& cplSiteName &

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   >   >>
From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
The Real-World View of Service Provider Innovation
Executives from Deutsch Telekom, Facebook, AT&T, Vodafone, and Masergy share insights from their company’s major transformation efforts and updates on key issues including open source, managed cloud connections and 5G.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2016

5|23|16   |   05:43   |   (0) comments


Find out who has been welcomed into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE TM Forum Highlights

5|23|16   |     |   (0) comments


ZTE showcased its new ICT solutions at TM Forum in Nice.
LRTV Interviews
Gamma's MD on the Emergence of UC2

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Gamma Communications Managing Director David Macfarlane believes the unified communications (UC) market has reached a tipping point.
LRTV Custom TV
The Ultimate 5-Minute Guide to Digital Customer Engagement

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this short video, you will hear all about how Digital Customer Engagement is the key to meeting customer expectations, keeping them happy, and maximizing revenue. VP Product & Marketing at Pontis, Ofer Razon, breaks down for us the five essential capabilities for successful Digital Customer Engagement. Don’t miss!
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 1 – NFV Use Cases Get Real

5|19|16   |   05:57   |   (0) comments


Consensus is building around the key use cases for NFV, including managed IP services at the network edge and on customer premises, which can generate new revenues from enterprises/SMBs and consumers; Evolved Packet Core to support LTE migration; and adjacent technologies, such as TAS and IMS, to support VoLTE and next-generation charging and policy control ...
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 3

5|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang discusses the challenges of operational transformation and how Nokia helps its customers. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Why UC Is In Demand

5|17|16   |   04:12   |   (1) comment


Andrew Edison, Level 3's senior VP of sales, EMEA region, talks about the drivers of growth in the unified communications services market.
LRTV Custom TV
ARM's OPNFV Action

5|17|16   |     |   (0) comments


At the ARM booth at MWC 2016, Joe Kidder and Bob Monkman speak to Light Reading about OPNFV and their upcoming action.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 2

5|16|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang gives advice to service providers on how to move to NFV. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Interoute CTO on NFV's Maturity

5|13|16   |   06:46   |   (1) comment


Matt Finnie, CTO at international operator Interoute, explains how NFV has made life easier in terms of logistics and how Interoute can now enable a 'software-defined moment' for its customers.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
UBBS 2016 Highlights

5|12|16   |     |   (0) comments


Highlights of Huawei's UBBS event in Hong Kong.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
European 2020 Digital Agenda

5|12|16   |     |   (0) comments


Anacom's Fatima Barros discusses the plan to bring ultrafast broadband to Portugal by 2020.
Upcoming Live Events
May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
December 6-8, 2016,
June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
WiCipedia: Short Skirts & Back-Up Plans
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 5/20/2016
Nokia Plays It Smart With Major Mobile Devices Brand Deal
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/18/2016
Eurobites: Be More European, EU Tells Streaming Services
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/20/2016
Google Doubles Down on Machine Learning, AI
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 5/19/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.