Some of my friends and family aren’t really familiar with what I do as a profession. I usually just say that I’m an IT person if someone asks. Occasionally, I’ll say that I’m a telephony manager and what that entails. It’s not that I think they won’t understand; it’s just that I’m not really good at explaining it.

For the past 8 years, I’ve been responsible for our company’s phone systems. From 2000-2005, I worked on an Avaya (formerly Lucent, formerly AT&T, as you can tell by the outdated signage on one of the cabinets) phone switch.

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It was installed in 1995, and uses aging but solid technology. This particular model is an Avaya Definity G3R PBX (Private Branch Exchange). A PBX system is responsible for taking incoming phone calls and routing them to various systems, such as desk phones, voice mail boxes and IVRs (Interactive Voice Response systems, the automated “press 1 for customer service” systems that everyone just loves to use).

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In 2005, our company was purchased by a Utah-based corporation, and they were using a newer technology from Nortel. Avaya has newer technology, too; we just never upgraded. But there was no use in having two different systems, so we upgraded to the newer Nortel system, a Meridian CS1000M:

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Since moving from one huge system to another is never a speedy process, we’ve had both the Avaya and Nortel PBXs up and running since 2005.

A couple of months ago, I finally moved the last bit of data off the Avaya system and shut it down. It was a cathartic moment. After we shut the system down, we moved the two refrigerator-sized cabinets out of our data room:

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and began the arduous process of ripping out the miles of cabling underneath the floor

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Yesterday, we managed to uproot most of the cabling:

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Talk about dirty.


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