C-DOT RAX completes 25 years of induction in Indian Telecom network

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New Delhi: In what can be termed as a milestone in the Indian Telecom history, the first Rural Automatic Exchange (RAX) developed by the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) has completed 25 years. It was in July 1986 that the first RAX was installed at Kittur in Belgaum District of Karnataka. This RAX was the first product developed by C-DOT which went into India’s telecom network and installation of this RAX marked the beginning of the telecom revolution in the country. A function was held last week, simultaneously in Kittur, Bangalore and New Delhi, to commemorate this occasion.

RAX appeared on the scene at a time when India’s telecom network was way under-developed, to say the least. The tele-density languished at one, that is, one telephone for every one hundred inhabitants. And rural tele-density was zero for all practical purposes. The greatest advantage of RAX was that it was designed for Indian conditions of high ambient temperatures, dust and unreliable power. It required no air-conditioning. It was based on contemporary digital switching technology with microprocessor based controllers and had no moving parts, which gave it immunity against dust, the bane of electromechanical Strowger and Crossbar exchanges in India.

Named 128 P RAX, it was a tiny 128 ports switch. It had only analog trunks to connect it to a larger exchange in a nearby city. It could cater to a total of 80 subscribers and had 24 analog trunks to connect to the city exchange. But in villages with practically no telephones, 80 was a big number. There must be a large number of villagers who made or received their first ever call through C-DOT RAX.

128 P RAX was successful beyond all expectations. It acquired a legendary status in no time at all. Ministers, MPs and MLAs would promise RAXe5 to their constituents and then put pressure on the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to install them. It extended connectivity, including STD, ISD to rural areas. 26 manufacturers went into RAX production. RAX-a-day programme was started by DoT which grew to something like 32 RAXes a day. By March 1993, more than 10,000 RAXes had been produced. Other developing countries evinced great interest in RAX and exports to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh followed.

Today, C-DOT RAX is a digital stored programme control switching system with up to 256 terminations or ports. It employs a non-blocking 4-wire PCM switching network. Since then the C-DOT exchange at Kittur has been upgraded to MAX-NC to offer NGN (Next Generation Networks) services. NGN refers to an all Internet Protocol (IP) network which gives great operational advantages to the operators and subscribers alike.

Kerala IT News

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