Perceived Y2K problems

Steve Dispensa dispensa at
Wed Dec 1 04:28:20 UTC 1999

----- Original Message -----
From: David Lesher <wb8foz at>
To: nanog list <nanog at>
Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 1999 9:22 PM
Subject: Re: Perceived Y2K problems

> Unnamed Administration sources reported that Eric Germann said:
> >
> >
> > Specifically, I was discussing with one of my telco guys about the
> > sociological effects, namely, everyone watching the ball drop, then
> > off hook to see if they have dial tone, or dialing in to the Internet to
> > see if it still works.  Since most switches aren't designed for 100% off
> > hook load, anyone seen any studies as to whether the switches will crash
> > from that?
> I strongly doubt it. A telco switch is designed to tolerate
> extreme abuse without dying. What it WILL do is deny dial tone
> to folks it can not handle, or delay it until it can. Further,
> it will reject incoming calls as necessary to survive.

Exactly.  Everything will work as it should, and lots of people will get
dead phone lines because all of the dialtones will be used up.  I read
somewhere that telcos plan on about 10% active usage.  Anybody know for

What it all boils down to is that ISPs like mine will get flooded with tech
calls (assuming the customer gets a dialtone for the tech support call)
asking why *our* system is broken.  We can explain it, of course, but that
won't stop them from being skeptical, to say the least.  The best we can
hope for is the customers believing us as we pass the buck.  What a mess.

> Trivia: the independent Federal Telecommunications System [FTS]
> sprang up from the Cuban Missile Crisis, where it's said JFK
> could not get dialtone at the height of the shitinthefan. It
> was dedicated switches in diverse locales.  Now it's all
> software-defined additions to the ordinary switches. I'm not
> reassured.


Wasn't there a similar incident with Jon Bon Jovi a few years back?

 - Steve

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