ISDN...It was acceptable in the '80s

Written by Liam Bonthron, 21st January 2021

The ’80s were well known for extreme fashions and the ever-changing music scene. Bringing us genres like New Wave, Punk, and Rock to name a few. For many, the ’80s was also the age of the VHS after it’s legendary battle to capture the video market from Betamax.  

It was an interesting time for technology. We saw the launch of the first Apple Mac and Microsoft Windows Computers. Something else that launched in the ’80s was ISDN. This stands for Integrated Services Digital Network. The most common use of ISDN allowed simple phone lines to send data. This was then used by Phone Systems to enable them to make Voice Calls.  

Mixtapes have become Spotify...

Many businesses are still using ISDN in their telecoms set up today. This was revolutionary in the 80s but the same cannot be said for today. Mixtapes have become Spotify. VHS has become DVDs and has since evolved into Netflix. The original Apple Mac has evolved 100 times over with the technology now being found in watches, phones, tablets, laptops, and TVs. ISDN was acceptable in the ’80s… but we are not in the ’80s anymore. 

ISDN to be phased out

Recently, we wrote an article about the ISDN Switch-Off that goes into more detail on the process and time scales. Between now and 2025 ISDN will be phased out and replaced with IP Telephony. This is not a new concept, IP Telephony is tried and tested. Personally, I have used IP Telephony in some form for the last 10 years, and for the last 4 years, I have not even had a phone on my desk.  

IP Telephony routes

IP Telephony has several different flavors, however, there are 3 main routes that can be taken: 

Like for Like Replacement: 

SIP Trunking can act as a like for like replacement for ISDN. When you have an onsite phone system- you can connect SIP to the system rather than the current ISDN Phone lines.  If you are considering this, you will need to consider the compatibility in the current system. Also, the availability of a compatible broadband service. Why is this? SIP Trunking will use the internet to make and receive calls. Therefore, you would have to make sure the bandwidth/stability of the line is compatible.  

Hosted Phone System: 

In simple terms, a hosted telephone system sits in a network data center, known as the cloud, who knew, there isn’t a real cloud? This removes the phone system infrastructure from your office. A Hosted Phone System is easily managed via a secure, web-based portal therefore you can make changes and additions remotely as you see fit. Alongside this, staff will be able to make and receive calls using a combination of handsets from Analogue, DECT, or IP and in addition to the physical handset, most Hosted Systems have an App. This can be used via your PC or Mobile device meaning you can truly work from anywhere. Just like SIP, users make calls through their data connection rather than a physical line, so, the same considerations need to be made around connectivity. 

Direct Routing: 

Albeit a relatively new solution, direct routing is built on our trusted SIP network, rather than the SIP connecting to a phone system. It involves connecting to an application, the most common of which is Microsoft Teams. Adding the Telephone License to Teams might be a logical next step for some of its 75 million daily users as their users are already using the app daily. We recently carried out a migration for SCVO, to move their on-premise environment to Direct Routing. You can have a read about their experiences on their case study

DB Comms is committed to making your transition from ISDN as seamless as possible. Please take our short survey and we can start helping you plan for the future 

ISDN & PSTN Switch off

Without breaking in to song, we are on “The Final Countdown” towards the UK switching off its Digital Phone Line Network. This means businesses will no longer be able to use Phone Systems or Featuring that use either ISDN or PSTN to make or receive calls.

This has been known for a few years now, but as I write this piece, we have less than five-years until WLR is withdrawn completely. From September 2023 businesses will be unable to buy new or additional ISDN and PSTN telephone lines, then in 2025 all Analogue and Digital Lines will be switched off completely. All customers will have to be migrated to a Voice over IP (VoIP) solution, VoIP is more cost-effective, easier to manage and more flexible, it is available in a number of flavours.

Change can be a challenging thought, but if 2020 has taught us anything, it is that our businesses are resilient and we can adapt to change, whether that be remote working, trading restrictions or health and safety practices.

Trusted Partner

Our moto is “Business Comms Simplified” we aim to guide your business from A to B through the path of least resistance,  We will work with your business, initially taking time to understand your challenges and requirements, meaning we are then able to design and deploy the solution that best fits.

We can advise on the three main flavours VoIP (Cloud Voice, SIP Trunking or Direct Routing), the products you chose will be based on your specific requirements taking into consideration existing systems,  staff size, office locations and any future growth or digital transformation plans you may have for the business

For a few, this is the first time you have heard about this “ISDN Digital Switch Off” or indeed you have not yet started revieing your options, there you have three good reasons not to worry:

We are here for you should need any advice about how the “ISDN Digital Switch Off” will affect your business, please take our short survey and we can start helping you plan for the future

Superfast Mobile 5G comes to Edinburgh

EE will launch 5G in 6 cities on the 30th May
5G has long been discussed as the next generation of mobile technology, the service will be capable of delivering speeds 10 times faster than 4G, whilst being more reliable in busy locations, it will also cater to today's "always on" generation by offering near-instant connectivity to the web when opening apps, websites or powering IOT devices

Where is 5G available
So later this month (May 2019) EE will launch its own 5G service in 6 UK cities to include London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham and Manchester, the list does not stop there, the rollout will continue to Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol later in 2019.

