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The dangers of ignoring the ISDN Switch Off

Currently, there are still millions of businesses in the UK using ISDN telephone lines. However, it was announced back in 2015 that the UK’s ISDN telephone network will be switched off in 2025.

The switch-off is being carried out in two stages. The first stage, which is now in effect as of 2020, means ISDN customers can no longer order new connections or make amendments to their current service. (You can, however, still use your current connection.)

The Dangers of Ignoring the ISDN Switch-Off

The second and final stage will take place in 2025, when the ISDN network will be completely switched off. You definitely need to have switched by then!

2025 may seem far off, making it easy to think that you have plenty of time before needing to react to the ISDN switch-off. However, from 2020 onwards, ISDN-reliant businesses will see their communication suffer — in ways which we’ll cover in this blog post.

Therefore, it’s crucial for any business still using ISDN to switch sooner than later.

What is ISDN?

ISDN, which stands for Integrated Service Digital Network, is the main carrier and most popular way of making phone calls around the world. It’s a circuit-switched telephone network system that allows you to make phone calls, video calls and other services using a traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

Launched by BT in 1986, ISDN revolutionised internet use. It allowed businesses and individuals to use the internet and make telephone calls at the same time (unlike dial-up), whilst enabling video communication and offering faster internet speeds (up to 128mbps).

There are two different types, or lines, of ISDN internet service. The first is a basic rate ISDN line or Basic Rate Interface (BRI), which has two data, or bearer, channels that operate at 64 kbit/sec. The second type of ISDN line is called a primary rate line or Primary Rate Interface (PRI), which has 23 bearer channels and has a total speed of 1,544 kbit/sec.

Why is ISDN being switched off?

Simple answer: ISDN is an old, outdated technology. Although it was the gold standard of fast digital connections for many years, ISDN has since been surpassed by IP (Internet Protocol) communication services like VoIP and SIP trunking.

While the infrastructure underpinning ISDN has been overhauled and upgraded since its launch in 1986, the network itself is largely unchanged, meaning it can no longer compete with newer, modern technologies — both in terms of quality-of-service and running costs.

With the switch-off in motion, ISDN is being replaced by IP (Internet Protocol) technology. Over the last few years, almost 50% of UK businesses have adopted VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services. Instead of ISDN, business phone services are delivered over your internet connection using VoIP technology. VoIP phone services are affordable, simple to manage and feature-rich. It’s a solution that meets the demands of businesses both now and in the future.

Why you shouldn’t ignore the ISDN Switch Off

The ISDN switch-off may not be finalised until 2025, but any business still using ISDN will feel the effects of the first stage of the switch-off. Between 2020 and 2025, ISDN networks will suffer due to a lack of investment, improvements and upgrades to the existing infrastructure.

Here’s why you shouldn’t ignore the ISDN switch-off.

  • Poor Quality Calls – As time goes on, businesses still using ISDN technology will notice the quality of their service start to dwindle as less ISDN-trained engineers are available to fix faults and availability of parts will decline.
  • Unreliable Service – For a similar reason as above, the lack of investment and resources being directed to the ISDN infrastructure means any issues that may arise with your service won’t be resolved quickly, resulting in a less efficient and reliable service.
  • Restricted Scalability – As of 2020, ISDN customers can’t add new lines or amend your current service. So, if your business grows or streamlines between now and 2025 and you need to expand or scale back your telecommunications service, unfortunately you’re stuck.
  • Cost-Ineffective – You’ll be paying the same amount of money for your ISDN network, but without the quality of service or scalability.

infinitel yealink business phones

What are your options?

The most popular and preferred option for ISDN-reliant businesses is to switch to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). This is a more modern, up-to-date and progressive technology that doesn’t use traditional landlines. Instead, all you need is an active internet connection to make both voice and video calls on a global scale.

VoIP offers many benefits to your businesses, including:

  • Improved Service – Compared to the slower, outdated and now-neglected ISDN infrastructure, VoIP offers a much faster, smoother and more powerful service.
  • Cost-effective – Because VoIP runs over the internet, you will benefit from competitive call rates (including international calls) and free calls between your offices. Plus, you only pay for as many users as you need.
  • Easy Set-Up – Users get their phones and plug them in to the network, and are ready to start working. This means that there is no I.T. requirement when installing phones.
  • Flexibility & Scalability – You can add or remove users/lines as and when you please. Plus, all you need is an internet connection so you aren’t limited by physical location.
  • CRM Integration – Integrate your CRM, ERP and Accounting System with your phone system.
  • Boost Productivity – All of the above will make your business more productive, efficient and flexible while streamlining and supercharging your telecommunications service.

infinitel yealink business phone

Things to consider before switching to VoIP

Before making the switch from ISDN to VoIP, there are two things you have to consider.

  • Can your internet support VoIP? – Although VoIP uses a minimal amount of data compared to other services, you still need a fast enough internet service to support it. You require enough bandwidth and a QoS (Quality of Service) commitment to get the best audio quality and a strong, speedy connection.
  • Is your current office phone system compatible with VoIP? – Most modern office phone systems are. However, if your phone system isn’t VoIP compatible, it’s time to switch from a fixed, on-premise phone system to a cloud-hosted telephony service.

infinitel yealink business phone

Switch sooner than later

We highly recommend your business migrates from ISDN to VoIP sooner than later. This will ensure you avoid the hassle, headaches and higher costs associated with using an ISDN system that, as of now, is being neglected and will suffer. By switching as soon as possible, you can reap the benefits of a better, more cost-effective and more flexible service while future-proofing your business.

Switching from ISDN to VoIP isn’t as complicated as you might think. At Infinitel, we can make the switch a swift, seamless and stress-free process. To find out how we can help you make the switch before the ISDN switch-off, contact us on 0333 772 0846 or at [email protected].

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Don’t wait. Contact us today for more information. Email us now at: [email protected]

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