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What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

(OP)
I am wondering what everyones experience is with these IT geeks that think they belong in the telcom business simply because they can plug an IP or VOIP telephone set into a router.

I keep hearing complaints from people all over the place that they are promised the world from these guys and they get nothing but excuses from lost and poor connections to system and networks that are continually off line.

I hear that the features and services are never correctly configured and that training is very poor or the customer is just given a manual or directed to a web site for help.

These guys are just not telephone people and have no idea how proper cable management works let alone the proper needs of the customers.

They introduce and install equipment that is overwhelming to the customers and their employees with to many features and complicated menus to work with etc.. They are trying to force a telephone to do the work of a computer or Laptop.

And the attitude I get from these guys is usually paranoid, unreliable and uncooperative to say the least.

What is your experience with these guys getting into the telcom business?

Thanks

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

They are great
We get so much new business taking over & fixing their mess smile
 

I do not Have A.D.D. im just easily, Hey look a Squirrel!

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

2
Yes, and Cisco thinks they invented TELEPHONY!

....JIM....
 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

I am both "IT geek" (I prefer IT nerd) and "switch hack" here.  My supervisor wants to do the VOIP thing and fortunately he hasn't put it in my budget.  I am quite happy with my out of date Option 11 with no VOIP capabilities.

Keep my network free of my telephones!
 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Q: Why don't my phone work?
A: IT made some changes to the network over the weekend.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

A2) Microsoft made changes to your computer & network that your IT dept don't even know about!

I do not Have A.D.D. im just easily, Hey look a Squirrel!

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Good point IPGruru I forgot about updates and things of that nature.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

VoIP is all very well but the network needs to be much better managed when it has voice packets going across it.

Add to that the fact that computers don't have anywhere near the uptime as the older style PBX units.

IPvoice has it's place but it's not as good at the larger end of the scale as the legacy systems.

I've mostly been the person installing the IP systems and I got my wings on a large (15k extension) ericsson MD110 system so hopefully my customers have been happy with them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
umm,it IS supposed to do that, right??

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

LOL, I've heard several variations of a joke comparing Computers to Cars - "If Automotive technology advanced like Computers, we'd all be driving $1000 cars that got 400 miles per gallon; unfortunately we'd also get used to them stalling at least once a week for no apparent reason". The same comparison could be made to computers and phones,

Give me my old reliable Dedicated phone system any day. In fact I woulun't mind going back to the 1A2 System we outgrew 20 years ago.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

2
My 1A2 KTS is alive and working well! No software to update, no backups to do... Just maybe a 51A lamp now and then...

....JIM....
 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Need parts for a 1A?
I'm getting ready to axe one.
One phone only.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

2
Cisco...Can I Still Call Out?

jeff moss
 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

I was there for the Digital revolution and now am well entrenched in the IP revolution; which is quaintly reminiscent of a BORG assimillation or the spread of fascism in the thirties. I hope to be long retired before the next one.

 

KE407122
'Who is this guy named Lo Cel and why does he keep paging me?'

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Odd,
we have dozens of Computer based softswitches, linking all over the world, using IP phones, which have far lower failure rates and problems that meridians + ISDN + analogue phone

We had far more issues with ISDN failures and legacy systems than IP based systems.
Not that the IP systems had no faults, but being built on fault tolerant networks, if we lost a complete area, we only lost a few calls.

As with anything, you get what you pay for. Stick IP on a cheap network, and get cheap result.

Robert Wilensky:
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.

 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Sympology

The only way a voip system can even approach the mean time before failure of a PABX is to have multiple redundancy! Put that into a pabx and it makes a voip solution look truly pathetic! I personally work on single processor systems 30 years old that have had less than 8 hours down time (if not less) in their entire working lifetime! How many IP networks can compare with that?

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

4
Good day. As my name implies, I started in "IT" in 1978. Back in the days of old electro mechanical Central Offices and PBX's. Then a new type of PBX came out called a ROLM. It revolutionized voice communications. After that we've been flying by the seat of our pants. I'm still an old time phone dude that has come a long way but at my age and mileage it gets harder to learn alot of the new stuff. But I will say this as was indicated at the beginning of this post, most Telecom people today know little about Telecom solutions as in what "fits" best for the customer and makes their job easier. I've been by-passed in alot of the planning and decision making over the years and it often back fires on everyone. Old coyotes like me can help solve issues if asked but many of the "new" Telecom professionals won't ask because it makes them look bad when their big problem has an elementary solution. I too think the legacy systems are/were better. We have a mix of Cisco CM, Unity, IPCC and NEC systems. All I can say is that the NEC systems run on their own. Our 2400 monster is 10 years old and in the eight years I've been here it's NEVER been down! We have a VOIP NEC 2000 IPS that's been in 6 years and it NEVER has been off line because of it's own fault. It's either Telco, a UPS or a Cisco product that dumps it. When our new Management team came in I encouraged them to look at the NEC VOIP platfofm (as they call it now. Damn it, it's a system not a platform! A platform is what you stand on) but they only heard of Cisco and that's what they wanted. Another thing! You don't deploy things. You can install or deliver them! The military deploys things! Things like soldiers and equipment! Boy you guys got me started and I have more to say but they just told me to check the network. The trouble is I don't know which one. Is it CBS, CNN, FOX, TNT or what?  They asked about Broad band and I said I thought the Supremes were great in their day. But Heart, those broads can sing so I'll stay with them. They wanted the website checked. Spiderman never has to check his website and he had the first one!!  

Frank. City of Cape Coral, Florida

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

To answer the question straight, from my experience.

The phone industry was stagnating while the IT boom was taking off. Numerous customers of mine would spend 7 digit budgets upgrading their networks / servers / pc's while a 5 Digit upgrade to their phones would make them choke.

Along came VOIP. A way for telephony to access some of that IT budget. The IT guys thought 6 digit upgrades for phone systems was a bargain.

Win Win - supposedly

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ...  There is no spoon.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

2
(OP)
The old systems were stable because they were built to Bell System standards, great standards that have allowed these hulks to work under extreme conditions for decades. A local company in town just bought a reconditioned Merlin Magix with VM and AA and it looks great and is working just fine.

Just because it is old technology does not mean that the functions and features are outdated.  Some customer like a pizza parlor or small real estate office even a small call center will work just find with the older stuff as long as the installer knows how to install, program and most important train.

I prefer Nortel and Partner myself. These new VOIP systems rely on "bandwidth water pressure" as I call it. Flush the network toilet and if you are in the telephone or P.C. shower you are going to get a shock ( down time or slow time ).

I specialize in Rush and Emergency Night and Weekend work so when I get a call it is for a problem or a down system and I am expected to quickly and permanently solve that problem, usually from other vendors or IT guys messes.

As far as I am concerned telephone customer should not ever be bothered with nor should their businesses and employees have to be subject to problems with their telephone service.

I expect myself to to install and maintain telcom systems that work 100% of the time.  Installing the right equipment the correct way with safe guards like back up power ( UPS ) will provide that level of service to customers.
 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

after reading all that I have to get my 2 cents worth into the mix
I am also an old[er] guy as I started 1984 in the phone business when phone systems still made a noise when you picked up a receiver on an extension (good old days) and have had to learn a lot since I work on an IP capable phone system since 2003.
Installing systems properly is the next important thing after having a good product the problem is that a lot of customers see the bottom line and tell you "I can get the same system on the Internet for half that" or "I have a quote for a similar system for half" etc. and then sales starts cutting cost to get the deal and techs get stuck with the mess (wanted to say something else but don't want to offend the TT gods) because there is no properly sized UPS or someone found a PoE switch that is half price and put it into the sales mix.
Having to rely on customer provided IT people that (sorry if I offend good IT guys here) have no clue and couldn't find their behind in the dark with a flashlight is not making our job easier. I do mostly small to medium size business and can't speak for larger companies so that might be the reason why the controller or the receptionist sometimes is also the IT person Ahhhhhhhh
They then know a guy that can program the switch they just bought as a refurb on ebay and are wondering why the IP phones are sounding a bit bubbly at times. We have an IT guy in our company that I have never seen even breaking a sweat when things go belly up and that is knowledgeable as can be and he mentioned once that VoIP was a bad idea to start and has not gotten much better since. IP was not designed to deliver real time speech but is now forced to do so, I have to agree.
Plugging in an IP phone and have to wait until it finally boots up to make a phone call is just another of my pet peeves with VoIP going hand in hand with the fact that you rely on someone else to not mess up your phones.
Wow that felt good, haha

Joe W.

