In 2015, BT announced that they will be switching off the PSTN and ISDN in 2025, marking the biggest change in the telecoms industry for over 30 years, but what does this mean for you? We answer all your burning questions to help you prepare for the approaching deadline.
What Exactly Is ISDN And Why Is It Being Switched Off?
Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN) is a phone system that allows voice and data to be transmitted via digital lines simultaneously. It launched back in 1986 with much celebration as businesses could now support their phone lines and video conference at the same time.
ISDN introduced faster speeds and a digital connection bringing about a plethora of benefits to businesses. This included increased productivity, clearer connections and a decreased number of interruptions and distortion.
But now, ISDN is a bit of an outdated system. Businesses can benefit more from a Voice over IP (VoIP) system that works via an active internet connection. Because there are no physical lines involved, it provides even faster connection speeds.
What does this mean for small-medium businesses?
Although the shutdown won’t officially happen until 2025, it’s still important to start thinking about how to prepare for the ISDN switch-off. (If you haven’t already.)
Luckily, switching from ISDN to a VoIP phone system isn’t as complicated as it seems. It’s a relatively straightforward process. But you do have to make sure your business has a good enough internet connection to deliver VoIP. Luckily, in this day and age, most businesses will.
Is Your Business Compatible With A VoIP System?
Ideally, you would need internet speeds above 2Mbps for a small business, but it depends on the type of business you are in. Larger businesses with more demand may need faster speeds at around 5Mbps.
You’ll also need to check that your current phone system within the business will support VoIP. If it doesn’t, you may need to replace your phone system. If you don’t want the hassle of that you can invest in a new PBX (the box that connects you to the external phone network) or try a hosted telephony system.
- Check your contract: If your current telephone contract is due for renewal or you’re out of your contract period it is the perfect time to migrate to VoIP or SIP technology. If you’re still in contract, you can plan your exit date based on your T’s and C’s.
- Profile your company: When migrating your telephony system, you’ll want to check how many users and handsets you will need. Then find a system that suits and is compatible with your exact needs.
- Set your budget: moving to a new system can help you save money. It’s worth checking what your current budget is to compare. There are different solutions available so you can easily adjust to fit your needs.
What Are the Advantages of VoIP Compared with ISDN?
Switching from ISDN to VoIP is actually an evolution of modern telecommunications, so there must be some competitive advantages to migrate to VoIP. Here’s a list of advantages businesses could benefit from using VoIP services.
Costs are one of the most important things to consider for any business. Let’s do the comparison, starting with the set-up fee. It’s always expensive to implement an ISDN system since it normally requires the purchasing of physical lines as well as proprietary phones and requires installation and maintenance by an experienced team. While VoIP does not necessarily require a desktop phone system and a hardware device, it’s much cheaper to install a VoIP system.
Regarding the costs of phone calls, VoIP services providers always charge businesses by the number of users, with no phone calling limitations, while the traditional ISDN users need to pay for every call they make; it’s much cheaper for SMBs to use VoIP services. Generally, using VoIP services would save up to 50% online rentals and 25% on phone calls. So, for SMBs wishing to save money on their phone systems, VoIP would be a good option to choose from.
Flexibility and Scalability
For ISDN systems, once the set-up is complete, it’s permanent and tied to ongoing contracts. If an organization is looking to expand the service to new locations, new hardware and lines are required to be installed at each location, which is normally done by an experienced team. So the changes could take weeks or even months and it would cost a lot. While for VoIP services, scaling up and altering the setup is quick and simple. Thanks to virtual numbers, the services are not tied to geographical locations and organizations can simply add on additional users without purchasing any new hardware or phone lines, enabling businesses to make the changes almost instantly, at a comparatively much lower cost.
Functionalities and Features
Though landline services do offer you some key features of a phone system like call forwarding, voicemail, call conferencing, and so on, these services always come at a cost and could not always satisfy the ever-growing business needs. VoIP systems also provide you with some other business-enhancing features, you can take a quick look here:
- Auto Provision IP Phones
- CRM Integration
- Call Queue
- Call Recording
- Remote Management
As businesses demand real-time communications increase, Unified Communications has become a hot topic in recent years. With VoIP, communications service providers could help you interconnect all your communications devices and applications, realizing asynchronous communications and helping boost business productivity.
As 5G now being accessible in most parts of the world, the speed and quality of internet services have been improved a lot, which leads to the overall enhancement of VoIP phone systems. The high quality of VoIP phone calls ensures users the best experience and all the easy-to-manage platforms VoIP empowers could only bring more to its users. Additionally, VoIP can use the internet to seamlessly merge data and voice technology, making it endlessly customizable, scalable, and cost-effective. So the future of telecommunications lies in VoIP.
Easily switch for a better connection
If your business is reliant on landline telephony, we recommend switching to a cloud phone system as soon as possible. Not only will this ensure you don’t experience any unexpected interruption in 2025, but you’ll also benefit from cost savings, enhanced capabilities, such as call forwarding, recording, and transcribing, and a more efficient phone solution.
To find out how to switch to a cloud phone system you will need to speak to your IT support partner.
If you’re already partnered with us, you can contact your dedicated Business Technology Advisor directly or call us on 01708 836310.
If you’re not currently a client and would like to learn more about our IT support and managed services (including how we can help you transition to a cloud phone system), please contact us today.