When an overenthusiastic backhoe operator cut a major fiber line, 3 Rivers Telephone knew about the problem almost immediately and was able to fix it fast - thanks to the T/Mon Remote Alarm Monitoring System and its ASCII Alarm Processor.
"Yeah, we had a contractor use his backhoe to locate our fiber for us," said Rick Jacobson, a 3 Rivers Telephone network technician. "And then all of a sudden we started getting alarms - ASCII alarms from the Alcatel fiber terminal, from the multiplexers saying they'd lost connectivity, from some of the switches saying they had lost carriers, and from the AFC saying it had lost some carriers on that fiber.
"The alarms told us is we had a critical in a fiber terminal in one area, and nothing reporting from the next fiber terminal up," Jacobson continued. "That immediately narrowed it down to one stretch of road to drive to locate the cut. All we had to do was find the hole, and when we did the backhoe sitting there told us the story.
"At the same time, people out in the field were getting pages from the T/Mon system. One of the guys who got paged on his PCS phone works on the fiber terminal. When he got an alarm, he was able to connect to the fiber terminal from a remote area and see what we were already seeing at the central office. So he was ready to shut the light off on those fibers so the splicers could work on it," Jacobson said.
The entire incident was resolved in just four hours, from the initial alarms to the restoration of service, including the travel time to get the splicer crew to the fiber cut.
Losing that fiber cable was no joke for 3 Rivers, and getting it back in service quickly was a real victory. That particular fiber carries a wide range of 3 Rivers's extensive communication services.
One of the largest telephone cooperatives in Montana, 3 Rivers offers voice, PCS wireless, DSL, data services and satellite TV. 3 Rivers operates approximately 20,000 access lines over a territory that covers an area of Montana along the east side of the Rocky mountain front, from the Canadian border south to Wyoming.
3 Rivers was able to detect and resolve the fiber cut so quickly because of prompt, detailed notification from the T/Mon Alarm Monitoring System and its ASCII Alarm Processor Software Module. 3 Rivers uses T/Mon's ASCII Alarm Processor to monitor its Alcatel fiber terminals, AFC digital loop carriers, Nortel DMS-10 switch, Nortel DMS-MTX switch and wide-bank multiplexers.