The Ballad of T1D1.3
A Poem I wrote to celebrate the completion of the ISDN "U" Interface Specification.
©1987 October, McGraw-Hill, Inc. Used by permission
Read More People in T1D1.3 Important Notice

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Do not copy. Instead, link to this page.

Since this is such a weird and wonderful "Geek Poem", some of the terms which would be incomprehensible to those outside the industry appear in red. If you click these, a definition of the term will appear.

  In C.C.I.T.T., they say ('twas many years ago),
They realized I.S.D.N. would be the way to show
the nations of the world just how to use existing wire,
to provide the kind of services their people might require.

To send as far as they could want, the whole wide world around,
the bearer bits for everything, from video to sound.
In circuits or in packets, from Chicago to Peru,
Why, they could even go as far as Spain, or Timbuktu !

And so they wrote the Yellow Book, the Red Book, and the Blue,
to document the efforts of that multi-nation crew,
holding meeting after meeting to define the interfaces
that would take the users' bits around to all these different places.

And labeled them with letters such as "R", and "S", and "T",
to keep alive, as best they could, the portability
of terminals from every land, and every tribe, and nation.
(As long as they would follow every rule and rec'mendation).

So in the hope of making just one standardized connection
from user to provider - not forgetting the protection
of each one from the other, they decided that the "T"
was where the optimum was reached in flexibility !

And every nation 'round the world agreed that it was so.
Except for one - the U.S.A. - which flatly stated "NO !"
For in that land the government decreed the N.T. 1
would be defined as C.P.E. when all was said and done !

And in accord the F.C.C. said "Stop this silly game !
An interface at S. or T. would never be the same
as hooking up to network pairs : so please make an addition,
to specify a point called "U", and heat up competition !"

So in hopes of broad consensus in the U.S. industry,
in Fall of 1984, T.1.D.1. dot 3
was chartered and convened and given several jobs to do,
and one of them - the biggest - was to specify the "U".

With Larry Smith as chairman and a lot of clever folk,
we listened quite intently as each system maker spoke
of how we all would benefit, and get a wondrous blessing
by standardizing just the system HE was then professing.

But on we went to 85, by then becoming smarter,
because we knew that each of us must work a little harder,
and look at each and every part of everyone's design,
to end up with a system that would work on any line !

We looked at echo cancellers, as well as T.C.M.,
and knew by Kansas City we must choose just one of them.
And as we sat and sweltered in the blazing Summer heat,
we slowly came to realize that T.C.M. was beat !

But that was only first among a lot of big decisions.
The line code was the greatest - causing many great revisions
in everybody's documents and every contribution,
until we found we were reduced to absolute confusion !

So thus we started 86, without a real clue,
to how we would resolve the code to use upon the "U".
And down we went to Florida, to break the strangle-hold
of line codes and of Winter, but we only found more cold.

  For standing out in Boca, on a clear and wint'ry day,
We saw some friends we never met rise up and fly away,
Up where only angels go, beyond the Earth and Sky -
And few of us, if any, kept our eyes completely dry.

But pressing on we talked about the crosstalk interference.
And from the math a single model first made its appearance.
It was so good it pushed us on, until we then were able
to choose some loops that we agreed could represent the cable.

Then Dick McDonald started out on writing down a spec
which had 3 codes in different parts - and though it seemed a wreck,
it served us well by helping us to clarify our thought
about the work that still remained - there surely was a lot !

At last we got some papers showing fancy simulations
of how the bits traversed the loop, and what were the relations
of MDB, 3B2T, 4B3T and more,
and that was how we opened up the final line code door

to look beyond three-level codes and see 2B1Q :
and realize that models showed it really was quite true
that it was slightly better than the others - that was plain !
And Monterrey was where we finally sipped Line-Code Champaign !!

But e. o. c. and Barker codes, and scramblers caused us trouble.
And every time we turned around the work to do would double.
With super frames and polar bits, and special line code rates,
it turned into the kind of mess that everybody hates.

But somehow in the year since then we finally muddled through,
and reached the point where there is little left for us to do.
The draft is polished up so well that anyone can see
its good enough to send it up into the Plenary !

