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Least-cost routing targets net confusion; Kennametal stamps out dialing problems and saves money.


In 1987, Kennametal Inc., Latrobe, Pa., made Management Information Systems responsible for managing its worldwide voice and data networks. Three networks connected Corporate Headquarters, Latrobe, Pa.; Technology, Latrobe; Metalworking Headquarters, Raleigh, N.C.; and operations in Cleveland, Ohio.

An IBM SNA modem network was running from the corporate hub to remote locations on point-to-point analog leased lines with four-wire dial backup. Corporate managed the network using Racal-Milgo's Communications Management Series 2010 diagnostic system.

Centered at Technology, the voice network consisted of hundreds of OPX circuits connecting multiple Latrobe area facilities to the PBX at Technology. An on-sit PBX, with no OPX attachments, serviced telephone requirements at Corporate. About 27 locations outside Latrobe were serviced using analog tie lines terminated in a least-cost router (LCR) at Technology. Corporate and Technology PBXs connected to the LCR with analog tie lines.

The DEC "engineering" network, used for CAD/CAM and asynchronous processing, consisted of 56-kb/s WAN digital circuits between Technology and multiple sites. Proprietary LANs at the main sites were bridged with Vitalink conversion hardware.

Little Control

There was little control and monitoring. These multiple networks between the same major processing locations presented an opportunity to consolidate and reduce individual circuits and ongoing operating expense.

Initially, the WAN traffic was placed on the T1.5 voice facility between Technology and Metalworking to prove the concept and reduce expenses. Despite $4200/moth savings for the remote 56-kb/s link, there was little improvement of end-user service, because of control problems.

Latrobe voice communications were characterized by multiple interconnected independent locations. A Dimension 2000 PBX at Corporate served only this location. A Dimension 2000 PBX at Technology serviced approximately 700 direct-connect and PBX users. An LCR (voice network hub) at Technology serviced around 27 locations, through tie lines, using a proprietary dialing scheme.

Corporate and Technology PBXs interconnected using 20 tie lines that provided users inter-locations communications by dialing 7. Each PBX had 20 tie lines connecting to the LCR. Also, both PBXs had 20 direct inward dial (DID) lines originating from the Latrobe central office, and 22 outbound lines. Any plan to redesign the main backbone had to factor in remote locations such as order-entry points, manufacturing facilities, R&D facilities, and general-purpose facilities.

Too Much To Remember

To simply colocate the voice network hub and LCR at Corporate with the data network hub to eliminate separate control points simply required reterminating tie lines for the Latrobe are PBXs. However, considering the overall function of the LCR, we could not justify its displacement solely based on the Latrobe are facilities; approximately 35% of the 100,000 LCR processed calls a month derived from locations external to Latrobe.

There was no standard for dialing or operating the telephone system across the four centers, or at the remote facilities. Calling a local number required knowing hwich prefix, 9 or 8, to dial. Dial 9 was restricted to four local exchanges; dial 8 covered all others including long distance, with a personal identification number (PIN) entry required. The "direct interconnected PBX environment" required dialing 7.

At some locations, dial 9 was unrestricted, which meant that direct dial was used when leased facilities were engaged or the LCr queued the call. We needed better call routing, cost control, and unified dialing.

A three-year multiphase plan was developed, consisting of 20 separate projects. Several steps were needed. First was the relocation of the voice network hub from Technology to Corporate and implementation of a T1.5 DCS voice and data environment. Second, the PBXs at Corporate and Technology had to be replaced with software systems incorporating LCR capabilities to provide dialing uniformity and let end user training begin.

Third, central management of the transport network had to be instituted. This, along with centralized biling and control, had to be completed with no service interruption, and for less money.

Users wanted a transparent system to solve concerns of too many access numbers, different dialing sequences, insufficient service, and need to redial on busy signal.

For voice and WAN needs between major locations, we chose Rolm 9751 CBXs for Cleveland and Raleigh. Both locations would be joined directly to each other and to the Corporate data network management center by separate T1.5 lines to form a triangular network. IBM network service between Corporate and Raleigh would traverse the T1.5 at 19 kb/s with IBM service to other locations remaining on existing analog circuits.

T1.5 service would be installed between Corporate and Technology to interconnect the Technology LCR with the aforementioned T1.5 transport facilities installed from the Corporate location.

So Far ...

Here's where we're at:

DCS hardware has been installed at all four major locations and is interconnected by single T1.5 links.

WAN engineering traffic is being routed over the T1.5 network at 112 kb/s.

All individual analog voice tie lines have been removed from Cleveland and Raleigh facilities with voice traffic being routed over the T1.5 links. Simple routing is being performed by a Rolm switch at Cleveland, and the Cleveland Rolm CBX switch is performing complete least-cost routing.

Aroung 70% of calls from the four major locations traverse the T1.5/DCS network. Nodal processing is being performed by the Raleigh CBX for four remote locaions using the T1.5/DCS network. Reduced operating expenses of $1400 per month are being realized by routing IBM SNA traffic over the T1.5/DCS link between the IBM corporate hub and Raleigh.

The Latrobe Centrex system (about 1000 lines) is fully funcional and is interconnected to the DCS at Corporate via three T1.5 links, running PCM, which provide network continuity and full least-cost routing. The Technology LCR has been discontinued. This function is now fully operational within the Centrex system.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:T1.5 DCS voice/data environment and central management reduce complexity
Author:Martin, Dan
Publication:Communications News
Date:Apr 1, 1990
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