Saturday, December 29, 2012

re-registered my domain name

The domain name bill was overlooked and past due, so the site was down unless you reached it via nyphonejacks.blogspot.com all is good now at least for the next year.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Compare over 70 different phone systems

I just received an email from one of the mailing lists that I am on. This website has compiled an excel spreadsheet to compare the features of over 70 different phone systems. If you are in the market for a phone system this may be a decent starting point, I just gave it a quick once over so I can not guarantee the accuracy of the information contained in, nor did i spend much time to determine if it tried steer your purchase towards something that the website is selling, but nonetheless I felt that I should share it with my readers. It can be viewed here: http://www.solpub.com/Offers/ResourceRegInput.aspx?nuosid=110456748&jid=0&spoid=1319 however you will be required to provide contact information such as your email address to obtain a link to the actual file.

Friday, October 12, 2012

doorphone install

Inside wall where wire was snaked for door phone.
As shown in a previous post HERE, I made a small of a hole as possible to snake the wires. First I drilled thru the brick into the building where I wanted to mount the door phone. Then I reamed the hole in the sheet rock enough to send my snake up to the drop ceiling to fish the wire behind the walls.

Door phone installed.
Once the wiring was in place I was able to mount the door phone.

Keypad installed.
 I also had to install a keypad for an interior door. The door was not wired for an electronic door latch so I drilled into the door frame, and made a small hole in the wall to fish the wire from the opening made for the keypad to the door latch.

ATA and relay installed.
As the network room is located in the basement, I just installed the relay and power for the door phone and latches in the office. The wiring going to the door phone and keypad was snaked down the wall behind the relay.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Snaking wire thru wall with minimal damage.

I had a door bell installation recently. The outer wall is brick. First I drilled a hole from the outside in (measuring of course the height of this light switch first). Once that hole was exposed in the wall behind where the door bell was going to be installed, i took my drill bit and angled it up inside the same hole that I had drilled from inside. There I was able to send my snake up the wall to the drop ceiling where the wire had been run. 

Add caption

Once the snake was in place I was able to fish my wire down the hole. (I did have to open the hole a little bit to allow the snake with the wire taped to it to pass thru, since my hole was so small) 

Once this was accomplished all I had to do was pass the wire straight thru the hole to the outside so that I could install my door bell. 

I did not take photos of everything else, as I was short on time, and well... I do still have to eventually return to this install when the internet is working to make sure everything is set up properly. Oh yeah, and finish wiring the relay for the door buzzer. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Patch cord installer ruining my neat rack installation.

This is what everything looked like after the PC guy connected all the patch cords. 

Recently I completed an installation of this rack, and around 41 or so CAT5 runs. It took about a week to complete from start to finish - including all testing, labeling and mapping out where each wire goes to. 
That project can be viewed HERE 

I was called back to the customer to remove the old network cabling since the PC vendor came and moved the switches over and connected up all of the patch cords.

The switches are just sitting on the bottom of the rack, they are not on mounts, wings, rails, whatever you want to call them. They are just on top of one another on the bottom part of the 8U rack. 

The patch cords are sloppy, and make the whole project look like a complete and utter mess. 

I hate when I spend so much time making sure that everything is installed properly, and neatly to have someone come behind me and slop everything together, especially on a new installation. I can probably understand someone working like this if there was already a mess there, and they just wanted to connect everything up quickly and go, but he should have neatened up these patch cords. I was going to strap them up neatly, but I did not have time as I was cutting out old wiring at the customers request, and taking it back with me on the train to throw into my scrap wire pile. 

How to get around cross beams

Wide angle of channel made to get around cross beam. 
Close up of channel that was made to get around cross beam with CAT 5 cabling.

Installed jack plate over channel temporarily until customer can have channel plastered over.

Close up of jack cover hiding wire channel 

Sometimes when you are pulling cables you come across cross beams. Sometimes this is easy to get around, especially when the walls are up, or if you were aware of their presence and you are able to place the jack in an alternate location. 

Sometimes you just cut out your hole for your low voltage mount, try to snake the wire up or down the wall and find out that your snake is not making it all the way past the drop ceiling. 

