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, or access the Internet.
Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers typically do the following:
Telephone, computer, and cable telecommunications systems rely on sophisticated equipment to process and transmit vast amounts of information. Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers—often called telecom technicians—install and service this equipment.
To inspect equipment and diagnose problems, telecom technicians use many different tools. For instance, to locate distortions in signals, they may use spectrum analyzers and polarity probes. They also commonly use handtools, including screwdrivers and pliers, to take equipment apart and repair it. In addition, telecom technicians frequently install and update software and programs for some devices.
Equipment installers who work mainly outdoors are classified as telecommunications line installers and repairers. For more information, see the profile on line installers and repairers.
Telecom technicians do many tasks, often depending on their specialization and where they work. The following are examples of the 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 telephones, Internet connections, and other sources. Increasingly reliable, self-monitoring switches alert central office repairers to malfunctions, and might allow repairers to correct problems remotely.
Headend technicians do almost the same work as central office installers and repairers, but work at distribution centers for cable and television companies, called headends.
PBX installers and repairers set up and service private branch exchange—or PBX—switchboards. This equipment relays incoming, outgoing, and interoffice telephone calls at a single location. Some systems use voiceover Internet protocol—or VoIP—technology, which functions like PBX systems, but uses computers to run Internet access, network applications, and telephone communications.
PBX installers connect telecom equipment to communications cables. They install frames, supports, power systems, alarms, and telephone sets. They test the connections to ensure that adequate power is available and communication links work properly. Because switches and switchboards are now computerized, PBX installers often need to also install software or program the equipment to provide specific features.
Station installers and repairers—sometimes known as home installers and repairers—set up and repair telecommunications equipment in customers’ homes and businesses. They install telephone, Internet, and cable television services, often setting up modems and other computer hardware and software.
When customers have problems, station repairers test the customer's lines to determine if the problem is inside or outside. If the problem is inside, they try to repair it. If the problem is outside, they refer the repair to line repairers.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition