Miscellaneous- A Tour of the Pacific Bell Central Office at 611 Folsom Street
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A Tour of the Pacific Bell Central Office
at 611 Folsom Street

by Don Hurter

 Section 1: The Journey Begins

One of the components of Internet access that almost everyone has to contend with is their connection through the public telephone network. Dial-up customers either juggle their only line between voice calls and modem connections, or else order a second and sometimes third line to set aside for strict modem and/or fax use. At Sirius we manage multiple hundreds of telephone lines just for our modems, each of which currently employs a pair of copper wires running from the modems themselves to a main switching facility at Pacific Bell, officially called a Central Office, or simply CO.

Within the CO all of the local telephone trunks converge through an elaborate system of switching equipment, where any one call connects to its destination electronically (in the past, all switching was accomplished mechanically), and the voice or data traffic flows transparently from point A to point B for the duration of that call. Earlier in November, a few of us at Sirius had the opportunity to see the innards of our own PacBell CO at 611 Folsom Street, south of Market Street in San Francisco.

Almost anywhere in the world telephone switching centers are considered to be different from standard office or industrial buildings, primarily because of their role in the communications infrastructure which the world runs on. Reliability and security takes on greater importance with each passing year, especially in areas where much of the business backbone depends on communications and data transport. San Francisco is a prime example of this, and the nerve center of its telecommunications network resides principally in 611 Folsom.

This is evident even before one enters the building; its exterior characterizes an overkill edifice of functionality, from the unnerving lack of windows to its cold, titanium-colored panels which defy the impact of any urban dirt accumulations that would mar the appearance of normal office buildings. The security is likewise appropriate for a building of its importance; no casual visitors get by the front desk without proper authorization, and the elevators are all centrally controlled. We met our Pacific Bell sales rep outside for a tour which was originally requested months before.

The Underground Cable Vault

The first stop, logically enough, was at the place where everything begins or ends, depending on which side of the city's wiring infrastructure you might be; the underground cable vault. This 20 x 200 foot reinforced concrete chamber is the building's interface to the outside world, where the giant multi-thousand pair cables entered from their paths under the streets. The cables, some as large as 3 to 4 inches in diameter, are constructed from multiple layers of PVC jackets surrounding grounding meshes, and then the fat bundles of individually insulated copper wires, twisted together in pairs to define a separate phone circuit.

The cables are internally pressurized to keep any water or other contaminates from seeping in at the junctions, and all are electrically grounded to drain lightning strikes or other unwanted voltage hits which would otherwise fry the switching gear or people who handle them. They enter at various points through thick concrete bulkheads, and then lie like enormous lazy snakes on steel racks which lined the walls inside the vault.

Also down in the basement are the massive diesel generators which provide the back-up power to the whole works in case PG&E's service fails. Most of the critical switching equipment is attached to banks of conventional batteries scattered throughout the nine-story building, but for events which bring down the outside power for extended periods the generators will kick in and take over. There are two of them (everything important to the operations, from the switching equipment to the air conditioners, have redundancy built in) and both of the engines are run one hour a week and then longer once a month to verify their operational status. Each motor is a V-12 (or maybe even V-16), whose iron engine blocks are the size of a compact car. The cooling fans are 10 feet across, and exhaust outward through vents which are visible on Second Street on the side of the building. The engines appeared to be still cooling down from a test run, as one could hear occasional contraction pings from the exhaust manifolds.

Upstairs from the cable vault are the main cross-connect frames, where all the individual pairs of wires bundled in the cables are spread out and joined with the feeders to the switch gear. To get a feeling for the scale of wiring involved, visualize every single phone circuit in one area of the city, running from all the wall jacks in the neighboring houses, apartments, and office buildings through the streets, where they concentrate into larger and larger cables, like tributaries feeding a river, until they reach the CO in the massive trunks entering the cable vault.

Now try to imagine how the phone company sorts out all the thousands of pairs of wire so they can connect them to the switches. This task is accomplished with the help of the cross-connect grid, which effectively spreads out all of those wires across a huge latticework of steel racks, approximately 12 feet high by 200 feet long. The big cables fan out onto these frames on one side, and the feeders to the switches fan out on the other, and humans then connect a pair of wires from one side to a corresponding pair on the other by spooling out cross-connect wire along the frame from one termination to another.

Not a One-to-One Correlation

The reason the main cable trunks can't simply be wired up to the switches directly is that individual cable pairs under the streets may break or fail for whatever reason, requiring that the circuit be switched over to another available pair. Also, people sometimes move from one building to another within the city, yet wish to retain their original phone number. To provide flexibility for these changes, the phone company installs intermediate cross-connect facilities and distribution frames between the underground cables and the switches, allowing any given pair of wires to be arbitrarily connected to any other, without having to tear the whole system apart.

The task of keeping all the pairs properly documented and maintained is a considerable challenge, and contributes to the lead time a customer must wait when they order or change phone service. The Folsom Street CO alone can serve almost 100,000 individual phone circuits, and every last one of those has its own pair of cross-connect wires snaking somewhere across these frames.

On the same floor as these frames is an artifact of the ever-changing nature of communications, namely an entire floor-wide installation of obsolete switching equipment in the process of being torn out. An earlier generation of equipment had lived its useful life in this building, but few businesses can afford to get sentimental about yesterday's technology. Row after row of switching gear stood lifeless, picked at by technicians like a dead coyote exposed to hungry buzzards, its life support wires cut loose by unmerciful diagonal cutters.

This image struck a chord in me, as I had the onerous task last Memorial Day of taking those same cutting pliers to the very first 100-pair cable that I had installed at Sirius when moving all of the modems to another location. The time span from when I wired up the first modem to the fiftieth unit in those days was a matter of months, yet when it came time to cut it all down to relocate the cable I only needed fifteen seconds to hack through the wires. Here at the CO was that same situation, only magnified a thousand-fold, as there were that many cables routed overhead to drop down and feed the switches. And every last one of those cables showed the unmistakable signs of the wire cutters - severed insulation and the exposed ends of the copper wire, now completely useless for anything other than its recovery value at a metals broker.


Section 2: Cables

A 2000-Lane Copper Highway

Overhead were our first glimpses of the monumental cabling runs that permeated the building. Anyone who has spent any time on large-scale wiring projects can appreciate the planning and implementation of complex cable routing, be it A/V wires running through the intestines of a recording studio, power cables spanning a manufacturing plant, or signal and control wires laced through the fuselage of an aircraft.

In each case the installer must employ a set of skills ranging from meticulous attention to the splices themselves to intuition of how the layers of cables will pass through a three-dimensional space, even before the first cable is even laid. Yet nothing can prepare one for the sheer bulk and density of the cabling within a CO, as it fills overhead trays to complete capacity, without a single unwanted twist or loop. Since the cable trays are built from an open steel crosswork like railroad tracks, all of the wires are exposed to view, and any sloppy crossovers or even a single misplaced twist of two wires will stand out from the rest of the parallel bundles.

The basic denomination of these wires is a 25-pair cable, which means that 25 pairs of individual 22 GA wires are bundled in a gray jacket whose overall diameter is slightly under 1/2". There are also 50- and 100-pair cables which are simply larger versions of this, but the majority of cables we saw were the 25-pair. Assuming that the original capacity of the CO when it was built was something like 50,000 circuits (I'm guessing at that time it might have been designed for half the capacity it now serves), there would have to be on the order of 2000 of these 25-pair cables running from point A to point B and then to point C as they merrily routed all the phone calls through the equipment. Since there would also have to be redundancy in case of cable failures, plus other overhead, let's say that a minimum path to handle all the traffic would likely be double this amount, give or take a few hundred.

Overhead Cable Racks

Try your best to visualize what this number of 1/2" cables might look like stacked together in cross-section, and then remember that they all don't simply lie as one long parallel run from one end of the building to the other, but instead bend corners and branch off in groups of a hundred or so, and then join other feeds, and sometimes disappear into a dense intersection where thousands more cluster together to cross from one floor to another.

Each individual 25-pair cable has a predetermined path from one terminal to another somewhere else in the building, and all of these countless cables have to route alongside and across each other in some logical manner, while simultaneously detouring around fixed columns or beams. Entire groups of fifty or so cables might split off from a main thoroughfare onto a branch tray, and each bend has to be laid out so that it doesn't grossly interfere with the rest of the cables, however they may run.

The complex panoply of these gray cables played itself out on the overhead racks and vertical risers like a gigantic extruded sculpture, demonstrating the almost impossible workmanship and cunning of the installers who laboriously laid each wire. At their densest, the cable runs were three feet wide and a foot thick of solid copper wires, each with its own agenda.

On this particular floor of the Folsom Street CO, however, those magnificently routed cables came to an untidy end where they were severed, every last one of them, from the switching equipment below. The junked equipment was destined to litter a salvage warehouse somewhere, and the now-defunct cabling would be "mined", as the PacBell techs call it, for its scrap-metal value and also to free up room on the overhead racks. Space in a CO is always at a premium, and new expansion puts a formidable pressure on older equipment whose functionality per cubic foot falls ever behind.

Up one floor from the cross-connect frames lay the first wave of what starts to look like electronic telco equipment. Here are aisles upon aisles of racks filled with modular boxes which hold the local-loop termination equipment. Most of the T-1 and 56k dedicated circuits arrive here to their designated cards, which provide diagnostic capabilities for monitoring the circuits and other service functionality. The vertical equipment racks stand 12 feet high, with rolling library ladders running down each aisle for the technicians to use while working on the upper bays. Further overhead are the ever-present cable trays and other structural bracing, and illuminating each aisle are caged fluorescent lamps which serve as the only light source in this otherwise windowless building.

Unlit Lamps are Good lamps

The circuit termination equipment is a dull array of compartmentalized chassis, each holding a dozen or so plug-in modules the size of a 3-1/2" hard disk. Most are either a dirty beige color or else simply gray, with a few LED lights sprinkled here or there to indicate their operational status. We noted that most of them appeared to be turned off, until a PacBell tech indicated that the lights only went on when something was wrong.

Contrast that to the average consumer audio component, where a lack of attention-getting lights only meant that the product designer didn't budget enough for LEDs. The telco equipment designers had the operators in mind when they left the lights off - in a hundred foot wall of these things the only thing a technician wants to see is a problem area, not a field of warm little pilot lights whose only information is that the power still works. A centralized monitoring system augments the status lights by logging all failures or alarms to a console which gave the techs more detailed information.

One thing that struck me about the racks of equipment was the patchwork variations in the colors of the individual components, even those from the same manufacturer. It became evident that there was a considerable history of changes to the equipment over time, where one card might fail and need to be replaced, or when newer units were added to the racks. Each of the parts, when placed in service, was expected to remain there until it either failed or needed to be upgraded for whatever reason, so there were 20-year-old cards sitting there right along side brand new units.

PacBell isn't fussy about aesthetics, nor do they have any sentiment about the individual components themselves. Whatever works is left alone; otherwise it's coming out to be replaced by a different unit -- new or old -- that happens to be available for the job. Similarly, there were many gaps where circuits were disabled for whatever reason, and the equipment was re-purposed somewhere else on the racks. Part of the design specifications for Central Offices is the notion of infinite serviceability, where nothing goes to waste despite the constant changes to the service. One result of this pragmatism is the mixed-bag appearance of the equipment racks - no impressive expanses of uniform electronics to photograph for the annual report.

CAUTION: Corrosive Environment!

Also on this floor was one of the many areas set aside for the batteries which carry the equipment through short power outages. Everything in the CO runs on 48 volts DC, provided by the batteries. They rested in heavy steel shelves stacked five feet high by twenty feet to a side, like the battery storage shelves at the local automotive center. The difference, of course, is that these batteries weren't simply idle, awaiting the next customer order to take them away. They were all online, at full charge, connected not by cables in this case but by fat copper bus bars.

There was one wall simply filled with giant fuses and God's own knife switches, and the bus bars worked their way overhead to intertwine with the air conditioning ducts, seismic bracing, light circuits, ladder tracks, fire extinguishing apparatus, high-voltage electrical feeds, and the ubiquitous cable trays. A monkey would have hit nirvana if he were allowed to play in the industrial jungle-gym above, provided he could survive the countless electrical hazards that permeated every corner. I wondered what a well-placed crowbar would do to the exposed copper busses which fed the equipment, but then again that's why PacBell employs a security guard at the front desk to see that stray crowbars never enter the building.

We wandered with our guide up and down the narrow aisles, only missing shopping carts to give us some grounding with reality. At the ends of each aisle were low-tech overhead lighted signs which flashed alarm messages should something become amiss. There were also lamp sockets with bare orange bulbs installed to presumably warn of something more dire, and in true CO fashion the sockets had many different varieties of wires terminated around the base for some arcane purpose that only PacBell understands. Down in the racks a technician showed us some of the circuit termination modules, and pulled one from the chassis to explain its operations.

