This post focuses on Private Branch Exchanges and one of the largest PBX network using Avaya’s PBX solution.
I thought the larger governments would had been Nortel users, and many of the New York State buildings and agencies do use Nortel, but a few years ago, I didn’t realize that their buildings in the city of Albany and the other communities were in fact users of Avaya systems (or the largest single site users from the best of my own knowdlege…)
The story begins back in the late 80s, the government agencies for the State of New York started a large project known as Empire Net. The project included all telecommunications improvement, one was for the services from the Bell company, second was a large scaled microwave network, and third their private phone systems. AT&T’s Information Systems unit was picked through a bid and installed the NYS Government – a hugge, huuuggee PBX network consisting with multiple System 85 switches with 13 unique PBX systems in the Capital Region of New York! This humble network would replace the existing Centrex service that the NYS government was using prior to.
Connecting these switches, were ether using TIE trunks and/or later with the magic of the Distributed Communications System (DCS), these systems can talk to one another as if they were one big happy voice family. At the time in the late 80s, there were other multivendor systems used statewide. DCS was or is a proprietary protocol that is kinda like the “cloud” of the modern days for the System 85/Definity systems. Some of the buildings had talked via microwave links and now its virtually all fiber.
If you guessed about 20,000 terminals* that was installed here, you sir guessed too conservatively – you were off about 60,000! Yes, 80,000 lines and/or terminals through this almost exclusive single vendor private phone system! I was quite surprised to see such number because no individual traditional Definity PBX could handle no less than 20,000 ports to begin with! This information is courtesy in part of the IT agency of New York as they mention this on their website. I don’t think any other company or even another corporation could brag about such port count! Granted AT&T never made their own carrier class PBX like Nortel did with their amped up SL-100 (now Communications Server 2100) PBX so to see such customer and the creativity of the old AT&T is pretty awesome to see.
*the average for most enterprises.
While being commissioned originally as a System 85, and various names such as the Definity, etc. the folks in the NYS Government had called their system collectively the CAPNET (for the Capital Region Network) however they do have a Centrex type service with the same name. Its highly believable this network or system went though the respective upgrades over the years from the original systems into the Generic 3 RISC (G3r formerly the System 75) Definity platform, and may have changed the cabinets to rack mount media gateways and servers with the respective software upgrades and might had gone to IP Telephony or IP trunking, not sure. I don’t know much other than the References listed at the end of this post. The legendary voice messaging system known as AUDIX is withheld from mention, and its known as the CAPNET voice mail service.
I went to Albany in April of 2011, and I grabbed a few pictures. I was not going to blog about this beast without placing images of various phones.
This unused desk shows a pair of ether a 7405 or 7434 terminal that is probably as old as me.
The next one shows a security guard at the Governors Hall with a newer 6424 terminal with a lone sidecar adding 24 more buttons.
This one was rather interesting, just because they have a big PBX, doesn’t mean that smaller offices could be using a different system. This Aastra terminal was spotted in the Assembly Chambers. These should not to be confused with the first generation IP phones made by Cisco (or Celius.) They appear to not be an IP Phone
The Senate Chambers has 8400 types, including the power user 8434 which can handle up to 50 something programmed lines or features with an additional sidecar.
And a random 50 pair ampthenol cable I spotted inside that NYS Capital
Sources: Network World: October 17th, 1988 (Pgs.1& 55) Google Book link New York State Office For Technology, Telephony bureau (cio.ny.gov)