Switchboards – Western Electric

#phoneoftheday #westernelectric #operator #switchboard

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I don’t know my switchboards from heart, but this is a small console that looks like it can support up to 12 calls at one time. Taken at the NH Telephone Museum. I was there off hours and didn’t play with that one or that many. I was there last night for a discussion on 9-1-1 relevant to my state.  It’s rather interesting and disturbing at the same time. If you go to any PSAP elsewhere, you’d be jealous. It’s so underrated the Fletchs of the world don’t even talk about it!

I’ll have a full report next week and an ongoing awareness on Enhanced 9-1-1 next week!

Phone of the Day: Cisco 6841 | Local School


I spotted this overpriced telephone in an elementary school during a late fall craft fair. It had a nice turnout, to the point I want to be a vendor and sell geeky fashion items! I say overpriced because this is located in a community where it’s ultra-conservative. The town I live in is extremely frugal in finances and keeps the government small. On the town government, the board would zero-out any proposals to their IT department, which is lead by a “coordinator” that grew up in the days before IP, Windows Servers, etc. In the world of compliance and technical adherence, they run the town side like a mum and pop shop.

The school district’s offices (a seperate agency) is housed in two ranch houses, near the local high school that are commercially zoned. This is most likely where their CallMangler (I can’t help to resist) is located. I’ve spotted a 7900 series in one of the offices when I walked by in that same school.

I’ve seen on the town side using Cisco 7940 sets and 7960 sets since I moved in 2010. The town to kinda leak my location is the largest single voting place that got national attention during the primaries last winter  if people who don’t know where I live.

I do not follow municipal matters as much anymore, but a cutover to VOIP in the school system occurred sometime in the range of fiscal years 2011 to 2013 because the previous phone systems were end of life. I do not know the systems prior to because I didn’t attend school here. What’s ironic is there is an Aruba wireless access point shown here plugged on the PC jack. The town’s fire department had a consumer grade Linksys plugged into their PC port on their Cisco sets…

In the town I did grow up, we had TIE systems in the late 1980s-late 90s then went to Telrad in the school district. The elementary school that I went to got their Telrad in 2002. The Telrads were still there when I moved out of town in 2010.

POTD: Avaya 6408D+ Digital “Telephone” | Attitash Grand Summit Resort | Bartlett, NH


I spotted this 6408D+ DCP telset at my last visit to the Attitash Grand Summit Resort in late October. This hotel off US302 is used mostly for conferences and skiers who want a vacation. This set was replaced in between a Labor Day week visit and the visit in late October.  This area is a space for tourist information to help a customer find a place of interest. Previously (and years before) had a generic “trimline” like set. As previously posted, it appeared there was an upgrade of refurbished sets.

What would be nice given the decline of digital office telephony, that maybe digital sets could be seen in more locations in the facility or even in the rooms, despite Avaya and their BPs jacking up the maintenance costs of digital telephones in lieu of going to VOIP for no reason.

The 6400 series sets have been known unofficially to have a “European” look (but never claimed by Lucent or Avaya directly.) While Lucent introduced the line in the late 1990s, mass deployments occurred under Avaya tenure (spun-off late 2000.) The 6400 sets probably had a large friend count with the other models in the line.  What do I mean? 6400 sets were often found in new deployments where a Definity or later MultiVantage systems would be setup. Because the 6400s were made around that time, other models like the 8400 was ether refurbished or not aggressively sold. It was not to say they couldn’t go in existing plants; just you’ll see them more obviously in new deployments after 2001.

These sets also introduced a mandatory two-wired setup (albeit with an RJ 45 jack) where a single pair of tip and ring would run on pins 4 & 5. Aux power would need two pairs with said T&R wire and another pair on pins 7 & 8 on an RJ 45 plug.


POTD: New Hobby Lobby

img9912 This newer version of the NEC Electra Key Telephone was found at a local Hobby Lobby that had recently opened. Hobby Lobby is basically the K-Mart of arts and crafts stores. Their footprint is probably quadrupled compared to an AC Moore or Michaels. Coincidentally the stores that Hobby Lobby filled in my area were former KMart stores. Other stores in the area use this system.

Phone of the Day: LEGOLAND Discovery Center | Boston, Massachusetts

Located just north of the Boston city line, in Somerville, Massachusetts, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center is located in the Assembly Row neighborhood. Unlike the LEGOLAND in California, or Florida, this place is an indoors given the climate of Boston, hazy hot summers, and very cold winters (honestly more of the former than the latter in recent years.)

