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Exploring a CO


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Poll: Have you ever been inside a CO?

Have you ever been inside a CO?

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#1 anubis26

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 06:14 PM

I was reading a thread here which reminded me of the time last year when me and kn0x social engineered our way into a what was then SBC central office ( had a dms 100 - level 5). It was a bit of fun and I just wondered if anyone else has visited one and gotten the full tour like we did.

#2 regret

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 06:28 PM

I've made alot of friends (and enemies) in the local telco's...every interested phreak/hacker should see the inner workings of a CO at least once.

#3 anubis26

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 06:51 PM

I've made alot of friends (and enemies) in the local telco's...every interested phreak/hacker should see the inner workings of a CO at least once.

It's not really that hard to get in, just as long as you have a cover story. And we did befriend an old guy :P

#4 natas

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 07:39 PM

I need to get inside a CO. I think it'll be a defining moment in my life :)

#5 anubis26

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 07:46 PM

Of all people - natas never in a CO? Wow.
A word of advice for when you go: have a good cover story. It'll make the difference of whether they let you in or not.

Edited by anubis26, 13 November 2006 - 07:47 PM.


#6 nwbell

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 01:44 PM

Of all people - natas never in a CO? Wow.


Suprised me a bit too.

Easiest way in: find the number for the CO, or "happen" to be walking by when someone comes out, and ask if they could advise how best to get a tour (you pick a reason - the student excuse is always good if you can pull it off). In fact, if you try the "in person" approach, the tech coming out might just bring you back in to meet the switchman and set up a time. Or you could get lucky and catch the switchman outside the CO having a smoke, and ask them directly (worked for me at least twice).

These methods work best in rural areas with smaller COs and less staff running around. In urban areas, SEing might be more viable (never tried it myself).

EDIT: trying a CLEC might be more fruitful depending on how lax the staff are (more than RBOC people in many cases I've seen), but you won't get the real Bell experience unless the CLEC happens to own a CO that the RBOC divested.

Edited by nwbell, 14 November 2006 - 01:48 PM.


#7 Royal

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 07:34 PM

A friend and I decided to ask for a tour of a local CO here in Verizon territory, with some success. It was near the end of the work day, but one of the guys there was nice enough to let us in and show us around and explain the basics, however due to the lack of time, it was a short tour. The CO served a DMS-100. We had no problems getting the tour, and everyone there was very nice; we even stood outside and chatted with some of the techs afterwards. I was even able to get them to confirm the local ANAC and ringback codes, and with a little shoulder surfing, I also learned the keyless entry code to enter the building, not that I'd ever want to use it.

#8 JmanA9

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 10:44 PM

The next time I visit my friend in the city, we're going to try to get a tour of the CO, which happens to be a block away from his appartment. There is a huge set of steps off the street that leads to a door marked 'CLEC Enterance', so we'll probably just go in and ask if we could get a tour, not trying to be anyone we're not. If they say no, that CO is of no particular interest to me, so it's not a huge loss. If we get in, it'll be my dream come true :wub:

#9 spoekalb

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 03:45 AM

I knocked on the door of an end office and the guy thought it was akward but he was happy to oblige (sp).

#10 MyNameIsURL

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 02:05 PM

My mom (recently retired) used to work at an Ameritech CO.

I saw the inside of CO's a few times when I was a young kid, but all it looked like to me at the time was a mess of cables, wires, cabinets and rack-mounted electronics gear.

#11 anubis26

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 09:30 PM

In response to the rural v urban post, we got into a CO which they said server almost 30,000 people, and had an e911 center on half of the top floor with about 15 employees who fixed whenever the e911 system screwed itself. They were very friendly, and getting in wasn't that hard. Here is how we did it:

1) At the internet cafe across the street we each grabbed a can of Jolt cola.
2) We hovered around the building for a good 30 minutes, trying to figure out what to say.
3) When the caffeine kicked in, we picked up the entrance phone and asked to be let in.
4) The manager met us at the door, and let us in.
5) kn0x explained that we were taking a career development class at a nearby community college.
6) We explained that after being treated rudely during a call to Headquarters, we were told that we might possibly go but couldn't bring anything along.
7) They believed us,and being the middle of summer gave us some ice cream from their fridge (no, it wasn't poisoned)
8) On a piece of paper, we made up generic questions (ie. What education is needed, What experience is needed, etc etc.)
9) We left the last question blank with something written along the lines of "Open for anything that may arise"
10) To our delight, he asked us if we wanted a tour, and obviously we went for it.
11) After seeing everything, we said our thank you's , got a couple business cards, and left
12) This very positive experience left us happy, and we went to get our bikes from the cafe across the street, and then saw that one of them got a flat :(