And so we stand right here, my friends, U Interface completed !
A job well done by folks who were not humbled or defeated
by all the thorny problems that were thrown into their path.
And though we often disagreed, we seldom turned to wrath !

In years to come we'll all look back, and think about today :
of all the friends we met and what we did along the way.
And though we'll be re-organized, I'm sure we'll all agree :
It was an honor to be in : T. 1. D. 1. dot 3 !!!!!!

    - R. H. Beeman,
      Vice Chair - T1D1.3

Reprinted from October 1987 'Data Communications' magazine,
© October 1987 McGraw-Hill Inc., All rights reserved.
Reprinted by kind permission of McGraw-Hill.

Please respect the ownership of this copyrighted material.
Do not copy. Instead, link to this page.

Read More

T1D1.3 (prounounced "Tee one Dee one dot three") was the American National Standards Institute body charged with standardizing telecommunications equipment for use in the US on telephone wires, called "loops". I was chosen by my employer to represent their technical interests at the meetings, which were held every couple of months all over the US. After a year on the committee, I was elected Vice-Chair. Larry Smith of AT&T was Chair.

"The Ballad of T1D1.3" was requested from me by the other officers on the occasion of the final vote on the "U" interface standard. As Wes Henry, the Vice Chair of T1D1 put it to me :

"You know, Bob, this occasion requires a major work of poetry."

So I wrote it and it was presented at the meeting where the completed standard was put out to the general membership for a vote. I am pleased to report that it passed overwhelmingly on the first ballot and became

American National Standards Institute
ANSI   T1.601-1988
integrated services digital network (ISDN) - basic access interface for use on metallic loops for application on the network side of the NT (layer 1 specification).

After this meeting, a reporter from "Data Communications" magazine called our chair - Larry Smith - and asked him if we had an official history of the effort leading up to the decision. Larry said this poem was the best (and only) official history he knew. So Data Communications magazine paid me $100 for it. One of only a few poems for which I have ever been paid money.

Later that year, a framed copy on parchment was distributed to the officers who had been involved in the standardization effort. It is one of my prized posessions.

Since this is such a weird and wonderful "Geek Poem", some of the terms which would be incomprehensible to those outside the industry appear in red. If you click these, a definition of the term will appear.

The following people served on Technical Subcommittee T1D1.3
during the development of the "U" Interface Standard.

