Two Decades of Communications Systems Seismic Protection Improvements

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by A. Tang, Northern Telecom Canada Ltd., Brampton, Canada,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Lifeline Earthquake Engineering:

Abstract: Telecommunications systems in North America have gone through significant technology changes in the past twenty years. The electro-mechanical switching equipment has been replaced by electronic equipment which provides a higher quality of service. Digital technology introduced in the early - 70's supersedes the predecessors in performance in all categories. Advanced technology put the communications network in North America on a constant growth path. There are many challenges accompanying this growth. Various experts work on different concerns within this vast network. Hazard mitigation is only one of the many issues that receives prompt attention. The Bell Operating Companies, the Government, and the Academics are all working together with one common goal to provide uninterrupted communication services to the people. The intent of this paper is to provide: 1. brief overview of the communication system 2. methods used to mitigate earthquake damage 3. performance observed in major North American earthquakes. Public education in using the communications system during and after an earthquake is as important as protecting the equipment from damage. 'Network busy' is a common phenomenon right after an earthquake. Unless it is part of a recovery function, the public should be educated to refrain from accessing the communications system. This will free up lines for emergency calls and recovery services.

Subject Headings: Communication systems | Seismic tests | Seismic effects | Earthquakes | Protective structures | Cables | Professional development | Damage (structural) | Education | Electronic equipment | North America

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