In those cases you can measure how far your snake is making it up and down the wall and make a small channel. Snake the wire from one side of the channel up (or down) then bring it around the beam and snake the cable the rest of the way. Many times you can get away with a blank electrical plate as a cover. I did not have any blank electrical plates so I used a single hole plate with some white tape to cover the hole (a blank would have required me to make the hole bigger to accommodate the depth of the blank which I do not think was worth it, when the customer can either get a blank plate themselves for about $1, or have someone come and plaster up the hole when the complete the painting. 

small 5 jack network

The 6 port jack and CAT5 wires are the only thing I installed,
everything else already was installed and mounted as you see 
Provided a service loop in the CAT 5 hidden behind the water cooler
for future access for repairs or changes. 

Connected the patch cords to the router. 

Very small network

I had to run some surface CAT5 runs and unfortunately I only had black CAT5 wire with me, and no stapler. There was some space to wedge some of the CAT 5 underneath the baseboard molding, so i put screws at the turns of the wire to keep it nice and tight. The customer actually commented on how neatly the wiring was run - although this is not how I would normally go about wiring things. It was a very small job that needed to be completed quickly because it occurred in the middle of a busy work day, sandwiched between several other larger installations. 

As the two added jacks needed to be in the same room, and everything was surface run I did not want to have to run everything back to the router in the other room and install the switch next to the router, so instead I used an existing working CAT5 for my uplink and connected the new 2 runs to this 8 port switch that I installed. This will provide the customer with several extra CAT5 ports in this room so that they can connect their VoIP conference phone as well as an additional VoIP phone, and computers.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pancode door phone install

One of our new customers had the above door phone at their location already. We took over their phone service with our hosted PBX service, and the customer wanted to use the door phone, that the previous hosted PBX VoIP provider apparently was unable to get working.

Upon first install I installed a PAP2 to provide the dial tone to this doorphone. However the problem was that the device would go off hook at aprox. every 25 seconds. This in turn would make the hot dial call out to the customers phone. I removed the device and brought it to the office for testing, since we generally provide our customers with a different brand and model door phone. Upon returning to the office for testing the unit worked as it should. My initial thought were that the loop length between the network closet and the door phone might be too far away and that there must be some loss in the loop current or voltage, so I was prepared to run a CAT 5 from the network closet to the drop ceiling above the door phone and leave the PAP2 in the ceiling.

Out of curiosity, I connected the device that I had used for testing to this door phone just prior to running a new CAT5, and it worked flawlessly. With one exception. The device that I had used for testing was hotdialing my extension at the office, and not the customers number. A change to the dial plan solved that problem.

The difference? The device that I had used to test the unit in the office was a SPA2102 while the device originally installed at the customers location was a PAP2. Not really sure why the 2102 worked flawlessly while the PAP2 would cause the unit to go off hook aprox. every 25 seconds, but it solved my problems and now the device is working as intended.

The only problem now is that the audio quality is not very good to hear whoever answers the phone inside the office, but that is a problem with the device itself, as it is an old unit that the customer had for a while so the device has some physical damage, but other than that, being able to answer the door phone, and buzz people in is perfect. This device can easily be replaced with a new one to resolve the audio problems that it is currently experiencing.

40+ CAT5 runs, 8U rack and 48 port patch panel

I recently completed a large job of aprox. 40 CAT5 runs, including installing an 8U rack and 48 port patch panel. This job took just under a week from start to finish, including testing and labeling as well as providing a wiremap for the customer so that they would know what room each jack was terminated in. 

All of the cabling brought to the new networks location.

Punching down the 48 port patch panel.

Rack and patch panel mounted and installed.

Another angle of the rack and patch panel completed. 

The customer was having their IT company come in to move the switches from the old network room over to the new patch panel.

Friday, July 13, 2012

minor changes to site layout

All information, links, and navigation are still located on this site. if you are a return visitor i apologize for moving things around. I am just trying to get as much useful information onto the page where you do not need to scroll down too far to find what you need.

Navigation moved up and back over to the right.. most everything else except ad placement is pretty much in the same location.

I also added a new image link above to Telebroad. They offer hosted VoIP services and are located in NYC. They provide full service including any wiring and networking that may need to be done on site unlike most VoIP providers. They are also the first VoIP provider that I am aware of that has been able to solve the problem of faxing with VoIP service.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Find your lost Android phone.

