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Situation Overview

Our client had implemented a multi-state PBX network configured with Nortel Networks Meridian 1 technology, but was unsatisfied with the network performance.  Their objective was to appear to their customers as if each location operated on a stand-alone basis, but provide consistent customer service via a centralized attendant and voice mail system.  This required that local trunking and directory numbers be maintained at each location, and that private line connectivity be provided from each remote location back to its respective host.  We were engaged to review the network and develop recommendations for improving both service quality and network cost performance.  Following this initial review, the client expanded to a new headquarters location and we also provided support for this and subsequent additions and network rearrangements.

Project Scope

Initial assignment was to identify any shortcomings in the original network and recommend enhancements that would address these issues.  Subsequently, we were also asked to support the following:

- Planning and migration to new headquarters building
- Planning and integration of new Alabama location into the network
- Update of network dialing plan to accommodate growth and develop and implement a new DID network arrangement
- Prepare for downsizing of network hub location in Kentucky with updated network design, and also coordinate associated network implementation
- Negotiate new private line and long distance rates and coordinate change of carriers and facilities
- Provide ongoing operational support and network enhancements as required

Expected Deliverables

Insure that good quality network services are provided from a cost effective converged voice and data network.

Process

We initially performed a complete review of the original network design including PBX translations and routing tables.  We collected and reviewed trouble reports and completed a comprehensive traffic study on the original PBX systems.  Several problems were identified and we worked with the various service providers to address both PBX and public network configuration and billing problems.

In conjunction with addressing existing problems, we also proceeded with planning and design of network changes that would be required to support the new headquarters.  The new headquarters was equipped with an additional Nortel Meridian 1 PBX.  We prepared for the migration to this location including ordering of facilities, overseeing vendor installations and acceptance, developing new station assignments, and insuring that all requirements were addressed for an uneventful move.

Subsequent to completing the new headquarters move, the client acquired a company in Alabama and we provided the support needed to integrate this location into the network.  This included site surveys, engineering and layout of network equipment and facilities, order and coordination of all trunking and private line facilities, and overseeing the system installation and cutover.  During the cutover for this location, an echo problem was discovered on the routing of certain calls over the private network.  We worked extensively with both the PBX and private line vendors and discovered that because of the design of the T-1 circuit connecting this location to headquarters, echo cancellers would be required on the voice portion of the circuit.  After many trouble tickets and conference calls, this issue was finally resolved.

The next phase was to update the overall network numbering plan and implement DID services for all locations.  We arranged for appropriate DID number blocks from the local exchange carriers in Tennessee and Kentucky and developed a new dialing plan for the entire company.  This change was implemented and we worked closely with the PBX and network vendors to insure that all updates were properly programmed for a smooth cutover.

The client then decided to consolidate a portion of their Kentucky production capacity so that one of the Kentucky locations could be retired.  It so happened that the location to be shut down was also the Kentucky network hub.  To accommodate this change on a seamless basis, we developed a new network plan and arranged for new DID numbers for the remaining locations that would overlay on the existing network dialing plan.  We then arranged to re-home the remaining two Kentucky locations back to the headquarters network hub.  In conjunction with the update, we also moved several analog devices "on-net" to reduce recurring line charges, and made arrangements for implementation of an automatic emergency backup cutover device for "mission critical" analog devices (the time clock and fax machine).

Results

The client is now operating with a stable and cost effective converged network that supports both their voice and data requirements.  Network cost performance has been significantly improved, and several billing errors were uncovered that resulted in over $50K of refund credits from their network service providers. Network rearrangements were implemented that will allow the client to shut down the previous Kentucky hub location at their convenience without the need to be concerned about coordinating this event with other portions of the network.

Summary

The client is very pleased with the support that we have provided.  Our efforts have resulted in the network and operational improvements required to change the telephone system from a major problem area to a "non-event" in the support of their business.