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Huffman trucking has offices located in four states: California, Missouri, New Jersey, and Ohio. The California Office runs on a Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) Private Branch Exchange (PBX) telephone system. A PBX telephone system is a private network within a company that connects the phones internally as well as to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Users of the PBX telephone system will share a limited number of outside lines to call externally (3CX, 2008). PBX telephone systems allow for increased efficiency, flexibility, expandability, and professionalism. The one disadvantage of a PBX telephone system is that it tends to be more expensive than a multi-line system (Pbxreport, 2006). Huffman’s California Office PBX telephone system includes intercom capability but does not have Voice Mail or Caller ID and includes 3 telephone terminals. The POTS is an older system with less capabilities and features than more recent telephone systems. The 2 computer terminals with modems and the fax machine run off an external AOL modem connection (Huffman California, 2004).
The California Office PBX telephone system connects to the PBX telephone system at the California Plant. The California Plant runs on a Nortel Digital Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) PBX telephone system. "VoIP is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line" (FCC, 2007). Because no telephones are included in the California Plant diagram, it must be assumed that Huffman is using VoIP software and that calls must be placed and received from one of the 47 listed computer terminals. VoIP telephone systems can include more features, than traditional telephone lines, such as no long distance charges, and offer a cost savings because no traditional telephone line is required. However, VoIP will not work if the power is out and is dependent upon a steady, reliable internet connection.
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The Missouri Office runs off of an Avaya Digital Phone System. Digital Telephone systems allow for clearer sounding conversations and more features than analog systems. Digital tends to be more expensive than analog and can lack in sound quality though (HelloDirect, 2004). The Avaya Digital Phone System is connected to a 10mb hub Admin token ring; the number of phone terminals is not listed in the diagram.
The Missouri Plant is connected to the Avaya Digital Phone System at the Missouri Office through the Admin token ring with 5 listed attached telephone terminals connected through Dock stations (Huffman Missouri, 2004).
The New Jersey Office is set up similarly to the California Office, with a POTS PBX telephone system, again with no Voice Mail or Caller ID. The telephony at the New Jersey Office includes a web server, 3 telephone terminals, a fax machine, 17 computer terminals with modems, and an external AOL modem connection. The New Jersey Plant is connected to the New Jersey Office PBX telephone system through a patch-panel. A telephone is located at each of the 4 terminals at the plant. The advantages and disadvantages of a POTS PBX telephone system at the New Jersey location are similar to those at the California Office (Huffman New Jersey, 2004).
The Ohio Office and Plant are set up very much like the Missouri Office and Plant with an Avaya Digital Phone System connected through a 10mb hub Admin token ring. As with the Missouri diagram, no phone terminals are listed in the office’s network diagram and there are 5 telephone terminals listed in the plant’s network diagram. Telephony at the Ohio Office and Plant will have the same advantages and disadvantages as the Missouri Office and Plant (Huffman Ohio, 2004).
About half of Huffman’s telephony consists of old technology including POTS on a very basic PBX telephone system. Having no Voice Mail or Caller ID is limiting to the employees and can hamper their ability to do their jobs. Upgrading to newer technologies, such as digital telephone systems, like the Missouri and Ohio locations, or VoIP telephone systems, like they have at the California Plant, with their additional capabilities and features, will be necessary for Huffman to remain competitive in today’s market. Huffman needs to take a look at the locations with the older technology and determine if they have the infrastructure necessary to upgrade; if not, they will need to focus on completely replacing their system.
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