So I just had a small panic on my hands. I thought that I had lost my cell phone. I originally thought that I left it at the office, as I just left there, so instead of driving all the way back I took a chance that someone was still there and called up to ask if my phone was still there. Unfortunately it was not.

What was I do to. I paid full retail for my phone, and I have personal information on my phone. While there are some people that I do not mind sharing the information on my phone with, I would prefer to keep much of the information out of the hands of the general public, like I am sure many of you do as well.

I did not have any tracking apps installed on my phone, but luckily you can remotely install software on your Andriod device by logging into your Google Play account online.

I found this free app called "Where's my 'droid" and remotely installed it on my device.

Once the app was installed - which was nearly immediately, I was able to then use it to find the location of where my phone was.

To locate the phone, once the app is installed all you need to do is send a text to your phone, and within 5 minutes it will text you back with the GPS coordinates of the phone with a link for google maps so that you can easily locate the device.

I sent the text to the phones actual phone number with one of my spare Google Voice numbers that I usually just use to quickly text information to my phone with, although I see no reason why it should not work if you were to send the text to the Google Voice number associated with your Android device.

Turns out that my phone fell between the seats of the rental car.

Good luck in finding your device.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Check the tabs above for the new Before & After page!

I decided to create a before and after page, that can be accessed by clicking the tab at the top of any page. This page is just a quick photo look at some of the jobs that I have completed and documented on this site over the past few years.

Those looking just for comparison photos rather than some more indepth information may find this page more helpful.

Rack patch panel and network install

This was the existing network when I arrived
A wider angle of the network as it existed.
My rack can be seen ready to install on the left side.
The CAT5 wiring was installed by someone else,
I just terminated both ends.
Here is the completion of the termination of the 48 port patch  panel.
The lower panel was already at location and just mounted in new rack. 

Everything still connected to old network jacks.
Tighter view of photo above.
Slack CAT5 rolled neatly into a service loop inside the rack. 
Standing AC placed back into position,
ready to mount router, switches and patch cords.

Routers and switches mounted, and all 1 foot patch cords installed.
Modem placed above rack.
Patch cords that go down on the sides go to network equiptment below,
 such as the server on the right.

This is a network that I installed everything minus the wiring. The customer had already had someone place the wiring. I was tasked with terminating 36 jacks (4 per location at 9 locations), installing the rack and patch panel, mounting the network hardware, and testing and labeling everything. 

Usually I use longer patch cords and run them across the front and down the sides, but in this instance 1 foot patch cords were sufficient to get the job completed neatly.

I would not normally place the network equipment so close to each other on the rack - I would have them spaced out, but the switch in between the top switch and bottom router  did not have the rack mount hardware with it, and it was the customers existing equipment. The fact that the customer has a standing air conditioner unit directly next to the rack eases my concerns over heat dissipation, so in this instance the proximity of the network equipment to each other should not become an issue.

Another 12 port network

All the wiring was surface run. Wires were mounted to the wall with ty-wraps that have screw holes in them (staples are not a good means to mount data cable).

12 port patch panel has 10 runs to 5 double CAT5 surface mount biscuit jacks and 2 runs from this segment of the network down to the basement where the main network is located. Two runs were made from this segment of the network to the main router/switch because the length (this is located on the 3rd floor) as well as if they ever decide to have 2 physically separated networks for the VoIP phones and PCs.

16 port switch, connected with the 12 port panel with 1 foot patch cords.

The reason for the CAT5 cabling coming past the panel and then back is to allow extra wire for any future repairs of the terminations.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Wiring diagram to connect PAP2 E20B and RC2a Door Phone set up

Someone emailed me and asked me how to set this all up, so here it is, a simple wiring diagram so that you can get your door phone connected to your VoIP system and be able to buzz back the door.

