Re: Hypothetical SxS Question

The most "efficient" numbering plan (least amount of equipment) would be

> to assign extension numbers in three 3-digit ranges:

That's what I thought.

This arrangement provides a total of 300 lines, enough to accommodate > 250 apartments with spares for other uses (office, maintenance room, > loading dock, etc.).

In my hypothetical example, I envision a copious amount of "house phones" throughout the community, such as in front of each building, at the pool, etc.

Disadvantage: It's not possible to match subscriber numbers to apartment > numbers (although, as PAT notes, this might not be a good idea anyway).

I agree for security and privacy reasons it is better NOT to have matching intercom and apt numbers. If you want to call a specific person, you should know their number.

[1] Kempster B. Miller. "Telephone Theory and Practice" vol. 3 > "Automatic Switching and Auxiliary Equipment." New York: McGraw Hill, > 1933, p. 129.

Thanks for the above book reference. Is it hard to find? Seems worthwhile to check it out.

Regarding other comments, I envisioned this to be a private system only without any outside connection. This would keep it simple and for internal use only.

One friend suggested having a manual switchboard instead. I realized there are two neighbors who would love to do that. They'd be good at it because, how can I say this, they know everyone's whereabouts and business at all times. So if you want to call Mr. Smith but he's away, these neighbors will already know where Mr. Smith is, what he is doing, whether or not Mrs. Smith is aware of it, etc., as well as the status of each and every other neighbor in the complex. Not that they would gossip or listen in on calls, they would NEVER EVER do that.

I happened to meet a retired Bell Telephone craftsmen and mentioned my idea. He thought I was crazy. He pointed out the immense wiring and maintenance needs of an SxS plant.

That made me realize and appreciate how far we've come with electronics, and how complex the old Bell System was to build and run. It's relatively easy for us today to pop in an electronic box and have fancy phone service. It's totally another to bring together expensive and complex SxS gear to provide service reliably. My application is pretty basic as phone applications go, but we can see it would still take some serious engineering and planning. Switches, wiring, and footprint are all expensive and we don't want a 2,000 sqft room when a

500 sq ft one will do.

Modern technology has made the need for such a system obsolete. Years ago fine apartment buildings had separate house phone systems -- more than a plain intercom -- so the office or doormen could check in with an apt or vice versa. Many people had message rate service* and a PBX was a free call to call neighbors. Some buildings had answering service switchboards which I believe Pat worked with. Anyway, today call waiting or multiple individual phone lines eliminated the need for a separate system. Cell phones and portable cordless phones eliminate the need for outside and house phones -- people have their cordless or cell phones with them and won't miss an incoming call. Ironically the switching cost of such a system would be cheap today but we don't even need it.

Years ago I stayed in a Miami hotel. A big function of the PBX operators was paging guests who weren't in their room. The hotel PA system covered all public areas. House phones were liberally placed all over the hotel; I remember the pool area having numerous outdoor telephone boxes (and thinking that kind of coverage was pretty neat). The hotel PBX was a high 3 position manual board with two multiples of the extension bank. Very small motels would have a small cord switchboard handled by the desk clerk, but anything larger had at least one full time operator, maybe several.

Actually in hindsight the constant paging on the PA system was a bit tiring to other guests. I wonder if resort hotels still bother to do that, or simply route to the room's voice mail. Today hotels have a tiny little console the desk clerk handles in his spare time. Some are centrex with the room numbers matching the telephone extension.

However, I was surprised recently when visiting a friend in the hospital how often the PA system was used to page doctors. Way back when I worked in a hospital they were converting to pagers; I presume all doctors and key staff would carry them now. Bell had a "meet me page" in the 1970s where the paged person would dial a special extension and be automatically connected with the incoming call instead of the operator manipulating cords.

*Message rate service is still offered today. But the price of a message unit has remained stable -- 7c in my area -- for years, 7c in 1965 was more like 70c. Further today they give off peak discounts so a weekend call might only be 3c.
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