ISDN switch off … why is VoIP better?

BT Openreach who provide telecom’s services to around 27 million UK homes and businesses, have announced plans to carry out an ISDN switch off by 2020, and phase out the network entirely by 2025.  BT’s alternative to ISDN is ‘Voice over Internet Protocol’ [VoIP], served up as a hosted offering under long-term rental contracts.

How is VoIP better than ISDN?

VoIP is a newer and more flexible technology, but that aside, there are some real advantages to moving your business telecom’s to VoIP:

Cost:  ISDN is more expensive to install, rent and make calls upon. SIP Trunk channels are typically £2 to £3 per channel per month with no installation charge with your new system, or when you add more. Call tariffs are low for both domestic and International destinations. SIP Trunk channels can be set up for you in ‘hours’ rather than the months you wait for ISDN lines making your business more effective faster.

Reliability:  Faults on ISDN lines are often quite slow to fix. VoIP faults can be diagnosed & repaired much quicker. In addition, it’s now easy to have SIP Trunk services from different suppliers so that problems with a carrier can be by-passed using alternate call routes.

Portability:  ISDN can be very restrictive in letting you take your numbers with you when you move your business – even on some occasions where the lines are coming from the same exchange! Direct Dial Inward [DDI] numbers associated with your SIP Trunk channels are 100% portable, and can move with you – even to another country!  Unlike ISDN, VoIP hosted DDI numbers can have any geographical prefix so that you can show a national or International presence in your advertising.  VoIP Phone systems also allow us to present an extension’s DDI number as its outbound Caller ID, making it easy for customers & suppliers to call you back – where ISDN will present the same single number for all outbound calls.

Scalability:  New DDI numbers and SIP Trunk channels can be added to a VoIP system in minutes. This means you can be flexible enough to change your business telecom’s to meet your business needs as they evolve, and at very low cost!

So – What do I need to do to get ready for this?

The sooner you plan to migrate away from ISDN the better – both from a practical “don’t get caught when it switches off!” point of view, as well as from a cost angle. Every year you rent ISDN lines, you are paying a major percentage of the cost of a new VoIP phone system! It makes no sense to wait, as all the benefits are right here, right now …

If you are opening a new office, or moving to new premises, then there’s the same argument. It only makes it more expensive and draws out timescales if you order ISDN lines.

Migration to VoIP is not complicated for most businesses, and can even be done without disrupting existing telephone services.  Here at Foxhall Solutions, we can provide the; line, broadband, SIP Trunks, DDI numbers, number porting, Phone systems, phone hand-sets, installation, commissioning, user training, ongoing support and itemised monthly billing for your new phone system.

Contact Foxhall Solutions at 01787 228402 to talk about moving away from ISDN to a flexible and cost-effective telecom’s solution.

 

Is VoIP as reliable as analogue and ISDN?

VoIP telephone systems are capable of using analogue and ISDN lines just like other telephone systems. But – it’s when they use Internet that their cost savings and flexibility become apparent, with lower line and call costs, and their ability to support a phone located anywhere in the world, as a ‘local’ extension.

Internet connections have become more sophisticated and reliable, with Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) on some business grade services, matching those of ISDN phone lines. Even so – people are still cautious about putting telephone calls across the Internet …

There are a couple of basic rules that we follow; first – we make sure that the ISP supplying your Internet trunk lines, is the same company that’s providing your Broadband service. This is so that your calls don’t have to go into the server-farm at one Internet provider and then transit the web to find the telecom’s server at another. Following this rule ensures a nice clean connection between your phones and the carrier’s central switch system designed to onward connect you to local, national, international & mobile calls.

The second rule is to be careful about your choice of Internet / line provider. VoIP provides huge savings over ISDN or analogue lines – so it doesn’t make sense to choose your ISP partner purely on price. In general, business-to-business ISP’s are more expensive because they CAN provide some assurances that ‘when the kids get in from school’ their servers and bandwidth won’t be pushed to the limit! For example – working with an ISP that guarantees a 30% reserve on bandwidth – and provides automatic call fall-back to alternate land-line or mobile numbers is going to give you that warm & fuzzy feeling … Where an ISP you sign-up to out of a shopping trolley may not!

With the right service in place, you will experience VoIP connection that is pretty much as you’d get from an ISDN service – without the cost! However, that’s not the end of it! To provide additional security, we can use the analogue lines used to deliver broadband services into the business, as alternates in case of a broadband problem. We could even use mobile gateways to carry calls and by-pass land-lines completely.

VoIP systems are typically running on [non-proprietary] PC’s or servers, and therefore, even if the fault is due to failed computer hardware, it is possible to quickly and easily load the system application and a configuration back-up onto another PC and get service restored fast.

So – in a lot of cases, VoIP systems are actually becoming more reliable than ‘traditional’ land-line based systems – simply because there are so many safe-guards and alternates built into them.

See this post for an update regarding this subject