#12 old 1/1A switchman

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 10:53 AM

I was doing a search to look for 1/1A ess forums. Found this site. I was a 1A switchman in the world Trade Center. I was hoping to find a forum maybe set up by former switchman. I am surprised some of you were allowed in to see the switch. In my day the switchman was kind of like guardian of the building and no one that did not belong there were allowed on. We were expected to challenge any1 we saw and did not know.
Man do I miss that switch. It was an amazing bit of technology. Most of us went to school for a year b4 we were allowed to even touch the switch, the it was a learning experience for pretty much the rest of your time on that switch, depending on how deep into you wanted to get. Like tracing pulse paths to find which pin the trouble was at then determine the relay or circuit pack feeding it to repair trouble I noticed some talk here of the intercept recordings, that brought back many memories, we used to make them ourselves and some times have some fun with them. When the party lines came about we had some fun with them also. We knew which trunk groups went to them and just punched them up on the panel and monitored them. They were pretty much sex lines. I'd wait till the caller sounded like he was just get to where he "wanted" and then say something to just kill the mood.

Edited by old 1/1A switchman, 15 November 2010 - 11:26 AM.


#13 ThoughtPhreaker

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 06:32 AM

The closest I've ever been to a modern CO is peering through a window at one. I'd be surprised if anybody running a more out of the way CO would deny a tour, though. I'm not sure if this was always the case, but it seems like most switchmen who run full shifts are used to being the only ones in the building. As a result, they're either reclusive, or jump at the idea of talking to another person.   

Anywho, glad to hear a good story about the 1A :) . It seems like despite being so defining, and as you said, amazing,  the pre-electronic control switches get most of the attention. To this day, there do seem to be a handful out there - someone I know even gets service from one.



#14 Havoc

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 10:14 AM

I've visited 5ESS, EWSD and S12J during my school lessons however the best ever experience was to work on ARF102 which was hungarian partly electronic and covered the whole floor; I have been 'working' there for few weeks and the supervisor was super cool, I had many questions and he never stopped talking.

Until the end of the '60s, the Hungarian network of automatic exchanges consisted of practically obsolete rotary automated exchanges of a small spectrum (7A and 7D), and it could be expanded only with the same types. In the Hungarian network, the occurrence of the AR crossbar system of the Swedish LM Ericsson represented a great development. The indirect controlled AR exchange system (with register) consisted of electromechanical elements (crossbar switches as crossbar machines, relays) but already contained - although in a small quantity (not in the switching field and not in the control system, only in the signalling system) - analogue electronic elements as well. Practically, it was a stored program controlled (SPC) (fix-wired) system. The AR exchanges did not contain parts subject to considerable wear already (as e.g. the rotary machines of the rotary exchange). Already during the domestication, matching of AR system to the existing (manual and rotary automated) exchanges was provided for. The additional advantage of the AR system was that it had and has telephone exchange of proper type for each plane of the telephone network as follows (the switching diagrams are attached): - ARF 102 town local exchange (capacity of max. 100,000 stations from stages 1,000) and connected to this, ARM 201 large traffic transit exchange (cross-point capacity of max. 8,000 from stages 200), also as domestic and international long-distance exchange. - Rural systems ARK 522 (stages 100, with a capacity of max. 2,000 stations) and ARK 511 (stages 30, with a capacity of max. 90 stations), and connected to this, ARM 503 low traffic transit exchange (cross-point capacity of max. 2,000). The procurement took place by purchasing license (BHG) and by purchasing goods (Hungarian Post). In the first phase the exchanges procured in the course of purchase of goods were installed. Thus, the Lágymányos ARF 102 crossbar exchange was put in operation at first (1970) then Vác (ARF +ARM) and Pécs (ARF + ARM), etc., then in the second phase, the AR exchanges produced based on BHG license; at first Cegléd ARF and ARM, Miskolc-Diósgyőr ARF 102, moreover the Budapest Belváros ARF 102 exchange. The planned replacement of the AR exchange system for the more advanced digital SPC exchanges - that can provide considerably more services and meet higher standards - is currently underway.






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