16082

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

But VoIP based systems are WAY more flexible than trad systems. What do you do when you call centre is closed due to a fire, or the staff get snowed in at home?
We'll we've carried on working, some from home, others scattered all over the place in other offices.
So we had 90% capacity working despite the call centere being shut?

So how do you do that with a 20 year old Option 81 with hardwired kit?

Office move are an absolute breeze, relocate to new offices in minutes using the same PBX's (I know we've done it twice this month alone), we didn't even have to do anything. The desktop guys plugged in the phones and they were up and running.
Why prat around sticking in a new PBX, spending hours wiring it up, then re wiring becuause a moron manager decides at the last second to swap a few memebers of staff around.

We have 6 office hundreds of miles apart with no PBX and no IT staff. if they do minor office moves, they unplug and move to another desk.
If they need a new phone on an empty desk we configure it (5 mins) and stick it in the post.

People now expect to be able to work from home or any office, use IM to communicate and see if their collegues onthe phone. management want to see who is calling in and out and if they are hitting SLA's

Don't get me wrong, things like the 81's are bloody good bit's of kit, one of ours got hit by a lightning stike, blew out several cards, but just kept on working.

But times are moving on, businesses need to be flexible and costs are a major concern.

In a happy land we'd have the reliabity of the good old fork lift instalations, but the flexibnity of the IP kit.

Robert Wilensky:
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.

 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

I guess I'm fortunate I've worked in pretty much all areas, so I guess I have a less blinkered view of the work, than both Phone and IT techs.
I started in Desktop support, moved into networking, got pulled over to phones to work on 61's and 81's with Symposium, but these slowly got replaced by softswitches, which were buggy and unreliable, but gave 100's of more features. Overtime the software got better, the hardware got better and now monitoring is rocksolid, so if some so much as farts near the server we know about it.

Please guys, don't sit there grumbling and moaning about the good old days, get some more skills. Don't leave the "network" to the network guys, learn some basics and you can fix most of the issues yourselves and fight your bloody corner.
Better to be the Phone tech guy than the miserable, grumpy old guy in the corner who gets in the way.

Robert Wilensky:
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.

 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

I started off as programmer on an Ericsson Md110 network. Moved from there into doing the hardware side as well.

Since then i've gradually added the data side of IT to my voice skills and i'm now an IT manager.

So i'm managing the network and the PBX while rolling out a new IP system as well.

Lets face it data and voice are converging and you'll eventually not have any specialist voice techs as such. It'll all be done by "the IT guy"

What has to happen is for Voice and Data guys to learn each others skill sets

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
umm,it IS supposed to do that, right??

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Simpology

to answer your question IP has its place but it is not a golden bullet

as in everything it is a case of use the correct tool for the correct job.

I hate having a customer moaning to me about the S**t phone system crashing again when the cause is invariably something on their network (either poor configuration or user generated).

a number of well none phrases always spring to mind:
Eggs in baskets & Jack of all trades being the polite ones  

I do not Have A.D.D. im just easily, Hey look a Squirrel!

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Someone has to put in the infrastructure... It doesn't wire itself!

....JIM....
 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

(OP)
The point I am making is that even though the IT and telcom worlds may be merging, the people, installers, trainers and support staff that the customers have to deal with have vastly different personalities in my opinion.

IT people and just not a good fit for the customer when it comes to installation, support and maintenance of the equipment.  As far as training they just do not seem to have the "personality" and patience to train the customers and their staff.

Most IT people I know just spread themselves out to thin with to many jobs and not enough organizational skills.  They seem to just want to sit behind a computer and do stuff with the systems they install and not want to get into the trenches along with the customer.

I don't believe they realize how important it is to have a goal of zero down time for the telephone systems they install. They have little concern from what I have seen and heard about just rebooting a system in the middle of a busy work day causing havoc with the customers business. And so on.

I am from the old school of telephone system thinking... the telephone system should be Bell System / AT&T reliable and work all the time and a properly installed and maintained system with good customer training and education should be the order of the day.  That combination equals a reliable communications system and happy customers with little if no complaints.

That is what I call satisfaction and a sense of good honest workmanship and something for one to be proud of at the end of the day.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

What I don't understand is why people aren't being "green" and updating via upgrades their outdated Nortel Option Switches to the Avaya CS1000M which allows you to fully upgrade to VOIP platform.

Companies upon companies are throwing away Meridian switches as though they contain radioactive isotopes, when in reality these Meridian switches can be upgraded to the latest Communication Server platforms which are fully SIP/VOIP compatible.  I've seen one local hospital in the Chicago area upgrade an old SL-1 first generation 1976 switch through the years to an Option 81 and now to a fully VOIP capable CS1000, ALL WITHOUT THROWING AWAY THE EXISTING INVESTMENT.  

Some IT guy comes in and says Cisco is WAY better and everyone drops their pants and says, YES SIR HAVE MY I HAVE ANOTHER CISCO DEPLOYMENT! and all of the investment in the Nortel equipment is thrown in the trash. Personally, I'd much rather have an 1140E on my desk than a bland Cisco 7960.

 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Another example:

Large Fortune 50 company I work for.....

Largely Nortel based since 1976 with the first SL-1 system upgraded to an Option 81C with Meridian Mail in 1990.  

Come 2004, Cisco enters the scene and injects their insulin shot of "Throw your Nortel stuff away and come with us to the land of Bread and Telep-HONEY"

Year 2011:  Meridian equipment that hasn't been upgraded to Cisco works 365 days a year with no trouble and no outages.

Cisco 2011: At least 5-10 failures a year which occasionally require new servers, reboots, and loss of calls.

Thanks Cisco, YES your product is Much better than any legacy Nortel product....

NOT!

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

The big mistake Nortel made was to not go out and publicise what they had. About 8-10 years ago, if not longer, Cisco put everything in to going out and SELLING their wares, Nortel sat back on it's haunches and watched as their almost insurmountable position at the top of the telecom pile eroded away, and continues to do so. Their lack of funding to R&D and sales drives definitely "did them in"!
Add to that the fact that the sales were invariably to Data people who had climbed the ladder to managership, and soon there was no where to turn. Traditional Telecom techs, who got no budget to upgrade year after year, because the phone system outright performed and never went wrong (if it ain't broke, don't fix it ...)were then left in the cold when these managers were offered something they could put in place and potentially understand how it worked.
So now we have a single point of failure, get used to it, it's here to stay.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

If given a choice give me an option switch anyday. Uptime numbers alone far outway "code" upgrades on the cisco (network) side. With that said, each has their place, and if properly planned and engineered, both can work in tech harmony if you will, and you can have a mix of both tradional TDM and the fancy IP wares. Initially years ago, I was completely resistant to change, and remember way back when, I would be touting what the hell does Cisco know about phones. Well as the years went on, and Cisco and the like got their game together, I grew to accept and position myself to support both systems. Which puts me in more desirable hiring position, should I choose to look elsewhere for work. Having true Telecom knowledge and background is key to success working on either or both systems. Network and IT guys alike know their side of things (router/switch config's, vlan's, server OS etc) but lack the knowledge nor do they typically want the knowledge of what it takes to make number X route to site A and terminate on number Z, that's where us, the telecom folk come into play. Sure various vendor salesmen are pounding on the door selling their trinket of the day, but you still need us "dumb phone guys/gals" to make it all work.  

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

I work on both Cisco and Nortel/Avaya systems, have certifications in both as well. I agree both have their strong points, but
I do see people trying to use Cisco or VOIP systems in general for things they should not be used for. 1 example a new hospital in our town went all VOIP, we even had meetings with them to discourage them from using VOIP with Cisco ATA's for elevator phone lines. I really do not understand how the cost of the equipment to do that can out weigh the cost of installing a pots line (no worries about UPSs' and hardware failures). They still went with VOIP elevator phone lines.

I started out as an IT guy, but got trained as a telephony guy. I have been installing CPE for several years now and have had to learn alot under the gun (outages). I have to say my favorite systems are for small business the NORSTAR systems for reliability.

In Hospitals the Nortel Option Switch can't be beat because of the Analog capabilities.

Cisco is nice but the need for all the Analog can be a cumbersome solution.

As far as IP systems CISCO is far superior in my opinion to any Nortel/Avaya product.
in terms of quality and tech support.

Example we have many of the Nortel BCM/SRG's in our areas it is a challenging job just to send someone to replace a phone if it happens to fail which occurs alot on 1120 and 1140 models.
Users must login to the SRG deregister. go to the phone enter the primary registration IP S1.
Then allow it to connect to that system in local mode then go login to the CS1000 prt dnb so they can get the TN to redirect the phone to the main CS1000. Don't get me started on the firmware loop issues.

