Transferring a 100 number in-dial range to a new site

Written by James McDonald

June 3, 2009

The Situation:
I have just moved an Alcatel OmniPCX(old site) to replace an NEC Xen IPK(new site). And transferred the old sites 100 number range to run concurrently with the new sites existing 100 number in-dial range.

Old Site:
Good Alcatel PABX with good expansion capacity and RJ45 patch interface to replace the New Sites older NEC Xen IPK System.
100 number in-dial range to be moved to new site and run concurrently with the target sites existing 100 number in-dial. 4 x ISDN2’s to be disconnected

New Site:
NEC Xen IPK old PABX
Existing 100 number indial range running on 4 x ISDN2’s

Gotchas & Learnings:
– On your target site go into your patch panel and make a port map of all existing Extensions with source and target ports. When you disconnect, a blizzard of cabling is no time to start figuring out what goes where. Grab spare analog and digital phones temporarily disconnect each source port and use the phone to identify all your extensions and where they go. I removed the source ports when the new phone system was installed, because the alcatel has nice RJ45 terminations, but you need to know where each existing extension target port is, before you start unplugging.

My port map looked like this:

Extension    Source      Target    Description
165          B2          C4        Joe
166          B3          C16       Lisa

Source was the port number coming out of the old Xen IPK. Target was the port that led to the actual phone.

– You can’t get Telstra to divert individual numbers from a 100 number in-dial range to different external PSTN numbers (or so they tell me). So this means you can’t keep your services running to backup PSTN (e.g. so you continue to receive faxes) while the transfer occurs.

– In my experience Telstra being Telstra have an even chance of getting it wrong the first time. And even if you are a business customer, it can, and does take a while to fix it. So plan for a largish outage. In real life for me this meant an outage from 3PM finishing the next morning at 9AM. If you are trying to receive orders by FAX from your customers this length of outage can be a problem.

– When Telstra has disconnected your Old Site’s ISDN2 and then fails to perform the transfer of the 100 number indial to the new sites lines. They will place a temporary ‘diversion’ of the Old sites 100 number indial range to your target new sites lines but the catch is all numbers from your Old Sites range will go the primary indial number.

For example:
If your old site was 02 5555 1700-99 and you are trying to transfer this range to the new sites ISDN2 lines which currently run 02 5555 1600-99 then every number in the 1700-99 range will go to 1600. So if you really can’t miss any faxes employ your receptionist to physically transfer incoming faxes to a fax machine internally.

– When the transfer is occuring dialing the re-locating number range can give your customers “The number you have dialed is not connected” style of messages. Prepare them in advance with a mail out notifying them of the change

– There is wisdom in doing the transfer on Monday through Thursday giving you at least the next day for resolution if it doesn’t go well. The full support apparatus of Telstra probably won’t be available at 4PM on a Friday afternoon.

Don’t assume that Telstra can do what you hope they can. Confirm each step you want them to perform well before you attempt it. This can be challenging, because you rarely get someone on the phone immediately that will know. I’m not ragingly eager to hear “Can I put you on hold while I talk to my supervisor?” but a few hours of Music on Hold and an answer can help in the long run.

– Somewhere between the Alcatel’s shutdown and transfer and several reboots the Alcatel system pulled back an old backup image from it’s innards and I lost the most recent settings. Fortunately I had a good Alcatel programmer engaged and he had no problems re-configuring the system.

– I wanted to colour code my data lines as blue and voice lines as yellow. I didn’t get enough of the different sizes. Do some solid planning with a tape measure in your patch cabinet, after counting lengths and quantities, order something like:

10 ea 0.5m Cat5e Yellow
10 ea 0.1m Cat5e Yellow
10 ea 1.5m Cat5e Yellow
 5 ea 2.0m Cat5e Yellow

It’s common sense but too short cables are worse than too long (you should see my previous patching efforts, because of too short cables I had to avoid the cable management and run diagonally across the face of the patch panel. UGLY!) . Therefore if you have a 1.2m cable run you need the closest next size up like 1.5m.

Most electrical suppliers sell data cabling and accessories these days.

Update:
The physical phone system move was done on the 2nd of June and it’s now June 12. The final Telstra Line Problem was resolved today. So congratulations to Telstra only 10 days to do a transfer of a hundred number in-dial to a new location.

Besides the above we have had the following Telstra issues at the target site.

  1. Battery Voltage on one of the incoming ISDN lines (Telstra sent a tech who changed to a good pair coming in from the street lead-in)
  2. ISDN line 4 was provisioned in on-demand mode causing the sync light to be unlit while the first 3 ISDN2’s were in permanent mode (sync light comes on and stays on) – making fault finding difficult because it’s different to the others (I think this was fixed on the 8/9 day mark)
  3. Telstra provisioned the 4th ISDN as point to multi-point unlike the first 3 ISDN2’s. Causing an intermittent in-dial fault (This took 10 days to resolve. Telstra blaming the Phone System programming, claiming the Lines tested fine etc etc.)

I had an intermittent in-dial problem. Sometimes straight away but generally every 5th to 15th call I would get a busy/no_answer signal. Outgoing calls were fine.

I ended up isolating fault 3. myself by unplugging all the Telstra NT1’s on the Telstra side, and then individually plug them back in. Using a mobile phone I dialled in to the phone system while only the single ISDN2 was connected. The ISDN2 Lines 1, 2 & 3 allowed me to phone my numbers. However when I plugged the 4th ISDN2 line in it gave a busy/no_answer signal when in-dialing all the time. Telstra constantly said the lines were fine. After triple checking that my phone system configuration was correct for all the ISDN accesses I persisted with Telstra and they had a good look at what was different with the 4th line… all the other lines were in point-to-point mode the 4th line was in point to multi-point mode.

Although I’m no expert, when you configure a hundred number in-dial on a group of ISDN lines I think they hunt in a circular motion (1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4). So incoming calls get cycled through all the lines. Hence the intermittent nature of the fault. Depending on which line was being used for an outgoing calls the Telstra Exchange may or may not direct a call down the line that has the in-dial problem.

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