by Phil Ruffin
Q: I’ve been looking through the Nortel PBX I inherited and documenting what’s there and came across several funny-looking station ports. Some are called oosslt and others oosmlt. I have quite a few, 37 all together. How are these used? Some don’t even have wires connected.
A: Sounds like someone may have created some work for you. Do you have a vendor contract? If so, you probably should make a call about this. There is a good reason to program ports like this, but simply encountering the labels made by someone else is not completely self-explanatory.
Let’s start from the beginning. Say you get a trouble call from a 3904 set user. You prove that the phone and cabling are good and the set programming is fine. It’s possible, but unlikely, that the shelves have problems (very unusual). What’s left is the port on the card. You move the set to a different port and the problem goes away. Now you should replace the card, but for some reason (other sets on the card can’t be disturbed, you don’t have a card at hand, etc.) you can’t replace the card then. You need to flag the port somehow so you don’t program anything on it until the card gets replaced. That’s when you program the port as OOSMLT (Out Of Service Multi Line Telephone). The same applies for an analog station port, except it’s OOSSLT (Out Of Service Single Line Telephone). Once you replace the card, you program a set on it to confirm the problem is fixed and make the port available again.
Since you came into this opera after the first act, you don’t know any of the characters. The ports may all be bad and set this way to keep them from being reassigned, or the cards may have already been swapped out and the ports could be good. You, your vendor, or some capable person needs to test each of the ports to see if they are operational before deleting the OOS programming. I’d keep a list of the mysterious ports anyway, since the original trouble may elude your testing. You may not want to use them on an executive’s phone, for instance, until you are certain any prior issues no longer remain.
This is a very useful feature, as long as you keep up with it. In your case, I’d say this is not being used as it was intended.
Q: I don’t know a lot about paging, but I have two problems with my system. One is that sometimes a nurse’s station is paging about something important and the operator gets on the speakers and announces that a car has to move. The nurse’s station gets immediately disconnected but when the operator is paging, the nurse’s station can’t interrupt, but the operator can. The other problem is something just noticed when we started making a longer announcement at the end of visitors hours. Before the announcement is over, the paging simply quits and the operator has to push the button again to finish. Can you help?
A: Yes, you’re correct. These are two separate issues.
Your operator apparently has a Page key that he/she uses to access paging. The paging key overrides any connection made by dialing the paging code in the system. If you want them on equal footing, you can remove the Page key and replace it with Auto Dial to dial the paging code. I prefer to have the operator capable to interrupt other pages, though, in case the hospital has a code page. You may simply need to have a speaker installed near the operator’s area to allow her to hear any active pages so she can judge whether or not to interrupt.
The disconnect problem is likely caused by a setting in the paging route called Time Forced Disconnect. Look at the paging route using overlay 21 to see the setting at the timer TFD. These numbers are rounded in 30-second intervals up to 3600 seconds (one hour). Change the timer in overlay 16. I would not set the timer to 0. If the port locks up, as they sometimes do, this releases it after the set number of seconds without you getting a call in the night.
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