Friday, October 7, 2011

A Few Additional Telephone System Features

In this post I continue to describe the legacy Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), looking at a few other common telephone system features we are all used to having and relying on. These are additional handset signals and PIC. I would also want to include Caller ID here but I've already covered how it works in a previous post.

Some Common Handset Signals
We are all used to hearing these additional common signals coming from our telephone. 

Line Busy Signal - 480 Hz and 630 Hz tones on for .5 seconds and off for .5 seconds, then repeats. 

Block Signal - 480 Hz and 620 Hz tones on for .2 seconds and off for .3 seconds, then repeats. This signal is often referred to as fast busy.

Off-Hook - 1400 Hz, 2060 Hz, 2450 Hz and 2600 Hz tones on for .1 seconds and off for .1 seconds, then repeats with a duration of 40 seconds. This signal is designed to be heard from across a room and is very loud.

Preferred Interexchange Carrier (PIC)
Since the 1976 MCI ruling AT&T has been required to open the long distance market to other long distance providers. Prior to this, all long distance traffic in the United States was handled by AT&T and users would just dial a “1” to connect to an AT&T long distance trunk. As other long distance carriers entered the market, AT&T had a big advantage. Customers were already used to dialing a “1” for long distance and placing a long distance call to anywhere in the United States involved dialing a minimum number of numbers. – only 11. This included “1”, the area code, and the 7 digit number. Customers that wanted to used other long distance carriers had to dial 25 numbers to make a long distance call. These calls required an 800 number be called initially (11 numbers), a 4 number personal identification number (PIN), the area code, and the 7 digit number.

In 1987 a method called Feature Group D was implemented to automatically pass calls to the customers preferred long distance carrier using something called a Preferred Interexchange Carrier (PIC) number.  Customers are required to select a preferred carrier and the preferred carrier information is added to the local switch database the customer is connected to.

Feature Group D also allows a customer to bypass the preferred PIC by dialing a 101XXXX number and use another long distance carrier. These 101XXXX are commonly referred to as dial-around service numbers.

1 comment:

Genesys Suite said...

Nice, accurate and to the point. Not everyone can provide information with proper flow.