Good Bye PBX – did you notice?

Ok, what’s a PBX? It’s the old University telephone exchange that until Tuesday 22nd January 2013 was used to connect the University’s internal telephony system to the public phone system. All incoming and outgoing calls went through that system. We actually had two – one at Schoolhill and one down at Scott Sutherland.

 I explained back in November what we were doing to move from the old “analogue” phones to the new “VOIP” phones. The old “analogue” phones were each connected to the PBX by their own copper wire, and the PBX then connected us to the public phone network. As long as we had some analogue phones, we had to keep the PBX – but now that all the analogue phones have been replaced we don’t need the PBX systems any more. They are old, they are very inflexible, and they are “single points of failure”. If one of the PBX systems fails, then we lose all outgoing and incoming calls linked to that PBX. Not something you want to happen at critical times of the year.

So, the last step in the telephone switch over was to remove the PBX systems and that was done on Tuesday. In their place, our phone system is now connected through the National JANET network. We have dual connections into the University, and the fact that we are connected through a modern voice and data network will give us greater flexibility in future. For example, if we ever need to add additional capacity (more lines) it can now be done much more quickly than was possible before.

The switchover had to be done without a hitch – it was essential that incoming and outgoing calls across the University were not disrupted. So there was a heavy programme of testing the week before the switchover, and a final batch of testing on the Monday, and then the system was handed over from one telecom provider to another early on Tuesday morning. Hopefully you didn’t notice!

That’s the core of the new, modern, telephone system very much complete now apart from some tidying up. Oh- apart from fax machines. We still have 70 people wanting to keep their fax machines . . . that’s maybe a topic for another day.

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