Fonality Blog | VoIP, Unified Communications, and Business Tips

ISDN (integrated services digital network) utilises telephone copper wires to transmit audio and data.

It has been a telecommunications mainstay for almost as long as the telephone itself. Across the continent, Aussie businesses have relied on copper for stable, consistent connections and its versatile support of multiple device types.

On September 30, 2019, that all comes to an end.

The end of a (very, very long) era

Keeping in line with the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout schedule, most ISDN products will be disconnected, along with their copper conduits. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • ISDN2 (and enhanced)
  • Frame Relay
  • DDS Fastway
  • Megalink
  • ISDN 10/20/30

By 2022, these platforms will no longer be eligible for vendor support.

Aussie business owners are encouraged to make the transition to an alternative solution, sooner rather than later. Here are some things you’ll want to consider.

Understanding Why

With business becoming more and more dependent on internet-based communications, ISDN is, and naturally, growing outdated. It was designed for a particular purpose and, in its day, delivered on that purpose. However, its use was defined by the technology at the time, and now the technology itself is unrecognisable from its original self.

Transitioning to high-speed NBN and fiber services provides businesses with cutting-edge VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone systems. VoIP is a far superior solution for many reasons. It uses the internet to execute calls, eschewing traditional phone lines. The obvious, immediate (and, arguably, the most essential) result is cost-savings.

VoIP offers an expansion of features that are designed to enhance the communications experience, and business applications. Call and Contact Center Management, Call Forwarding, Video Conferencing, File-sharing, Auto-attendant, and Instant Messaging can now be conducted within a single environment.

Further to this, VoIP can integrate with popular cloud-based apps and customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Timing is Everything

The cost for ISDN services is expected to increase, as they are phased out, so the financial benefits of shifting to VoIP, and quickly seem to require no explanation.

Additionally, VoIP and internet service providers (ISP’s) are already busy, and their calendars are already backing up with requests from businesses who are making the leap early. Getting in the queue now puts you ahead of a predictably crowded group (some of whom may be your competitors).

Evaluate providers – VoIP systems are the smart move for many reasons, some of which are listed above. The foundation of those benefits may be found in its versatility. When you meet with any prospective VoIP VoIP provider, let them know you’re only looking for a ‘one-sise-fits-all’ solution. If they tell you that’s a great idea, and VoIP is the perfect solution for you, walk away, quickly. Your VoIP provider should customise a system based on your needs, your objectives, your infrastructure, and your style of business. There is no ‘one-sise-fits-all’ with VoIP. It’s a solution that is as powerful as it is versatile. A quality provider will also supervise the installation, connections, and cabling. When all is said and done, and your system is operational, make sure your provider will be available to provide full technical and user support, 24/7/365.

It’s your service, choose wisely – VoIP solutions can live in one of three environments: Hosted, Premise, and Hybrid. With Hosted service, your provider will maintain your VoIP system for you, for a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee, based on your range of chosen services and applications. With Premise, you have total control over your VoIP features, including their setup and management.

As You Wish – You are currently in what innovators refer to as a ‘Blue Sky moment.’ This is defined by the notion that ‘anything goes,’ ‘every idea is a good one,’ and ‘if you can think it, you can do it.’ So, ask yourself which features you need, want, can’t do without, would love to have. CRM integration? VoIP can provide that. High definition audio and video calls? Yep. Call recording, monitoring, and agent performance functionality? Yes, yes, and again, yes!

Your Unlimited Capacity – Bandwidth will directly determine the quality of your VoIP calls. Typically, video conferencing and other, less demanding features require at least 1Mbps. Most small-to-medium-sised businesses find 40Mbps broadband plans to be more than sufficient.

Hardware – Are your phones VoIP-compatible? This will be an essential consideration, as you will want to employ phones, routers, and headsets that are designed to handle this new service. Ignoring this will not only leave you unsatisfied, possibly even second-guessing your decision to make the transition to VoIP. It is the communications equivalent to riding a rusty bicycle on a newly constructed highway.

Security! Security! – Harking back to the previous analogy, you aren’t pedaling a rusty bicycle, you’re now throttling down on a turbo-charged muscle bike. You’re going to want to protect it. As the name implies, VoIP phone systems send and receive calls over the internet. With great new tools comes greater responsibility. Ensure your VoIP provider can protect your network with active firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and advanced encryption solutions.

It Bears Repeating; Prepare, Prepare, Prepare – The migration process itself can be daunting. It requires importing contacts, updating your database, training your staff, devoting time to those little hiccups that will inevitably occur when moving to a new form of operation. The more prepared you are now, the smoother this transition will be.

This is an exciting time for Australian businesses! The outcome of this transition depends on your readiness, your goals, and your needs. Fortunately for you, the horison is unlimited, which makes a move to VoIP a perfect fit!