On Friday, Oct. 9 at 9:59pm, MIT's 5ESS telephone switch will be upgraded with new software to make it more reliable and improve its performance.
The 5ESS database was backed up on September 23, but changes made to the database after that date will be lost the night of the upgrade. Therefore, until October 9, a freeze on all moves, adds and changes to telephone and Automated Call Distribution (ACD) service is in effect.
Some of the enhanced features that will be included in the upgrade are Year 2000 compliance, increased flexibility and reliability of software maintenance tools, simplifying software installation procedures for ISDN telephone lines, software enhancements to increase the reliability of the switch in resolving "conflicts" in numbers dialed (for example, when the number dialed is an area code as well as an exchange), improved connection time in E911 calls, enhancements on the ACD software used by the Help Desk, and miscellaneous enhancements to make the 5ESS switch more robust.
The upgrade will result in the brief interruption of telephone service. In particular, the dial tone plus new incoming calls will be interrupted for approximately three to five minutes while the new software is loaded into the 5ESS. Data transmission calls in progress will be dumped or terminated. Telephone calls in progress involving two people will not be affected, but conference calls involving more than two persons will be terminated.
A rapid repeating dial tone, indicating no call can be made, will be heard by anyone who picks up a receiver while the new software is being loaded. Accessing programmable features such as call forwarding will be inaccessible until the new software has been installed.
Anyone with questions or concerns, may contact 3-HELP or <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 7, 1998.