AT&T: The Great Teacher

Ah, AT&T.  My favorite service provider.  My day just wouldn’t be complete without them and they’ve taught me so much.  Let’s recap:

1) When you have a problem dialing one number in your DID block, you can not open a ticket using the automated system – because a DID number is not a PRI circuit, nor is it an individual line and those are the only two choices available.  Also, it is remarkably difficult (near impossible) to open a ticket without using the automated system.

2) When you open a ticket for your PRI circuit, simply so you can then talk to technician to tell them it’s not really your circuit you are having trouble with, they will immediately test your circuit.  Thus disconnecting you.

3) When you move from one PRI circuit to another, your DID numbers must be both ported to the switch and programmed to the circuit.  Both parts might not actually be done, even though they are both required for a functioning number.

4) It takes no less that 4 people (and 4 visits) to install a managed, fiber Internet circuit.

5) When they seamlessly cut your IP addresses over to that new circuit, the technician will not know that the DNS system will automatically suspend your reverse DNS zone.  No one will tell you this.

6) Not even the first DNS technician you talk to a day later after you discover some places won’t accept your email because your reverse DNS records are missing.

7) But the 2nd guy you talk to will know this.  But it’s something they discover accidentally as they do their job.  It’s not written down anywhere.

Now if they would only tell me where to send the gear from our old managed Internet connection, I’d be golden.

Going Home is Hard

One of the major projects for the end of 2012 was moving the office to a new location.  It’s been quite the learning experience, but it’s not often the average Sys Admin gets to help out planning and designing for a whole new data center.  So it’s been pretty cool overall.

As part of the moving process, I deal with all the telecommunications.  I started early with AT&T to lay the ground work, trying to eliminate as many possible problems as I could. But alas, it was mostly in vain.

Today will be the 2nd official work day in the new office where several staffers (including executives) and our fax machines are experiencing an issue where they aren’t receiving any inbound calls from outside our PBX system.

Some history:  We have two 100 blocks of DID (direct inward dial) numbers. The numbers are “native” to a switch/central office we’ll call SANFRAN01.  Our office, before my time here, was located a building that was serviced by SANFRAN01.  Over 10 years go, the office moved a short distance, but to a location serviced by a different switch (SANFRAN21).   AT&T did some fancy footwork and allowed my company to keep their block of numbers.

Fast forward to now.  The office has moved again.  This time back to a building located in SANFRAN01.  “Fabulous” says AT&T, “Your phone numbers are going home!”

Except some have gotten lost on the way.  When our new PRI was turned up on Monday, the DIDs were cut over and some random number of them (from each block) have appeared to have taken a detour. Or a vacation.

So far, AT&T has taken well over 48 hours to solve the problem and it’s still unsolved, with little explanation.   I suspect some of the fancy-fancy footwork done over a decade ago is tripping some things up. The ticket has been “escalated”.  My AT&T rep probably cringes every time he sees me calling.

But I guess he doesn’t have to worry for long – I also got a call today from my “new” AT&T rep telling me she’s my new person starting in 2013.  “You mean like since yesterday?” I ask her.

“Yes”, she says.

I’m not sure she’s so happy she called me today.