ESS 5 Switching Station
I'll tell you about the 5ESS to get started. Yes they are computer controlled, they run off an OS similar to Unix, but built especially for the switching system. They do have dial-ins (user-admin pw-admin works alot in smaller towns). The actual switch it's self is the size of a high end unix server, not huge, but not small either. The switching "mechenisims" themselves take up the most room on the switch. They are cabinets about 5.5 ft tall, 2.5ft wide and 2.5ft deep, they have controlling cards inthem, much like an electronic network hub, each card keeping watch over 5 loops (ma bell term for a twisted pair or a single line). Enough about that.
The computer system. A Unix style system controls the switching electronically. (there actually aren't electromagnetic switches on a 5ESS and higher, they are much like an electronic network hub just rerouting a signal through it's circuts.) The computer has many calls and system routines to it, as with any Unix server. The switch is connnected to all the switches in the same LATA, or at least able to call information about lines outside of it's prefix scope. It contains all the information about your line and everyone's line. The options, calling records, physical addres and all of that good info. It also contains all of the normal stuff needed for everyday operation: the operator recordings, programs to move calls around to different lines as needed (for longdistance, local, call forwarding, call waiting, etc.) it also has the programs that phreakers love. Programms like the ANAC, ANI, and stuff we hate like the CITT that blocks the blue box. The switch also has all the lines for payfones and COCOTS on it's system too. All the programms for the tones of the payfones and allowed calls off a payfone, etc. Pretty much everything to do with the actual placement of a call. Ever hear of a COSMOS machine? The COSMOS is the maching that takes all of the twisted pair lines, seperates them, has the serge protectors on them, and runs the lines to the switch. Also has computers on it to do line testing. It prints information off the switch and off it's self from the testing, abuse and other aspects of the fone system on documents named the MRG Reports. This wraps up my general overview.
Written by Dark|||Knight