Shutdown of ISDN Network and Phone System Options
Starting from the 30th September 2019, The Integrated Services Digital Network or ISDN Network which runs over the old copper phone line network will slowly start to be decommissioned. The fixed line network that powered our old phone lines and phone systems will be no more and businesses will need to continue the transition over to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) using internet links such as NBN, Fibre or Mobile GSM.
The initial decommissioning of the ISDN network commenced in 2018, when Telco providers ceased selling new services including ISDN2, ISDN10/20/30, DDS Fastway, and Frame Relay services. The disconnection and shut down of these old ISDN services will commence as of the end of September 2019, the plan is for the entire ISDN network to be disconnected and not in use by 2022.
The challenge for Australian businesses both big and small, is being adequately prepared for the shutdown of the ISDN network and having a changeover plan in place. Leaving it till the last minute could cause significant stress closer to your decommissioning date, as your PSTN and ISDN lines are disconnected, voice services and phone numbers you have had for many years will be disconnected and the last thing you want is to be forced into making rushed decisions on what services to procure to get you back up and running.
Phone System Options When ISDN Is Shutdown
The good news is that with the death of analogue voice services and the recent explosion in Cloud based and hosted telephony services, there are a multitude of Phone System Alternatives available. Some of the common terminologies you will hear include on premise phone systems, SIP, VoIP, Hosted PABX, IP-based and Hosted Phone Systems. The two most common phone system options are either a SIP enabled on premise PBX with SIP channels, or a fully hosted PBX with hosted licencing.
The most common brands of on premise phone systems include NEC, AVAYA, Panasonic, LG, Commander, CISCO, Alcatel and Samsung. For hosted PBX solutions, most common brands of handset hardware include Yealink, Polycom, Grandstream, CISCO and SNOM.
Depending on the technology you use and the provider, there could be significant benefits of changing over to a modern voice technology, including cost reductions, improved support, reduction in maintenance costs, as well as significant functionality, flexibility and scalability improvements.
Technical Considerations of Moving to a Hosted Phone System
Depending on the quality of your internet connection, there should be no noticeable difference with VoIP and SIP services in comparison to your old ISDN or PSTN services, especially if you allow for dedicated bandwidth on your network for voice connectivity, ensuring a consistent high-quality audio experience.
Internet speeds required to maintain a high-quality VoIP call is a minimum of 0.1MB download and 0.1MB upload speed.
As an example, if your business moves from ISDN10 services and requires 10 concurrent VoIP/SIP channels, the minimum required internet access speed for voice is 1MB/1MB.
In terms of internet access, most businesses will end up using a combination of NBN, fibre or mobile connections. A range of older internet services with also be shut down, including ADSL, ADSL2, EOC, EFM and some Cable services.
Another important consideration of hosted phone systems is electricity / power, if you don’t have power your handsets won’t work, so it’s good to keep that in mind, but having access to a mobile app or computer with the phone system software installed should allow you to receive and make calls if you have an internet connection.
Benefits of moving to an IP Based Phone System
Depending on the type of voice technology you select, there are some significant functionality and scalability benefits of modern phone systems, especially with hosted phone systems is the ability to add new handsets or phone numbers, which in most cases is just a matter of plugging a configured handset into your network and procuring a new license, you can move handsets from one location to another, adding handsets to new offices and new locations even overseas can just be a matter of connecting that handset to the internet, this can all be performed without the need of a technician.
Additional operational benefits include the ability for a user’s extension to be answerable on a traditional desk phone / handset, computer and mobile app. This means that a user can answer and make calls using any of these 3 endpoints. Staff no longer need to be tied to an office desk in order to make and take calls and can be based anywhere in the world, including home and other remote locations the only requirements is internet access.
With ISDN services having backups and redundancy in place was quite difficult, if anything were to happen with the line to your building, if a cable were cut somewhere or there was something wrong with the connection, your only option would be to wait till its fixed by your provider. With IP based telephony you have a multitude of options available, in the event that your primary internet connection goes down, you can revert to a backup internet connection or a 3G/4G (future 5G) mobile data service, you can purchase routers which have the fail over capability built in. You can redirect numbers to mobile phone services, or you can redirect the entire inbound virtual number to mobile services, with the right planning you have options available in the event of a failure or outage. The team at Telco Broker can help you determine what solutions and services are best suited to your business, so no need to feel overwhelmed.
Cyber Security is becoming a an important requirement for all businesses around the world. Since VoIP systems are internet based, they are more prone to hacking and misuse compared to older technologies, how your chosen vendor manages security and what precautions they have in place are important considerations when deciding on solutions and providers moving forward.
Cost Savings associated with IP Based Phone Systems
In terms of cost savings, depending on the rates that you are paying for ISDN services, there could be cost savings of 20-50%+ on your current bill, if you have an on-premise phone system and you routinely require technicians to visit your premises either for maintenance or to make configuration changes, your savings could be significantly more, as with hosted phone systems most changes can be completed via your provider remotely and don’t require a site visit.
Overall contract costs and total cost of ownership of a hosted PBX is typically much less than the cost of implementation, changes and management of on-premise PBX systems, however, this is contingent on the size of your business, how many services and your call patterns.
If you have received a notice from your Telecommunications provider that your ISDN services are going to be shut down or decommissioned, you should give the team a call at Telco Broker on 1300 978 073 to run through what your options are, we can review your current infrastructure, contracts and bills. We can provide you multiple quotes from different vendors at very competitive price points, saving you time and energy, whilst also being able to lean on our team for advice and support.
We can assist with decommissioning of your old phone system and hardware and oversee the deployment of any new infrastructure and services. The fact that we are vendor independent and agnostic works in your favour as we are not limited by what solutions we can present to you and won’t put the hard sell on you.
Telco Broker have helped businesses all over Australia with their Telecommunications issues, we have delivered phone system solutions in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Tasmania, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia.