5:45am: Crisis averted

It’s 5:45 am and Ron Zack of the Zack Group is preparing for the most important part of his day–the early morning rush. These hours are key for the medical staffing company.

But his overnight coverage person, working on an IP phone from home, reports that phone service is down. The NEC system at the office, supported by Avid voice trunks and run over an Avid-provided fiber connection, serves remote IP phones, which Ron employs in his operation to improve responsiveness and coverage.

Ron’s first call is to Avid. Avid’s overnight technician quickly logs into the office system and identifies that all is good at the office. Fiber service is up and running error-free, as usual. The voice trunks to the NEC system are up. However, because the remote phones are out of service, and that’s who is answering the main line at this time of day, the Avid tech invokes the emergency routine and forwards the main line to a cell phone.

Back on the phone, Ron and the Avid tech suspect a Time Warner Cable outage as the culprit. The remote IP phones, although in separate parts of the city, are down and the Internet connection at all locations is Time Warner Cable. The Avid tech confirms via Twitter and web sites that Time Warner is indeed suffering a widespread Internet outage.

Meanwhile, Ron’s blood pressure has returned to normal. Even before leaving home, he knows that the systems at the office are normal.

As the clock strikes 6am and with everything under control, Ron considers for a moment how the morning might have unfolded differently if his provider had been AT&T–or any other carrier–with their distant, impersonal service organizations and limited knowledge of their clients’ phone and Internet setup.

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