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

21st January 2021
Reading time < 3 minutes

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