ISDN switch off

      BT To End ISDN Phone Lines

      BT has announced that it is to switch off all Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) lines as the company targets modernisation of phone and data lines. Crucially for organisations, ISDN and PSTN circuits still support the vast majority of business and home phone lines. This will necessitate the move to VoIP or alternative unified communications systems.

      Why is the PSTN and ISDN switch off happening?

      PSTN lines are the traditional copper phone lines that have been used since the invention of the telephone. This 19th century technology requires costly infrastructure and faces limitations as to the distance that signals can be sent. PSTN lines are also very limited in terms of the amount of data that can be sent across them.

      ISDN was introduced at the end of the 1980s to simultaneously send voice and data information. At time of introduction, the technology was advanced in its ability to support basic video conferencing as well as voice services.

      However, ISDN has failed to keep pace with the amount of data users now need with the advent of the internet. Only able to support speeds of about 128kbps, ISDN is well below the speeds of modern broadband (around 16 mbps). BT is therefore looking to retire this outdated and expensive technology in favour of putting calls over modern fibre optic lines.

      Because of this change, broadband will also need to be updated. Any service using the traditional copper lines will stop working: alarms, EPOS machines, door entry systems, CCTV and so on.

      Transition to VoIP

      The PTSN and ISDN switch-off will require the switch over to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems, which use fibre broadband lines to support phone and video calls, as well as internet services.

      By 2020, BT will no longer sell ISDN or PTSN phone lines. By 2025 they will switch these lines off altogether.

      Many organisations have already embraced VoIP phone systems due to savings. VoIP phone systems offer cheaper call costs, savings on phone lines and an overall more flexible phone system.

      Organisations can run VoIP phones off of standard Ethernet ports, or even WiFi if signal is strong enough. They can also be wire VoIP phones in line with PCs, so both devices share just one port. On-premise VoIP is run from a unit hosted within a server cabinet, while a hosted VoIP system allow for all connections to be managed from a cloud server.

      VoIP solutions from Akita

      For most organisations, the move to VoIP should be relatively smooth. After initial setup costs, most organisations will soon enjoy cost-savings against their old phone systems.

      However, this doesn’t mean the transition should be left to the last minute – businesses with large numbers of phones may discover that their port configurations, data cabling or infrastructure setup need improving to support the changes.

      For more information about moving your organisation over to VoIP, or to arrange a demo:

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