We had learned first-hand what can happen when one of these cards goes bad - we once ordered 24 phone lines delivered as a T1 to our modem bank, and one of the channels displayed a bad relay chatter when it picked up a call. It took us numerous days to finally troubleshoot the problem, which turned out to be a bad card here in the Central Office. I had naively assumed that when we ordered new phone service, PacBell trotted out and bought new equipment at the CO just for us. Instead, they re-use dormant equipment which a previous customer moved away from, which in this case included one bad card out of the 24 installed. Nonetheless it was simple to fix once identified -- a technician simply finds a working card somewhere and slots it in place. So what if we had to pull our hair out while we tried to zero in on the trouble area at our end.


Section 3: The Switch

The next floor up contained the whole reason for the building's existence; The Switch. In reality, there are probably millions of individual electronic switches contained in all of the equipment that controls the telephone network. But in the telco world, all of the separate parts are described as a single entity, regardless of its size, and the expression to describe the sum total is simply, "the switch". You might hear someone in the telecommunications industry talk about some facilities somewhere, and describe what kind of "switch" is installed, where they are in fact referring to the complete installation. So at 611 Folsom, The Switch is a Northern Telecom DMS-100, which just happens to consume an entire floor of the building.

[To be completely accurate, in this case, there are actually two "switches" at the Folsom CO. This is just a logical distinction that PacBell makes for their own purposes, but for most intents and purposes, Central Offices generally house one logical switch that anyone cares to know about.]

The DMS-100 is made up of many aisles of electronic components, all tied together to a "superprocessor" which is the heart of the system. Most of the components are simply replications of the modular cabinets which contain all of the circuit cards that interface with the telephone lines, while a few boxes house peripheral equipment such as memory or tape drives. It is, in essence, a large computer whose principal purpose is to simply switch circuits around for all the phone connections that get established throughout the city. There are other tasks such as tying long-distance calls to the appropriate carrier trunks, or passing off call setup information to the call accounting equipment, but most of the job entails serving the local phone network and providing those annoying recordings that accompany misdialed numbers.

We expected to see an array of gleaming white cabinets that one often stereotypes as a large-scale computer installation. The DMS-100 was  large, all right, but gleam it didn't. Instead it was an exceedingly ugly brown color, sort of a dull milk-chocolate hue, with clashing bright green trim at the ends of each aisle. I think it belittled the appearance of the whole installation, as the room felt darker than it really was, and the aisles of equipment cabinets looked more like something out of the 1950s. But again, aesthetics is not high on the priority list at PacBell, so they had no problem with the decor.

Not Quite Aerospace Technology

One of the main system operators took time to show us the works, and explained how everything could be serviced on the fly, which is what one would expect from the phone company. He pulled out a few processor cards to show us where the individual circuit components plugged in, and also showed us a few storage cabinets filled with spares. One quickly realizes by looking at the components that telco equipment is the antithesis of what most would consider to be cutting-edge technology. The circuit cards were large and clunky, not using any surface-mount chips or exotic multi-layer boards. Instead they were more like military hardware - ancient technology but with years of tested reliability. They held no surprises, no hard-to-source components, and no random reboots that PC users have come to embrace. The uptime on the switch is probably measured in years, and the only event that might halt it altogether is when the diesel generators downstairs run out of fuel after the apocalypse.

We also saw a backup tape for the entire system, which only contained about 40 MB of data. I would be willing to bet that three-quarters of that is human-readable labels or comments. The switch's life is a simple one compared to most general-purpose computers. There is no memory-hogging GUI to deal with; the control terminals probably run some dead-end version of COBOL code that Northern Telecom can never replace. A five-year-old 386 might have more processing power than the entire system itself, and I'm sure that if telecom switches ever became commodity items sold through the fine-print ads of Microtimes, some clone manufacturer could probably collapse the entire room-filling installation down to a half-dozen minitower boxes. But while the DMS-100 might lack a modern workstation's processing glamour, that baby beats everything else hands-down in I/O.

