Long before the distinctive chime of iPhone’s iMessage, digital communication had an equally infamous soundtrack. You probably recall the sound of the dial-up modem, which connected servers via public telephone networks. It was a — noisy — icon of another era of technology. We’ll soon be saying farewell to another area of communication history — the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Here, Kristian Torode Director and Co-Founder of business communications provider Crystaline, explains how you should now prepare to switch.
If your business’
phone calls are handled by a private automatic branch exchange (PABX) system, it’s
probably connected to a telephone network using an integrated services digital network
(ISDN). This is how you make phone calls, video calls, transmit data and other
network services over the circuits of the traditional PSTN. But by 2025, BT is
planning to switch off the ISDN network and the PSTN, as it moves to an
entirely IP-based model of voice communication.
are we switching off?
The PSTN dates
back to 1875, and refers to a telecommunications network that allows
subscribers at different sites to communicate by voice. It forms a large part
of the UK’s telecoms infrastructure, and its functions include connecting voice
calls using analogue voice data and supporting digital services such as the
ISDN. Broadband products also rely on the service to work.
The PSTN is deemed
a legacy system. The equipment used to run it is aging and challenging to
maintain, as many of the components used to build the infrastructure are becoming
obsolete. The PSTN will be switched off in December 2025 and any services that
are reliant on the network, including the ISDN, will no longer be operational.
All ISDN/PSTN voice services will go to complete
end-of-sale from September 2023, starting with a series of trial zones in the
coming months. From now until 2025, infrastructure will be built to transfer
all current systems over to an ALL-IP configuration.
Those currently relying on the PSTN, and the ISDN,
will have until the end of 2025 to organise an alternative solution. However,
with the range of alternatives already available, businesses will benefit from
considering other options ahead of the switch off.
How do I prepare?
To help prepare your business for the switch off, it’s
important to know the modern telecoms solutions that can replace the ISDN/PSTN.
With the right technology in place, you can future proof your business while
improving current process performance.
A voice over internet protocol (VoIP) system is a
growing trend among businesses. VoIP allows you to make and receive calls
through your existing internet, rather than the PSTN or an ISDN network. Not
only will VoIP help businesses overcome the upcoming PSTN/ ISDN obsolescence,
but it can also bring a number of other business benefits.
When your calls are handled by a PABX system, you
need to factor ongoing maintenance costs of on-premise hardware, storage and
power requirements into your investment. With VoIP, all the system hardware is located
offsite in a data centre, meaning there’s no direct maintenance costs.
What’s more, because VoIP works independently from
local power, network or systems availability, you don’t have to worry about
business downtime should an unexpected event occur. If a flood, fire or power
failure makes your office inaccessible, you can still work from any internet
connection or mobile device. As more businesses choose to work flexibly, from
home or anywhere else in the world, having business communications available on
multiple devices will be key to remaining competitive.
include Single Order Generic Ethernet Access (SOGEA). This offers similar
connectivity to a fibre to the cabinet service, but without the need for an
underlying PSTN product. SOGEA has wide availability across the UK, with coverage
in over 28 million premises, and can deliver speeds of up to 80 Megabits per
At Crystaline, we work closely with our customers to recommend the best telecommunications service for their needs. Switching from a system we’ve relied on for so long can seem daunting, but our expert team is able to recommend the correct telephony and connectivity services for you.