Did you know that ISDN is on its way out? Serviceteam IT explains this change and how your company can prepare for it. Do you know we’ve only got less than 5 years and counting…?
European telecoms providers, and that includes the UK, have announced by 2025 PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) will be no more. Nada. Finito. Shaken off this mortal copper coil.
But what does this mean for your business, well in the first instance let’s explain what those acronyms mean.
What is PSTN and ISDN?
PSTN is a network of connected copper cables owned by the likes of BT and Virgin Media. But don’t worry if you don’t see them, as they are underground, beneath our feet. These cables link everywhere, up and down the country, allowing for analogue voice and data connections into your home and business.
If you’ve ever walked over a rectangular inspection cover or seen those sideboard-sized boxes outside of an office with the marking BT then that’s known as a bearer. That’s where the copper wires hit the faster main network. PSTN is like the difference between British Rail’s Inter City Line and the French TGV. Fast but could be a lot faster.
Then in the 1950s, pulse dialling was created and could be sent down the PSTN connection. By the 1970s, data was being sent over the system. And so if you’ve ever heard what a fax sounds like when its being sent down a telephone line, well that’s the sound of data.
Oh, and your ISDN?
Then in the 1980s the digital element of the circuits were created. These are called ISDN, and are today the de facto circuit for digital voice. However, like our creaking rail way system, there’s now an urgent need for an upgrade. And to underline the point, can you remember Alexander Bell, that austere Victorian who wore starched collars and looked very stern in those sepia photographs, well he invented and patented the PSTN circuitry back in the 19thcentury.
Could it all go wrong?
Yes and we don’t have to look far, just over the North Sea at the experience of Germany when they had challenges connecting their devices, particularly fax machines, after the country started to migrate in 2014. Forsyth et al (2019). Check out our next blog to see a more in depth analysis of Germany’s experience.
So what does 5 years and counting really mean?
In the UK, BT who own 90% of all the PSTN and ISDN copper infrastructure have said from 2025 that PSTN and ISDN will be no more. That means all voice calls and data traffic will need to migrate over to the Session Initiation Protocol or SIP. Which we all know more affectionately as VoIP or IP Telephony.
What does this mean for ISDN today in 2019?
As part of the roll out, from 2020 there will be no new ISDN connections to businesses, which means all new connections from that date will be IP. And by 2025 the age of PSTN and ISDN will be RIP.
Mañana. mañana. 2025 is ages away. No need to act now, or should I?
That would be a less risky thing to do. Therefore with all new technologies, and telephony is no different there is planning, networking and cabling needed. Then you need to pre-plan and undertake bandwidth testing. Being a late to the game Larry is not cost effective and not smart and adds unnecessary risk to your operations.
What are the benefits of switching to IP Telephony?
IP Telephony is more cost effective and so the earlier you can make the transition, the more money you will save. Therefore Serviceteam IT can deliver faster, internet-based encrypted calls with complete security.
So with secure back-up in case of power outages and lower line rental costs.
Can Serviceteam IT help?
With over 25 years of experience, between riding bikes, growing his hair and raising a family, Sebastian Jesson-Ward has seen it all. He’s been in the Internet industry since the dark ages when we all had to wait an eon for a new connection from the old state-run BT.
Seb works with from billion pound turnover multi nationals to start ups to install networked managed IP Telephony. This includes PBX scenarios and businesses using Microsoft Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams.
Reference: Grant Forsyth, David Lewin, Aude Schoentgen, Sam Wood, Sarongrat Wongsaroj (2018), Preparing the UK for an All-IP future: experiences from other countries, Plum Consulting. Dec 2018