The 4-Day ISDN Response

I am so damn embarrassed this week. We had a loyal customer whose ISDN line was down since last Friday and it took us until today to solve this problem. Usually, it would only take less than two days if it was critical. But because I was busy with other customers and two outstation trips, things literally went to Hell since my techs sort of adopted a very laid-back attitude towards emergency cases nowadays. Something which I must get it out of their system asap because after the "System Down" situation, the next most important case would be "ISDN down". I mean, if 30 lines to your Office is not working, would you not panic?

The current balun with loose connectors. The other vendor
who dismatled their equipment must have done it in a very
pissed off mannet (since the removal is loss of income)

Me: Whoa! Who did this?
Customer: Must be someone who removed the autodialer
Me: OK, let me see what I can do. [fiddle, fiddle, plug, unplug, etc.] There, all done!
Customer: Thanks.

2 hours later and I am stuck with another customer
Customer: Wei, the line is down again
Me: (WTF!) How can this happen?
Customer: Well, its happened now, so see what you can do.
Me: OK, OK. [Calls up nearest tech] Wei, go to this customer. ISDN down la.
Tech #2: OK, Boss.

Tech: Boss, cannot go la. Heavy rain.
Me: #$%^&@!!!

The new balun and with new RJ45 and RG59 connectors.
And so we eliminated this part of the problem, which
leaves the PABX and or he ISDN cables we pulled 4
years ago. Just to pull them agin from 20-ver floors
to the basement would take a week since we need to
have permission from other tenants due to the weird
building's design where cables are concerned.


Customer: Wei, the Telekom people are here and they tested the line, its OK
Me: Erm, OK. This means the cable is OK.
Customer: Please come over asap, OK? While waiting, what can I do?
Me: OK, see the cable... bla... bla... bla...
Customer: Yeah... u-hmmm... yeah.... Right. Its up again. Thanks for your help
Me:No problem.

a few hours later, the line went dead again
Customer: Hey, come la. Its not working anymore.
Me: OK, OK. (Stuck with another customer, how?)[Calls tech]Wei, XXX need to go again. Check ISDN cable.
Tech #2: OK, Boss.

[From the tech's description, seems like the cables needs to redo and also replace the ISDN Balun. He even went down to the basement to check on the cables, which is not easy because you have forms to fill and take a lot of crap from the building management. So, I got him to purchase the balun and the cable connectors for tomorrow.]

Tech #1: Boss, the cable connector broke la.
Me: What? How can?
Tech #1: Its the same type from the other supplier
Me: WTF!!! How come (tech #2) did not check when he went to buy them?
Tech #1: So how? I can't repair this one.
Me: Shit. Shit! OK let me settle this. I am in Seremban now.
Tech #1: Hurry up, OK? I got other calls too
Me: [Calls up Boss and told him of the situation]
Boss: WTF! Damn! How can this happen! OK, I'll get Tech #2 to buy the stuff, get the tools from the office, then meet up with Tech #1.

Later in the afternoon, with the new connectors and balun, the line was still down. Over the phone, I have advised them all the procedures but its still a no-go. By then, I rushed back from Seremban and went straight to the customer since my techs have done all they could.

Me: Hmm...... this is bad.
Customer: You haven't even seen bad yet. We just launched the promotion and everyone is trying to call us since last week.
Me: OK, I have also tried every trick in my sleeve and it still dead. Anyway, I'll just do some programming here so that you guys can use the backup lines.
Customer: OK. Er, what backup lines?
Me: You know, the ones I told you to keep and not disconnect from Telekom for cases like this.
Customer: Oh-oh.....

After some discussion with the customer, he agreed to set up another appointment with the Telekom people for us tomorrow morning. If they checked the lines at his office and they can make call from the cable, this means the cables are OK and our PABX is suspect. If not, then we will all have to go to the basement to test the line there. And if its really the PABX's prolbem, I (or we) would have a big headache because one cannot simple pluck an ISDN card out of anywhere.

Presenting the OMG-so-expensive ISDN card. For those
who knows, you know. OK? Don't tell other people, OK?


After a sleepless night (where I slept like a log what was hit by a 50-ton lorry and broke into two - I don't even know what I am saying here), I arrived early in the morning as promised. I got one of my tech to come with me as well because I wanted to test the cables myself before the Telekom people arrives. While waiting for my tech to get access to the basement again, I sat down and re-run all the possible scenarios in my head.

And then it hit me (Like a 50-ton lorry hitting a log which broke into two). I was so tired from the two Seremban trips and from the previous customers, I was not "listening" to what the PABX was trying to tell me last night. I ignored the first clue, which was that (here comes the techical part) their backup lines were in slots 4 and 5 instead of slots 34 and 35. This can only mean one thing: The ISDN card is the main culprit.

And I was right. Upon checking the PABX's programming, it confirmed my theory.

So, I wasted today's trip just because I was too tired to think properly where the PABX system was subtly telling me,

"The slot did not recognise the bloody ISDN card, you moron!"

In the end, everything was solved and the poor Telekom man who walked all the way (from God knows where) arrived and made sure everyone knows that he walked all the way (from God knows where). And as usual, I cancelled my afternoon leave (Yeah, this year I have 35.5 days) since there is another customer my tech could not handle since yesterday.

But before that, after telling Boss the good news, I told him I wanted to drop by Pasar Road (to reward myself, la) since he is in a happy mood too. Ha ha ha ha.

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