The ISDN shutdown is in effect across Australia. ISDN has been powering voice, fax and video communications across the country for ages, but it’s a service that will soon be obsolete. The proposed shutdown was scheduled to begin on the 30th of September 2019 and it is already rolling out. This came about as part of the National Broadcast Network (NBN) fibre rollout that is also currently in effect. Analogue communications won’t be supported anymore, which means it’s time to businesses to re-evaluate their systems.
How Long Does It Take To Move Across?
It’s difficult to say how long it will take for businesses to move across, but it has been advised by all teleco companies that you give yourself at least six months to prepare for the migration. That should give your business adequate time to put all processes in place to switch off ISDN and switch on your new replacement service.
If your business is not NBN-ready – ie: your area has yet to have fibre rolled out – then it will take longer for your business to actually be queued for the move. Once you are NBN-ready and it’s time for your area to move across from ISDN to your replacement service, you will be notified. You will receive 90 days from the notification to ensure all systems are in place for the shutdown and migration to VoIP or SIP.
As it stands, there is a shortage of NBN technicians working around the clock to meet the demands of the fibre rollout, which means that becoming NBN-ready might be delayed by a few months. This should be factored in to your own project plan, but should not delay you in preparing for the eventual move.
As with any implementation of new technology, there is always the chance of obstacles being encountered along the way. Prepare yourself for these three core problems that you might experience during the ISDN shutdown to prevent your business from unnecessary downtime.
Will Your Internet Speed Support Your New Phone System?
Internet or data usage is not affected by ISDN. VoIP is an incredibly smart technology that converts analogue conversations into packages of data. These are then transmitted via the Internet to the recipient where the data package is deciphered. This means that migrating from ISDN to VoIP or SIP will definitely require greater use of bandwidth, especially if you will be using your replacement service for voice, fax and video on top of the usual Internet or data requirements.
Deciding on which SIP or VoIP product to choose comes down to what you need from the package. Do some research into the various reliable retail service providers (RSPs) and see what packages they offer. Consider the following when making your choice:
- The size of your business: Bandwidth requirements will vary according to how many employees need to be online at the same time. If you’re unsure, it’s best to consult your provider on speeds required and what would be available in relation to the size of your team.
- The type of business and what features you will require: If you require special features due to operating a call centre or perhaps owning a massive retail chain, your needs will be different to a business selling products online. Consider the features you need and then determine how much bandwidth is required to back these up.
- Budget: How much you can afford is a major consideration, but selecting a cheaper package that is too slow and hinders productivity will result in a greater expense in business hours lost.
Will Your Older Equipment Work With The New Environment?
You will need to do a full audit of your current hardware and business infrastructure to determine whether or not it will be compliant with the new environment. Generally speaking, phone equipment that is older than four or five years should be replaced with a new system. This will also give you the opportunity to move into a completely new setup that is geared towards productivity, remote work where needed, cost-effective business operations and complete convenience.
For those businesses who don’t want to or can’t afford to replace their phone system, there is a bridging alternative known as an interim solution. This interim solution is called a Network Termination Unit (NTU), which sits between ISDN and VoIP or SIP and offers a more cost-effective way of making the transition (from an equipment perspective) over time.
If you are able to convert to new equipment, then consider higher quality systems with phones, routers and headsets, which will offer vastly improved call quality and features.
What Happens To Your Fax Line?
You can decide what should happen to your fax line. If it’s a feature you require, it can be integrated into your VoIP or SIP service. If it’s a feature that can be replaced with something else, then perhaps now is the time to phase it out.
If you intend on keeping your fax line, you will need to ensure that the RSP you decide to go with has plans that support fax functionality. You will also need to determine if your current machine will be compatible with the new system, if not, you might need to upgrade. When placing your order for your new service, you will need to order a fax line too. Forgetting this upfront is a common error that can cause huge delays or result in you needing to cancel your order and start again.