PSTN Switch Off

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How Will The UK PSTN Switch Off Affect Your Business?

With each passing day, the technological advancements are bringing a huge revolution in each field of human life. People are moving from traditional communication systems to modern digitized communication methods which are faster and more reliable. This shift is causing the replacement of old analogue telephone networks with IP based devices such as IP phones, VoIP phone systems, IP alarm devices and much more. Thus, the digital communication is expected to largely impact those users who are still use to enjoy the services of their old analogue public switched telephone networks (PSTNs) and have not upgraded to IP based devices.

The objective of our company is threefold:

  • To inform users about the current switch off process being operated,
  • How it can impact the analogue system users,
  • And, why is it important for them to replace their existing PSTN analogue telephone devices before the complete PSTN networks switch off.

In the United Kingdom, the old PSTN and analogue networks are expected to switch off by the year 2025. The legacy services will be replaced by IP network and this change will have a large impact on your business if necessary steps are not taken timely. Some of the companies have already begun to consider other options which will help their businesses to be less affected by the changes the PSTN and ISDN switch off will bring along.

What services and products will be affected?

Basically, any network involving copper cable for call services will stop working including ISDN, PSTN, and multi-line networks. Analogue line-based services such as voice telephone services, dial up devices, fax, alarm systems, modem, building management systems, lift lines, and PDQ machines, all services will be impacted by the switch off. Copper will be used only for data services such as FTTC (fibre to the cabinet). FTTC is a partial fibre broadband that uses fibre cable to the cabinet or main exchange and then runs copper wires to user’s premises. The ISDN authorities have already announced that they will not be taking any new ISDN orders in 2020 and will completely deactivate their ISDN network in 2025. ISDN refers to integrated service digital network that employs copper wires for making a communication network. It is faster than traditional analogue lines but is physical infrastructure is based on copper wires whose maintenance is expensive.

What is meant by PSTN switch off and why is it happening?

In UK, the telephone network has been set up since 1876 and was the main communication system that connected people all across the country. Now, these telephone systems have become older and slower which are difficult and costly to fix and manage as compared to the emerging wireless communication systems. That is why, a project of replacing the old analogue lines with the modern IP-based communication technology has been initiated in UK to bring users to a more reliable, faster, secure, and easy-to-manage mean of communication that keeps them connected to the network all the time. This process is referred to as PSTN switch off which is expected to complete by the end of the year 2025. After the completion of this project, there will be no more copper cables used for voice calls. The ISDN systems have also become old and outdated now in comparison to the latest technologies like fibre broadband.

Why is the switch off happening?

The reason behind the PSTN and ISDN switch off is to allow full deployment of digital network which are capable of meeting the demands of ever-increasing population efficiently. Moreover, the management and upgradation of the old analogue and ISDN lines is an expensive and time-consuming process. Not only this, but these systems can also accommodate only a limited number of people which is quite frustrating as number of people and their bandwidth demands are increasing enormously on regular basis. Cross-talk, signal interference, and background noise are also some of the drawbacks of these older systems which degrade its quality-of-system (QoS).

The latest communication technology such as VoIP has higher data-rate, capacity, reduced delay, and better QoS and user experience. VoIP allows the delivery of telephone services over the Internet. It provides cloud-based services which allow the users to access or retrieve their data from the cloud at anytime and anywhere without any storage limitation of hardware restriction. All it requires is a good internet connection instead of old-fashioned physical cables that are deployed all over the place. These systems are super flexible as they can be configured, upgraded, managed, controlled, and monitored from any remote area and according to the market demands. It provides a wide variety of real-time services to the customers such as voice calls, instant messaging, online gaming, video conferencing etc. Moreover, these wireless systems are more secure and reliable as they can be protected with state-of-the-art security techniques and encryption algorithms.

Openreach Steps to PSTN Switch Off

As per the promise, Openreach is determined to switch off the analogue line services at each exchange. Its first step is to announce a “stop sell” date for each exchange after which no new services can be deployed or ordered, as well as no modifications can be made to the existing services.

The second step of Openreach is to announce national “stop sell” date in September 2023. This is the point at which all exchanges would reach their stop sell date. Two years after the announcement of stop sell date, all services at the specified exchanges would stop. This switch off project will fully complete in 2025 when the last exchanges reach their shut down deadline. After this, there will be only IP and nothing else.

Why you should upgrade from PSTN lines to IP-based devices?

If you are currently a user of PSTN system then it is time for you to upgrade your telephone system before December 2025. The modern systems are not dependent on any copper-based infrastructure that gets old and vulnerable over time. Instead, it consists of IP-based services using voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) which allows a secure, faster, effective, and delay-less communication among people no matter where they are located across the world.

When should you upgrade?

Remember that whenever your contract time ends and demands renewal, you should shift to a broadband solution, keeping in view the future of your business. This shift will allow your business to connect to its customers in a better and easier way by removing the barrier of physical presence. Moreover, it will increase the productivity and profit of your business as customers will be able to access your services from anywhere at any time because now people are more inclined towards faster, reliable, secure, and virtual communication services that helps them in completing their tasks more efficiently.  Today, most of the UK market has realized the advantages of switching to VoIP-based network as it guarantees to bring along numerous commercial and technical improvements for better service delivery to its customers.

How IP-based system work with your existing systems?

Besides VoIP, there is a protocol named Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which is capable of connecting to most of the existing phone systems. SIP allows you to use VoIP to connect your phone system to the public phone network via an IP system. Its ability to connect with existing systems make it a suitable choice for users who are switching across to an Internet-based communication network.  Many businesses already use a VoIP Phone System and it tends to be smaller businesses that will use a single, analogue telephone line.

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