This floor of the building, like all the others we'd seen, had its share of overhead cable racks and assorted structural clutter. Many of the 25-pair cables that we'd seen on previous floors ended up here to feed the switch. The most remarkable displays were a series of vertical wiring chases that emerged from the floor and joined the fun overhead, but were composed of solid rectangular clumps of the gray cables measuring 10 inches by 2 feet in cross section. Hundreds of the 25-pair cables were gathered in layers, all tied off at one foot intervals to previous layers, and all ran perfectly straight as if they were extruded out of smooth gray clay. I got the impression that PacBell laid out dense vertical cable trunks for visual effect, like an interior decorator might use fluted columns for architectural detail.

High Fiber Content

We progressed up another floor from the switch to where the digital fiber circuits terminated. This was a repeat of the other floors; aisles of equipment racks filled with nondescript boxes, rolling ladders to access the upper levels, and another side room filled with batteries. The fiber equipment racks looked to be more modern than some of the earlier units we'd seen, but it still had the appearance of all engineering and no style. Scattered throughout the racks were testing consoles with patch cords hanging from the front, and small CRT displays glowing against the dim surroundings. After seeing a few aisles of OC-3 and OC-12 equipment, we asked to look at the multiplexer that connected to our building at 350 Townsend.

A few aisles away were the boxes that served our particular flavor of fiber, one sporting our building's address. The techs happened to have the front panel open, with testing cards installed to perform the little tests that PacBell likes to do when they get bored. Our T1 circuits were humming along fine, with no unusual alarms or other indications of problems. The equipment operator showed us another similar box, and pulled out a termination card to show off how it worked. I was a little unnerved by the enthusiasm that everyone at PacBell seemed to display when demonstrating how simple it is to pull the cards out of the racks, but maybe that's why the original equipment designers needed to build in all the redundant functionality in the first place.

Also on this floor was another large cross-connect frame, only this one was mostly devoid of wires. It apparently had been used for other purposes a decade ago, but the continual changes and upgrades within the CO moved it out of the overall picture. More noticeable instead were yellow-colored cable trays overhead, which signified that they were used for fiber-optic cables instead of copper. The equipment operator pointed out that a narrow six inch wide cable tray full of fiber could carry the same total volume of data traffic as all of the massive copper trunks bulging from the ceilings below. This was truly an example of large-scale miniaturization, at least as far as the transport media goes.

Furthermore, the fiber loops strung throughout the city, along with all the termination equipment and multiplexers, were designed from the start to embrace full operational redundancy, to the point where any one break in a fiber circuit would be "healed" in milliseconds when its redundant partner took over all the traffic automatically. He mentioned, however, that the limited number of fiber loops currently deployed generally only reach large business complexes where the overall number of circuits required can justify the enormous expense of installing it all. Fiber circuits to most residences won't happen for another five to ten years, and not at all to remote rural locations. As impressive as the fiber-optic technology might be, it will never match copper wire's low cost of deployment when only a few individual circuits are involved.


Section 4: Frame Relay

Our final stop was up one more floor at the Frame Relay equipment facility, a relative newcomer to 611 Folsom. First appearances of the equipment suggested that its deployment was somewhat of an afterthought, when one compared the smaller, untidy Frame Relay racks to the vast, regimented arrays on the floors below. The big giveaway was the dropped ceiling hanging over the racks, which could only mean that the space was not originally planned as an equipment room, but instead grew out of some sort of administrative office. There was a logical reason for the difference in surroundings, however, which had to do with the nature of the technology.

Historically, The Phone Company (meaning AT&T at its peak, but now also the Regional Bell Operating Companies, or RBOCs, and their newer competitors) operated in a different universe from the rest of the technology companies, and created its own standards for the equipment it used. (See the sidebar on "Premise Equipment versus Central Office Equipment.") All of the cable-handling facilities, equipment racks, modular chassis, and switching gear was built exclusively for phone company use, and if private industry wanted to pursue the telecommunications field, they'd just have to do it on their own.

While the phone companies might not have arrived at the most advanced technologies to solve their problems, they certainly built the most serviceable and rugged equipment for their own use. Frame Relay is a fairly new technology, and is applicable for private companies that wish to consolidate their far-flung Wide Area Networks (WANs) as well as the phone companies, who already support global-scale data networks. However, since a lot of its development takes place in the private sector, as opposed to the provincial halls of Bell Labs, Frame Relay equipment tends to have less of a design investment in serviceability and rugged construction. The technology simply changes too rapidly for the engineers to create an immutable standard that everyone can expect to support for the next ten years.

