Telecom technicians inspect and service equipment and wiring.
Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, also known as telecom technicians, set up and maintain devices or equipment that carry communications signals, such as telephone lines and Internet routers.
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 to improve its performance
- Keep records of maintenance, repairs, and installations
- Demonstrate and explain the use of equipment to customers
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 work with computers, specialized hardware, and other diagnostic equipment. They follow manufacturers’ instructions or technical manuals to install or update software and programs on 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 with 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 about equipment malfunctions from automonitoring switches and are able to correct the problems remotely.
Headend technicians perform work similar to that of 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 local cable networks.
Home installers and repairers—sometimes known as station 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, home installers and 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.