Gary J. Thorson, rcdd
Senior Network Engineer
Seitel Leeds & Associates
It was interesting to read your editorial regarding the Y2K bug (see "Will the Y2K bug KO the cabling industry?", August 1998, page 7) and how it may affect the cabling industry. I am currently working on a Year 2000 compliance project for a large state government agency here in Washington state. In our project, we are concentrating on certifying the network infrastructure, including all voice, data, and video transport systems. It is a fairly straightforward but tedious process to investigate each network component, determine how it processes date data, and then verify its Y2K compliance.
We have been investigating the Y2K compliance statements of third-party service providers, such as telecommunications carriers and contractors providing maintenance support to the network systems. One of the concerns we`ve uncovered is the Year 2000 compliance of the support systems used by an organization. For example, it is likely that a telecommunications carrier will have no problem delivering "dial tone" to its customers after 2000, but there is a strong possibility that the software a vendor uses for service ordering, dispatching work crews, or billing may experience Y2K-related failures.
Although our main product in the cabling industry is a "passive system," I would recommend that we take a close look at the systems we use to support our businesses. A Y2K failure in a service ordering or billing system could, at worst, cripple a company. At the least, it could be a major pain in the neck.