On Cisco you go to Call manager build a new phone with the Mac address plug it in and it works. CISCO SRST works much better than
Nortel's survivable solution.

I have to say my favorite systems are the old digital systems, and I think the best use for VOIP is trunking systems together across a WAN. In my opinion the digital phones just last longer than these new IP phones.

Unfortunately, all of our new system installs are IP based.
which doesn't make sense to me in alot of small business where they don't have a good network infrastructure.
It does keep me busy though learning all these quirks on these systems.

Thank god for tek-tips this forum has helped me with several issues!






RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

i have been tip and ringing for 35 years. the 4 biggest problems i have with IT guys are #1- they don't have problems, they have issues. #2- they do not believe in wire management. #3- an IT guy will do it his or her way, there are no standards to their work.#4- low or no troubleshooting skills. they can see the forest but they can't see the tree. don't get me wrong, i think IT folks are very smart people.they have helped me and hurt me.

WORK SMART NOT HARD

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

(OP)
Stsguy, my feelings exactly you have put it into a nut shell.  Thus the questions once again:

"What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business"?

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

The comments above are totally evident in a large BIG 10's School's telecom room I visited recently.  The CS2100 and associated cabinets including SIP and VOIP related telephony servers all were wired clean, colored coordinated, and perfectly.  Then the telecom guy walked me over to where the IT end of the room was with all the Cisco servers.....a mess of knots and rainbow of colors of CAT5 cable running everywhere and anywhere....a lot of the IT guys just don't care and they just all wish the Nortel equipment could be converted to Cisco so they could get their hands on it.  That is what is happening at my current company.  A perfectly upgradable Option 81 switch being thrown away for a Cisco system.  WASTE!  So much for being "green" these days.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

I'll point out the advantages of VoIP and "IT Geeks" have over Telecoms Geeks (I'm both!).

1. Large office moves, pah 2 of us can relocate and enitire office of 50 odd people in a afternoon, no switch preprogramming, now pain in the **** wiring. Just literally plug and go.
2. Small offcie moves, just tell them to unplug the phone and swap it over.
3. New builds. We just set up 263 new users on a system in 30 minutes! Most of that was typing in the MAC addresses of the phone into a CSV file.
4. New starters. Copy > Paste, change 4 fields. Punch in tftp address into phone. Stick in post.

When we were all legacy kit, we had 3 staff plus 2x maintainers for remote equipment and we struggled to keep up to with demand, call outs often taking 2 - 3 weeks to complete.
No we have 30% the more employees in the company, 2 menbers in the team and the maintains only look after what little legacy stuff we still have.

However all that said, I still say if we could get the uptime of an 81, then I'd be 100% happy with the hardware. That said, I took great pleasure in cutting several hundred pair the other week when we had to gut out part of our server room and patching.

Robert Wilensky:
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.

 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Symp, uptime of 81, Does that men 81%?
As a hospital with 2000+ phones (3 main campuses) and only one telephone man I can assure you that 81% won't cut the mustard around here. Last year I moved 2 departments and about 150 digital phones plus their faxes to a new building and we didn't miss a call. Granted, I had a few weeks to run new cabling in but we would have had to do that in any case.  I also have responsibility for adding data lines and I am slowly reworking our infrastructure to upgrade from cat5 to cat6 on our data lines, as well as changing out 66 blocks to 110 blocks on our voice lines to eliminate a messy long jumper situation in some closets.
I am very much eager to put in our first Voip and SIP phones and will probably do that soon to give us some flexibility. I'm busy as the dickens but I usually give same day service on 90% of the trouble or adds moves and changes. I love my job and am tickled to have one and at 65 I'm not looking for some young fella to tell me I'm doing things wrong.
Been a fool with my money and I will work till I die and I don't regret a thing. :) lol

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

That would be an Option 81 ... not 81%. Most Nortel Option PBX (and other TDM manufacturers too) have an up time measured in the 99.999% range. Our Option 81 has only been down once to move it and twice to upgrade it in 12 years and it was not really down very long those 2 times.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

(OP)
Sympology I am glad to hear you are that organized and are that concerned about your network.  However MOST IT guys have absolutely zero interest in organization and have the personality of prima donnas who take customers hostage and bill them for services not provided. They are NOT by any means Telco folks.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

My biggest beef with IT people is when a cat 5 wire needs to be run down the hall and fished into a wall and terminated on each end, they ask the customer to call old reliable phone guy to come and do it.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

But that should be a good thing, right?  

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

2
But that should be a good thing, right? thumbsup2

I love2 "FEATURE 00"

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

If the IT guy had his way, it would be a 100 foot patch cord run across the ceiling, excess coiled up above the ceiling tiles...

jeff moss
 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Fixin
ChaChing smile

I do not Have A.D.D. im just easily, Hey look a Squirrel!

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

A really good IT guy would also lay that 100' patch cable on the florescent lights to keep it off the ceiling tiles.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

(OP)
Then when the Fire Marshall comes to inspect the customers office they site them for low voltage violations then surprise the customer now has to pay a fine and or fix the problem at rush costs.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Not to mention the code violations for attaching the cable to conduit as a means of support! This is one of the most violated NEC codes.

....JIM....
 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Or said IT guy has a real bad day when said Fire Marshall, pops a tile, see's the cable fall on his head, and calls to his guys to give him a set of bolt cutters. Then snip, snip, building goes dark, lol.  

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

pbxn
that reminds me of a time when a colleague found a 3pin plug wired to a 3pin plug so they cold connect it into a 4 gang unit without bothering to wire it up.

Jiust when you though it couldn't get worse they were using  Coax!
 

I do not Have A.D.D. im just easily, Hey look a Squirrel!

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Boy this post has been going on for awhile. Why don't we really say how we feel? I replied earlier but still have some of my 2-cents left. About 3-years ago, Moe, Larry and Curly came in to install our 1st Cisco Call Manager phones. They were very well versed in Cisco switches and etc. But they thought being they have several Cisco phones in their office on a squared system that could install and set up a Call Center (IPCC). Right away I knew these guys were clowns. These new to be users were my "customers" on our NEC system and all was good but we had to move them offsite so mgmt wanted to try the new age phone system. These IT dimwits wanted me to do all the "leg work" and interview the users to see what they needed. I told them I knew what they needed and I knew what they had, how it worked but I didn't know how the Cisco phones worked. I was more than willing to help but told them I didn't know their systems abilities and limitations so I wanted them there. Like I said, these IT idots only knew about their "squared" 8 phones at their office. I had to explain "telephones 101" to them which they hated but I made them listen. It was interesting and almost comical explaining to them the absolute basics like What DIDs are and how they work. And why we had to go with (fit in) the numbering plan the City already had in place so there wouldn't be a conflict now or later. I wish I could remember everything when the circus was in town but I slept several times since then so... The best thing was when they thought a hunt group is what Dick Chaney was in when he shot his friend.   

Frank. City of Cape Coral, Florida

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

(OP)
The good IT guys and there is only a few as far as I have see, will know their limitations and bring on a good telco guy as part of their team.  They will let the telco guy do all the cable management and terminate nice BLUE jacks all over the place for them to use and then everyone is happy.

The smart IT guy who does this is always a winner with the customer.  I have found only one IT group, small, managed by the owner and this guy and his employees all respect me and let me do my thing and I do my thing and we are all the winner as well as the customer.

Him an I never step on each others toes we do actually work as a team for the benefit of the customer.

These guys are a rare bird.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

My favorite was watching 2 IT guys punch down two 25 pair cables  between 2 10A Bix mounts with 46DI data jacks for data.

1. If they lifted the sub-floor tiles they could have easily moved the 10A Mount to where they really needed it.
2. Instead they stripped back the pairs and then communicated which single wire they were punching down next.

"Uhh I have a Black wire with little yellow ringies on it..."

  

KE407122
'Who is this guy named Lo Cel and why does he keep paging me?'

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

There is a whole lot of unusual in that one.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Yep.
There is no Black wire with little yellow rings.  

KE407122
'Who is this guy named Lo Cel and why does he keep paging me?'

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

I've been with three IT departments in the last 19 years and I've come to accept that the Telecom guys are the Fire Hydrant of the IT department. Even tough our systems are up much longer than their systems. They always have the attitude "it's only a phone".
If you're an IT guy and you keeps your systems up 99% of the time you're a hero. If you're in Telecom and your systems are 99% of the time, you're fired!

Frank. City of Cape Coral, Florida

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

(OP)
Most IT guys just have a Holier Than Thou attitude and won;t ask for help. They don;t seem to want to learn from the experience of others or have a mentor help them.

they are usually very sloppy, unshaven, smelly with bad breath.  The way they present themselves to clients has just shocked me time and time again.  

