OUTAGE: DACS failure in USWEST/spokane

Nathan Stratton nathan at robotics.net
Mon Dec 28 05:14:01 UTC 1998

On Sun, 27 Dec 1998, David Lesher wrote:

> I have often wondered how vigilant of late the LEC's are in
> maintaining their standby power systems. It takes manpower & money
> to keep on top of same [In general, it should be run under some
> load for an hour, and that should be done once a ~week/month.].
> Seeing as how they can't keep other slots filled....

I had have the most problem with Bell Atlantic. I remember one day when
our building called us and said they were cutting the power to the
building for 12 - 18 hours. I had a generator, but was worried about my
two primary providers MFS and Bell Atlantic. I called them about 8 hours
before the cut and asked them to be ready. MFS said no problem and Bell
Atlantic said "Don't worry our equipment is powered by the fiber". Well
MFS showed up with a small generator, but found out there was no way to
connect it. They asked if I could help and I ended up hardwiring it
directly to their main pannel. After about 10 min their generator died and
I ended up connecting them to my generator. Bell Atlantic's batteries died
about 30 min after the power was cut (so much for 8 hours) and when I
called them up they said sorry we can't send someone out because there is
no generator connection for that building. After yelling at
as many people as I could I ended up patching my generator into their
pannel to get them back up (later got yelled at, but my customers were
happy. So I ended up not only powering my hardware, but MFS and Bell
Atlantic's hardware as well.

I don't know why more RBOCs don't test their power systems. In most of the
major ISP power problems I have been involved with the outages were not
because of the ISP, but because of the RBOC. Some of the major CO are
checked, but there are a vast number of systems that have never been
checked since they were installed.

If you are expecting a power outage or not, it is a good idea to force
your providers to prove that they test and maintain their power systems.
You can have the best systems in the world, but if your fiber
providers systems are down you are out of luck. One of the things I did at
NetRail was to try to get all our fiber providers to place their hardware
in our colo and allow us to provide them power. This is one way to make
sure that at least one end is up to spec.

Check out the new CLEC mailing list at http://www.robotics.net/clec
Nathan Stratton				Telecom & ISP Consulting
www.robotics.net	 		nathan at robotics.net

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