Ericsson AXE10 Magnetic Tape Emulation


Ericsson has a long history in telecommunications dating back to the beginning of last century. The company created the world's first fully automatic mobile telephone system back in 1956, helping to set the scene for Sweden's dominance in this sector. Most of the installed Ericsson switches are AXE10 (Automatic Cross-Connection Equipment) which is an electronic automatic telephone exchange.

Installed Base

Ericsson claims 6000 AXE exchanges worldwide in 145 countries, serving 180m lines, of which around 120m lines are AXE10. It is used widely in Europe, India, Brazil, Thailand and many other countries.


The Ericsson AXE10 has a large line capacity and therefore tape backups can be fairly large. It can take 4 hours to complete a backup and restore operation, even longer with a very large exchange. The AXE10 makes use of a variant of SCSI, with single-ended signalling. Some special commands and features are enabled and must be supported by the device. A single 50-pin conector is used for data, with a separate -48V power connector.

The DDS supports Ericsson AXE10 Magnetic Tape Emulation via a directly-connected SCSI bus with terminal enabled or disabled in software as required. Many additional features are provided such as virtual tapes, progress display, setting the SCSI ID and enabling cable error detection and correction.

Ericsson backups use a checksum which helps to ensure data validity.


After taking the legacy tape drive out of service using the AXE10 console, the old equipment can be disconnected from the SCSI bus and the DDS connected. The DDS directly supports a -48V power input and a cable is supplied for this purpose. The exchange does not need to be reconfigured or powered off. It is not necessary to change or add any interface cards to the exchange in order to use the DDS.

The DDS is much smaller than the reel-to-reel legacy tape drives and can easily be mounted in the same space using available mounting brackets. The existing data cable can be reused without modification.

If existing tapes need to be transferred to the DDS this can be achieved by connecting both a legacy tape drive and the DDS to the same exchange. Using a tape to tape copy, data can be transferred as required. The DDS provides multiple virtual tapes and can operate without the need to change media. The RAID+ technology used in DDS provides much better reliability under constant writing load than any removeable media such as USB sticks and SD cards. Instead, SD cards and USB sticks can be used for normal data archival purposes if required. Alternatively, the DDS network features can be used to copy data to and from a connected network server either automatically or manualling using the remote control software or the front panel.


The DDS solution for Ericsson AXE10 Magnetic Tape Emulation does not require substantial staff training arrangements. Installation is straight-forward, and once this is complete, operation of the DDS proceeds as for the legacy tape drive. The same commands and backup/billing setups can be used. The main different is that it is generally not necessary to change backup media since the internal storage is normally sufficient.

DDS provides a number of additional features which can be used and some staff training is required for this. For example:

  • Network operation is possible, using remote software or even fully automated scripting
  • It is possible to create a special virtual tape for automated exchange restarts and emergency situations

Depending on the needs of the support engineers, we generally recommend setting aside one day for training at a suitablw test exchange to get the most out of the equipment. More time can be made available for advanced automation and billing mediation requirements. We provide all the required material and training staff.


DDS solutions are generally sold through well-established distributors with local presence and good technical knowledge. Generally an homologation process is created to ensure that all workflows and business operations are supported by the DDS Ericsson AXE10 Magnetic Tape Emulation solution. We provide technical assistance to customise the solution to specific needs and to deal with any issues that crop up after homologation and installation.

While the standard hardware warranty period is one year, longer warranties can be purchased if required. The DDS is designed to support a 10 year life, and we can assist with the provision of adequate spare units. A large DDS installation has been in operation for 6 years with no faults or problems. This enhanced reliability is made possible by the solid state nature of the DDS and the RAID+ data storage system.