Will ISDN switch off impact you?
Some of the biggest news in the telecoms world recently came from BT Openreach, who announced that they would be switching off their ISDN networks in 2025. Reports suggest that a whopping 25 percent of businesses don’t know about the bearer channels and ISDN switch off, sparking fears that many companies are not preparing themselves for making a change to newer technology. Openreach states that existing ISDN customers will automatically be switched to a single IP core network, but is this the best option for your business?
SIP & VOIP
SIP trunks and VoIP are considered to be ‘next generation’ voice technologies, and the ISDN phase out presents an excellent opportunity to make the switch to these sorts of alternatives. Reports show that SIP is one of the fastest-growing voice technologies, with a growth rate of 25 percent each year as more and more businesses seek out faster, more reliable, and more cost-effective ways to transfer their voice data.
What is VoIP?
VoIP stands for “Voice over internet protocol”, its a relatively new technology that is taking over the phone system world. It uses the internet to send voice data, replacing the old fashioned copper phone line. With a VoIP telephone system, you can get 2 different types of phone, either a hard phone (desktop phone) or a softphone (computer app).
The phones you pick are depended on your needs, as well as your budget. Hard phone can tend to be more expensive as hardware is required, you can either purchase VoIP enable desk phones or you can buy a piece of technology that enables you to turn a standard desk phone into a VoIP phone (if your current phone is compatible).
Softphones can be slightly cheaper, depending on the provider, all you’ll need is a compatible device, such as a tablet or smartphone, and a VoIP app such as RingCentral or Vonage. The minimum speed you’d need to make decent VoIP called is 128 kbps, but more is preferable.
This telephone line alternative will soon be replacing ISDN lines. so it might be best to make the circuit switch now to save hassle in the future. This solution is perfect for small businesses and well as larger businesses because it is scalable, meaning if you need 1 phone or 1000 phones, VoIP can cope.
What is SIP Trunks?
A lot of people get SIP and VoIP confused, which is understandable. VoIP simply means to make and receive calls over the internet, whereas SIP is an application protocol that allows multimedia sessions to be established, modified, and terminated. So, in short, VoIP is the product and SIP is the technology behind transmitting the data.
A SIP trunk works by making a virtual connection between your company and your Internet telephony service provider (ISTP) either through IP traffic or the internet via a VPN Network.
How to get the best VoIP deal
There are copious amounts of VoIP provider in the UK, but finding the right one to fit your business needs can be tricky. Before you can even consider going out to providers you need to figure out exactly what you need. Firstly you’d need to decide if you want softphones or hard phones, and if you have technologies in place that are VoIP compatible, if you do this could save you money in the future.
Secondly, you need to figure out exactly what kind of calls you’ll be making. If you’re a financial trading company and need to make calls all around the world, you’ll need an international calls package, which can be more expensive compared to a standard calls package. But if you’re needs are just to make calls within the UK, then a standard package would suit your needs perfectly.
Lastly, you need to figure out exactly home many lines/handset you’ll need. Some companies get a mixture of soft and hard phones, some go for one or the other. Luckily, VoIP is extremely scalable, so if you start off with 10 phones, but then have an influx of new employees, you can easily add phones to your package enabling your new employees to get to work as soon as possible.
Once you’ve figured these factors out, you can start hunting around and gathering quotes from each provider and comparing them manually. This can be a tedious and time-consuming process though, but luckily for you, we can remove this headache and get a free and impartial comparison done for you. Just fill in our VoIP telephone system forms, wait for a call from one of our friendly advisors, and then you’ll receive your quotes the same day.
Preparing for the ISDN Switch Off
Businesses should be aware that there are two stages to preparing for the switch off. Firstly, it’s important to decide what you’ll replace your ISDN network with; whether you’ll opt for a single IP core network, or whether you’ll take the opportunity to carry your voice data through your internet connection with VoIP which would open up doors to a number of communication improvements, such as video conferencing. All types of ISDN networks will be terminated, including PSTN and ISDN networks.
Secondly, if you decide to go down the VoIP route, you’ll need to ensure that you have the technology to do so. In many cases, a basic business broadband connection won’t be enough to adequately handle voice traffic; at least not in a way that won’t cause frustration and confusion. Businesses may wish to look into installing a leased line, which is currently the fastest and most reliable connectivity option in the UK.
Will You Be Affected by the Switch Off?
Statistics show that there are currently 3.2 million active ISDN networks in the UK, which means that there is a large number of businesses who will be affected by the decision of BT Openreach.
While 2025 maybe a few years away, now is the time to start researching your options, and undertaking any necessary changes required to ensure you’re in a position to be able to fully utilise SIP and VoIP, such as installing a new internet service like a leased line, for example, which provides a faster, more reliable service for your voice traffic.