Defining ISDN

Integrated Services Digital Network or ISDN is a set of standards or digital "language" used when sending digital transmissions over the public switched telephone network. There are two different "dialects" within ISDN - known as Basic Rate Interface (BRI) or Primary Rate Interface (PRI).

BRI, sometimes known as ISDN2 or 2S0, is commonly found in residential or small business locations in Europe. Each BRI line can carry two simultaneous conversations.

PRI, sometimes known as ISDN30 in Europe, is often used in larger companies. A single PRI line using the E1 standard common in Europe can carry up to 30 simulataneous calls. North American uses a different standard known as T1 - which allows the single line to carry up to 23 simultaneous calls.

Working with ISDN Technologies

When you approach a prospect to propose that they install a VoIP system, they may have a telecommunications contract holding them to their ISDN lines or Legacy PBX System. They may also have some concerns switching "cold turkey" to VoIP. Your willingness to work with these concerns may make you their integrator of choice.

Prospects with a Legacy PBX Contract:

Prospects who are tied to their Legacy PBX can also receive the benefits of a VoIP system by starting a "soft-migration" to VoIP.

  • Use a beroNet ISDN gateway to connect the legacy PBX to VoIP
    • Prospects can gain the cost-saving benefits of a using VoIP, while still using their current telephone system.

Prospects with an ISDN contract:

Prospects who are tied to their ISDN lines can still receive benefits from installing a fully VoIP or partially VoIP system.

  • Replace Legacy PBX with VoIP using a Gateway for ISDN
    • A software based PBX system will provide much more flexibility when expanding and adding extensions. Not only is the process often easier, but software based systems aren't limited by the number of hardware ports.
    • Using a IP-PBX enables the prospect to leverage their current technology and desktop computers to function as softphones (software based telephones). Modern IP-PBX systems often come with an integrated softphone, enabling connected employees to see when someone is available or out of the office, use text based chat features to communicate in real-time, and use video chat services to talk with one another - even when someone is currently out of the office. Many of these systems also have mobile phone apps that can connect with the IP-PBX system so that coworkers can continue to be productive, even while on the road. Such a system has the potential to greatly reduce the up-front cost of bringing on new employees while providing additional productivity benefits.
  • Connect to both VoIP and ISDN for Least Cost Routing
    • Even if your prospect is still required to use the ISDN line - it may be less expensive for them to route some calls through a VoIP service provider. For example, the international rates of VoIP Service Providers are often less expensive than those of standard telecommunications providers.

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Jeff Stahlnecker

Author: Jeff Stahlnecker

Enthusiastic and insightful digital storyteller and technology enthusiast. Director of Marketing Communications and PR at beroNet.

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