Need for More Net Access

Smaller Manhattan businesses scramble for quick fixes to T-1, local lines.

A week after devastating terrorist attacks in the United States, small and midsize enterprises in Lower Manhattan continued to seek new ways to patch their networks together as ISPs and local exchange carriers made further repairs to access lines and facilities.

Actan Inc., a trading software developer on Broad Street in New York—about four blocks from the World Trade Center site—lost its T-1 link following the disaster, leaving the company disconnected from its offices in London and Zug, Switzerland.

"We evacuated our office when the first tower collapsed, said David Harty, who provides technical support at Actan. "We were in the basement of the building for several hours because the building was surrounded by the thick black smoke that engulfed Lower Manhattan."

Actan employees could not return to their offices until Saturday because the area was restricted. When they did return, they found that the T-1 was still down. Because they rely on the high-speed access line not only for intranet connectivity but also to download large files for software testing, they turned to MAN (metropolitan area network) service provider IntelliSpace Inc. to get reconnected.

"We cannot be down. Were supporting trading firms that needed to get back up and running as soon as possible," Harty said.

IntelliSpace, which has the largest MAN in New York City, with routers installed in approximately 600 buildings, was not affected by the terrorist attack, according to a spokeswoman.

Some of the companys servers in Lower Manhattan went down temporarily when backup generators ran out of fuel and company officials were restricted from the area, but the network was sufficiently redundant. In buildings where IntelliSpace has equipment installed, it can connect new customers in one day, officials said.

The largest enterprises in Lower Manhattan—and major financial services companies—were given priority attention by service providers to ensure that the stock markets could operate effectively again last week. AT&T Corp. reported that it had reconnected all large businesses but was still waiting for some small businesses to relocate before reinstalling services.

AT&T lost a local services node located in the basement of the World Trade Center, which resulted in lost voice-switching capacity on the local network. With the aid of its emergency trailers, the company was able to roll new transmission capacity into the devastated area, Frank Ianna, president of network services, told reporters in a conference call.

"The work is not done yet by any means," Ianna said. "Im sure youre going to continue to hear about spot outages here and there."

Many ISPs (Internet service providers) serving Manhattan continued to experience interruptions last week, largely because of unrepaired damage to the local exchange network. Sprint Corp. said its wire-line switching facilities were processing voice and data traffic normally by last Monday, but some sites in Manhattan still did not have service, mainly because of land-line connections leased from other carriers.