What is ISDN?ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network – ISDN is the transmission of voice and data traffic over the traditional copper wire circuits of the public switched telephone network (PSTN). For years ISDN has been the mainstay of business communication due to their reliability and widespread use. ISDN channels are sold in various configurations depending on the amount of simultaneous calls required – BT offers ISDN2 and ISDN30 connections currently on their website.
What is happening and when?By 2025, BT will switch off the ISDN network, although this may seem a long way off, it is likely that the existing ISDN network will become impaired before this date as it is likely that they will not make any future improvements to this legacy platform. The replacement for ISDN is a service called SIP (session initiation protocol) which essentially enables a phone line to be brought to you via your internet connection, which removes the need for the traditional physical ISDN lines.
Benefits of SIP and VoIP over ISDNHighly scalable & flexible – With SIP services you can quickly and easily add additional lines to grow with your business and at times when demand is high, as well as reducing them at times when demand is low. These instant changes give much greater flexibility for your business as opposed to the days or weeks it would have taken to add an extra line using the ISDN services.
Number portability – With traditional ISDN services you would have had to give a minimum of 10 working days notice to move premises, a survey would need to be undertaken and the fee for moving would be dependent upon the outcome of this survey. It could have also taken up to 26 days for a single line transfer if an engineer was needed. SIP services make the process of moving to a new premises so much easier and make it possible for you to bring your number with you anywhere. As the numbers are not tied to a specific location, this makes moving offices a much more simple process, it is literally just a case of unplugging the phone in the old premises and plugging it back in at your new location, there are no protracted or transition notice periods to contend with.
Cheaper – This is often the most important part for businesses, it is predicted that you save around 75% by using SIP rather than ISDN. These savings are due to not having to pay for a line rental (as SIP uses your existing internet connection) and also due to savings with calls. With traditional ISDN services internal calls are charged in the same way as external calls, however with SIP services this is not the case and this also includes cross site internal calls as multiple sites within the same company can be linked on the same network.
More Powerful – As SIP calls can be delivered over high bandwidth connections, HD handsets are able to deliver high quality HD calls, giving much better quality of communication than you would get with ISDN lines.
Linking multiple sites – With traditional ISDN lines, there was no smooth way of linking multiple sites within a business, however with SIP and VoIP services this is no longer an issue. Multiple sites can be linked together, calls can be transferred from one site to another, you can even use the same main business number across many sites. This is ideal for situations where for example your administration and sales teams are situated at different locations, you could have calls being made to one main number and then the call could be diverted to the appropriate team depending on the callers needs.
Remote working – SIP services increase the ability for remote working. Not only can you transfer and divert calls to the remote workers, calls to them would also be classed as internal so would not incur the external call charges as you would with ISDN lines.
Disaster recovery – With traditional ISDN lines, if your line goes down in the event of a disaster (for example a fire, flood or power outage) you could arrange for your calls to either be stored as voicemails or an out of service message could be applied to your line to advise the caller that there is a temporary fault on the line. However, with SIP services, your calls can be quickly and easily set to divert automatically to another office or a mobile meaning that there is no impact to your customers and they are still able to contact you.
When do I change from ISDN to SIP or hosted telephony?If your current telecoms contract is up for renewal in the near future, now is the time to start exploring your options. Not only are SIP services more cost effective, but the benefits of SIP greatly outweigh those of ISDN.
What this means for you?It means that sometime over the next 10 years you will need to switch to an IP service and that your traditional telephone system will eventually become obsolete. So if your current telecom contract is up for renewal in the next few years, now is the time to start exploring different options.
It also means that some telephone systems will no longer be supported and a whole new telephone system will be required to support the switch. Here at Deskphone, we can not only provide you with a great, cost effective IP solution but also provide you with a tailored telephone system to suit your needs. There is also an option to rent the hardware which negates the upfront costs of purchasing a new telephone system if your current system is not going to be supported.
In addition to this our Landline ‘Go’ Sim would enable you to integrate your mobile phones to your office system to make and receive landline calls on your mobile. One supplier and one integrated system for both your mobile and landline services.