They are usually late to appointments and won;t return calls, email or text promptly or at all sometimes.

I had one that had the nerve to try to Pick My Brain for telco install procedures but would not turn the job over to me.

When I call him he never returns my call when I need help.

I have cut him off.  No more freebes.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

(OP)
Most IT guys just have a Holier Than Thou attitude and won;t ask for help. They don;t seem to want to learn from the experience of others or have a mentor help them.

they are usually very sloppy, unshaven, smelly with bad breath.  The way they present themselves to clients has just shocked me time and time again.  

They are usually late to appointments and won;t return calls, email or text promptly or at all sometimes.

I had one that had the nerve to try to Pick My Brain for telco install procedures but would not turn the job over to me.

When I call him he never returns my call when I need help.

I have cut him off.  No more freebes.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

The most frightening thing is we have had to learn data networking to a reasonably high level. Vlan's, DHCP Scope, QoS etc.

& then find that the IT dept(if you can call it that) in all but the largest firms has not got a clue what we are talking about or how to set it up & wont change anything because "It took us ages to get it all working straight we don't want to break things now"

I do not Have A.D.D. im just easily, Hey look a Squirrel!

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Wow you guys really have some crap IT departments. I guess it's becuase I work with the guys.
I have 3 Netowrk guys sat behind me, develops around and server guys dotted around us.
We have cable installs done by a dedicated team and we monitor the nuts of our systems...

Robert Wilensky:
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.

 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

>Wow you guys really have some crap IT departments. I guess it's becuase I work with the guys.

I suspect though, that you work in an enterprise environment.  In general, Enterprise IT means specialists rather than generalists.  

Take Care

Matt
I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone.
My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

TDM vs VoIP - depends on your business requirements.  Some companies have the budgets and manpower to upgrade/replace everything 5 years.  And for vendors like us - hey, more money to keep us profitable.  Each system has it's pros, cons, risks and benefits.  

On the other hand - can't beat Nortel TDM phone systems for their reliability and uptime that the IT world only dreams about.  I maintain a large number of customers who have phone systems that are 10+ years old.  The other day I had to replace a 21 year old analog line card that had finally called it quits in a Nortel 81c about the same age.  How many 21 year old computer systems are still around these days with 100% uptime?  Not too many.  

But going back to the original topic here, I'm an IT guy turned voice guy.  When I was in IT, I cut my teeth on my company's Option 11c as a cost-saving measure ($150 for the phone vendor to walk in the door to do 5 minutes of work I could have done myself?) and eventually got out of IT to work for a Nortel/Avaya partner - but hired as a Microsoft OCS guy.  However, that business is still evolving for us and I'm spending most of my working on Nortel Meridian systems - with a little bit of Norstar and BCM thrown in to keep things interesting.  For me it's greater job security because everyone and his mother has an MCSE these days - and they've saturated the job market to the point where starting salaries are half of what they were 10 years ago.  I'm good at IT stuff, and I'm good at voice stuff.  I'm one of those rare breeds with good customer service / people skills and a wealth of knowledge in voice and IT (and I still have lots to learn).  There are times where me, the phone guy, runs circles around a customer's IT guy because they're too busy playing with the newest shiny object they saw at some IT convention and not focused enough on the foundational stuff that keeps it all running smoothly.  My paycheck and performance evaluations reflect that.  

I do see lots of problems in the field with IT guys doing as much as they can before calling the phone vendor - and as a result, we end up fixing lots of problem that would have been freebie maintenance/warranty work to billable T&M because their IT guys didn't know what they were doing - even "IT stuff" they would break, causing their VoIP phone system to fail because they failed to monitor their server running DHCP services telling them they were about to loose a hard drive in a RAID-5 array (server has 3 drives, one already down, 2nd drive failed rendering the array useless) and because they didn't have hardware to fix/replace the server, we billed them for around 11-12 hours (at prevailing wage rates no less because of state labor laws here) to reprogram each and every one of their IP 1100 series phones with static IP addresses - just to get them back up and running.  But hey - it's more $$$ for us, so you IT guys keep breaking our phone stuff!!  

But what kills me is that much of the phone stuff the IT guys are doing is already covered under maintenance - they're already paying us to do it for them at no additional cost... but they want to do it themselves and it costs them more in the end.  I'm all about customer service, but at the end of the day, my job is to take your money.  Us vendors need to turn a profit after all.  

I'm not opposed to showing an IT guy a few things they can do on their own that won't break anything and won't eat into our MAC revenue, but voice is a specialty that does not belong in the realm of the jack-of-all-trades generalist IT guy.  

That said, however, as more and more customers migrate to VoIP, phone guys who want to survive and prosper MUST become knowledgable in things like Ethernet, PoE switches, routers, VLAN's, subnetting, DHCP, SIP, etc... etc....  Otherwise, as TDM systems become obsolete, so will your skillset and ability to stay employed and any run-of-the-mill IT guy will easily replace you.  The goal is to become VoIP subject matter experts for the products you install and maintain.  
 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

(OP)
Yes you make a good observation.  We telom guys HAVE to learn IT stuff customer now come to expect me to set up what I call "Light Data Networks" and we do it properly because we have the discipline of the telcom world.

I leave the complicated stuff to the IT guy that I trust.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

(OP)
I also make it 100% clear and that is included in my contracts and service agreements that "I" am the only one who can touch my network during the warranty period.  I have a trade mark way that I install my parts and cables so I can tell when they have been disturbed.

I have on more than one occasion been very frank with clients and IT guys have warned them that if the T guy touches or disturbs any of my work their warranty will be void.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

I have replaced A couple of VOIP systems,  with good old fashioned Nor tel,  Mitel.

alwayslearning

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Okay guys. With all the comments going back and forth and getting me fired up I don't know if I should set my hair on fire or stab myself in the eye with a sharp stick! But I somewhat digress. Here's some more that melts my marshmallows. I've been an on-site tech for 19 years working at 3 different places and I really like it. I'm very "picky" and organized which makes my job easier in the long run. EVERY device, route and everything else that's programmed in my PBX's is being used. EVERY jumper/patch cord that's connected is being used. EVERY test device that's built is documented and deleted after testing. We have over 1500 extensions around our City and everyone is documented as to who, what and where it is. Too many Telco lines, T-1's PRI's etc to mention but again all documented. When I train a new guy/girl I insist that all the analism of mine is maintained. Sometimes we get what I call a shoe maker that doesn't do things right or doesn't follow through until total completeion. And the "new people" of Telecom seem to be the worst when it comes to doing things the old fashioned (RIGHT) way. It really fries my bannanas when I "stumble" accross new extensions built that go nowhere or phones unplugged instead of deleted because the customer said they didn't need it anymore. When I question them about it the ITidiots say something stupid like "well, they can't use it now it's in the closet". I know I'm way too organized but if I'm left alone every extension, trunk, route and ty-rap is accounted for and being used. It drives me to drink (which isn't so bad) that most of these nurds could be my kid or grand kid. Damn, I'm sorry for venting on you nice folks like this but I feel a little better now. But I have to go now, my hair is about extinguished (the smell is terrible) and my eye without the stick in it is tearing real bad.
Take care and if you haven't made other plans, have a nice day!

Frank. City of Cape Coral, Florida

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Well documented phone systems are great - but it is a TON of work that must be kept up with dilligently every time you move, add, delete or change something each and every time.  But it's well worth it when it's done and you have to pass it on to the next guy.  

I've seen switch rooms and closets that you can eat off the floor and everything is well marked and organized.  I've seen the opposite (which sadly happens more often than not) where it's just one huge clusterf--k because of different vendors and field techs over the years who just come in, do their job quickly and leave without picking up after themselves or spending a few minutes to clean up and organize (i.e., the old Boy Scout credo of leaving a campsite cleaner than you found it).  
 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

(OP)
Here is how real Telco people are different from IT people.

We have over a hundreds of standards to hold up.  Bell System and AT&T standards set way back in the beginning.

Standards that allowed our Country to lead the world in progress, technology and innovation.

We have pride in workmanship from millions of dedicated hard working and proud people who help build our communications networks from the beginning.

We have a legacy of greatness and solid reliability.  He have generations of families who have worked for the telephone company.

These standards have been set very high for us and most real telco folks strive to meet these standards.

This legacy and history is not present in the IT world as far as I can see it.

We have a history of hard working dedicated people from all areas of life who all strive for excellence.

This can not be expected from IT people.  They for the most part have computers and automation as their mentors. We have flesh and blood mentors.

This I believe is the difference which will always place us ahead of them in our expectations and personal demands.

