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Phone system change will require 'quiet period'

This article was originally published in the November/December issue of i/s.

Information Systems is installing a new 5ESS telephone switch over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend next month, a project that will require a temporary freeze beforehand on any phone-service change requests.

All campus phones will be moved to the new phone switch between 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 18 and 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22. The current switch for MIT has reached its capacity, both in memory and number of lines.

The 5ESS Operations Team (5E Ops), part of Telecommunications and Network Services in Information Systems, has already done a lot to prepare for the transition: verifying existing phone lines, building the new switch, and mapping all current service information into the new database. The old switch will not be dismantled until 5E Ops is satisfied with the operation of the new switch.

All moves, adds or changes to phone service at MIT must cease two weeks before changeover. This "quiet period" will start Monday, Jan. 7, when 5E Ops will take a final snapshot of the current switch database. This snapshot will be used to ensure the accuracy of the new database. Any moves, adds or changes made on an emergency basis during the quiet period will be lost, and will have to be redone after the changeover.

Information Systems expects the transition itself to be seamless, except for temporary loss of service for some people in mid-campus and west campus due to an unavoidable equipment issue that can't be addressed until the new switch comes online. During the changeover weekend, 5E Ops will work to get these lines back in service and to verify the proper operation of priority numbers, such as those for MIT Medical and Campus Police.

The quiet period will extend through the week of Jan. 22 as 5E Ops troubleshoots outages as they are identified. MIT customers should report any telephone outage to 3-HELP (x3-4357) or Customer service for move/add/change orders and other requests will return to normal levels the following week.

After the changeover, 5E Ops staff will complete the transition to the new switch behind the scenes, which should not affect campus phone service.

Check the web for notices of major transitions or possible service-affecting events or for updates on the 5ESS switch replacement project. Anyone with questions about any aspect of the project may e-mail

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 19, 2001.

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