What Are My Options If My Services Are Impacted By ISDN/PSTN switch off?

At the time of writing, it’s been around 7 years since BT announced the impending end date for the use of ISDN and PTSN technology throughout the UK. Despite this, nearly a quarter of UK businesses, and 33% of SMEs have not prepared for the change.

The ISDN/PSTN switch-off represents the biggest change in the telecom industry in the last 30 years. It will remove the use of the traditional copper network for communications, and push companies and everyday users into an IP-focused environment.

The good news is moving from the POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) into the digital landscape presents a host of beneficial opportunities for companies. It’s a chance to cut down on international calling costs, access better scalability, and improve flexibility. However, you’ll need to ensure you have the right strategy in place to prepare for the transition.

Exploring the Alternatives to ISDN/PTSN

The ISDN and PTSN solutions for traditional communications will be officially shut down in 2025, and by 2023, vendors will no longer provide PTSN-focused solutions to consumers. In today’s rapidly evolving and digital landscape, neither of these technologies are capable of delivering the quality or volume of voice data most businesses need.

Instead, the UK is switching universally to the Internet as a way of transferring data from calls, and multi-media interactions. All services previously using the copper phone line network offered by PTSN will be switched into the “IP” or “Internet Protocol” environment. This means companies will need to update not just their phone lines, but other features too.

Because PTSN also supports FTTC and ADSL broadband, this means organisations will need to explore alternatives for both connectivity and communications.

The Options for Updating Connectivity

From a connectivity perspective, companies will need to switch their copper-wire connected phone solutions out for a more modern alternative. There are three common options available right now:

  • Full fibre: FTTP solutions are currently being rolled out throughout the UK. By 2025, the government has confirmed that 85% of the country will be connected for gigabit broadband. The remaining 15% should be connected by 2030.
  • SOGEA: Otherwise known as Single Order Generic Ethernet Access, SOGEA offers companies the equivalent of FTTC broadband, without the telephone line. This solution only transmits data, however, so it’s not suitable for voice services.
  • SOFAST: This is the same solution as SOGEA, but for companies using the G.Fast connectivity solution. It offers download speeds up to 300Mbps.

Replacing your Phone System

To replace the phone system, companies will need to shift into an IP environment to replace ISDN. There are two well-known technologies currently available here:

  • VoIP: Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP is a technology solution which allows for the delivery of multimedia and voice communications over IP networks. Analogue voice calls are converted into data packets, which are transmitted over the public internet and private IP network. This technology allows for global communications on the web. VoIP drives peer-to-peer calls and Meetings within Teams or within an application such as Vonage
  • SIP: Session Initiation Protocol or SIP is the set of rules used in multimedia communications leveraged by VoIP. These rules dictate how calls are initiated, terminated, and modified throughout the IP network. SIP trunking providers allow companies to manage their telephony over a data connection and communicate around the world. SIP is what makes external calls possible or cross-application like Teams to a PBX

How to Switch to VoIP and SIP Solutions

The good news for companies concerned about the impending IDSN/PTSN switch-off is it could actually be a positive thing for their organisation’s growth. With the increasing rise of hybrid and remote working, collaboration and calling solutions need to be able to enable employees to interact anywhere, on any device.

The traditional IDSN environment is inflexible, expensive, and lacks visibility and manageability for phone numbers and functionality. It also often requires companies to maintain multiple telephony contracts with vendors across the globe. Switching to VoIP and SIP trunking solutions allows companies to access significant cost savings and flexibility benefits.

While simply implementing VoIP could be a good way for some companies to set up a new phone system, this offering lacks the flexibility and management options offered by a SIP solution. If you want to keep your current numbers, scale up or down easily according to your requirements, and maintain a single-vendor network, you will need to seek out a SIP trunking provider.

What if my Business still requires Analogue Devices

In some instances, your business may still require analogue devices to work alongside your new SIP turning services – such as fax machines and emergency phones in places like lifts. In this instance you will need to work with a provider such as Resonate, who are able to help you understand what the best solution is for you which could be:

1) Retain your existing endpoints and integrate them with an Analogue Gateway into your cloud telephony environment
2) Look at replacing your endpoints with Native IP Based devices.

Make the Switch with Resonate

Resonate offers an enterprise-grade SIP Trunking solution designed to streamline the transition from ISDN and PTSN technologies. The powerful and scalable cloud solution for modern communications ensures you have end-to-end management of your calling capabilities across the globe.

With Resonate, you can port your existing numbers into your new ecosystem, while removing old-fashioned on-premises equipment and legacy lines, and integrating them where they can’t be removed. You’ll be able to scale according to your business needs, access powerful legal and compliance advice, and benefit from a pay-as-you-go pricing model, suited to your business.

Resonate offers a comprehensive phone system within Microsoft Teams, using direct routing and a host of advanced features, like real-time disaster recovery with IP failover control, instant call forwarding, and a Power Platform based Voice Tooling suite to enable you to simply manage your telephony needs.

Contact our dedicated team today to make sure you’re prepared for the ISDN/PTSN switch-off, with a custom solution built for your business.

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