Are you ready for ISDN switch off?

If your business relies on an ISDN-based phone system, you might be aware that you need to make preparations to switch away from ISDN before 2025. If you’re not aware of that, then read on.

So, why do you need to move away from using ISDN technology? The largest supplier of telecommunications and internet infrastructure in the UK, Openreach, announced in 2017 their intention to switch off the infrastructure supporting ISDN lines in 2025.

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) technology is part of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and was originally designed to allow data and voice transmission over ordinary copper wiring within the existing UK telecommunications infrastructure. Advancements in technology and an aging telephone network mean that ISDN is being phased out with full switch off scheduled for late 2025.

Although you may feel that there is time left to worry about this, you should take steps right away to find out how you’re affected and what you need to do.

Openreach will replace the ISDN infrastructure with standard internet protocol (IP) technology to facilitate Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). Openreach are believed to be favouring VOIP which is more cost-effective and could be a better solution for many businesses. Many companies and households already use VOIP technology for their telecommunications and with the ISDN switch off, the number is set to increase.

If you currently rely on an ISDN-based system, you should discuss the alternatives with your telecommunications supplier and consider switching to a different technology like VOIP when your current contract comes to an end. Don’t wait until your contract is finished. Instead, shop around and look for your replacement solution before the contract ends so you can transition over at the right time. Even though the switch isn’t happening until 2025, you shouldn’t blindly renew a contract that expires before then. Engage an expert and find out what your options are.

Another check you can undertake is to find out if your current phone system is compatible with the modern alternatives to ISDN technology. If your phone system was installed in recent years for example, in the last 5 years, then there’s every chance it’s compatible with other technologies that you can switch to. Check with your current provider and see what your system is capable of and what your options are. If your phone system doesn’t support IP technology, then you might need to think about upgrading or replacing your system.

Since the future lies in IP technology, your phone system will rely on your internet connection. Check your existing internet connection and get advice on whether it is robust enough to give you a reliable phone system. A weak internet connection will result in a poor and unreliable phone system.

If you are reliant on ISDN technology or even if you’re not sure, act now and make sure you understand if you need to make changes and if so, what changes you need to think about. Don’t get caught out when the switch off comes.

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