ScuzzBlog: Diaries March 2024

Entry 10th March 2024: Post 1: Copper Switch-off - End of the switched line. WhatSAPS?.

Copper Switch-off - End of the switched line. WhatSAPS?.

Using the normal telephone line to communicate between computers
has been around for a very long time now. I recall back in 1975
witnessing a computer terminal linked to a main computer reeling
out yards of punch tape calculations. The telephone receiver was
simply placed in a foam shaped slot next to the terminal.

Things became a little more sophisticated by the time we got to
56K in the late nineties. By that time I must have gotten through
two dozen modems as they failed through intense usage.

Modems and FAX machines use the normal switched  telephone lines
that are not designed for data transfer. This gave the Internet
a ready available infrastructure to service network communications
via the world wide web etc.

Within our office at first we limited activity to just one of the
computers for internet activity. This made for one very popular
computer workstation. I recall in the first year of operation of
Win95 we managed to burn out the motherboard on an RM machine.

Things improved when we introduced a server computer and used a
nifty bit of technology called SAPS. This software managed all
the modems interacting with the telephone system.

The pressure to provide adequate internet accessibility including
our FAX requirements called for more elaborate telephone systems
and consequently more efficient network systems including more
advanced computer cards for PCs.

What was truly amazing is that we had installed the Integrated
Services Digital Network (ISDN) after a long wait just to be
replaced one day later ( yes one whole day ) with ADSL.

ADSL or normal broadband whilst not using the telephone exchanges
does use the traditional telephone cabling system. ADSL provided
faster speeds than the traditional 56K modems.

Interestingly in the States in 2003 dial-up modems still catered
for 60% usage. The figure was half that in a couple of years

Broadband modems however were an integral part of the office setup
permitting ISP authentication at source entry allowing way more
flexibility for networking PCs. ADSL permitted voice calls and
data usage over the same line simultaneously. No more SAPS.

And to the purpose of this blog. Simply that the 'Copper Switch-off'
date is set to December 2025. Analogue services will end and so too
ADSL or normal broadband. I had thought originally that this was
just a telephone landline thing, but the more I think about it
the end of ADSL was also pretty obvious.

From a collectors point of view I never did salvage any FAX kit.
I do have FAX modems on computers but no dedicated FAX machines.
Whether I target a few worthy products is questionable as I
don't have a land line to test the kit. Some fax machines are
wireless but I am assuming that uses an IP address and simply
transmits using the internet.

For the true FAX experience you need to punch in the telephone
number and then listen to the screeching data connection. Without
it the experience is lost. I kinda get saddened when the old
technology is discarded like an old boot. For many years dial-up
and the FAX were pretty key to my communication systems. Not only
do I have telephone connectors on modems but also on sockets to
various other gadgets like my Dreamcast.

And so goodbye to analogue on Dec 2025. Use it while you can.

Anyhoo for those that remember the dial-up experience. CLICK THIS.

Copper Switch-off - End of the switched line. WhatSAPS?.

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Last updated 10th March 2024

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