Smart Jack....but two identical problems with two Smart Jacks? I began to question myself.

8. Over the weekend, I consider all possibilities. I think, maybe, the Stratum III circuit on the Mitel 202 MCCIII is defective and the circuit is getting the sync from the Fireberd. Windstream finally sends a tech to site. He has a new Smart Jack. He, reluctantly, replaced the Smart Jack, only because I insist, and, the circuit works and has been working fine with no errors and without my Fireberd connected.

The bottom line is, trust yourself, hold your ground and make sure you make enough noise to get a tech from the LEC that, at least, knows how to change a module.

Rcaman


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I think this thread is recent. Less than a year old anyway. That comment is based on a previous post where I was gently reminded what year it is.

Throwing in my two cents. One of the best troubleshooting aids you can have for working with T1s at NIUs (aka CSUs, NIDs, smartjacks or whatever) or WIC modules in routers is a 8P8C loop plug (aka RJ-45). Get some wire. Plain old cross connect wire of any color. Connect pin one to pin five and pin two to pin four. Or one to four, two to five, doesn't really matter most of the time. The blue pair is "reversed" on the 568A and B standard so one to five, two to four is most correct. Yeah, I know that is an ethernet standard but blue orange pair on T1 uses the B standard.

Plug your looping plug in to the jack in alarm and see if the alarm clears. If its a router and you are lucky enough to have an IT type who can look at it, ask them to see if they have a loop. Usually they reply "up and up". Whatever that means. LEC techs and NIUs may be able to check for a loopback as well. Many do not understand that a copper loop should be the same as a "CSU loop up". If the loop is successful and you can, go to the next transition on the circuit. It may be another 8P8C plug. If so use a coupler and your trusty loop plug and repeat the tests. Be careful, some cheap 8P8C couplers do not connect pins 8-1 to 8-1 and reverse everything.

I have my share of LEC tech stories and not knowing how to work their T1 tester, can't get it to work, battery is dead etc. This small device can save you from lugging a Fireberd, T-Berd or even Adtran Atlas 550 to the demark.

As for doubting youself, yeah do to a point. It never hurts to double check your testing and pay attention to the test set being set to bridge, term or DSX. One wire on a pair being open or partially open can give you weird results. If you get to the point where it seems everything you know is wrong, recheck what you did and think it over.

As Rcaman said,"trust yourself, hold your ground and make sure you make enough noise to get a tech from the LEC that, at least, knows how to change a module. Just because someone got a job with the telephone company doesn't mean they are a smarter or better tech than you are.


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Reading this thread got me to thinking about dealing with the local LEC who recently changed their name from one word to two.

Lots of their techs seem to be contractors who may or may not drive a vehicle with the company logo. For whatever that is worth.

Our POP or telephone room as we call it was designed to serve our facility with one or two 100 pair cables. I have never actually counted the 66 blocks. Later fiber was installed and a cabinet on wheels of what I believe to be multiplex equipment. From there is seems to have evolved that the cables are used for loops to the neighborhood. These 66 blocks are a mess and have many cross connects that likely have been dead for years, most not connected to any of the premises wiring. We have tried to keep our part of the wiring neat and to remove unused cross connects that terminat on our premises cables. You get the picture, typical LEC facility. They have a "right of way" or "right of use". Building owner doesn't touch it.

Back to the war story. A very young tech came to troubleshoot a circuit problem. Not a LEC company vehicle but he had a LEC ID. I let him in to the room as per access agreement and when he looked at the demarks he said something like "my goodness". I replied something like "yeah and this section all belongs to your company". He actually had a record that told him what pair he was looking for and quickly found a bad card in one of the old tellabs shelves. He didn't have one so called his support people and after a long wait found a tech who had one on his truck. This tech arrived in a logo'd vehicle, came in and started lecturing about customer premise wiring. I got a little (maybe a lot) pissed and informed him the wiring belonged to his company. He switched subjects and proceded to lecture us on how it could never work as all the cross connect wiring was not data wire. He pointed out all the shelves where the NIUs are for T1s and said never touch them. He said the data coming in was high speed and typical cross conect wire wouldn't work. I asked him what we should replace it with. He said something like high speed, not a LAN connection. In the mean time the young tech replaced the card and got his circuit working and began to pack up to leave. Not to be deterred from the old tech comments I asked him if I could remove all the messy stuff as he believed it was mine. The young tech said no, it is not CPE wiring. The old tech said call customer service and left.

I went outside and had a smoke while young tech packed up and made his calls. He then conversed with me for a few minutes about what I knew about the wiring in the room. I pointed out what was ours and explained again that what used to be for incoming now went out from the fiber interface. I yuck-yucked a bit about removing all the mess old tech said was mine, assured young tech I would not and he left.

It is still a rats nest. Young tech did good tracing the wiring and fixing his trouble call and has a great future. Old tech, I hope he retires soon.


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