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Virtual Telecommunication Facility Tour
Behind the scenes of where your voice and data is processed!
By Red Squirrel

There are two rooms for this UPS, there is a storage room where there's reels of wires and stuff, and as well as a few bays of electric equipment and the VRLA batteries. VRLA stands for Valve Regulated Lead Acid. It's kind of like a gel. There's 24 batteries and they are approximately 2.5VDC each, so that gives an output of about 48VDC. These batteries act the same way as the battery in a UPS. The room basically IS a UPS, but on a much larger scale. This UPS can last most likely a few days without charging, but is backed up by a huge diesel generator, so the facility is good for a long time without commercial AC! The other room also has another older UPS with larger liquid acid batteries. Both battery plants use sulfuric acid.

VRLA battery plant
VRLA battery plant
(different angle | danger sign | closeup)
(equipment | Big fans | Capacitors & transformers | ceiling | cable reels)

In the other battery room, there is also big cables that come through the wall. These are fiber entry cables from underground, they go to termination boxes, and go upstairs in the equipment room. There is also a shelf with circuit orders. Some go back till 1994. These keep records of every single order for later reference. I had to go through those looking for SSO numbers, I was later shown that we had a database where I just typed in the circuit order number and it would come up. Gee, modern technology these days is incredible!

Battery plant
Battery plant (800*600, click to enlarge)
(battery closeup | connection | equipment | rectifier | huge capacitor inside inverter | ceiling)
(circuit orders | fiber entry | fiber terminators | fiber terminator closeup)

This is it for this central office. There is allot more to it, but some of it could not be taken pictures of such as the Nortel DMS200 switches for long distance, as the flash can shut down the whole system due to RF and it's too dark in that room to not use a flash. The DMS is up another level from the original start point. Another level up has the generator, which will be covered shortly in the microwave center.

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Posted by Red Squirrel on April 04th 2004 (08:33)
Thanks for the feedback. The radio tower is actually part of the backup in this setup, but there's no OC3's for backup, its mostly all lower bandwith. There's actually regulations and it's required by law for any telco to have some kind of backup. At least so emergency data can pass through (people calling 911 etc...)
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