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The Telecom Digest for March 12, 2011
Volume 30 : Issue 63 : "text" Format

Messages in this Issue:

Re: Handhelds on Planes A Bigger Problem Than You Think(John Mayson)
Re: How does Comcast deliver dial tone?(Bruce Bergman)
FCC to clamp down on caller-ID spoofing(Lisa or Jeff)
Re: cell phone query re: Cuba(Rich Greenberg)
Re: Does FiOS support rotary phones?(Lisa or Jeff)

====== 29 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======
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Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2011 09:17:45 -0600 (Central Standard Time) From: John Mayson <john@mayson.us> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Handhelds on Planes A Bigger Problem Than You Think Message-ID: <alpine.WNT.2.00.1103110913000.5148@AURM106297.americas.ad.flextronics.com> I am on an aviation-related mailing list and this is as hot of a topic as cell phone use while driving. Some say it's impossible for phones to interfere while others say the danger is real. I was in college in the late 1980s and my roommate's dad was a pilot for a major airline. He said he knew when a passenger turned on an AM/FM radio because his gauges "wobbled". He said it was particularly bad during the World's Series and March Madness (college basketball). I was recently onboard a Boeing 777 and the captain said he couldn't push back from the gate until all electronic devices were off. Usually just the cabin crew made such an announcement on this airline. The captain repeated this message two more times. I didn't see anyone turn anything off, but it's a big plane. I have to wonder if someone's electronic device was on and was interfering with the flight deck. He finally came on, thanked us, and we pushed back. John -- John Mayson <john@mayson.us> Austin, Texas, USA
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2011 09:05:58 -0800 From: Bruce Bergman <brucebergman@gmail.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: How does Comcast deliver dial tone? Message-ID: <AANLkTimdyHNEj96Ek1_oRyW9JTuUxyEAMNeRuHKJaWB+@mail.gmail.com> > Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2011 01:43:21 -0500 > From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> > To: redacted@invalid.telecom-digest.org. > Subject: How does Comcast deliver dial tone? > Message-ID: <4D787309.9050303@horne.net> > > I was on a phone call with a friend who has phone service from Comcast, > and I was reminded several times of why I dropped them: his voice would > cut off for two or three seconds at a time, and he said mine would too. > > Does anyone know why Comcast has so many problems with their phone > connections? > Same problems as with any VOIP over a shared "party line" connection, latency and congestion. Phone calls are where latency shows up first, because you have to send and receive the packets in order and regularly, and the majority of them need to arrive on time and in order. If there was a huge buffer of data packets to keep it streaming constantly over a so-so connection (and allow time to resend any missing packets) there would be a huge time delay in the conversation - like watching TV News conversations between the Anchor in New York and the Correspondent in Cairo when there is a 6 to 8 second delay because of multiple satellite hops. There are a few hundred to a few thousand houses on the one segment of cable sharing the same physical layer and one node of backhaul (converted to a DS1 or DS3 on the cable system's fiber-optic backbone cable to the headend) to "The Internet" at large - and everyone using data (and the phone call is data) is sharing that one pool of bandwidth one at a time. You get a slice of time every few milliseconds to send and receive your packets, then the bandwidth goes to the next customer, and the next, and the next, and the next.... If the segment is overloaded you have to wait a while for your turn to come around again, and may not get to send and receive as large a packet as you want, and that will make the signal choppy and stuttered both ways. This is exactly the same problem as the old first-generation Thin-net Ethernet for offices - everyone is on one loop of coax back to the server, and when the loads get too high and there are collisions between nodes it becomes slow for everyone. And if one user node has problems and is sending out bad data the whole system goes down. (Been there, Done that, Have the BNC tees and terminators...) And when the cable segment is overloaded (as they often are) it can make voice service unusable. What's worse, the cable company can give priority for time slices to certain customers using their paid-for Comcast Phone VOIP and Premium Movies On Demand customers, making the service even worse for those using "free" Skype, Ooma, Magic Jack, BitTorrent or other services - IF the cable company doesn't deliberately sabotage their use to free up more bandwidth for their "paying customers"... (Which is what "Network Neutrality" was originally intended to correct, the carrier's attitude that "some bits are more valuable to us than others, or are being sponsored, and they get priority..." But that whole idea has been corrupted - and is a whole 'nother discussion anyway.) The cable company can split the segment in half (or more) and issue the dedicated backhaul channels to much smaller pools of customers - but they won't do it unless and until their premium subscribers are affected because it affects the bottom line, They have to roll a truck and invest in more physical plant to do it, and it raises the internal costs for a larger