It’s early… Really early… God isn’t awake yet.
Okay, maybe 5:30am isn’t that early, but it sure feels like it to me. I’m all packed and ready to go, I hope. 🙂 At this point it is all in God’s hands (was it ever not?) so I’m just waiting for my ride and trying to keep myself calm and relaxed for the upcoming 18 hours of plane flights.
The latest information for the project is that the Hospital has decided (by the fact they never got back to us) that they are not switching phone systems just yet. In one aspect that means less work for us as there are now 350 less extensions to worry about. In another aspect that means more work as we have to figure out how to interface with the old system and make both phone systems talk to each other as well as the outside world at the same time (through a single wire to the telephone company). We also will need to do our best to make sure that everything is setup in such a way that if their existing PBX fails we can setup all the equipment here in the states and ship it to them and have them drop it in place with a minimal amount of effort and training.
Another challenge is the fact that in Africa (and many other parts of the world) the telephone company uses something called SS7 to communicate over digital telephone lines. In the US, we use something called PRI that has no configurable parameters, it’s just plug and play. SS7 on the other hand has about 9 configurable parameters, all(most?) of which need to be set correctly for the communication to work. I found a book on Amazon called something like Introduction to SS7, it was 1,500 pages. Oi. In lieu of buying that book and shipping it here overnight I collected various resources and online books from the Internet to help with our setup.
Between Jeremy and myself (the two of us flying out of the states) we have 4 suitcases of equipment, each weighing in at nearly 50 pounds apiece. Plus a few extra things coming with the guys who are flying out of Egypt and meeting us there.
… Here I Go!