BT recently announced a reprieve for our old-fashioned telephone lines, but not for long. Businesses can continue to buy ISDN lines until 2023, but they will still be obliged to migrate to VoIP in 2025. Up to a million households still have a landline but no internet or mobile but they too will be moved onto some form of VoIP router by 2025.
The end is definitely nigh for a telephone system that has been in use since 1876. VoIP is simply better and cheaper to operate.
How are they different?
The original Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) established a call by devoting a succession of circuits to the current that carried your voice from phone to phone. The ISDN services (Integrated Services Digital Networks) provided to many businesses are still dependent on the same wired telephone circuits. In contrast, VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) digitises communications and routes them across the internet through an SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunk provider.
Why is VoIP a more cost effective solution?
A major overhead of ISDN (and singe line PSTN) is its dependence on that old wired network. Longer distance calls mean more circuits have to be devoted to the call, making them expensive. More phones need more lines that still cost money when they aren’t in use. That makes growing your operations wasteful and costly. ISDN equipment is also expensive, whereas VoIP handsets are a minor outlay.
In contrast, the internet is available (almost) everywhere, and has more than enough capacity to carry voice calls. Using the internet, the physical distance between connected parties becomes irrelevant. In fact, neither requires a fixed location – both can be roving. Additional numbers don’t need additional hardware.
Does ISDN have any advantages?
Conventional landlines carry a current independent of the electricity grid so even in a power cut you could still make a call. These days you would probably fall-back onto your mobile phone, but ISDN and landlines are also independent of the internet, so a problem with your broadband won’t cut off your phones. Despite the availability of mobiles, some businesses are reluctant to put all their eggs in one basket.
On the other hand, you can make VoIP calls using a mobile phone or laptop microphone if you need to, and you can maintain a backup broadband connection or a wifi hotspot.
The irresistible benefits of VoIP
Extending and contracting your telephone capacity is easy when you use VoIP. You can easily relocate to new premises, connect new sites and provide access to out-of-office employees. You can provide customers with cheap local calls no matter where they live. You can record and archive important calls, re-route them to other desks and merge your telephony into a unified communications system. Digital communications make it far easier to provide video-conferencing and other collaboration tools to your in-house and home-working staff.
VoIP will also make it much easier for local firms to go national – because both incoming and outgoing calls can be charged at cheap local rates.
Change is now inevitable, so if you haven’t yet made the switch you should consider it today with Andromeda Solutions.