I have been an AT&T Uverse wire technician for over seven years.
Learn the Lingo
Working for AT&T requires you to be bilingual. We use so much jargon that we can almost have an entire conversation without using a single word from the English language. For instance:
I had a 9-11 GPON conversion, HSIA VOIP only, in 76. Looks like a move order but was a CSI with a 3800 and 3 wifi STB and 2 HPNA but I guess they're getting DTV so hopefully I don't get an R-30 after the contractor comes.
Did you understand any of that? If not, it's okay. I'm here to teach! Actually, I don't know what some of it stands for either. We learn acronyms, not precisely what they stand for. That's okay, I'll learn too! Let's get to the acronyms and terminology!
I didn't even wonder what this meant until I had been working here at the company for about seven years. Apparently, it stands for American Telephone & Telegraph. Who knew?!
Residential gateway. It's simply what we call your modem.
Category 5/6 wire. This is the acceptable type of wire used to feed your modem service. It's the same wire used in ethernet cords.
Category 3 wire. This is the same type of wire but an older version that is not acceptable to use.
Inside wires. Most homes were build with basic telephone wires that are not Cat3, Cat5, or Cat6. These are unacceptable to use for service.
This is a special type of jack used to plug your modem into.
This is the type of jack we like. We literally punch down copper wires to make a custom jack.
This is the tiny plastic piece on a telephone cord that plugs into the wall.
This is the tiny plastic piece on an ethernet cable used to plug into a device.
Most people assume "cable" is coax. They say "here are my cable outlets" and show me all the coax that we don't use. They're the jacks on the wall that you can twist a cable onto.
An acceptable type of coax to use for TV service. It has a thicker copper core than its counterpart, RG59.
An unacceptable type of coax to use for TV service.
The small (male to male) piece that connects two coax cables together.
Optical network terminal. This is the box that is mounted inside of your home that converts fiber light into usable data. (See also "What is Fiber Gigapower")
This refers to the wire that is run from the box outside your home to the modem itself. It should be 1 single wire that is not split or spliced anywhere. It's a homerun to the modem.
Customer Personal Equipment but is generally considered any AT&T equipment such as TV boxes and modems.
Set top box. The box that goes with every TV except the DVR.
Home phone network alliance. This is a fancy way of saying coax. You can say "I have three set top boxes on HPNA," and they know you mean coax. It generally means coax network.
Inside network interface. Similar to 'Homerun', this is the jack that is fed by the homerun before a wire is plugged into it and the modem.
This is the square phone jack that is near your alarm panel (not keypad). Many alarms use dial tone and this is the only spot I am allowed to troubleshoot.
Digital video recorder. This is the STB that stores all the recordings.
Demarcation point. This is the split between AT&T responsibility and customer responsibility. Generally, it's the box on the outside of the house. If a tree falls on your wire, it's on our side of the dmarc and our responsibility to fix. If a dog chews through the wire attached on the outside of the home, it's on your side of the dmarc and your responsibility. If you're in an apartment, your dmarc could be the phone jack inside. The dmarc is not a set place or item. It's simply the spot the AT&T wires become the customers wires.
Battery Back Up unit. They used to be installed with customers who had phone service but we no longer install them.
NID / ONI
Network interface device / Outside network interface. This is the box on the side of the house. It's generally the dmarc and is where all the phone wires inside the house meet. It's also where the AT&T wires are grounded.
This is the block that splices the AT&T wire to the home run. It's grounded.
These are little plastic clips that are used to splice wires.
Aerial service wire. This is the drop wire that's used when ran from the telephone pole to your home.
Buried service wire is the drop wire that's runs under ground to your home.
The clamp that uses compression to hold an aerial wire.
This is the hook that's likely placed on a building to attach a P-Clamp onto.
These are the splice points near the home where a few wires are spliced out of the main cable to use for the surrounding houses. These can be aerial or buried.
Fiber service terminal. This is a terminal near the customers house that is fed from fiber and sends fiber to the customers home.
Plain old telephone service. There aren't too many people who still have this but it's the analog phone service that is powered by 48-52 volts of electrical current.
Voice over internet protocol. This is the digital alternative to POTS where the phone service comes directly from the modem.
High speed internet access. Pronounced His-sa. This term is a simple way of conveying the customer has, or you're talking about, the internet.
Central Office. This is a major networking hub that can service hundreds of thousands of customers.
Video ready access device. A box that services an entire neighborhood. It's fed from the central office on fiber but sends copper to the customers home.
Crossbox / xbox/ SAI
Service area interface. A box that services an entire neighborhood. It's fed by copper from the central office and sends copper to the customers home.
Primary flexibility point. This is a box that services an entire neighborhood. It's fed from the central office on fiber and sends fiber to the customers home.
Internet protocol central office. This indicates there is no fiber in the customers network. The service is a direct feed, on copper, from the central office.
Fiber to the node. This indicates there is a fiber network to the neighborhood, and then a copper network to the house.
FTTN-BP / Bonded / Bonded Pair
Fiber to the node bonded pair. Most customers are fed with a pair of copper wires. This indicates that a customer is fed with two pairs of copper wires.
FTTP / GPON
Fibber to the premise. This indicates you get fiber to the prem. A customer who is fed entirely from fiber with no copper in the network.
Customer self install. This indicates that a customer refused to pay for an install. I go out and do all the splices and trust the customer knows how to plug in the modem in the correct spot. If I had to guess, about 90% of these fail and the customer calls in a repair ticket and we have to go out and bill them for a full install anyway.
This is someone who utilizes the government welfare SNAP program. They're eligible for $10 internet. Usually fiber.
Customer. This is just a simplified version of typing out notes. ie. "cx unplugged rg".
9-11, 11-1, 1-3, 4-8, 830-830
There are a few others, but these are simply time frames that the customer made with customer service.
To Be Continued
I started this thinking I could finish it fairly quickly and it could be used as a quick reference. However, I've been at it for quite some time now and am nowhere near being done so as I remember other terms, I will come back and update this page. Make sure to bookmark it for future reference!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.