The Future of ISDN
ISDN stands for ‘Integrated Services Digital Network’. It is a technology that transmits voice data over standard phone lines and is now primarily used for making telephone calls. It is available as a Primary Rate service which has 30 available channels or a Basic Rate service which has 2 channels.
ISDN boomed in its popularity in the 1990’s and 2000’s, providing multiple channels for telephone or video conferencing systems.
ISDN has been in the process of being replaced with Voice over IP (VoIP) services since the late 2000’s due to a number of factors, but predominantly lower costs. With the rollout of the NBN, ISDN lines are now being completely removed with a planned completion date of the end of 2022.
Disconnections will occur in line with the NBN Co disconnection plan or as decided by your carrier if the NBN disconnection date has already passed.
You can find out the NBN disconnection date on the nbntm website here, by entering your address and checking the disconnection information.
Preparing for the ISDN shut down is paramount to make sure the transition is smooth and effective. Here is our recommended approach:
- Determine how much time you have before the disconnection date: This date can be found on the nbntm website on the link above. Alternatively you can contact IPC Solutions and we can find this out for you.
- Choose a provider: The NBN has levelled the playing field and you have plenty of providers to choose from. Now is an ideal opportunity to consider moving to a provider that will provide you the best balance of flexibility, support and price.
- Decide whether to retrofit or replace you current phone system:
The following are frequently asked questions regarding the ISDN Disconnection:
Do I have to migrate immediately?
No and dont let any providers pressure you into thinking so. The normal nbntm disconnection date is around 18 months after NBN is available in your area. Look up your NBN disconnection date on the nbntm website as shown above or contact us and we can help you out. If you have the lead time available then its best used to plan your migration but in saying this, it is certainly not wise to leave it too close to the disconnection date to avoid a last minute rush.
Should I just get my current provider to perform the migration?
Although it may be easier to get your current provider to perform the migration, make sure you find out what you are signing up for. The NBN has levelled the playing field and there are many different providers available giving you flexibility and choice to better suit your requirements. Don’t get locked into a long contract. As your telephones run over the NBN, you should also consider using a provider that manages both so there is no finger pointing if there are problems.
Do I need to replace my phone system?
The answer is No as most providers, including IPC Solutions, is able to add a device which converts an ISDN interface to Voice over IP (VoIP) for use over the NBN. This then connects to your current telephone system and works exactly the same as previously. There is a cost associated with this integration however and if your system is quite old, it may an ideal opportunity to consider its replacement rather than spending money on a dead product.
Surely my provider and the nbntm won’t disconnect a service I am still using?
You provider is legally required to disconnect your ISDN service after the announced disconnection date. A number of businesses have already been significantly affected by an unprepared for disconnection of their ISDN service.
What sort of down time should I expect during the migration?
There should be very little down time for the migration if it is done properly e.g. less that 30m. Unfortunately this often not the case and there have been many long outages due to poorly managed migrations. Make sure you speak to your provider about their expected down time. Minimal down time has been a goal for all IPC Solutions migrations which has been achieved in nearly all migrations.
Will VoIP over the NBN be as reliable as ISDN?
Although some may disagree, we would have to advocate No! ISDN is a proven and very robust point to point service which does not suffer from some of the issues that occurs with VoIP over an NBN service but this is also what makes it more expensive and less flexible. As you are now running your telephone and Internet services over the NBN, if it goes down you lose both. There are things that can be done however to guard against this such as providing a failover 4G connection and paying more for business grade service levels on the NBN connection. Speak to your provider about what they can do to ensure you are always connected.