Our legacy which we must continue thru hard work, dedication and mentor-ship.

Your comments please.
  

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Do you have olive green underwer to go with that Bell system worker crap?

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Underwear.  This editing thing is really weird.  I type and it's displaying characters after a whole word.  Must be some buffer problem.

 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

I think the Bell System had a KS- number for that item, but I haven't found it in the Bell System Practices yet!

....JIM....
 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Some comments from an IT guy that got sucked in telecom business. Which was painful and cost me a lot, but things are improving now.

IT guys know jack s**t about cabling. True. Not something that is (properly) taught in schools, and not something you can (properly) learn on your own over the internet, in part because the stupid standards are not available online for a reasonable cost (that is, free, as are laws, standards required by laws being de facto laws). It takes a lot of hands-on field experience too.

Most IT guys lack knowledge about electricity and electronics. Sad and true. To the point that many of them can't even diagnose/fix a hardware problem on a computer.

Many IT guys lack knowledge on networking issues. It takes a lot of field experience on hardware and setups they won't have at home to play with.

Most IT guys have to deal with people of any age, profession and experience that think they know computers because they use one everyday (the worst offenders being in medical professions). So they have to be assertive, which is not always well perceived, but this is the only way for them to get some actual job done.

Competent experienced IT guys know more than telecom guys about server room design/management and will keep them in check to avoid costly (in terms of maintenance) disasters initiated by old-school telecom geniuses. No, we don't want a huge BIX on a plywood in the corner to cross-connect all our racks. Sure, you certainly always have done it this way for 30 years. No it's not "the" standard. OK now, let me call the engineer to make this clear and have him explain it to you again.

Many telecom guys have issues sharing knowledge with outsiders (and sometimes even colleagues) and explaining what they do and why they do it this way. They tend to be on the defensive, which causes them to be perceived as "square". Or maybe it's for job protection. Anyway, the IT guy is not always the cause for the lack of communication and understanding.

About "reliability is not what it used to be". Ever used a cell phone fifteen years ago? That's where VoIP is now, with way better audio quality. Also in my place I have seen DSL connections stay up even though voice service on the same trunk was degraded to the point of being unusable because humidity/corrosion occured on the line somewhere between the customer and the CO. The point is, circuit-switched networks are not actually as reliable as people think they are. Also, analog vs. digital = analog degrades progressively over time, digital works and then suddenly doesn't work at all if the signal quality gets low enough.

About the downtimes. 99% is 14 minutes 24 seconds of downtime per 24 hours. If your IT guy can't do better with his systems, show him the door, seriously. A reboot a month for 4m30s gets you 99.99% uptime, and if you only do that once a year, say, for updates, you get over 99.999%. Looks good enough to me, as I am pretty sure many "carrier-grade" networks actually don't achieve that if averaged over enough years. And it is easier to implement redundancy with VoIP systems than TDM systems.

Modern numeric phones are actually computers and their user interfaces are too often poorly designed, which is a problem in all IT fields because they don't spend the necessary resources designing and properly validating user interfaces. This is why the iPhone is such a hit. On the other hand, star codes, tones and voicemail menus are not exactly user friendly either.

... and the real reason you see so many IT guys in your field now:

IT guys are into packet switching. Telecom guys are into circuit switching. Packet switching has finally won (and this causes different, not worse, issues) and IT guys were already in charge of the network, and now they have to do voice as well as data. Circuit switching folks now blame IT staff for all the shortcomings of migrating to packet switching, and stay silent about the advantages. As they don't know anything about protocols (even ISDN...) above electrical levels (and even then, sometimes the knowledge is only in the test tools they have), they won't help anyway.

So basically telecom as it used to be is going away. On one side you will have network folks from IT, because in the end they will have to support these systems anyway. And the folks who lay out cables are becoming something like a specialized kind of electricians (actual electricians try to get into this sometimes, and the result is not pretty). And it will be increasingly unlikely to find a guy that is qualified to install cabled infrastructure and also setup data networks and phone systems. Time to get used to it and learn to work together.
 

--
A(PS|CI)S-SMEC
IT consultant
Canada / Quebec City area

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

My background is TDM (I'm a Central Office technician) so keep that in mind as you read my comments below

Most TDM systems should not need to be rebooted at all. If a Norstar Meridian, Partner ACS or Merlin Legend/Magix requires power-cycling, then that is an indication of a trouble. The only time a system like these needs to be powered off is to replace, add or remove cards/boards/modules.

We were given IP phones for our office to, eventually, replace an aging Norstar Meridian. In the 3 weeks that we have had these phones, I've had 2 calls disconnect on me for no reason at all.....and.....a call drop during transfer. banghead

This sort of behavior would never be tolerated with a TDM system, but seems to be, in varying degrees, considered acceptable with IP communications.

I love2 "FEATURE 00"

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

There are glitches. The kind of programmer that can write a bug-free SIP / H323 stack / phone firmware / PBX kernel is in short supply, hardware manufacturers don't want to pay for them nor provide them a nice working environment like they used to do in the past, so they go write financial/trading software instead.

But also, in my experience, customers heard/read a lot of FUD about these systems and are quite nervous about it so they notice every glitch and more (often more). After a while and some "coaching" backed by logs and traces they forget about it because they like the features and because actual unexplained glitches remain exceptional (as long as nothing like Asterisk is involved).

Things will eventually improve, as with anything excepted cell phone SMS service. But I already find it neat that on my VoIP systems I can unplug a phone from the ethernet switch (assuming the phone is locally powered or through a midspan), wait 5 seconds, plug it back again eventually elsewhere and not have the call dropped. Try that on a TDM system.

The only remaining advantage of TDM over VoIP is on sites that have rotten analog trunks far below internationally accepted specifications, which results in a weak signal level and/or echo way beyond what the echo canceller in the media gateway can do. TDM introduces almost no latency so the echo delay stays within whatever is between the ears of your customer can handle without discomfort.
 

--
A(PS|CI)S-SMEC
IT consultant
Canada / Quebec City area

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Total agree with the above, you stick in ANY new system and the second anything goes wrong it the phone systems fault.
The amount of calls saying "I keep dialling out and it keeps cutting me off, this system is ****".
One check of their call logs and the ALL calls suddenly become three to the same mobile!
The other 150 calls at the same time have strangley worked ok...Mmmmmm
We have an advantage rolling out our VoIP systems, the old phones and systems are so crap they are really happy to get the brand new kit with a million and one features...

Robert Wilensky:
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.

http://alvechurchlounge.org.uk

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

In my particular situation, both calls were to landlines supported by the LEC and the calls were actively in progress.

The transferred call was from the IP phones to our TDM system (which will need to remain), because the ringers on the IP phones are too quiet, even at their loudest setting, to be heard above the HVACs and equipment cooling fans in the switching area.

For computer networks, reboots and downtime are a fact of life. The need to download patches and reboot are common and acceptable in the IT world.

It was not and should not be this way for voice communications.

Voice communication systems should be able to be configured and run problem-free with no attention other than moves, adds, subtractions or the occasional hardware replacement.

I love2 "FEATURE 00"

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Quote:

For computer networks, reboots and downtime are a fact of life. The need to download patches and reboot are common and acceptable in the IT world.

Why?

Challenge them.
We don't patch our servers from one year to the next.
99% of windows patches are not required for dedicated hardware. No need to install .net updates, i.e. updates etc etc if these never see the internet, are not used and services not required are uninstalled / disabled.

 

Robert Wilensky:
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.

http://alvechurchlounge.org.uk

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Downtimes (expected and unexpected) are a fact of life of any network. Roads, water, power, TV, telephone and else, not just data networks. Things break, regular maintenance needs to be done, and that can't always be done "live". There are known events where CO voice service (including emergency service) was disrupted for hours for tens of thousands of customers. Fortunately now you can (and should, if the service is essential to you) have redundancy with cell phones and cable providers.

Also in general data networks do not reboot. Sometimes the DHCP server does, but if it's properly programmed (that is, not like the ones in some DSLAMs) there is no service interruption and computers will stay connected. A properly designed and maintained private data network could even get a better reliability than what TDM networks can offer, and the necessary redundancy is way more affordable.

Good PBX OSes normally don't need to reboot either, I have seen some achieving years of uptime. It's a matter of policy, mine being "if it works leave it alone". I only deploy necessary security patches, and those that require reboots are extremely rare on my IP PBXes running on computers. It is within the reach of most IT departments (in terms of money and know-how) to achieve PBX server redundancy with VoIP, some virtual machine supervisors will even do it magically for you. And you could configure at least two servers per registration in most SIP endpoints.

