BT Openreach have announced they will be switching off their existing PSTN and ISDN network by 2025 and switching to a single IP network. Find out about the alternatives and how to be prepared.
This post will look at the old technology to be switched off, the reasons for the switch, what alternatives are available and how they can benefit your business.
“The public switched telephone network (PSTN) is the aggregate of the world's circuit-switched telephone networks that are operated by national, regional, or local telephony operators, providing infrastructure and services for public telecommunication” - Source
Analogue voice data is sent over a circuit-switched phone line made up of copper wires which is owned and operated by your phone provider.
“Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) is a set of communication standards for simultaneous digital transmission of voice, video, data, and other network services over the traditional circuits of the public switched telephone network” - Source
Put simply your standard telephone line is used to send voice and data over the same line. This is why you can make phone calls on a home telephone and plug your broadband router in to access the internet using the same port.
BT introduced ISDN nationwide in 1986 and since then connectivity has advanced greatly. The recent investment and nationwide roll out of superfast fibre internet and new Ethernet products provides a viable alternative. In fact BT have not installed any new ISDN lines in central London since 2014 which goes to show that many businesses have already moved on. But switching over 3 million active ISDN users is no small task which is why they have given businesses so much notice.
The recent investment in the UK communications network has made the new fibre infrastructure widely available and affordable to small businesses. This means IP based solution such as VoIP and SIP are the top alternatives for businesses.
SIP (Session initiation protocol) provides you with a phone line which is carried over your fibre internet connection removing the need for an ISDN phone line. SIP lines used to have reliability problems due to inadequate underlying broadband connections. These issues have now been fixed due to the recent connectivity improvements and Service Level Agreements now offered by providers.
VoIP is a cloud based telephony solution which moves your whole phone system online so all your calls are sent over your internet connection. This digital cloud based phone system offers a wide range of additional features such as call recording, receiving voicemails via email, call queuing and unified communications – being able to access the system on multiple devices such as a mobile, tablet and desktop.