1993-02-06 - Re: ‘Sunday Times’ article on GSM changes

Header Data

From: Phiber Optik <phiber@eff.org>
To: ncselxsi!chasw@netcom.com (Charles E. Wareing)
Message Hash: 269e0e4319740e6fc0b2c85663d736e8071256634f6c51f6b436e15b750f8b9d
Message ID: <199302060808.AA04899@eff.org>
Reply To: <9302052253.AA16230@ncselxsi.UUCP>
UTC Datetime: 1993-02-06 08:09:28 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 6 Feb 93 00:09:28 PST

Raw message

From: Phiber Optik <phiber@eff.org>
Date: Sat, 6 Feb 93 00:09:28 PST
To: ncselxsi!chasw@netcom.com (Charles E. Wareing)
Subject: Re: 'Sunday Times' article on GSM changes
In-Reply-To: <9302052253.AA16230@ncselxsi.UUCP>
Message-ID: <199302060808.AA04899@eff.org>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

> > 
> > I must admit, the last thing I would've thought I'd see on this list is
> > mindless, uninformed blabbering about "REMOBz".
> > Give it a rest, will ya?
> Maybe I'm a little out-of-sorts today, but...
> I've heard (via Tv reports, reading, etc) that PhiberOptik (paraphrasing
> here) "...knows more about Phone Systems than most Bell engineers".  Why
> on Earth would you respond the way you did, rather than:
>    1. Ignoring it
>    2. Providing pointers to technical sources
>    3. Refuting it with information.
> I flame about *lots* of stuff, though I am, after all, a Sensei. Lose 
> sight of your ability to teach, and you are nothing more than another
> Technocrat.
> -- 
> Charlie Wareing    [:-)>             * "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"
> chasw@ncselxsi.uucp                  * "If it's jammed, force it. If it
> ELXSI 6400s fixed while you wait.    *   breaks, it needed replacing anyway."
OK, you forced me into it.  Sigh.  The reason for the short quip is because
I know the person who posted it, and I get rather impatient after the 
thousandth time hot air starts up the silly rumor mill.
A telecom manufacturing company by the name of Teltone makes a product called
a REMOBS, for REMote OBservation System (their part number M240, M241, M242).
Somewhere along the line, numerous years ago, someone must've thought this was
a "cool" name, and wrote a text file which was uploaded to various "underground
BBS's", making up a whole fantasy story that this is some top secret system,
and one could simply dial into it, enter a code in touch-tone, enter a phone
number, and proceed to listen in on a conversation.  THIS IS COMPLETE NONSENSE.
Because of this misinformation, every time some kid comes across some unknown
phone number (anything from phone company test lines, to beepers), they claim
they've found a "REMOB".  There's always some blatant liar who contributes to
the propaganda by claiming they listen in to phone lines.
The actual product (go ahead and order the specs), is to sample trunk quality
by making a metallic connection.  The archaic M240 from the 70's, was for
electromechanical switches, the M241 was a portable model, and I believe the
M242 was for electronic switches.  They do have a remote feature, which allows
one to enter a code and specify a sequence of digits indicating a certain
trunk (depending on however it was wired in).  It's a rather low-tech piece of
equipment, and suffice to say, the BOCs DO NOT USE IT.  There are a number
of trunk and line testing systems which have been in standard use in the RBOCs
for years.  The fabled "REMOB" is not one of them.  In brief, the Switching
Control Centers (SCCs) and Network Terminal Equipment Centers (NTECs) use a
system called CAROT (Centralized Automatic Reporting On Trunks), a batch system
that in turn uses the complement of standard test lines (1004Hz S/N, type 105
ATMS, short ckt, open ckt, impedance, etc, etc.) to provide more than adequate
testing of trunks.  Digital switches (i.e. 5ESS and DMS100) have their own
trunk testing facilities.  As far as line testing goes, the Repair Service
Bureau (RSB) uses a plethora of systems.  Namely LMOS/MLT (Loop Maintenance
Operations System/Mechanized Line Testing), Tracker, Predictor, etc., etc.
I could go on and on, but I think I've made my point.
It's a SCIENCE, and it's silly to even consider such an irrelevant piece of
garbage as a REMOBS.  It's a gross and purposeless rumor, and now you see
why I hesitated wasting the time in explaining all this, because it comes up