JCSwishMan33

A Phreaking Look Ahead

2 posts in this topic

Now that we're approaching the 6-month anniversary of the last (known) electromechanical switch leaving the North American PSTN, I have some questions...

 

- What now is the oldest switch type out there of actual phreaking interest? Are we going to be looking at 4Es now for anything "ancient" and interesting?

 

- What is the status of CCITT5? Is it out there in enough abundance to be research-worthy? And is it only in foreign-reachable areas? Or do we have domestic access to reach those places?

 

- Do we have any hope of doing anything anywhere the old-phashioned way these days? Or have we been relegated to the bin of historical times, and the only way we find anything now is completely moving into the 21st century?

 

It seems to be a depressing time to me for phreaking "as it was"... Maybe I just need to be reminded that we are still relevant. Heh.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

- What now is the oldest switch type out there of actual phreaking interest? Are we going to be looking at 4Es now for anything "ancient" and interesting?

 

I dunno. To be honest, I've mostly stopped associating the age of equipment with any sort of relative interest; it's more about uniqueness. Superficially speaking, I guess the DMS-10 and the 4E are the oldest switches in the network when you think about design age. But the hardware has gone through a lot of revisions since it was first put in; a DMS-10 from 1977 isn't going to use PowerPC processors, SDRAM, or DSPs. The trunk cards are bound to be a lot smaller, larger capacity, and all that.

 

One of my current theories is that DMS-10s with an Expanded Network configuration (if I understand correctly, Nortel underwent a project to revise the DMS-10's internal TDM network in the nineties, and significantly expand it's capacity in the process) may generate it's tones in a different way from the classic configuration, so for example the offhook tone won't have that characteristic weird modulation, and the ring will be a bit different. At some point, I'd like to make an up close and personal visit to a phone line served off two switches I know for sure are/aren't using this new configuration; I've seen some DMS-10s do some weird things, like bring you right to reorder if you flash from a payphone (and then to permanent signal if you do it again) that I'd like to compare side by side.

 

Getting back to my point though, there's some stuff like older code (albeit maybe ported to a more recent OS depending on the switch) you're probably never going to get away from, but it's a bit superficial to say a switch is more or less old just because it's a certain model.

 

- What is the status of CCITT5? Is it out there in enough abundance to be research-worthy? And is it only in foreign-reachable areas? Or do we have domestic access to reach those places?

 

That's a good question; there's a guy in IRC who was looking into C5 trunking not too long ago. I haven't been making that many international calls recently to be honest. But IRC and the conference are where most of the goings on are these days. At least judging by the regulars we get there, that's partly why the forums have been a bit empty. To be honest, I feel like I've been stretched thin for content at the moment between the rising numbers in the other two and some sudden shifts in real life circumstances. Anyway, I'd be surprised if everybody there wouldn't be down to help you with this. I definitely would be :) .

 

- Do we have any hope of doing anything anywhere the old-phashioned way these days? Or have we been relegated to the bin of historical times, and the only way we find anything now is completely moving into the 21st century?

 

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by old fashioned here, but I'm going to take a wild guess and throw this your way:

 

ais_xtalk.flac

 

This came as a complete surprise to me calling the Onancock, Virginia 5ESS a while ago. I'm going to go out on a limb here, and guess the recording I'm trying to dial is one you've heard about a million times if you've called any place Verizon hasn't sold off to another company yet. But more importantly, it shows that wherever there's robbed bit trunking, some circuit switches, and a situation where you really don't need more than just a destination and possibly ANI associated with a call, some switch engineer not wanting to chew up STP resources will throw everything up over a trunk with MF.

 

At one point, I talked to someone who worked at a tiny, middle of nowhere telco about this particular scenario. From what he said, it sounds like it's common to reuse older T-carrier equipment occasionally that breaks channels out to 4-wire E&M instead of offering any sort of digital interface. They had some really old Lenkurt carrier system for 911 that did just this. Anyway, at some point, he thought the transmit and receive leads on one of the channels must've shorted.

 

If you're looking to play with trunks, a lot of this stuff is hiding in plain view; for example, I learned from a reliable source that a certain large company's private T-carrier network (hint: it's one with lots of Rolms, and it isn't Macys) uses DTMF for inter-office signaling.

 

I know this is possibly getting away from the premise of being oldschool, but getting back to the whole thing about DMS-10s, someone I know is served out of one from an independent telco. Being the good sport that they are, they were nice enough to let me play with the dialout feature on their APMax voicemail, (why almost literally every independent DMS-10 has one of these boxes, I may never know. Though aside from that ridiculous voice they have, they're not bad) since they noticed it was a bit...off. Sure enough, there's a bunch of six digit codes that terminate straight to a 5ESS tandem - I think an operator service one a long ways away from the switch. Several seven digit codes leave you stuck on a completely different tandem switch - I think for local stuff. Anyway, one of my pseudo-long term projects has been trying to figure out what exactly this is going to, why, and if it can be used to make some odd things happen. I'm optimistic to say the least.

 

It seems to be a depressing time to me for phreaking "as it was"... Maybe I just need to be reminded that we are still relevant. Heh.

 

I'm not going to tell you the phone network is extremely relevant to every part of everyone's life. With the FCC stuff going on right now (long story short, same culprits as the net neutrality mess, same characteristic 180 on previous policies/ignoring of all objecting input, even from the industry. PM me if you want more info on what's going on/who is challenging the decision; the forum really isn't the place for this), it could potentially be in problematic shape down the road.

 

But what I will say is when you explain what phreaking is all about to anybody in any technical circle - even when you get into tiny dry details, people listen. You wouldn't necessarily know it by the forums, but the community is growing too; I routinely hear new voices on the conference, something we could barely pitch up for two hours with four people when it started. Now we're entering territory where five hours isn't unusual, and it occasionally gets too crowded to get a word in.

 

Here's my personal take on it: as the decade progresses, we've been sliding into a period where the internet is increasingly compulsory for things like work, but also the platform for an increasingly narrow set of companies, an increasingly politicized medium, and increasingly less anonymous. When you tell people there's a worldwide network that's can still be anonymous, as challenging as it is detailed and unique, and free of much of the drama from current events, the ideas behind being an 31337 phr34kz0r start to make some sense. The more creating, the more exploring and above all, the more inspiring that can be done... well, it can't hurt.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now