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The ISDN switch-off: what you need to consider.

Posted by Steve Barratt on Jun 24, 2021 10:36:36 AM

The ISDN switch-off is much sooner than you think, yet as many as 2 million customers still rely on ISDN as their primary connectivity solution. As we power through the five-year switch-off plan, we’ve put together a guide to what you need to consider when choosing and implementing your ISDN alternative.

 

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First, what is ISDN and why is it being switched off?

ISDN (Integrated Service Digital Network) is a telephone network system. It was first launched in 1986 by BT to digitalise our outdated landline technology.

ISDN was an exciting advancement at the time, as it allowed voice and data services to be delivered over digital lines simultaneously, capable of supporting both an analogue phone line and simplified video-conferencing. When first introduced, it was generally the fastest and best quality connection available. Recent updates in our connectivity systems (including DSL, WAN, Cable Modems, and Connected Cloud Solutions) have since pushed ISDN into legacy status. However, it is still in place in as many as 2 million businesses across the UK

 

What does the ISDN switch off mean for my business?

ISDN (Integrated Service Digital Network) is a telephone network system. It was first launched in 1986 by BT to digitalise our outdated landline technology.

ISDN was an exciting advancement at the time, as it allowed voice and data services to be delivered over digital lines simultaneously, capable of supporting both an analogue phone line and simplified video-conferencing. When first introduced, it was generally the fastest and best quality connection available. Recent updates in our connectivity systems (including DSL, WAN, Cable Modems, and Connected Cloud Solutions) have since pushed ISDN into legacy status. However, it is still in place in as many as 2 million businesses across the UK.

 

What does the ISDN switch off mean for my business?

If you are one of the 2 million UK businesses still using ISDN, you will need to make the switch by 2025 at the very latest - but that doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax for the next four years. The switch off is already in motion, with some areas already switched off as of January 2021. For these areas, businesses still relying on ISDN technology will experience a whole host of issues with their network in the next few years (some of which may have already begun), not to mention a complete blackout when the switch-off occurs. Our advice? Make the switch as soon as you can. 

 

What are the alternatives to ISDN?

Whilst there are some wired alternatives available, the obvious winner in the battle to replace ISDN is adopting the cloud. Why? Because cloud-based connectivity offers a simple, scalable, single-vendor solution with clear insights and continuous, reliable connectivity. 

For example, a doctor’s surgery may have several receptionists each managing their own phone. As it stands, these phones may all use ISDN lines so multiple callers can phone into the same local number and avoid an engaged tone. The more ISDN lines the surgery has, the more callers can phone in at one time. However, with a cloud-based solution, customers would be positioned straight into a call queue, avoiding an engaged tone all together. This queue could be equipped with the ability to inform each caller of their position, their likely wait time, and any further information the surgery wishes to pass on to callers. It could also include self-service options, call recording and archiving (which could then be attached to a patient’s record), and mobile back-up to ensure connection is not lost, even if disaster strikes.  

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What do I need to consider when switching to a cloud-based solution?

It is important to know what to look out for when it comes to choosing the best connectivity solution for your business. Here are our top six considerations for any business looking to make the switch.


 

Prepare For The Long Term

In the rush to prepare your business for the switch-off, it may be tempting to roll out another short-term solution. Resisting that temptation doesn’t just mean gaining a unified communications solution that will last longer, but it means a solution that is consistent, reliable, and efficient. Our solutions are developed to adapt alongside your business, and we hand-pick the right option for your team by familiarising ourselves fully with their requirements. With the ever-changing nature of today’s workplace, now is the time to prepare for the future.

 

Security and Compliance

Is your chosen solution compliant with all government and industry requirements? Is your data safe with your provider? 

With the data security concerns at every turn, and a rapid improvement in the skill of hackers, it has never been more important to protect your business, your employees, and your customers from potential breaches.

 

Coverage

According to Finder, as many as 60% of UK workers are currently working remotely, almost half of whom intend to continue to do so once lockdown lifts. So, by the ISDN shut down in 2025, it may well be that the majority of people continue to work from home. Your chosen communications system must be capable of supporting this level of remote working whilst allowing your business to maintain efficiency and collaboration. When you choose a FluidOne solution, you can rest assured that even the most sophisticated features your business may require (think high-quality international video conferencing, or multiple remote-working employees simultaneously editing the same sizable centrally-stored file) are readily accessible and easy to use. 

 

Reliability and Quality

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from the past 12 months, it is that the quality of your connection makes a huge difference to the quality of your remote working experience. Experiencing audio delays, robotic-sounding voices, and/or dropping in and out whilst on video calls might be something we have all got used to laughing about, but it isn’t something your business should have to suffer through. Maintaining a reliable, high-quality connection, wherever your employees operate from, should be a given. 

 

• Capabilities and Integration

Can your existing internet connection support your new solution? Is your current phone system compatible with your new solution? If you don’t know, don’t panic. Not only can we help you find out, but we can also provide a consistent, all-in-one solution that integrates all aspects of your business’ connectivity needs, so you never have to answer that question again. 

 

Analytics and Reporting

Most legacy systems provide very little if anything in terms of reporting or analysis, limiting the capacity for your business to learn and improve on your communications. With a quality cloud-based platform, you should be able to gain valuable insights from all your communications, integrating all key aspects of your communication network to form simple, customisable, and actionable reports.

As the leading Connected Cloud Solutions provider in the UK, and the company with the highest Net Promoter Score (NPS) in the industry, there is simply no one better equipped to help you adopt a cloud-based system than FluidOne.  

Not only are we the most connected network in the UK, but we are also the most client-focused. We don’t just provide our customers with a product straight off-the-shelf but consult directly with you to design solutions that complement your needs and existing structures, making the whole process as smooth as possible. 

 

Not sure if your business still needs to make the switch? Or which option is best for you or your team? 

We’ve got the answers. Contact experts at FluidOne for assistance

Contact us

 

 

About the author

Steve Barratt, Head of New Business

LIFF Instagram Highlights-1Dedicated to delivering innovative solutions to help customers achieve their business objectives. Steve leads the new business team at FluidOne where we provide customers the best quality Connected Cloud Solutions. His area of expertise includes Managed Services, Digital workplace solutions, Customer Experience, SD WAN,  Security solutions and much more.

 

 

Topics: Home Office, Unified Communications, working from home, EU