Larry SmithChair
Robert H. Beeman   Vice chair
Douglas ZolnickSecretary

Peter F. Adams Ralph Day Franklin B. Holleman Gunter F. Neumeier
Oscar Agazzi Brian Dellande Hal Holzwarth Rick Nickells
Hassan Bhmed Jeffrey H. Derby Joseph A. Hull Leo Nikkair
Nandakishore Albal Perminder Dhawan Tom Humphrey F. Nolke
Richard Alexander Paul R. Dickel Brian Hurley Pete Norum
Cam Allen George Doyle Yasuo Iijima R. O'Grady
Sami Ali Tom Drury Allen Jackson Jens Paetau
Robert Amy Steve Dye John Jackson Roger Pandanda
T. J. Aprille Darryl Eigen Keith Jarett Steven J. Parrish
Victor Arabagian James L. Eitel Jay Jayapalan Michael A. Pierce
A. P. Arneth Youssef Elchakieh Phil Johnson Mark Pitchford
Ephraim Arnon Robert Ephraim Brian Jones Joseph Podvojsky
Saf Asghar Anders Eriksson Mike Kelly Marilyn M. Poirier
Sassan Babaie John F. Falzone Richard L. Khan Norman F. Priebe
Bill Bahr R. C. Fang Darin Kincaid Frank Principe
Ann Banovetz Daniel Fedak Fred Klapproth Shahid Qureshi
Gerald Banta David Fisher Leslie Klein N. Ramesh
William Y. Barkley Gary Fishman Michael Knight Anjali Ranade
Greg Barnicoat Joseph K. Fobert Tapio A. Knuutila Farooq Raza
Don V. Batorsky David L. Foote Ranjit Kohli Stephen C. Redman
Roy Batruni Henry Forson Ghassem Koleyni Ray A. Reed
Robert L. Beebe Les Forth Ryoichi Komiya Dave Ribner
Gerard Berthet M. S. Foster Demosthenes J. Kostas Keith Richardson
Behram Bharucha John W. Fox David Krozier Anthony Risica
Philip J. Bird J. D. Fraser Ronald c. Kunzelman Ken Roberge
Kathy Bischoff Ken Frick T. Gordon Ladshaw John S. Robertson
Robert E. Blackshaw Hans-Joerg Frizlen George Lawrence John D. Rogers
Roy B. Blake Bill Furrer Victor Lawrence Charles E. Rohrs
Allan Blevins Peter Fuss Joseph W. Lechleider David A. Roos
R. T. Bibilin James Gaines Gwong Lee Tom Rostkowski
Vic Boersma G. Jack Garrison Stephen Linskey Gary Rothrock
H. C. Bond Lorenz Gasser Ming L. Liou Rudi Rudisill
Bruce Bowden James R. Gault Fred Loewy Blair Russel
Brian D. Bowsher Marcie Geissinger Jim Low Richard Sakamoto
Gerry Boyer Richard E. George Paul Lue H. Sato
Richard P. Brandt Michael Gettles John Luetchford Eric L. Scace
P. Michael Bray Jean Giblin Borje Lundwall Ian S. Scales
William Buckley Nevillle L. Golding Milt Lutchansky G. Schollmeier
David R. Cairns David Goszocoshi Randall Lytle Charles W. Schuler
Loran Campbell William W. Greason Henry Mar Larry Schwerin
C. J. Capece Peter T. Griffiths D. L. Matthews R. A. Shapiro
Dorothy M. Cerni Paul Grossberg Franklin M. McClelland Rajiv Sharma
Ran-Fun Chiu Andreas Gulle Ronald C. McConnell Chip Sharp
Joseph Choghi John Gurzick Richard A. McDonald V. P. Shenoy
Brian Cole O. J. Gusella Scott McEachron Jess Sherwood
Darrell D. cole Jerry Hackett Cheryl McKinley Steve Silverman
Charles Cook Ron Hancock Dennis McLaughlin Don Simpson
Fulvio Corazzo Judith M. Hansing Thomas L. McRoberts Josef Singer
Alain Cornette Ray Hapeman David G. Messerschmitt Marvin A. Sirbu
Simon A. cox Stephen Harris Gerry Miller Fred Skoog
Bert Cutler Alastair M. Heaslett Robert A. Miller Jonathan Smith
Louis R. D'Alessandro Tom Heinz Kenneth H. Molloy R. K. Smith
James Dahl James R. Hellums Dave Montgomery Moon S. Song
Per O. Dahlan Bruce Henderson Richard Moore Andrew Sorowka
Nabil G. Damouny Wesley Henry David Morgan Douglas A. Spencer
James Dan Greg Hicks Han C. Najjar Jim Splear
J. Danneels Bill Highland Sami P. Najjar Chris Stacey
Harry Davoody Bill Hodgkiss S. Narasimhan Thomas J. Starr
Andrew Day Leon Hofer John S. Navai Donald W. Stevenson

Martin Stevenson David W. Taylor Craig Valenti David Wolfe
Lou Stilp Tom Taylor C. D. Vanevic David Wong
Robert F. Stover Greg Theus Dick Van Gelder Kristian Woods-Janghorbani
Glenn e. Strohl Gary C. Thomas Ruprecht G. Von Buttlar Steven A. Wright
Young-Lim Su Timothy D. Timmons R. B. Waller Robert Wyatt
Richard Sun Michael Toohig Al Weissberger Henry Yang
Ron Suprenant Oscar Lopez Torres Pat Weston Bob Zader
Joseph E. Sutherland Anthony Toubassi Sang Whang J. A. Zebarth
K. Szechenyi B. J. Trivedi Ron White Mo Zonoun
Tatsumi Takabatake Stuart Trock Tim A. Williams William Zucker
Hiroshi Takatori William F. Utlaut Harry Wise  

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©1987 October, McGraw-Hill, Inc. Used by permission

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