Game Changing
5G will offer 10x faster speeds than 4G - for consumers streaming high res video seamlessly or downloading a box set in seconds will become the norm. Whilst in a business scenario 5G will support bandwidth-hungry offices as part of a DR/ failover solution or direct alternative to Ethernet connectivity.

Better connection in busy environments - in places like stadiums, city centers, train stations or airports 4G mobile signal can sometimes get saturated, the 5G network with its broader range of frequencies will offer faster speeds with lower latency - even in busy places.

IoT Enabler - as IoT devices/assets require far less resource, this means huge numbers of assets/gateways can connect to a single mobile base station, which will reduce costs and increase efficiencies. The move to 5G will enable IoT improvements, which could help with all kinds of services to develop, including the likes of Smart Buildings, Asset Tracking, Smart Lighting, Logistics and much more!


Find out more
DB Comms are direct supplier of EE, Vodafone and O2 mobile services, to discuss a full range of 5G services, benefits and handsets please feel free to get in touch, call us today on 0330 058 3405 or email us on

Government slashes value of Gigabit Broadband Voucher

As an accredited supplier of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, we received an up yesterday announcing that due to high demand the Gigabit Broadband Voucher will be reduced from £3000 to £2500. This change comes in to effect at 17:00 on the 26th of November and the new terms shall not be applied retrospectively. Meaning you still have a window of opportunity to order your new Gigabit Broadband and still receive maximum funding - act fast.

Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said:

“Access to good broadband is vital for small businesses across the UK, and with the clock ticking on this scheme, it’s important small businesses don’t delay if they want to apply for funding.”

The Government Broadband Voucher Scheme may just have been a victim of its own success. Originally the broadband scheme was funded to the tune of £67 million, which was expected to run out in 2021. Due to the initial popularity, the Government have already issues more than 7000 vouchers. The GBVS team now anticipate the fund being depleted in late 2019 or early in 2020 - over a year ahead of the intended end date.

Margot James MP, UK Minister for Digital, said:

“Our modern Industrial Strategy is clear on the importance of connectivity, as we build a full fibre Britain that is fit for the future. These vouchers provide practical and immediate help to firms struggling with slow broadband speeds. I encourage small businesses around the UK to apply now.”

With these changes being made, the Government now expects the GBVS to help an additional 1000 businesses become Gigabit ready. DB Group can offer honest, impartial advice with no obligations, let's start the conversation, give us a call today on 0330 058 3405.

We are registered suppliers for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme

Get up to £3000 towards the cost of a Gigabit Broadband connection for your business

DB Group is an accredited supplier of the Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme – offering businesses like yours up to £3,000 towards the infrastructure costs of a gigabit-capable connection, enabling you to make use of these latest technologies and gain a competitive advantage over your competitors.

A Full fibre broadband connection offers the best and most reliable internet speeds available, and the government is committed to a vision of Britain with full fibre connectivity. As part of this commitment, the Government has launched the Gigabit broadband vouchers, that can be used by small businesses to contribute to the installation cost of a gigabit-capable connection.

Businesses can claim up to £3,000 against the cost of connection either individually or as part of a group project.

Who is eligible?

Connectivity Matters

If your business is already lucky enough to have a gigabit-capable service then the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme isn’t available to you. To be eligible your new connection must:

Act Quick

The scheme ends on March 2021 or when the £67 million fund runs out, let us start the conversation  -  no obligations, just get in touch by calling 0330 058 3405 or visit our contact us page here.

We support Macmillan Cancer Support

By 2020, nearly one in two people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. In some way, shape or form, Cancer will, unfortunately, affect the lives of all of our staff, customers, and partners. Cancer knows no boundaries or limits, which is one of the many reasons we want to help support the work that Macmillan Cancer Support does, we believe it is a charity that everyone should get behind. By supporting Macmillan, we will be demonstrating to our staff and customers our commitment to do our bit to help a cause that truly resonates with each and every one of us.

In making Macmillan Cancer Support our charity of the year, we will be planning a number of events over the next 12 months to raise funds and offer support. We have always supported the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning and plan to make this year's event bigger and better. To aid our fundraising, our very own Shelagh Duguid will be taking on the Rob Roy Mighty Hike, which is a 26 Mile hike from Callander to Killin. Throughout the year we take part in a number of other events, so please watch this space for updates.

We welcome all your donations to help our team reach their goals