Sirius uses Frame Relay as a means to serve customers who are beyond our local calling zones, and it substitutes for point-to-point dedicated lines by using a state-wide data "cloud" that PacBell has already established. While it travels over existing fiber facilities that PacBell needed to install anyway for their growing voice/data traffic, Frame Relay manages packet-based traffic in a different manner that allows it to optimize unused bandwidth in a distance-independent way. This is a different avenue from how the circuit-centric phone companies normally operate, and accordingly the technology is unlike what they've been deploying for the past 75 to 100 years on the phone poles. The Frame Relay room at 611 Folsom was thus more of a laboratory than a full-scale Central Office installation, which manifested itself through the untidy cables dangling from the overhead trays and the mismatched equipment populating the racks, looking suspiciously like temporary additions.

Virtual Nets

PacBell's Frame Relay "cloud" (telco jargon used to describe any sort of Wide Area Network, whose inner workings are irrelevant in the context of its discussion) had a fair amount of equipment representation within this room. One of our Frame Relay customers in Santa Rosa happens to connect to equipment which resides not in Santa Rosa but at 611 Folsom, despite the fact that his local circuit is only billed to his nearest CO.

Other PacBell localities in California also have their Frame Relay equipment in this room, which routes the data and then sends the appropriate traffic back to their respective CO's. At this time, it is less expensive for PacBell to take advantage of unused bandwidth in their state-wide fiber network than it is to set up Frame Relay facilities everywhere, so they shuttle the data to a centralized location like 611 Folsom and then backhaul everything through the vacant fiber pipes. This strategy will undoubtedly change as the volume grows to the point where any emerging location can justify its own switching facilities, but for now the whole show is run in a few concentrated equipment rooms located in key COs.

Pacific Bell, despite its conservative approach to standard voice traffic switching (such as the DMS-100 switch and all its associated bulk), is actually one of the nation's pioneers for new technologies such as Frame Relay and Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM). They work closely with vendors who design the equipment, and by their sheer size happen to be one of the largest installations in the U.S.A. for new network technologies. But this evolutionary divergence from the established telco path poses a lot of new twists for a company whose main revenue is generated over lowly copper wires.

In the past, PacBell solved its equipment deployment problems by a variation of brute force, namely over-engineered electronic boxes which they could depend on not changing over a decade time-frame. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, but unfortunately ATM, Frame Relay, and now Internet traffic don't comply gracefully with entire floors full of technology from the 1970s and 1980s. My sense is that the Frame Relay and ATM equipment room at 611 Folsom is the new little mammal-thing to PacBell's traditional local-loop dinosaur, but they seem to be making the best of it.

Constant Changes

While this room may have appeared somewhat low-rent in comparison to the grandiose switch room downstairs, they were tearing down adjoining walls to make space for additional equipment. These will likely be one generation newer than the existing Frame Relay boxes, and ten generations newer then the DMS-100. It's only a matter of time before technicians start hacking away at the colossal trunks of copper two floors down to clear the way for some newfangled optical call router with the Dyna-Sych IP option.

Our tour was over and we left the CO with a new appreciation of how the local phone system works, as well as an insight of why it takes two weeks just to order a new phone line. What goes on inside is either an engineer's triumph, or nightmare, depending on your perception of technology. 611 Folsom takes the notion of "Form Follows Function" to perverse extremes, and from a grand design view it is as impressive an engineering accomplishment as any pyramid during its era. The only comparisons that come to mind in terms of sheer complexity are perhaps a nuclear power plant or a battleship, but no one would feel too comfortable having either of those nestled in their urban neighborhood.

Phone companies seem to live by the credo, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Yet there are enormous pressures from accelerating technologies to advance into areas that run counter to their normal mode of operation. It is to the phone company's credit that they adopted an infinitely adaptable equipment architecture early on, in the form of standardized racks and open cabling facilities, and now they'll have to put that flexibility to use as new equipment displaces the older behemoths. One thing will never change, however, and that is the requirement to wire it all together. On that basis alone I would guess that this unsightly box of a building has more human labor invested per cubic foot than the Pyramids themselves.

--Don Hurter is Construction Engineer at Sirius Connections and has cut more cables than he cares to count.

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