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Oct 25, 2009

Phone and DSL Troubles in Manhattan

by J. Robert Burgoyne — last modified Oct 26, 2009 09:00 PM
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Last Friday there was a big storm in New York City with pouring rain and high winds. This morning one of our clients lost two of their analog phone lies, as well as their Fax line, which carries their DSL. Repairs will take at least 24 hours, meaning the client will be without Internet for at least 24 hours. This is not the first time this has happened to this client. If you're in Manhattan and have analog phone lines or DSL, read on.


In Manhattan, many analog phone lines are still carried over copper wire pairs owned and managed by Verizon.

Many DSL circuits are carried over the same copper wire pairs. This is generally true regardless of who your DSL provider is. The copper wire pairs from the phone company's facility (Central Office = CO) to your premises may be old and their protective insulation may be faulty, leading to problems during or after adverse weather. In some cases the wiring may be 50 years old or more. I've seen the wires; they're ugly and need to be entirely replaced.

Reality Check: These are the same wires that your business may be depending on for your phone lines and Internet. I find this unacceptable, so it's important to take steps to mitigate the risk to your business. 

What can you do?

First, you need to assume that your phone lines and DSL might go down at any time, without advance warning or notification. Given this, what might you do during an outage? Cell phones come in handy as a telephone substitute, but many businesses don't have an Internet backup or substitute. As the Internet becomes a more critical part of your business, it's important to understand that you may have this vulnerability. Our client's last DSL outage, in September, lasted almost 2 weeks. Their DSL vendor is Covad, and Covad uses Verizon to manage the wiring from the CO to the client's facility. It's not a smooth process to get problems resolved and the diagnostic phone calls with Covad invariably take 30 minutes or more, just to get to a diagnosis. Repairs can take longer. I've experienced Verizon residential DSL outages of similar duration.

If you'd like more information about creating more reliable Internet connectivity for your office or home, contact us and we'll tell you what to do.

Oct 14, 2009

Be Alert On Busy NYC Escalators - Someone May Be In Trouble

by J. Robert Burgoyne — last modified Oct 15, 2009 02:28 PM

While glancing at my phone and riding an up escalator from the #7 subway train at Grand Central today, I heard screams. I looked up and a lady was falling down the steps toward me.

I would guess that this woman had already fallen about 5 steps as her falling body nearly knocked me over. Fortunately the screams woke me from my unfocused state and I was able to quickly grab this woman and lift her back to upright. Someone behind me picked up and returned this woman's purse.

I know we're all busy and need to glance at our cell phones all the time, but here's a warning that your quick glance and lack of proper attention to your surroundings could be fatal to you or someone else. It only takes a moment for very bad things to happen.

Safety first, always.