In the 1950s, the only method for connecting phone lines was with a pair of copper wires. For each phone line entering a building, there had to be a pair of copper wires. Wire congestion was a huge problem in central offices (COs) and under streets in metropolitan areas at the time. Imagine the CO of a large city, where tens of thousands of phone lines terminated, each requiring a pair of wires. These COs also needed to communicate with each other, which required even more wiring.
In 1961, Bell Labs in New Jersey invented the T1 as a means for digitally trunking multiple voice channels together between locations. The T1 delivered a 12:1 factor of relief from the congestion, as it could replace 24 two-wire phone lines with 4 wires. Back then, this was a major shift in thinking. Remember that at the time, digital technology was practically nonexistent. The first T1 went into service in 1962, linking Illinois Bell’s Dearborn office in Chicago with Skokie, Illinois. Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a company that doesn’t deploy multiple T1s.
In this chapter, I will go into detail about the design, function, and troubleshooting of T1s. While I usually try to simplify complex engineering topics, I feel that it’s important to understand the principles of T1 operation. We live in a connected world, and much of that world is connected with T1s. Knowing how they work can save you countless hours of troubleshooting time when they break.
A full-duplex ...