The ATA device should be set to hotdial an extension group so that you can add or remove extensions in that group depending on if that user requires the ability to answer doorphone calls.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Verizon DSL new activation process

Previously I had posted a method to quickly set up a Verizon DSL modem so that it could be connected to a customers line in no time. In fact the method that I provided would have allowed you to set up the modem in less than 5 minutes far away from the location where the DSL service was located and just ship the pre-configured modem to your customer so that an on-site visit was not required. That post can be viewed HERE

Recently Verizon has decided that they are going to change the way that new Verizon DSL accounts are set up, thus breaking the previous methods described in the above linked post. Now Verizon requires that all new DSL accounts go through an activation process. This brings us full circle back to basically how it was before the above method was discovered, when you were required to run the Verizon CD to set the modem up. However, even though the CD method was longer than the work around, it still was able to be performed off site by the customers IT vendor and shipped to them so that the customer could just plug it in and it would work.

This new activation system that has been set up by Verizon is a greater waste of time. First it requires that you know the order number. This usually requires a phone call to DSL customer support if you did not order a new modem from Verizon at the time of install (the order number is supposedly included in the DSL modem package). Once you have the order number you need to connect a PC to the modem and have it connected to the DSL line that needs to be activated. After that is completed you will go through several steps to complete the activation, one of which being that you must click the check box that you have read and agree to the terms of service. When you click this check mark the TOS pops up in a window, that you must then close in order to check the agree check box. You then have to uncheck all of the check boxes next to the bloatware that they try to install on your system, and finally download a file to complete the installation. Once this is done, then you can continue on to set up your modem into bridge mode, and enter the user ID and password for your DSL account on the router. I do not believe that they are using open PPPoE any longer, although I may be mistaken on this, I have not attempted with a false user name and password yet.

The one rep that I spoke with and voiced my frustration at this new policy claims that this was done because no one was reading, or agreeing to the TOS. There is absolutely no logic to this statement. Most businesses have an outside IT firm set up their internet connection and network, so the IT vendor is the one setting up the DSL for them, meaning the customer never goes through this activation process, a tech for their IT company does. Also, agreeing to the terms of service is something that should be done when the service is ordered, not after the equipment has been shipped and the line provisioned. This is when Verizon is usually dealing directly with the customer and not someone from an outside IT company. This activation process requires that the IT vendor must send a technician out to each and every DSL installation to install and activate the DSL modem for the customer. The cost of sending a tech out to complete these activation installations can not always be recovered from the end user, and if Verizon insists on keeping this ridiculous activation process then it should be responsible to pay market rates for a tech from the end users IT vendor to complete the activation process.

I can understand the need to use some type of activation process like this for residential customers, however business, and enterprise customers should not be required to go through this process, which only becomes more complicated when load balancing or fail over multi-WAN routers are involved.

If you are in the industry, or if you have had to deal with this activation process I suggest you voice your displeasure with this new system to Verizon. Hopefully together we can work to get Verizon to abandon this retarded practice and allow businesses the ability to easily add new lines of DSL service as they need them.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New post at Train Phones, COCOT in subway + gutted payphone.

Finally after neglecting that blog for quite a while I have got two new additions to the site.  The first COCOT that I have come across in the NYC subway system - it had no dial tone, and when called the # was disconnected, and pretty much just the internal guts of a second payphone just a few pillars down from this COCOT.

Here is the link. http://trainphones.nyphonejacks.com/2012/05/cocot-found-in-subway-system.html

Monday, April 30, 2012

Tmobile's false claims on their "set the record straight" ad campaign.

Don't get me wrong, currently I am a Tmobile customer, however with an ad campaign stating that it is "time to set the record straight" It seems unethical to blatantly provide false advertising.

Tmobile has an HSPA+ network. This is far from a 4G network. At most it is a 3G+ or 3.5G network. Technical specifications aside, HSPA+ is merely just an upgrade of the existing HSPDA 3G data network, unlike LTE or WiMax which are entirely new networks that need to be deployed. While none of these technologies reach the speeds that the ITU originally used to define the term 4G, an upgrade to an existing network can hardly be considered a completely new generation of technology. It would be like tuning the engine of an older car and claiming that it is a new car.