Internet feed and more servers at the headend... Much easier for them to single out the top few users of internet bandwidth in the area and cut off their service for "abuse" of their monthly traffic cap or calling it a "commercial use at residential rates" or some other lame excuse, and the service will get better for everyone else on the system - for a while... Welcome to the United States - We invented fast internet, just can't get it into our houses. I'm at almost 18 KFt out from the CO (the hard limit) they won't put me on the U-Verse Remote DSLAM's (the perennial response is that "it's full...") and plain old DSL can only do 128K - and it's wheezing along at that. But that tiny little slice of bandwidth is *all mine*, not shared with all my neighbors. --<< Bruce >>-- ***** Moderator's Note ***** I used to have DSL from Covad, which topped out at ~680Kbps, not even the minimum I had contracted for. Covad couldn't fix it. I recently changed to (spit) Verizon DSL, which does 1,500Kbps with no problem. It seems that some cable pairs are more equal than others: 'twas ever thus, 'twill ever be. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2011 10:25:12 -0800 (PST) From: Lisa or Jeff <hancock4@bbs.cpcn.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: FCC to clamp down on caller-ID spoofing Message-ID: <1ef9dcaf-4e89-4158-b4d4-a34898bfc14c@t19g2000prd.googlegroups.com> An article in the Phila Inqr describes how spoofing works, efforts by the FCC to stop it, and what 'spoofing' will still be allowed. http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/consumer/How-Caller-ID-can-lie.html For myself, as someone with multiple lines, I wish the Caller-ID sent out my main incoming number instead of the exact outgoing line I happen to be using. I notice organizations served by large PBX's (not centrex) do exactly the same thing. People attempt to call me back using the "callback button" feature on their caller-id screen and can't get through.
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2011 17:19:51 +0000 (UTC) From: richgr@panix.com (Rich Greenberg) To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: cell phone query re: Cuba Message-ID: <ilb17n$322$1@reader1.panix.com> In article <Pine.NEB.4.64.1103100159260.18209@panix5.panix.com>, danny burstein <dannyb@panix.com> wrote: >There's a political/criminal case going on in Cuba right >now where a US citizen, Alan Gross, is charged with >some pretty scary (in regards to potential punishment) >crimes against the State. > >Basically they're accusing him of working for an arm of >the US gov't to encourage rebellion. > >Leaving aside all the politics there's a point I'm having >trouble understanding. > >One claim is that he was distributing cell phones to >the community there. > >Anyone know how that could possibly work? There's no way >a handheld cell phone would reach any "Western" (as in US >or carribean island) towers. And even if they were frequency >and format compatable with whatever Cuba's using, they'd need >to have accounts established with the carrier. > >Any ideas? Thanks Could he have been distributing sat-phones? -- Rich Greenberg Sarasota, FL, USA richgr atsign panix.com + 1 941 378 2097 Eastern time. N6LRT I speak for myself & my dogs only. VM'er since CP-67 Canines: Val, Red, Shasta, Zero & Casey (At the bridge) Owner:Chinook-L Canines: Red & Cinnar (Siberians) Retired at the beach Asst Owner:Sibernet-L
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2011 18:18:55 -0800 (PST) From: Lisa or Jeff <hancock4@bbs.cpcn.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Does FiOS support rotary phones? Message-ID: <b820fa70-f4d9-494b-a447-a8354a995f6d@c8g2000vbv.googlegroups.com> On Mar 10, 1:34 am, Bill Horne <b...@horneQRM.net> wrote: > My sister just got FiOS installed, and she has several dial-pulse > (rotary) phones that I'm supposed to hook up. > > Does FiOS support rotary phones? I'd hate to find out the hard way. According to Wikipedia, "Verizon offers POTS as well as VoIP over FiOS. The common model optical network terminals have two or four phone jacks." I don't know if that answers your question or not. But it is a very valid question as many modern services do not support pulse dialing, and it would not suprise me if it FIOS didn't support pulse. When I was inquiring on what to do with my hard wired rotary phones and DSL, many told me to get rid of the rotary phones. I must admit that other than nostalgia, they aren't very useful. I used to use the phones for answering calls. But, these days I get automated business calls that require a Touch Tone answer (like to confirm an appointment), so the rotary phones won't work. We have ten digit dialing, and dialing ten digits on a metal dial is tiring. In my case the phones are hard wired so some effort would be necessary to take them out and put in a jack, especially for the wall phone. But if your sister's phones are not hard wired, she may want to consider replacing them with modern phones, or just using them for answer-only. If the phones are hard wired, it is easy to connect two wires to the network of a wall 554 set, and connect the other end of those wires to a jack, allowing a Touch Tone phone to be plugged in. It's easy to add a jack to an old style connecting block, too. ***** Moderator's Note ***** My sister says that her children dial fewer wrong numbers on the rotary phones, and sometimes hang up before they've finished dialing, because the added effort gave them time to realize that the call was a bad idea, or wasn't needed. Bill Horne Moderator

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