We could have a nice little fight building up (in a quasi military sense, too) between BT and the armed forces, because of BT's "secret" plans to close down its legacy ISDN digital network. The reason it's military, sort of, is that BT is still full of soldiers. OK, that's not literally true, but it's effectively the case: an …
21CN and ISDN
Unless I've misread the article, I believe it to be quite misleading. Yes, old ISDN products are being "retired", but they're being replaced by ISDN2e, ISDN30 and ISDN30e.
See http://www.switchedonuk.org/corporate/product/ for information on product retirements and replacements within 21CN.
You can also see BT Wholesale's plans for ISDN migrations on to 21CN all over the btwholesale.com/consult21 website. For example, in a powerpoint slide show not even two weeks old BT were discussing ISDN migrations (See Slide 15, Steering Borad Slides, http://www.btwholesale.com/content/binaries/21_Century_Network_Community/C21_SB_output_310707v1.zip)
Sure, I don't doubt that the eventual plan is to knock ISDN on the head at *some point*, but it's certainly not going to be any time soon!
There's still a lot of ISDN in retail
Both dialup ISDN (V.120/V.110) in addition to routed ISDN. Hell, there's still a lot of async POTS dialup, even though that's degraded somewhat since ADSL rolled out.
Whilst most people are moving to IP - ADSL, SDSL, leased line etc, the central pipe cost can be very large if the systems need to be hosted in house and the head office isn't in a major city centre.
Sure, it's not fast, but it is generally reliable (except when it decides to disappear, especially on lines that haven't been used for a while)
Want to become a BT reseller - they say you MUST have ISDN 2e
I made a call to Openreach last week saying I wanted to re-sell BT products. They told me the terms and conditions and one was that I *MUST* have a BT supplied ISDN 2e connection to receive certain data. I mumbled that I was not happy and why not use the Internet like other companies - the response was "ISDN is proven to be more reliable and secure, we wont change that rule"
Come on BT / Openreach talk to each other - people want the service (even your staff!)
The Journo's will go nuts!
I know only too well the importance for ISDN - live voice traffic for critical events (like say... football commentry?) is all dealt with using ISDN codec boxes.
It's a bloody brave man who'll try and tell a BBC journo that they will have to cope with a contended IP service or a flakey analogue line rather than the ideal-for-task plug and go, always reliable ISDN box.
Replacing ISDN with DSL
Recently we have transferred our systems from ISDN to DSL and can confirm that DSL is just not as reliable as ISDN. Yes we had problems with ISDN lines before but the DSL just seems to have more. And although theoretically quicker in practice we've not really noticed much difference. Mind you we're mostly transferring text files.
Voice over artists work from home and link up to the studio via ISDN. It is the norm. No ISDN means no way of working for many thousands of voice over peeps.
What about PBXs?
AFAIK, many PBXs still use ISDN to carry their incoming call data, or maybe this is some other sort of ISDN? From what I hear, most high-street retailers still use legacy systems using ISDN for stuff too. I would imagine BT are more making noise about this, just puffing up a bit and saying 'we're gunna kill this' to make people move now. I doubt they'll kill it for another few years yet though.
ISDN dead? If so, then just how do the majority of company switchboards connect to the public phone system?
Yes, we *could* use VOIP and ADSL connections, however these are notoriously unstable, prone to lag and easily interruptable by, say, Patch Tuesday or other times of mass downloads... They also preform VERY badly when sending faxes, establishing remote modem connections and the other wonders of modern business that are still vital.
As a lot your readers will know, the British banking system works over ISDN still as it's more reliable and, apparently, more secure.
A great deal of standalone ATMs are ISDN based as well.
The BBC's not going to be too happy, either...
But then, we probably don't need voice news from, ooh, pretty much anywhere in the world, UK sports grounds, local radio sites...
Do you mean BRI rather than ISDN?
It seems that the article refers to 2B+D ISDN (BRI) rather than ISDN as a whole. My understanding is that PBXs use PRI connections (T1/E1), which provide many more 64kbps channels - I know ours does.
Jim, most telcos refer to BRI as an ISDN service. Southwestern Bell/SWBC/SBC/AT&T does and has. And a T1 is T1 (but nobody calls it E1, for what I can only guess are chauvinistic reasons). Interestingly, most of the T1 installations I've seen over the last three years have been fiber.
T1 - E1 - ISDN30e - ISDN2e and so on
ISDN Home Highway and business Highway was binned off a while ago leaving ISDN2e which can be used for data as per the article or two simultaneous voice calls when connected to the right equipment.
We have lots and lots of customers using ISDN2e lines and use ISDN2e for new installs of telephone systems all the time.
T1 is the US version of our ISDN30e or E1 lines which carry up to 30 x 64kb channels.
I can't see BT killing off ISDN for a long, long time as there are too many people using it for voice.
I work for a certain supermarket and all of our backend wage and stock control stuff is done via crappy old VDUs so I expect we use some ISDN rubbish.
The Itbox and change sorting machine are more advanced that those and have their own dedicated ADSL lines (why exactly they need a dedicated one is beyond me but heh).
Facts not entirely correct..
I work for a telco company, and I order several ISDN2s for various companys everyday. It is not just military companies that use it, but MOT garages, supermarkets, travel agents, delivery companies, pubs, electricity board, hospitals, banks etc. WLR3 will rid the industry of this, but this is not expected to surface until 2009, and that is a provisional date at best and will surely be pushed back even further.