Light Reading

AT&T Investigates DSLAM Explosion

Phil Harvey
News Analysis
Phil Harvey
11/7/2006
50%
50%

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) says it is still investigating what caused one of its access equipment cabinets to explode and catch fire in a suburban Houston neighborhood nearly two weeks ago.

According to residents in the 8200 block of Clover Gardens Drive, the explosion shook one nearby house, damaged a fence and some siding, and destroyed several thousand dollars worth of telecom gear, including a DSLAM, installed as part of AT&T's Project Lightspeed.

"We're looking into all the possibilities for this fire, including a gas leak, electrical issue, or an act of vandalism," says AT&T spokesman Wes Warnock, in an email response to Light Reading. "Our investigation is ongoing."

While AT&T investigates, James Harrison, 79, says his property was damaged by the explosion and subsequent equipment fire. On his lot, a new section of fence stands where the old one was broken by flying debris. On the front of his house, next to the garage, the siding appears misaligned and one section near the roof has been twisted away from the house.

The cabinet farm outside Harrison's house was typical of AT&T's new access network deployments. (See Hunting Project Lightspeed.)

Closest to the street is a crossconnect box that was relatively unscathed by the DSLAM debris. Next to where the DSLAM used to be is a damaged pedestal, which supplied power to the DSLAM and the cabinet's cooling system.

IP DSLAM maker Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and lithium-metal polymer battery manufacturer Avestor, two companies whose gear is being widely deployed in AT&T's access network, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Canadian firm Avestor, honored as an AT&T outstanding supplier in June, filed for bankruptcy on October 31. In a statement on its Website the company says: "Considerable sums were invested in developing a battery that could be marketed profitably to the telecommunications industry; nevertheless, the enterprise was not able to reach the break-even point... Consequently, it is no longer able to continue operations."

Whatever the cause of the explosion, Harrison recounts that his wife, Mabel, who was home when the DSLAM cabinet was destroyed, said the blast was significant and debris went in at least two different directions. "It went about 50 feet to the other side of the yard and some pieces of the box went down the street," he says. "It shook the house pretty good."

Meanwhile, as Light Reading has reported earlier, fiber optic equipment cabinets have been going up in 13 states as AT&T nears the official launch date of its U-verse service outside its initial two markets, San Antonio and Houston. (See AT&T: We're Sticking With FTTN and AT&T Set to Expand Its U-verse.)

Within 24 hours of the DSLAM's demise, Harrison says an AT&T crew came and picked up the pieces, hauled off the debris, and wrapped the pitch where the equipment had been sited in orange protective netting. Since then, however, no one has been in touch with Harrison about the damage to his house and fence, or to say when the eyesore in his front yard will be cleaned up. "They're supposed to come back and tell us what happened, but nobody's come back," he told Light Reading on Sunday.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading, and Andrea Quezada, special to Light Reading

(27)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
frnkblk
50%
50%
frnkblk,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:17:33 PM
re: AT&T Investigates DSLAM Explosion


http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/waiheke-marketplace/4377118/Phone-lines-down


Story switches between network cabinet and transformer, so it's not clear what burned down.


 

straight shooter
50%
50%
straight shooter,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:39 AM
re: AT&T Investigates DSLAM Explosion
I can just see the ransom note now...

"...and we'll continue to blow up one DSLAM a day until you let the merger with BellSouth go through."
digits
50%
50%
digits,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:38 AM
re: AT&T Investigates DSLAM Explosion
LOL!!

All 'Mabels' should get to the hardware store quick and buy some protective padding...
Michael Harris
50%
50%
Michael Harris,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:38 AM
re: AT&T Investigates DSLAM Explosion
Wouldn't put that past their lobbying team.

Talk about "exploding demand" for IPTV! ;) Seriously, it is fortunate no one was hurt from this.

One has to wonder if this could impact the deployment rate for Lightspeed. Homeowners, and the local municipal officials who are dependent on their votes, tend not to appreciate self-detonating telecom devices installed in residential communities. It would not be surprising to see a public outcry to stop new installations until safety can be ensured by AT&T. NIMFY! (not in my front yard)....
yarn
50%
50%
yarn,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 3:35:37 AM
re: AT&T Investigates DSLAM Explosion
But seriously my dear Watson, it's hard to imagine that a DSLAM, no matter how powerful, could simply explode!
DCITDave
50%
50%
DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:34 AM
re: AT&T Investigates DSLAM Explosion
In addition to the reasons AT&T mentioned in its comment, the battery technology being used is supposedly capable of a big bang. But I haven't figured out what could set it off.

ph
Duh!
50%
50%
Duh!,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 3:35:33 AM
re: AT&T Investigates DSLAM Explosion
I generally don't like to speculate about failures like this. I'm sure that somebody is doing a proper analysis.

But to answer your question about what could have set it off... a fairly large battery with high energy density contains a lot of energy at full charge. You put a short across the terminals, it releases a lot of energy across the short, and a lot across its internal resistance. Most of that gets converted to heat. Add to that any electro-chemical reaction that generates explosive byproducts, and you have a big bang.

So all it would take would be a good short somewhere in the DSLAM or in the battery.
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:32 AM
re: AT&T Investigates DSLAM Explosion
I once visited Exponent (formerly Failure Associates), who look into this sort of thing. I think they would confirm that a short could blow the battery.

They told me about explosions happening with laptop batteries .... the moral being, if you're carrying a spare, fully charged battery around, make sure it doesn't come in contact with, say, the spiral binding of a notebook.
paolo.franzoi
50%
50%
paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:30 AM
re: AT&T Investigates DSLAM Explosion

Generally, Lead Acid batteries are used in cabinets. They produce an explosive gas when in operation. If it is not vented properly, any spark can set this off.

Same thing can happen with your car battery with outgassing.

seven
falsecut
50%
50%
falsecut,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:29 AM
re: AT&T Investigates DSLAM Explosion
Very true. That's one of the reasons that when you hook up jumper cables you are supposed to do them in a certain order (although the primary reason is that you are also preventing damage to the electrical system). But you are supposed to hook the last cable to the ground instead of the battery, don't smoke around them, and so forth, all to prevent sparks igniting the sulfuric acid gas.
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
What if the Comcast Merger Fails?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/20/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Adtran Is Developing White Box GPON Tech
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/24/2015
Comcast Merger May Hinge on Hulu
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment