Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers
Nature of the Work
Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, also known as telecom technicians, set up and maintain devices or equipment that carry communications signals, connect to telephone lines, and access the Internet.
Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers typically do the following:
Install communications equipment in offices, private homes, and buildings that are under construction
Set up, rearrange, and replace routing and dialing equipment
Inspect and service equipment, wiring, and phone jacks
Repair or replace faulty, damaged, and malfunctioning equipment
Test repaired, newly installed, and updated equipment to ensure that it works properly
Adjust or calibrate equipment settings to improve its performance
Keep records of maintenance, repairs, and installations
Demonstrate and explain the use of equipment to customers
Telephone, computer, and cable telecommunications systems rely on equipment to process and transmit vast amounts of data. Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers install and service this equipment.
These workers use many different tools to inspect equipment and diagnose problems. For instance, to locate distortions in signals, they may employ spectrum analyzers and polarity probes. They also commonly use hand tools, including screwdrivers and pliers, to take equipment apart and repair it.
Many telecom technicians also work with computers, specialized hardware, and other diagnostic equipment. They follow manufacturers' instructions or technical manuals to install or update software and programs for devices.
Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers who work at a client's location must track hours worked, parts used, and costs incurred. Workers who set up and maintain lines outdoors are classified as line installers and repairers.
The specific tasks of telecom technicians vary depending on their specialization and where they work.
The following are examples of types of telecommunications equipment installers and repairers:
Central office technicians set up and maintain switches, routers, fiber optic cables, and other equipment at switching hubs, called central offices. These hubs send, process, and amplify data from thousands of telephone, Internet, and cable connections. Telecom technicians receive alerts on equipment malfunctions from auto-monitoring switches and are able to correct the problems remotely.
Headend technicians perform similar work to central office technicians, but work at distribution centers for cable and television companies, called headends. Headends are control centers in which technicians monitor signals for cable network companies that provide cable television and modem services to subscribers in the local area.
PBX installers and repairers set up and service private branch exchange (PBX) switchboards. This equipment relays incoming, outgoing, and interoffice telephone calls and may process Internet access and telephone communications, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.
PBX installers and repairers connect telecom equipment to communications cables. They test and repair the connections to ensure that adequate power is available and communication links work properly. They install and repair frames, supports, power systems, alarms, and telephone sets. Because switches and switchboards are computerized, PBX installers also install software or program the equipment.
Station installers and repairers—sometimes known as home installers and repairers—set up and repair telecommunications equipment in customers' homes and businesses. For example, they set up modems to install telephone, Internet, and cable television services.
When customers have problems, station repairers test the customer's lines to determine if the problem is inside the building or outside. If the problem is inside, they try to repair it. If the problem is outside, they refer the problem to line repairers.