ISDN Switch Off: Future-proofing your telecommunications infrastructure

In 2015, BT announced a phase out of ISDN services by 2025. Initially their intention was to stop selling the products in 2020, and switch off the service within five years. They have recently updated this plan, and while it may now be possible to purchase ISDN solutions until 2023, there will still be a forced migration phase between April-December 2025.

Why is this change happening?

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) was introduced by BT in 1986, as a communications standard that enable simultaneous digital transmission of voice, video and other network services, using the circuits already in place as part of the traditional PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) infrastructure.

When ISDN launched it was cutting edge, but technology in connectivity and communications has been evolving constantly in the 34 years since. In recent years, we have seen extensive investment nationally in high bandwidth fibre broadband and Ethernet infrastructure, capable of carrying voice and other data. While there are around 3 million companies and individuals who still use ISDN, many organisations have already moved away from the service, largely due to the emergence of IP (Internet Protocol) telephony as a natural replacement.

How you can future-proof your business

2025 may still seem a long way off, but we strongly advise all organisations not to wait until the last minute to make a change to IP Telephony. A modern and scalable telecommunications infrastructure can save your business time and money and our advice is to find out when your contract is due for renewal and begin considering the options available, including:

Hosted Telephony

Hosted Telephony is probably the most cost effective and flexible way to manage your company’s communication needs, without the capital expenditure of an on-premises PBX (Private Branch Exchange). It uses VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) to send voice and data via your internet connectivity.

Your PBX resides in the cloud rather than in your office, meaning no costly maintenance fees or upgrades. Furthermore, your system can be managed through an online interface that can be accessed from anywhere, allowing you to manage multiple sites from one location.

Because your PBX is hosted in the cloud, your business can receive updates and new features immediately, allowing you to upscale your service as required and connect multiple sites easily and cost effectively.

Prominent Hosted Telephony solutions in the market also include a raft of advanced features that can enhance productivity such as call groups, auto-attendant, integrations with instant messaging and presence settings, and also allow you to install soft clients on PCs and smartphones so even if your workforce is geographically distributed they get full access to your service.

Sip Trunking

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) is a technology that allows you to send and receive voice, video and data traffic via your internet connection. Where SIP differs from a cloud-based, hosted solution, is that your business retains an on-site PBX.

Therefore, for businesses who have already invested in their onsite PBX, would prefer to keep their PBX management internal, or are not yet prepared to make the jump to cloud-based telephony, SIP trunking provides the best available upgrade to a traditional telephony system.

As well as offering cost savings on monthly line rental versus ISDN, the nature of SIP Trunking has benefits around speed of deployment, the ability to add or remove channels rapidly as business demands fluctuate, and the ability to load balance between various business sites. With SIP it is also possible to setup geographic and non-geographic numbers, meaning you can give overseas customers local numbers that can be charged to them as such.

Considerations for planning:

Our first recommendation to anyone preparing to transform their communications infrastructure is of course to seek the advice of an independent expert with access to a broad portfolio of solutions.

There are many questions that need answering before you can progress. By no means an exhaustive list, some of the things to consider would be:

  • How many sites will need connecting?
  • How many extensions and call groups are needed?
  • Alongside telephony, what other communications tools do I need?
  • Is my workforce geographically distributed?
  • Do I need access for remote workers?
  • What are my bandwidth requirements?
  • Do I want to keep existing handsets, and what is their compatibility?
  • How many phone numbers will need porting?
  • Are there any requirements for compliance?

Then, after an audit and consultation process, and for whichever technology you believe would suit your business requirements, look for a resilient solution with a proven track record in delivering high levels of service and business grade call quality.

To find out more about the benefits of Hosted Telephony or SIP Trunking and how Adam Phones can support your business needs across all areas of telecommunications, call us on 0800 123000 or contact your Adam Phones Account Manager.

Posted on: 10th July 2020

Posted in: Blog

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