Lets move onto the comparisons on their website:
For the Tmobile vs Sprint comparison, they compare a HSPA+ Samsung Galaxy S II with a 3G capable iPhone 4GS. Right off the bat due to the hardware specifications of these two devices the comparison is weighted in Tmobiles favor. It also is misleading to iPhone fanboys who may think that they can get similar results by bringing an unlocked iPhone over to Tmobile. The fact is that the GSM version of the iPhone sold by AT&T uses different frequencies for 3G than what Tmobile uses, so in reality if you put an iPhone onto Tmobile at best you will only be getting EDGE 2G speeds.

The AT&T comparison again pits a Samsung Galaxy II capable of HSPA+ speeds against an iPhone 4GS that can only obtain 3G HSPDA speeds. Again based solely on hardware Tmobile has an unfair advantage. As well as misleading people into believing that the network is what is faster. AT&T has the same "4G" network as Tmobile in most areas, a HSPA+ network, and has been lighting up their LTE network in most major markets recently. LTE could be considered an actual 4G network, unlike HSPA+ and it also offers greater speeds.

Finally the Tmobile vs Verizon comparison once again pits the iPhone 4GS against the Samsung Galaxy II. Same situation as the other two carriers that they compare above. This is misleading advertising. It is like comparing the speeds of a Porsche with a Chevy Volt on a public highway, while the owner of the Volt has a Ferrari and a race track to prove that they are faster.

Not sure why Tmobile would want to "set the record straight" with an apples to oranges comparison.

I am a Tmobile customer, not because of the blatantly fraudulent advertising, but because the pricing structure of their prepaid plans provides me the greatest benefit at the current time. Until Verizon or AT&T show reasonable rate plans for prepaid LTE service, or Sprint opens up their LTE network that they are going to replace their WiMax network and offer it on Boost or Virgin, then Tmobile remains a fairly decent value for the speeds provided on their prepaid plans. However, pay careful attention to the fine print, the $50 plan only provides around 100MB of "4G" data - when you go over the allowed data on your plan you are throttled down to 2G EDGE speeds, not 3G. Why? well that is fairly easy to answer - because HSPA+ IS 3G, so the only lower tier would be 2G.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

New cell phone

So finally I went out and spend some money on replacing my Samsung Dart (why do I always want to call it a Dodge Dart? Guess because they both kind of suck)

I went to the T-mobile store and picked up a Samsung Galaxy S 4G. The cost of the phone with a qualifying prepaid or "monthly 4G" plan was $250. The problem is these idiots in the store forced me to buy a $60 activation kit for the phone which I do not need since I am already an existing customer who is just trying to upgrade the phone that I currently have.

This problem left me with an extra line of service that I do not need, and $60 poorer. I called T-mobile customer care and found out that I needed to have the pin number for the new account that the store set up for me, which I did not have since they never asked me to set a pin up. This required me to get off the line with customer service and set up a pin for my "new" account. Once that was done I called back and spoke with the stupidest rep ever. She thought I was calling to provide them with my IMEI number. HELLO it is a GSM phone all I need to do is swap my SIM card! Finally she made it seem like she was on the same page as me and told me that the credit for the account that I was forced to open would be transferred over to my existing account within 2 hours. 6 hours later and the "new" account is still active and the credit has not yet been transferred over. So I called back and finally got someone who immediately posted $25 credit to my account and advised me the remainder of the credit will post within an hour, and the "new" account will be deactivated. Finally someone who knows what they are doing.

Not sure if this is a win for me or not. The $250 price for the phone supposedly is for new prepaid service with a qualifying plan, while the full retail of the phone is closer to the $400 range. So perhaps the store was right in that to get the $250 price I had to get the activation kit, which still saves me about $100 compared to the full retail price of the phone. But since I have no use for 2 unlimited prepaid plans I figured I would try my luck at getting the money I paid transferred over to my active account.

Failing everything else, I did pay for the phone with 2 different credit cards. I put the bulk of the cost on one card, and about $50 onto another, so I could always dispute the charges on the lesser credit card if they fail to provide me with the credit.

[update] The credit was applied to my account, leaving me with no monthly charges the following month since my monthly plan is $60 and they credited my account the full $60.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rewiring the rack at my employers office

The network rack at my employers office has started to look a bit messy. I also needed to make several new CAT5 runs in the office so I brought up to my boss that we should neaten up the wiring a bit at the end of the day on a friday so it would be least intrusive to the office.

Front of office patch panel before I started.

Sideview of office patch panel before I started.

I added 3 new CAT 5 runs before I started working on neatening up the wiring at the patch panel. First I tightened up the wiring behind the panel, mostly just zip-tying then up a bit neater. Once this was all done, and the last person left the office I began removing all of the patch cords. I created a spreadsheet for what jacks were connected to the patch panel, so that I would not have to worry about connecting jacks that were not in use and run out of space on the switch and router. I removed all old unused hardware, 1 router and 2 DVRs.

Front of patch panel after cleaning up patch cords.

While I do not usually like to go directly across the front of the panel with the patch cords, I would have prefered to bring everything straight across then up the side and back over, I did not have a box of CAT5 patch cords that were long enough so I just made sure that I would be able to keep things as neet as possible by running everything directly from panel to router/switch.

I labeled each patch cord with what jack the cord connects to.

To eliminate confusion and hopefully prevent a reoccurance of having patch cords that are not connected anywhere just zip-tied at the panel I labeled all of the patch cords at each end with the jack number on the patch panel that they connect to. I also used velcro straps to strap the patch cords together and not zip-ties

Side view: I mounted the FAX ATA, DVR, cable and DSL modems behind the rack, so they are easily viewable, yet out fo the way.

To free up sone space on the shelf below the panel, and to get things up and more visible I installed the DVR, cable modem and DSL modem, as well as an ATA used for the fax machine (directly below the panel) on the back side of the rack. Now it will be much easier to view status lights of everything with ease.

Up next is going to be rewiring the network rack at the CO-LO data center, fun times.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

CAT 5 repair patch cord.

So I just recently completed an installation of several VoIP phones at a customers location. One of the existing CAT 5 jacks failed when I tested it. Unfortunately I could not open the patch panel because there were too many patch cords connected and I did not want to take down their entire network for a single phone. I also was unable to open the jack due to its location behind a solid wooden desk that was fulled with paperwork.

Luckily I knew that 2 pairs were making it from the jack to the patch panel.
My test showed 1+2 open (orange) 3+6 reversed (green) 4+5 open (blue) and 7+8 reversed (brown)

What was I to do? Run a new CAT5? Sure that might have been an option, however the wire would need to be surface run, and I might as well take down the whole network to find where the open was instead of moving everything in the next 3 offices that the wire ran thru to get to the data closet.

My alternative solution was to create a custom patch cord at both ends of the run. These custom patch cords would swap the green/white pair to correct the reversal, while it would swap the orange/white pair over to the brown/white pair and repair the reversal on the brown white pair as well.

I used a short piece of CAT 5 wire and 2 jacks on either end of the cord in place of 8p8c connectors, so that if I had miswired anything I could easily fix it at either end with out needing to waste any 8p8c connectors. I also wanted anyone who saw this contraption to not confuse the custom patch cord with a regular patch cord, as it would only work for this jack, or other jacks that had a similar miswire, or improper punch down.

Here is an image that I just created visualizing the cut over cables that I made. One patch cord goes on one end of the run, while the other goes on the other end of the run, it really does not matter what side either one is on, but they must both be used for this to work.

The left side fixes the reversal for both pairs, as well as swaps the orange/white over to the brown/white pair.
The right side is just a straight thru connection for the green/white that has already been reversed, and brings the brown/white pair back over to the orange/white terminations. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

JFK Airtrain extortion!

I dropped a coworker off at JFK today. He was running late for his flight, so he had to reschedule for a later flight. He decided that since he had some extra time that he would park his car in the airport long term parking lot, and I would take the train home.

This is not a problem, because I remember when I worked at the airport several years ago that you could enter the subway from the long term parking lot. To my shock and disgust when I attempted to enter the subway system from the long term parking lot I was told that I had to pay the $5 fee for the Airtrain. I explained to the idiot reps that I never stepped foot onto the Airtrain and refuse to pay for a service that I did not use. They told me that is the way the system was designed, and that there is nothing that they could do about it, I would have to pay the fee to enter into the subway station - where I would also have to pay the $2.25 to get onto the subway.

