Re: Canada quiz & Phone Companies Learn IP

Ian Andrew Bell (
Sun, 07 Jun 1998 19:39:39 -0700

At 05:12 PM 6/7/98 -0400, you wrote:

>What is the significance of, or to what do each of the following refer:
>Crappy Tire.

Next to every Tim Horton's.

>Armadillo beer.


>Loonies and Toonies.

A loonie is a toonie minus tax.

>Clicks. (as a unit, e.g. "5 clicks").

11 laps around the rink.

>Distinct Society.

Les Habitants (sic).


Blech (sick).


Soon to be indicted.

>"The Zalm"

See above.

>The Big Blue Machine (not quite so contemporary - a bit dated now)

Ah, the smell of zamoboni exhaust..

>RRSP Season. (When is it? What causes it to be a 'season'?)

Shell Game. Right after your performance bonus.

>The 905 belt.

Too many Ontarioans.

>So where are all the Y2K style cries as we chew up area codes
>in the North American dialing plan (used to be middle digit
>had to be 0 or 1, no longer), and move from 6 to 7 char license
>plates, and various other "running out of namespace" issues?

As an actual Phone Company bastard, I can tell you that we here in BC
recently had to add another area code. This was not simply due to more
people, but instead to more people with phones/pagers/cell phones/etc.
Additionally, as an artifact of how stupidly PSTN networks are designed,
the only effective way to move a phone call around on the network is by
forwarding it along the YAPN (Yet Another Phone Number) route to various
application servers. The North American phone network string set is much
more scaleable, as long as you have enough area codes. I think the current
problem is that we're running out of area codes, and are going to have to
start breaking the rules on those too.. eg:

Phone strings used to be: XNX-NNN-XXXX
Now they're going to be : XXX-XXX-XXXX

...where "X" represents a number of ANY value, and "N" represents an
assigned or restricted range... for example, as you pointed out, in the
area code the "N" currently has to be "0" or "1". The "NNN" in the second
string used to actually be the first three letters of name of the Central
Office (Switch). Needless to say that didn't scale well.

I think that the advent of fully-digital packet-switched IP-centric phone
networks will catch up with the PSTN before we run out of codes. I also
think that the IP-enabled PSTN is a natural place for us to start using
IPv6. Once my phone number has an IP address (this is, in fact, what I'm
being paid to work on) it'll no longer be necessary to identify different
call applications by using separate phone numbers. Pow! We'll reclaim a
few local phone numbers and re-scale.

Also, it's been mandated by every phone company to work on Local Number
Portability. LNP will unbind a phone number from a Central Office
(eventually, even an area code will be irrelevant for Mobile Phone users)
and free up yet more space by making better use of all seven digits.

BTW, the technology for making an IP-based phone network is here. While I
may be preaching to the choir in this case, it's really not that hard to
manage the migration path from the existing switch-based PSTN to an
IP-centric model. It's a five-stage plan, and BC TEL is essentially at
Stage Two. The more interesting proposition is that once an ILEC attains
Stage Two it'd be really easy for CLECs to buy some rack space in a CO and
roll out enhanced services and IP telephony for less than $2 million.

GTE, AT&T, and Sprint have made recent announcements about their
intentions, but are fairly nonspecific. I will risk eternal embarrassment
by making several predictions:

o LDAP will live at the heart of the network, mapping customer info
and tracking their whereabouts, and mapping IP numbers to DIDs.
o Companies like Lucent and Nortel will begin to fade away as $45m
switches yield to $5m router/switch combos from Cisco et al.
o ATM will wither. (Finally).
o AIN-based signalling will wither.
o NO company that fails to heed the IP wave of open standards-based
products and applications will grow.
o Hacking will become the biggest threat there to our global com-
munications infrastrucure. Made a worldwide-enforceable felony.
o You'll be able to phone your parents from Microsoft(tm)'s latest
incarnation of NetMeeting.

I give it 4-8 years for a pretty sweeping metamorphosis. 6-12 months for
some really nifty IP telephony applications to hit mainstream.

Check out EFusion <>, a joint venture by Intel/Microsoft
that has some of these apps all ready to go. Cisco's AS5300 rev and
Ascend's new MultiVoice cards for the MAX are all examples of Stage Three
integration as I define it.

I'm having fun!


Ian Andrew Bell (604) 482-5708
BC TEL Interactive
"Make it idiot proof and someone will make a better idiot"