Ethernet networks need to be properly configured and secured (i.e have stuff like 802.1x authentication enabled, QoS, a VLAN dedicated to voice service, and a configuration that will avoid a spanning tree failure to ever happen) to avoid DoS and disruptions. Which is usually way beyond knowledge of telecom staff, and most IT guys lack competence there either. Seriously, pay qualified consultants to help you for that and make sure they know what they talk about.

Now the phones. They offer all sorts of bells and whistles, you can configure a lot of things (you should be able to set the ringer to your needs for example, something that is usually not possible on TDM phones) but most firmwares are not too robust when it comes to basics like network or protocol errors recovery. And they take ages to reboot which is a major annoyance. And on some IP phones the user interface is badly designed. This is where there is the most room for improvement.

Also some TDM/media gateways SIP/H323/whatever stacks have way to go. I experienced many cases where they did not properly implement protocol specifications or error recovery. In your case, my suspicion would go towards your TDM system not doing its VoIP job properly.
 

--
A(PS|CI)S-SMEC
IT consultant
Canada / Quebec City area

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

@Sympology

Critical computer services should not run on Windows period. The NT kernel was initially written by competent people (too bad it's not documented), but the layers of poorly designed crap above that still make it a toy OS. Sometimes PC hardware is not appropriate either. And sometimes even UNIX reliability on high-end hardware is not enough, which is why there are still mainframes around. These things usually run for decades without service disruptions.

 

--
A(PS|CI)S-SMEC
IT consultant
Canada / Quebec City area

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

By outage/downtime, I'm thinking of when a server crashes due to software glitches or drive failures. External influences like flooding & downed facilities fall outside the scope of CPE.

The only time a reboot of a PBX or key system may be needed is to fix a stuck voicemail hard drive.

Take for example, the Avaya Merlin platform. It was one of the most stable families of telephone systems because Bell Labs designed them for long life & reliable service. The processors didn't need software updates to fix bugs. IP systems can't make those claims (at least not at this time).

I love2 "FEATURE 00"

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Our new phones are pure VoIP. It may get to the point where I'll use the Norstar key system phones for critical calls and the IP phones for everything else.

I love2 "FEATURE 00"

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

There are reasons why it was possible for legacy PBX/KSU to be rock solid:
- no need to support fancy features and protocol stacks (directory, TCP/IP, VoIP protocols, configuration interface), so the software was simpler to write
- no OS, all the software was written in assembly or low-level C, and the simpler requirements made it possible to write deterministic software and validate it
- these PBX were not connected to public data networks with new security issues discovered everyday, and anyway their designers cared a lot less about security
- all solid state. Moving parts in telephony hardware (drives, fans) is totally a bad idea unless you use redundant servers. On the smaller systems the IP Office is one of those that get it right, and future IP PBX appliances are likely to go back to fanless/SSD storage designs.

I use IP phones all the time for technical support conversations that can last hours, and I do not remember the last time I got disconnected for no reason even though my calls are routed through Internet. My own experience is that they are as reliable as their TDM counterparts (actually so far I returned more failing TDM phones than IP phones to warranty) if configured properly. And this is where the casual IT guy that barely know networking and lack any knowledge in protocols is going into trouble.
 

--
A(PS|CI)S-SMEC
IT consultant
Canada / Quebec City area

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

2
Just had an instance of this.

We have a customer who had the person who does their copiers promise them the world and a half with a voip system.

Turned out it was freepbx on a no name computer tower.  They never could follow through on setting up a remote worker with an ip phone and the system never stayed live for more than a week.  Everytime it crashed the original installer came out and redownloaded free pbx and reprogrammed the tower.

On top of this they charged $25k for this system and 20 of the crapiest ip phones linksys makes.

After about 2 months of the system going down and failure to deliver promises we installed a BCM50 6.0 with 11xx series ip phones a softphone and setup the remote worker.

They couldnt be happier.

Honestly i hope they keep doing things like this.. just makes us look like heroes

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Not sure I would trust this guy for a copier either :)

At home I have a totally obsolete IBM PII-300 desktop built maybe 13 years ago with a hard drive just a bit younger. Does IP PBX, print server, router, it still manages weeks of uptime (no UPS) and I don't remember ever seeing it crashing. Close to decommissioning because it's a bit noisy compared to less old boxes. And slow.

I don't like these folks giving a bad name to VoIP setups though, it just spreads the FUD further.
 

--
A(PS|CI)S-SMEC
IT consultant
Canada / Quebec City area

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

these PBX were not connected to public data networks with new security issues discovered everyday.....

That's why it is not uncommon for technicians who work with key & PBXs to say that voice systems should be separate from data systems. Minimal security issues and these systems will run without needing a parade of patches to counter the ever growing list of threats that are a genuine threat to IP-based communication.

With our current office arrangement, if a server goes down for whatever reason, we have a tried & true key system to turn to. How the servers that provide service for these phones are configured, is well beyond anything those of us in our office would be getting involved in.

Modern key & PBX systems make use of ICs.....unlike the old Western Electric 1A2s that used discrete components and could withstand environmental conditions that would croak any modern key system, PBX, server & router.

I love2 "FEATURE 00"

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

The only exception that I'm aware of to the claim that TDM systems are, for the most part, bullet-proof is the debacle Avaya created with the R7 version of the Partner ACS processor. The software was buggy and Avaya had to release patch after patch after patch (something unheard of for TDM systems) to get the processor to work properly cry.

I love2 "FEATURE 00"

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

One thing that has not been mentioned;
Cost.

What is the most expensive recurring cost for a phone system;  People to manage it.

If you can converge the voice team in to the IT teams - less people = less money.

 

Take Care

Matt
I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone.
My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

> If you can converge the voice team in to the IT teams - less people = less money.

Not necessarily.  Depends on the size of your company, the type of PBX you're running and what skillsets exist within IT.  From an organizational point of view it makes sense to bring voice and IT together - especially if you're doing VoIP, but finding someone who can do both, and well, can be difficult.  Sometimes it's more economical to have a vendor do all the work.  Sometimes it's more economical to have a dedicated voice team.  It all depends.  

 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

It's definitely not a matter of less people. In the places I know there is next to nobody having "the phones" in charge, it's almost always completely outsourced even in large shops (these shops outsource IT hardware maintenance and help desk support as well).

But there is a matter of cost and complexity. TDM systems need their own cables, and more often than not they won't share the same wall plates and won't end up in the same room, and if they do anyway they will be on a BIX rather than a patch panel.

Now if you make voice share the same path as data, instead of having 2 problems when moving desks around you only have 1, and bosses like that.
 

--
A(PS|CI)S-SMEC
IT consultant
Canada / Quebec City area

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

My current duties have me assigned to a large customer - ~3,000 phones including a large call center spread out over 15 sites within a 75 mile radius.  *I* am the outsourced guy.  There's some limited internal customer support (i.e., the call center IVR's and Symposium are largely the responsibility of the customer), but as far as the PBX's are concerned - a mix of aging Meridian and Norstar, I'm it.  

Now keep in mind, I'm bundled with a maintenance contract - so when things break, I do have resources I can call upon (parts, people smarter than me, etc...) but I'm the day to day guy.  

There's pros and cons to TDM with it's own wiring infrastructure and VoIP.  Some mission-critical phone systems must be separate from the data networks - and TDM fits that bill nicely.  I've seen call centers lose their data networks, but they're still able to handle calls (albeit to apologize to most callers that the computer's down).  Can't do that when your VoIP goes down with the network - and customers don't like hearing recordings about a down mainframe.  
 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

1 guy for 3000 phones, that's probably a ten-to-1 ration compared to IT folks. Not where I would look for savings.

Mission-critical data centers can't work without their computers either, so the correct way to proceed there is first to up the reliability of the data network to enough nines after 99. and only then consider using it for voice. If you think your data network can't match the reliability of your TDM system, you have a problem with your data network (and then you are right to stay on the safe, proven, predictable TDM stuff for the moment).

One more thing about redundancy and probabilities. Say, you need your phone _AND_ your computer to work, and both the TDM PBX and the data network get 99.99% service availability in average to make things simple (TDM is better than that, and data should be too). The probability that one _AND_ the other are available simultaneously at any given time is .99980001. That is, your average yearly downtime is 1h45.

If you only depend on the data network with the same availability, you only get 53 minutes of yearly downtime. Better.

Now. If, instead of a TDM socket and a data socket, you got two data sockets with 2 totally separated redundant networks behind them run by different people to avoid the same errors being done at the same time on both networks, and then connected your computer to both of them, one through the IP phone the other directly, and had a backup softphone on the computer, then now you need both networks to go down simultaneously to prevent you from working. This gives (in theory at least) a third of a second of yearly average downtime with the example above. Totally absolutely better.