This is unacceptable. I then found the telephone number for the Airtrain - which is 877-JFK-Airtrain (877-535-2478) in case anyone decides that they would like to call them up and complain about this or any other issue! The people who answered the phone were of even less help than the people at the gate if you could imagine that, you would think that someone would take the initiative to get a manager or supervisor to look at the situation, realize that they are complete idiots for designing a system that does not allow unrestricted access to the public transit system and let me through with out resorting to these extortion tactics.

After that I found one of those information telephones, which apparently directs calls to the same telephone number that I mentioned above, as the second person I spoke with on the phone was about as useful as a box of rocks.

The only alternative to not paying this extortion fee is to take a 20 minute walk out of the parking lot, across a bridge over the belt parkway - that does NOT have a pedestrian walkway, and to the Aqueduct Racetrack subway station on Conduit Boulevard.

The lack of foresight or planning on this Airtrain project is sickening. Not only should the Port Authority be fined for extorting customers who do NOT use the Airtrain into paying for it anyway just to enter into the subway system, they should also be held liable for safety violations for requiring those who choose not to cave into their extortion practices to walk on roadways that are not designed for, and unsafe for pedestrians.

The long term Airtrain/subway station should be redesigned to allow for customers who do NOT ride the Airtrain to have access to the subway system with out having to pay this extortion fee.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Minor site changes

Updated the design of the top navigation links, removed the old "share" link for twitter and facebook, and replaced it with a smaller module that also includes the ability to share with email, twitter, facebook and G+. Also the new module will allow you to share a post from the main page. With the previous module you had to be on the post's page to share that particular post. Hopefully these minor changes will make navigation easier, more streamlined, and less obstructed. More minor changes will be coming in the next few days/weeks, as well as a complete rebuild of the store, which is a fairly new feature of the site. I also brought back the link for the "helpful phone numbers" page. The page never left the site, I just had removed the link to it a while ago, but it is now back. Feel free to leave comments here if you think that there are other numbers that should be included.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Door phone ring analog PBX and VoIP phones at the same time.

[EDIT: Wiring diagram to connect PAP2 to RC2a and E20B doorphone can be found HERE]

As a VoIP tech, I usually leave the old PBX phones in place when we install a new VoIP system. I do this for several reasons.

 First, to allow the porting to take place which can take a few days. The reasons why I do not like to just use call forwarding are explained in my LNP post but basically when call forwarding a number only the first call is forwarded then all subsequent callers get a busy signal.

 Second, it allows the customer to transition to the new phones at their own pace for outgoing calls until the port process is complete.

 Today I had a rather unusual request, as most people that move over to VoIP eventually do away with their old phone system and POTS phone service. This customer has an Partner phone system and VoIP service with us with Cisco phones, so each desk has a VoIP phone and an Avaya phone. This customer wanted the door phone, which was currently run thru their Partner system to at the same time ring the VoIP phones.

After some deliberation, a solution was found to accomplish this. The existing door phone was simply connected to the partner system as an extension. I tapped off of this extension wiring going towards the door phone after it exited the Partner phone system and connected the station wire to the tip and ring of an RC2A relay, then connected the N.O. and common connections of the RC2A to the existing wiring going to the door release. That solved the connection of installing my relay.

My next hurdle was the tricky part, how to ring the VoIP phones AND the phones connected to the PBX. The soloution? Connect the line side of a SPA3102 to an extension port of the Partner system, and configure the SPA3102 to hotdial an extension group on the VoIP system when it detects ringing on the extension port that it is connected to, thus whenever someone rings the door phone all of the extensions on the Partner system ring, and since the SPA3102 is connected to an extension port on the Partner system it too rings, however when the 3102 is ringing, it is forwarding the call via VoIP to the VoIP phones.

 Sorry no pictures this time, it is pretty straight forward, nothing too fancy it just works. The RC2A was put in line with the door phone station wire to activate the relay with DTMF tones - if the existing relay would have used DTMF tones to operate the relay it would not have been required, I just would have had to determine the proper digits to dial to activate the relay with a DTMF decoder.

