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Is your telephone system ready for the big ISDN switch off?

In 2027 legacy ISDN and PSTN telephony networks will be switched off for good. If you aren’t using an IP (internet protocol) telephone system already, you should start making plans for the ISDN switch off now, so you won’t be forced into panicky decisions nearer the time.

The transition to an all-IP network means that, from January 2027, all voice data will need to travel over your internet connection, as it already does if you make a Skype or Teams call. There will no longer be an analogue option.

The fact is that these legacy systems are simply not designed for the kind of data-rich communications that are increasingly crucial to modern business.  So, the sooner you make the switch to all-IP communications, the sooner you’ll start seeing the benefits.

Farewell to ISDN and PSTN

Still, change is always unsettling, and the ISDN switch off represents the biggest shake-up to telecoms in 30 years. But it needs to happen because modern, all-IP communications are simply more efficient, more flexible and more cost-effective than their legacy counterparts.

Businesses are recognising that already, which is why the transition is gathering pace well ahead of the switch-off date. For example, around 40% of UK business lines have already moved to Hosted Voice, a cloud-based all-IP solution.

Meanwhile, the sales ISDN and PSTN services have already been stopped in a couple of small areas, as part of a phased all-IP trial. In just a couple of years, you won’t be able to buy new ISDN or PSTN lines anywhere, with the final withdrawal of services slated for January 2027.

These dates will creep up before you know it. Many businesses, and doubtless many of your competitors, are already eyeing up the best alternatives to their current legacy systems. Don’t be left behind.

It’s time to change

So, it really is time to start making plans around your future telephony and communications needs. The sooner you do, the more time you’ll have to pick the VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solution that’s exactly right for you. Panicked decisions, taken in haste, rarely work out for the best.

And there are some important decisions to be made. IP communications solutions come in various flavours, with different benefits and costs, so you do need to do some homework.

For example, a Hosted Voice system puts all your telephony infrastructure in the cloud, making it accessible from anywhere and on any device, and entirely replaces your legacy ISDN and onsite PBX. SIP Trunking also offers next-generation voice technology and can often be used with an existing PBX and your current handsets. Both options can offer Unified Communications (UC), which integrates voice, video, chat and other multimedia communications into one seamless solution.

That integration is the huge advantage of modern internet-based communications, especially for remote workers, but you don’t have to have it if you don’t have the need. Basic VoIP services offer the simplicity and cost-efficiency of internet telephony without any added extras.

Get ahead of the communications curve 

There’s another reason that now is the right time to review your communications needs. The last year has seen a huge take-up of new technological solutions, as firms have been forced to equip remote teams with the tools and services they need to work productively from home.

Many organisations don’t expect to go back to full-time office working in 2021, and perhaps ever. Hybrid working – where employees spend some of the week in the office and some working from home – could become standard practice when the pandemic ends.

The fact is that IP-based communications are far more remote worker-friendly than ISDN or PSTN. Using softphones or personal devices to make internet calls is a cost-effective and flexible way of equipping home-based workers. With UC solutions, homeworkers can access a full suite of communications and collaboration tools wherever they happen to be. All they need is a decent internet connection.

Connectivity is another factor you need to consider, whatever VoIP option you choose. Routing voice and video calls through the Internet takes up bandwidth. If your corporate network is already stretched, an upgrade to Full-fibre (FTTP) or dedicated Ethernet can make sure you have the capacity and reliability for a new era of all-IP communications.

None of this is anything to worry about. In fact, forward-thinking companies will come away from the transition with better, cheaper, more agile communications, based on more robust data networks. But why wait for those benefits?

Contact us today and we’ll be happy to talk you through the all-IP communications options that are available right now. You can also read more about migrating to cloud-based systems from your current telephony here.

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