Think about it (and also, "in theory, there is no difference between theory and practice").

One last thing about PBX hardware, be it a server with a PBX OS or a TDM chassis. One of the reason why I think people overestimate the reliability of TDM systems is that they don't go down often, but when they do because some hardware failed, that's for hours (as I have seen it happen anyway): get the telco guy there, diagnose, replace, hoping he has the required parts with him or in stock nearby, and eventually reprogram/test. OTOH IT guys often keep spare servers and switches on site, and are on site themselves. When hardware breaks, they first restore the service on a spare box (which can be automatic and instant if the service ran in a replicated VM) and only then attempt to repair the failed one.

Just to say that I don't think there any reason to keep voice and data networks separated other than "voice folks don't trust data guys".
 

--
A(PS|CI)S-SMEC
IT consultant
Canada / Quebec City area

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Wow, I was off a few days and there's been allot of activity here. I would like to say that Telecom goes way back in my family's history. In fact my great-great Grandfather was Alexander Graham Bellski. Of course you know he was the first telephone Pole.  

Frank. City of Cape Coral, Florida

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Quote:

What is the most expensive recurring cost for a phone system;  People to manage it.

Two people 3500+, down from 3 when we had Meridians all over the place.

smile

 

Robert Wilensky:
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.

http://alvechurchlounge.org.uk

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

BTW today, 2 ISDN's failed at a remote site, took site offline.
Redirected (frantically) non geo to local gateway > SIP to server.
Up and running while ISDN fixed (outbound already had auto failover to SIP)
Only reason not fully SIP is that we are waiting for a 2nd IP line to go in + not enough bandwidth.

Robert Wilensky:
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.

http://alvechurchlounge.org.uk

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Any Telecom outfit worth its weight will have a supply of spare stock on-hand. It's no different than an IT outfit keeping a supply of hard drives, mother boards, other hardware and software for the servers & routers they support. Here in the US, TDM wiring is commonly terminated on 66 blocks, 110 blocks or, in some cases, BIX. Analog & digital TDM phones will work quite nicely with CAT3 cable. No need to use 5E, 6, 6E or 6A.

While computers do play an ever increasing role in daily commerce the loss of telephone service is far worse than the loss of data services. How professional does it look if your customers cannot reach you because a server problem takes down voice services? If a computer network fails, information can still be taken down the old fashioned way....by hand.... and entered into a system once the data network has been restored.

IP does have a place in communications. But is it only 1 out of many tools available. The problem is that it is not being marketed that way and a lot of IT professionals are quite happy with that.

Small outfits that have very basic phone & data needs are being sold IP even if their needs don't dictate it. Fax machines and alarm panels do not play nicely with IP. Lose power with IP....you're sunk. Lose power with POTs lines....pull out some SLTs and you're good to go.

911 services over IP? No thanks.

I love2 "FEATURE 00"

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

The Box on the wall's day is coming to an end.......

ACSS - SME
General Geek



RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

^ as long as IT geeks keep butchering installs ... the pbx will always have its place.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

well, Im an IT geek and a qualified IPO engineer......

ACSS - SME
General Geek



RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

then you are one in one thousand

and, i still would like to see if your install standards are that of a telecom engineers

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

HSM,

I have seen IPO boxes on the wall!! So they are not going away... Not all boxes get mounted on or in racks...

....JIM....
 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Even I (of the "IT geek" pack) install TDM IPO boxes and BIX stuff on plywood in basements (and routers, media gateways, ethernet switches, UPS...). Actually I totally dislike stuff that is not wall-mountable, especially stuff that is neither wall-mountable nor rack-mountable. Shelves are evil.

The cabling guys I work with won't install anything below cat5e even for telephony (they use Z cable for security / intercom stuff though, maybe smaller residential jobs as well). We sometimes have arguments on how stuff should be terminated (bix? patch panel? a mix of both? which colors?) but in almost all significantly sized recent projects the engineering requirements were 8p8c 568A sockets, 19" patch panels, cat5e or cat6 cabling. Eventually with color and/or layout requirements to differentiate voice and data.

About what's essential for a business. When I end up talking to someone because e-mails got unanswered and they still can't answer questions, take orders or ship stuff today because their computer system is down, it looks far more unprofessional to me than not being reachable through phone. We got past the point where data networks are more critical than phone networks for most organizations. In many places people would be sent home when the data network is down for the rest of the day. Outside call centers, I don't know places that would stop working just because the phone system is down.

Fax machines. Slowly going away, as the Telex did, as analog TV broadcast does, and as analog trunks will do (as soon as possible please). Most people around me accept (and expect) e-mails with attachments, or plain old snail mail.

Credit/debit card machines. Now over IP, faster, more reliable, no more busy lines, and they have POTS backup anyway.

Alarm panels can be equipped to send messages through IP connections (with backups on either a land line or through a cellular network). Instead of a 20-sec-or-so process (seize line, dial number, wait tone, send tones) the transmission is instant, and the link to the panel can be monitored almost continuously. With just a regular land line, the remote supervision knows that the link went down only after it's restored and the panel sends a trouble alarm.

After all, poles and copper wires existed before the telephone. They were installed to transmit data (that was the telegraph), and then someone found a way to abuse that technology to send voice over it. Sounds familiar?
 

--
A(PS|CI)S-SMEC
IT consultant
Canada / Quebec City area

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

To me, losing phone service is worse than losing computer, so it simply depends on the perspective of the individual. People accept the fact that computer networks are susceptible to hacks, viruses & crashes.....and they are. No computer network is impervious to attacks or crashes.

It should not be that way with voice services.

There is still tons of analog equipment out there and it is not going away any time soon. IP service will not be able to support it. TDM/analog will be around for a long time to come. It will continue to decline as people become more accepting of voice service that can & does fall below 4 or 5 9's in reliability.

I love2 "FEATURE 00"

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

It's not the network that is susceptible to the hack/virus/crashes people notice, it's computers. A correctly designed and operated data network remains up 24/7 for years without disruptions, has a reliability that is comparable to TDM systems, and allows more fail-over options than TDM setups.

So I would rather say "it should not be that way with data networks". Too many managers still fail to realize that having not-so-competent folks in charge of their networks resulting in not-so-available service carries a huge hidden cost, certainly orders of magnitude higher than having experienced consultants at $XXX/hour helping them to avoid problems happening in the first place.

IP ATAs can be (and are often) used to connect analog data equipment. They requires G.711, enough initial buffering (that increases latency) and QoS end-to-end to work reliably though.

As far as I am concerned one of the major remaining irritants with IP endpoints is that they take ages to boot. Seriously, manufacturers, please do something about that. These are embedded systems, they could and should be up and running in less than 5 seconds when powered again.

Actually TDM systems are a bit like computer systems that used a central computer and "dumb" terminals. They were reliable and did not require a lot of maintenance, there are still some of them around but they are going extinct because by design they can't offer features that people expect from modern computers, and anyway even on these systems people are replacing terminals by computers because actual terminals are more expensive.
 

--
A(PS|CI)S-SMEC
IT consultant
Canada / Quebec City area

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Consultants are another issue too. Some (few) are knowledgeable, honest and sincere. I started doing "IT" work long before it was called IT and have seen too many Bozo's calling themselves consultants who generally can't hold a job in this business due to being inept in one way or another. But they have the "gift". They arrive pull the wool over the bosses eyes and tricked them into thinking they know what they are talking about. Too often these "in"sultants are working behind the scenes with suppliers and which ever supplier nets them the most profit is the technology they'll recommend. As stated above there are some consultants who do justice and the majority of the rest give these few good ones a bad name.

Frank. City of Cape Coral, Florida

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Congratulations Sir you got post #100 smile

Heh. I had to fix things after one of those did a wireless "site survey", called his "tech" guy on the phone, described him what he saw on the field, and ended up:
- recommanding only three wireless bridges units for two point-to-point links (one of them being the "root" bridge for two links)
- choosing three identical somewhat directional access points, even though the root bridge was in the center of a pretty wide angle
- not having a lot of margin with the range of these access points in the first place
- not considering the fact that there were quite a few nice, healthy trees right on the line of sight of both remote sites. Being able to see through the trees in winter is not "clear line of sight".

Made it work (the customer had to install poles away from the trees that further widened the angle), though that project was dangerously close to being a disaster.
 