[EDIT: There are 2 things to keep in mind with this set up. First if anyone calls the extension that the 3102 is connected to, whatever VoIP phones that are in the door bell call group will ring, and the CID will show that the call is coming from the door phone. The other thing to be concerned with about this set up is if the extension that the 3102 is connected to rings when someone calls one of the CO lines that the analog PBX is connected to all of the VoIP phones that are in the door bell call group will also ring and CID will show it it coming from the doorphone. If someone answers one of these calls with the VoIP phone then the doorphone will not be able to be used while this call is in progress, so you will have to ensure that the extension that the 3102 is connected to in the analog PBX is not in any call groups on the analog system, which may be a problem if you are not familiar with programming of the analog phone system that the customer has.]

Thursday, January 5, 2012

network clean-up

I had to return to the customer who decided to run all of their wiring AFTER the new building's construction was completed. Here is a before and after of what it looked like before I left on the first visit - more info/pics  can be seen of this job HERE

All of the contractors were complaining about this place. The original electrician. The new electrical contractor who was there today, installing yet more CAT5 cabling, the plumbers who were there last time that had to fix a leak from a previous plumbing contractor. 

I only spent about 2 hours here today, testing and labeling, installing the router/switch and patch cords, and moving the FiOS router (upstairs behind the bar, not photographed) 

With everything going on with this job, using wiring pulled by someone else, having to extend or splice and re-route CAT5 drops only a single brown/white pair failed. Since it was not the green or orange pair I just labeled that jack "no-PoE" and kept it moving. 

Here is one of the images of my patch panel from the first visit.
I did NOT install any of the mess of wiring. These were all here when I arrived.
The only wiring I pulled are the white wires entering the panel from below.
Luckily the mess of wiring was cleaned up,
possibly by whoever installed them.
More likely by a different contractor.
This is my complete network.
Wiremolding, router, switch, patch cords
and analog phone jacks. 

20 jack network turns into a 44 jack network overnight

So my 20 jack network  install ended up being expanded and became a 27 jack network. Instead of adding a 3rd 12 port panel when we passed the 24 port mark I opted instead to use surface jacks for the extra 3 ports.

The PC guy was wiring patch cords to the panel as I was still pulling cable, and testing jacks, so the network became quite a mess.

Fast forward to earlier this week. The customer needed 17 additional runs, for a total of 44 network jacks. I knew after the second dispatch to this location that they were going to need these additional runs done "some time in the future" so I was not concerned with wasting time neatening up the patch cord mess, because I knew that I was going to have to replace the 2 - 12 port patch panels and the extra jacks with a 48 port patch panel.

The installation of the additional 17 CAT 5 runs, cutting everything over to the new patch panel and labeling the jacks took just one (long) day. I returned for about 2-3 hours to test all of the jacks. Just one mis-wire. In my rush to finish the bulk of the work in a single day I had one of the jacks backwards from how it was punched down. No big deal, quite a quick fix to re-punch the one jack. The remainder of the second (half) day was spent replacing the patch cords and neatening up the network as best as I could.

Some of the PC guys wires were not neatened up by me because I did not want to touch his stuff, and because my company wanted me to only worry about what I had installed, and our companies VoIP phones.

This is what became of my "20 jack network" installation.

I had installed the 2 - 12 port panels, and the cisco router.
The computer guy was connecting stuff as the cabling was still being pulled.

FiOS and another switch was installed since my last visit.
Does anyone have pride in their work any more?

Since I had to add about 17 more runs on top of the  27 existing  runs,
I replaced the 2 - 12 port panels and extra jacks with a 48 port panel.
44 ports are being used.

Everything cut over to the new patch panel.
All that is left is to neaten this mess up!

Much better than when I first returned to see the mess that became of my previous wiring job.
Still would have liked some more time to neaten some of the wiring towards the bottom,
but those are the computer guys wires.
My company wanted me to only focus my time on the wiring I installed and our VoIP wiring.

Some additional runs under windows.
Luckily there was space to snake horizontally behind the walls.
Unluckily where I snaked down ended up being behind a beam,
thus the small channel next to the bracket on the right side of the image,

Wide angle of wiring installed below windows for cubicles.

From the network closet down the hall to reception area.

Down hallway (network room down hallway to right)
Door phone to office. Wire in wiremold because wall is concrete.
Room with cubicles and wire under windows at end of hallway to left
(where the light is shining through doorway).