Video: AT&T Long Lines’ NOC Tour – 1979

Today, we are revisiting network operations from about thirty-five years ago. From time to time, this site had posted media from the old AT&T Long Lines, however on the day after a massive distributive denial of service attacked the Manchester-based Dyn; I thought it would be worthy to do another post. Produced by AT&T featuring the network operations center for their then Long Lines unit; this was high tech for the 1970s.

AT&T had designed a national network to process out of state or region calls and direct them automatically. But if disaster or overloaded situations occurred, this specific operations center would be able to redirect calls to another route. Communication between the central office and the Bedminster was crucial in case of possible outages or high call volumes, say around the holidays or disasters like earthquakes, etc.

Around this time #3 ESS switches were used around the Bell System. Not too long after #4 would replace the switching, and despite the 5ESS taking over central offices in some markets in the 80s, the 4ESS switching was commonly used for long distance, even up to the early 1990s.

Today Bedminster serves as a catchall as AT&T has evolved into different businesses since the Divesture and the death of long distance services.

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Sadly, not all operations are designed like the ol Bell System only because the technology is so complicated and Internet networking was never thought of running like telephones, because telephony routing was so fixated (or static to used todays terms.)

While the Internet was designed and can do things like hop onto another network on it’s own – if the first or second hit didn’t work then you’d get to your services. With IP based networking; you can’t just issue commands onto a router and redirect the data traffic as easily. Often when a network goes down, the easiest way is to reboot it or do whatever you can do to fend off the attacks. Another problem is just the plain insecurity of the Internet. I’m not the biggest expert in IP networking but another problem is the war between traditional networks that are hard-coded (ala Cisco IOS) and newer networks that are more “dynamic” like what occurred yesterday. Not only that but the consumer equivalent to oIP, the Internet of Things is not helping matters. That’s a whole different discussion outside the realm of this site.

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AT&T Bedminster – NOC Tour Circa 1987

Continuing on the theme of the Bedminster, NJ’s long time operations of the AT&T for network management of their Long Distance (also known as Long Lines) services.

The NOC goes back to the mid to late 1970s, but by 1987 a new operations center was needed. Out of the old flipper board, and a map that was half painted/ stickers and LEDs in between, to a modern looking 70+ rear projection video screens and then modern computer workstations in a war room like setup.

These sets of screengrabs comes from AT&T’s in house “video magazine” called Directions distributed to the AT&T employees.

If you want to see this in action, check out this link. 

AT&T Microwave Towers

Back in the day, AT&T was also in the wireless field. Not necessarily in mobile voice or data, but mostly as a pipeline provider for the Bell Operating Companies (or Baby Bells) and they also did video for the broadcasters.

Mostly the wireless services by AT&T at the time was to link various central offices for long distance or LD if you are craft guy/gal. These were mostly in service from the 60s, probably to the end of the 80s (more on this as time goes on, this was on my 2014 promise list of thing you’d see here.)

Close to where I live, I remember going by this tower on NH 128, Mammoth Road in Londonderry, NH when I was younger. I had no idea what it was, but it looked like a weird and odd looking tower. I posted a similar photo on my Flickr account to get confirmation that this tower, perhaps was a tower used by AT&T back in the day for a microwave link.

On Memorial Day weekend, I stopped by the local cemetery to then take an updated picture of the former microwave towers allegedly used by the Phone Company.

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More on Long Lines and the vintage wireless services as time goes on this year.

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