--
A(PS|CI)S-SMEC
IT consultant
Canada / Quebec City area

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

And how about when the powers that be are entertaining some consultants or salespersons and doesn't include other people in the department that know the operation in their ideas, meetings or purchase. And then it's known that their "solution" won't work because the boss doesn't know what we have, how or why it works. It's nice when the powers get everyone together to decide on what we need. I wish I had a dollar for everytime the people that know are invited to talk to the consultant and the consultant can't answer the real questions and discuss the other options that can be done. The loud noise of that consultant's bubble bursting is quite loud and oh, the dirty looks you get. Recently we needed a new SMDR system. The people that have experience working with SMDR and will be maintaining it wasn't included in the purchase and as you might guess, it's not a good fit for us. But then it's our job to make it fit and the others will never admit they coulda, woulda and shoulda. I always like references of other users and in our case I would want to talk to someone who has an NEC voice network (with other NEC's connected to a 2400) with Cisco Call Mangler added in. The vendor cannot explain or fix the hundreds (and growing) number of ficticious extensions pumping out calls. They like to blame the Cisco and NEC systems instead. Like the old saying goes, THEY WILL NOT LET ME DRIVE THE TRAIN, I CANNOT RING THE BELL. BUT LET THE TRAIN JUMP OFF HE TRACK AND SE WHO CATCHES H*LL.

Frank. City of Cape Coral, Florida

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

IP ATAs can be (and are often) used to connect analog data equipment. They requires G.711, enough initial buffering (that increases latency) and QoS end-to-end to work reliably though.

This adds more complexity to a system. With POTs you have a plug & play simplicity. No muss no fuss. No QoS, buffering or other parameters that IP networks have to deal with.

Going with a managed service is great but it costs money in the form of high bandwidth pipes and the service itself. Mom & pop and single point operations that have basic DSL service cannot afford this level. For them, IP service is Vonage, Packet8 or some similar company that relies on a public Internet connection rather than a dedicated pipe.

Redundancy for them is POTs lines. With POTs line if power is lost, simply grab some SLTs, plug them in at the demarc and you're back in business. With IP service...good luck even if you have UPSs connected to your equipment.

This topic is getting a bit long in the tooth. So I'm going to wrap my part up by stating that IP does have a place in modern communications, but it is being packaged & sold as a "be all/end all" which it is not.

I love2 "FEATURE 00"

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

IP telephony doesn't make copper POTS and TDM systems totally irrelevant yet (or in the near future), but this will happen at some point with the help of cable companies, FTTH, wireless providers etc. My guess is that it will take decades for POTS subscriber lines to go below a significant market share, but that it will happen much sooner for TDM trunks and PBXes.

Now, as with everything, being an early adopter means taking risks and VoIP had (and still has) its share of problems. But it is becoming mainstream.

Some casual ISPs have already been offering telephony services using SIP ATAs over their DSL service (dry loop) for a few years. The ATA is also the router, manages the QoS, and the customer doesn't have acces to the configuration so it's as plug-and-play as it can get.

Cable telephony modems are actually IP ATAs. They work perfectly as the cable company manages QoS end-to-end, and they have a built-in backup battery. It looks exactly like POTS to the customer.

As of redundancy even my grandmother has a cell phone because we can't trust the POTS line where she lives. Every other year it gets struck down by storms and it takes days for the local phone company to repair.
 

--
A(PS|CI)S-SMEC
IT consultant
Canada / Quebec City area

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

oh and im skilled in splicecom (nothing to boast about), NEC xn120 and alcatel omnipcx

and i do an excellent job on them all, as well as build all the servers that may accompany them

ACSS - SME
General Geek



RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

I worked for a company that installed and maintained Nortel phone switches for a large high end home building company out of Lee county, FL who made the decision to replace everything with Cisco equipment. After trashing all the Nortel equipment from many sites all over South Florida, the only difference I saw was an overly complicated phone system for the IT dept. and the end users alike that cost an arm and a leg. Unfortunately there was no ROI since the big housing bust came shortly after.   

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

(OP)
Here is a good one from this week.

I heard thru the grape view at Cox this week that the IT Guy at a 15 store liquor retail outlet had all 15 stores cutover from  Century Link to Cox this week all on the same day.

It turned into a disaster as you could expect because each store was not ready for the cut.

Did I mention that this is in Las Vegas a 24/7 drinking town and that this was on Friday.

Oh did I forgot, that the IT guy who arranged this is on vacation.  

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

It wasn't just a plug and play cut-over?

Run Forrest run!

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Well I guess there is a job opening now.
Who can be that stupid to cut over 15 stores at the same time? Would he change all servers over at the same time? No big loss to the company when he gets canned.

Joe W.

FHandw, ACSS

Google it you damn kids

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

And the icing on the cake is he took vacation during the cut over. Anyone want to move to Vegas?
 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

3
Ahhh...I remember the good ol days of analog...ops..hybrid..ops...digital...ops...H323...ops...Sip

Just wait....your next job will be BYOM....Bring your own moblity.

Hire some kid right outa school...make him a cube rat. Hes going to look on his desk and see that huge phone  and say...wtf is that? i cant use my moble?

30 yrs in voice. Embrace the new ways and have fun with it

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

That's dead on Perv2 - have a star.

Sometimes old guys think too much - younger guys tend to jump all over problems and don't worry about consequences; but I enjoy being around the younger bunch.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Don't get me started - I started working full-time in 1979 for Burroughs - mainframe computers - in technical support - in 1994 I made the jump to telecomm, quite by accident - the guys in the Property department retired and the powers-that-be thought, hey, you know, cabling for voice and data are converging, gee, maybe we should give this to the IT dept. It only takes about a day each quarter to handle the phone stuff - pay some bills, do interdepartmental chargebacks --- yea, right ---

my life was much easier before the IT people (see, I don't consider myself IT anymore) got involved in telecomm - now instead of me dealing with things, we have committees that sit around and discuss the heck out of this. We've been working on putting in a phone system for about 70 people for 2-3 years now - it's all about process - someone outside of the process pointed out about 2 years into this that no one had even done a site visit to see what their needs were - it had all been done thru meetings and emails and phone calls by non-telecomm people talking to management at the location.
Then there's the IP world - our phone network was pretty chaotic for about 3 days recently - why, because some nitwit in the basement plugged in a hub on their desktop, then plugged the hub twice into the network (because he had 2 computers ......)
ARGH!
Darlene

p.s. does anyone know how to change my category - I put MIS years ago and want to change it

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Quote:

Then there's the IP world - our phone network was pretty chaotic for about 3 days recently - why, because some nitwit in the basement plugged in a hub on their desktop, then plugged the hub twice into the network (because he had 2 computers ......)

So you deal with crap management and crap network staff. These are not IT people, they are idiots. Plugging a hub into two networks should not be an issue on a properly configured network.
Decent IT guys + decent network = Decent VoIP.

Robert Wilensky:
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.

http://alvechurchlounge.org.uk

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Quote:


Decent IT guys + decent network = Decent VoIP.
This sums it all up
large organisations usually have a dedicated IT team with the required skills.

The small and medium companies tend to have either no IT or only basic IT skills & cant understand that this is not enough for a full VoIP solution ('our computers work fine so why the problem')

At least when the Voice & Data networks are kept separated there are no difficulties in defining who is responsible for a problem.

 

I do not Have A.D.D. im just easily, Hey look a Squirrel!

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

I am one of these IT Geeks and I am looking to jump ship into the telcom world.  I dont have a good knowledge of telcom right now, but I have more than most of the IT guys I work work with.  Can anybody point me in a direction for some study guides, publications or whatever to give me a good base knowledge of telcom, so that I am not one of these guys ya'll are talking about?

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Learn telephony history...


....JIM....
 

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

Good day! It probably would be best to partner with someone doing phones for a long time. It's not as much rocket science as the "Cisco" world but there is a learning curve. The basics are really good to know especially when it comes to what works best for the customer and what you can do to make their job easier. Whatever you do don't look down your nose at the guy who knows the basics because you'll get nowhere. And don't be afraid to get your hands dirty, jump in and brown nose this guy too. I only know a few guys who really know the basics and what telephony is all about and they know Cisco too (not me). Beleive me, these guys are on their way!
Good luck!

Frank. City of Cape Coral, Florida

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

How are things going in Cape Coral, Frank? I had to move from Ft. Myers Beach to Pittsburgh because of the hit we took from the housing mess. I hope things are picking up there. Gets too damn cold up here for a Florida boy.

RE: What are IT Geeks doin in the telcom business

SWFL. Things are getting a little better s l o w l y. Still not good with jobs. Snow birds will be here in a couple of  months or so. I can't wait for our 3 months of winter. Highs in 70's lows in 50's. I really look forward to nice weather.
Take care

Frank. City of Cape Coral, Florida

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