ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), one of the staples of communications for Australian businesses is nearing its end-date, raising the question of how to maintain those essential fixed voice calling and Phone System/PBX capabilities critical to business. ISDN is a dedicated network that delivers multiple voice lines over a single physical connection, usually copper lines, to many businesses in Australia. The ISDN connection terminates onto a PBX/Phone System at the business site which in turn connects to multiple telephone handsets at that site.
As part of Telstra’s big deal signed with the NBN Co a few years ago, the incumbent carrier has agreed to decommission Australia’s entire copper network by 2022.
Accordingly, the carrier will stop the sale of ISDN2, ISDN2 Enhanced, ISDN10/20/30, DDS Fastway, Megalink and Frame Relay products by June 30 2018, ahead of the products being switched off completely around 2022.
And while 2022 might seem a long way away, if you’re in a business of any size or reach, the task of rebuilding your entire business phone system, including porting numbers and all the other related tasks, isn’t something you want to be doing on the hop.
Here’s a summary of the next key dates you need to be aware of:
31st January 2018 – New ISDN service unavailable for customers who do not already have ISDN in place.
30th June 2018 – Full cease sale on new or additional ISDN services for all customers. No new services will be available.
June 2019 – Disconnection will commence for existing ISDN connections.
By 2022 – All ISDN connections will be disconnected, and full network will be decommissioned.
The choice is to replace ISDN with one of two options:
- Replace ISDN and all dedicated Phone System/PBX hardware with a Hosted PBX which provides voice calls in and out along with call routing, IVR and voicemail on subscription model, including a modern handset and even Mobile App.
- Replace ISDN lines with SIP Trunks over a data network connection and upgrade or replace your dedicated Phone System/PBX along with handsets to be compatible.
What used to be thought of as traditional telephony services are now increasingly moving to a hosted model whereby PBX and UC (unified communications) are hosted and delivered entirely in the Cloud. This means no need to buy and manage PBX hardware on premise at all.
SIP trunking (or SIP trunks for short) is a public IP telephony service that’s based on ‘session initiated protocol lines’.
SIP is delivered over data lines that are used for internet and Wide Area Network (WAN) connections – which you’ve more than likely already got. By merging voice as another application on these data lines, the existing analogue or ISDN lines are no longer needed. SIP “lines” are automatically created and removed as required.
So which one is right for your business?
Hosted PBX/Phone System
Business locations that do not require highly advanced contact centre functionality are best place to move to a fully hosted PBX/Phone System solution, more information here.
SIP with Modern PBX
Business locations that have very specific, highly advances contact centre functions, agent level reporting, integrations with various business system etc. are better suited for a on-premise solution with hardware, software and SIP trunk to connect to the global voice network.
Here’s our top four
Manage business from anywhere
Operate your business from anywhere on any device via soft clients, web portal, receptionist console and call centre console which can all be accessed directly over the internet. This means your business is always on wherever you are.
Handset or Soft Client Options
Wide variety of powerful UC handsets in addition to soft client only solutions to cater for those team members who prefer headset-based communications, regar5dless of whether they’re using PC, MAC, iOS or Android.
Mobility Integration for Workers
Powerful mobility integration features allow staff to take and receive calls while on the road or teleworking. Incoming call plans can simultaneously ring the office and mobile, with soft clients allowing users to make and receive calls from their office number wherever they are.
Business Productivity Benefits
Features such as Outlook calendar integration, instant messaging and presence allow users to see who is available in the business, who is busy and who is free to take a call. These tools in addition to regular phone calls are proven to give your business real productivity benefits.
ISDN is being switched off, yes. And while it has been an extremely important technology for a long time, the new generation of digital IP and cloud-based technologies allow for more flexible, sophisticated and affordable solutions that will continue to evolve and improve long after the copper network is decommissioned.
If you’re concerned about preparing for the 2022 switch-off date, and / or are interested in exploring the range of digital telephony options, our expert team of IT&T engineers are available to help build the right plan for your organisation.