Anyways these sets of pictures is a workspace of lady named Megan, whom builds little things shown in the Miniland section of the attraction. According to their Facebook page, she is a certified through Lego’s Master Builder Academy.  Things such as characters from The Lego Movie, Wally (and his galpal) from the Boston Red Sox, the four colored puzzle Autism Awareness, etc. I actually met this lady at the Red Sox game that was Lego themed on the 31st. See telephony related post. In fact I found out that this was her work space after I snapped the picture of the notorious Cisco 6921. She came up to me about a few minutes later asking if we met at Fenway. I felt somewhat flattered that someone could recognize me among thousands that come there.

As you can tell, sadly Lego is on the “dark side” of telephony…:(

I was only able to come because the indoor park is only open to adults if you have kids. On the third Wednesdays of every month, they open it to adults for only a couple of hours, despite them selling adult beverages and closing time is bedtime for a 10 year old. (Nine o’ clock.)

I had fun regardless and hope I run into these fine folks again next month. The neighborhood is a wonderful attraction with it being setup as an outdoor mall. Click below the phone to see more Lego related pictures of the workspace.

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POTD: Avaya Red 8410 DCP Telset Attitash Grand Summit Resort | Bartlett, NH


This was taken at the front desk at the Attitash Grand Resort Conference Center in Bartlett, NH. This area in the building is where you can only spot the digital sets. The nearby bar, conference rooms and rooms use analog sets. There is no evidence of any attendant consoles ether.

I’ve frequented this facility during the spring time over the last four years for an annual conference. I no longer attend, and I like the place, so I went for the vacation this week. The people I used to see at the front desk were not working (or is no longer working there) to see if I could see the switch room.

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Phone of the Day: Mitel Superset – Cannon Mountain Tramway

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In New Hampshire we have mass transit. Not to get to work per se, but to enjoy natural beauties.

How you get to this tram, is to the Franconia Notch State Park, and the Cannon Mountain facility on Exit 32 B on I93. This facility I believe is still owned by the State of New Hampshire’s Department of Resources and Economic Development, known by it’s true acronym as DRED. DRED and several other state agencies (Department of Safety, the Liquor Commission and Department of Health and Human Services) had jumped on the Cisco bandwagon since the last decade. This facility has been unscathed as they probably use a Mitel SX system, I’m going to assume SX 50 given the low port density.

Phone of the Day: Zeb’s General Store – North Conway, NH

While I am on a (much needed) vacation, I found this general store in the heart of downtown North Conway, on NH route 16.

This general store is a quarter century old and 1991 was actually not a general store. The store itself is set to an old fashioned theme. Staff told me that they acquired antiques over the years to give it it’s classic appearance. Another store about 13 years ago not to far away in the rural area had changed owners and had modernized it, turned away locals and changed management. That’s a complete no-no in business. Don’t fix what’s broken.

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POTD: Whole Foods Market Bedford, New Hampshire

In recent weeks, the world’s newest Whole Foods Market opened in Bedford, NH. Built on top of the legendary Wayfarer Inn (known more during the Primary Election years), it’s also within hundreds of feet of the now torn down Macy’s.

As proof from Joe the UCX Guy from Chicago, many Whole Foods stores are Cisco shops. Interestingly, the WFM in Nashua, just miles on the Everett Turnpike, is wired for TDM telephony using Toshiba’s Strata system (opened in 2014 to replace a former Market Basket.) Building was totally gutted and rebuilt mostly from the ground up.

The store in Bedford is mixed with 7942s and the 6902s at the cashier’s lane. Paging works, as teenage girls don’t know how to lower their octaves and learn how to page professionally.

The 7900s are still in the market, despite the more cheaper quality sets being deployed more and more. The 7900s are in a depreciation mode. Current generations are all multi lines, Java based and/or colored displays and I was surprised to see a 7942 because I believe its End of Sale.

I snapped two pictures, one showing how much characters you can use to describe your telephone extension. If the characters can’t fit on the top black colored indication bar, it will break the description up in two screens

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Personally, these devices are just “endpoints” – they are PCs acting as telephones. Sure Mitel, and Avaya and others sell the same thing (and acts the same way), but for sales people or the accountants, its just another device attached to the Internet and it shouldn’t be treated special like a office telephone. These phones are not easy to manage outside of expensive Cisco solutions or if you like to code and reverse engineer – be my guest! I feel like the 7900s were always a 2554 with Internet connectivity and a great audio quality of its SCCP signaling.

Other than that, Cisco just keeps on winning on selling “free” gear and report them as “profits” by smooching up to the CIOs and heads of IT departments at the Fortune 500 companies. You think I am kidding???