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The move to cloud-based telephony

Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is an analogue system, powered by a copper wire network and traditionally thought of as a landline service. A single PSTN line has one telephone number allocated to it and allows one call at any one time. Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) allows the simultaneous delivery of both voice and data services and supported early video conferencing systems at the same time as an analogue phone line.

For the technology of the 20th century, PSTN and ISDN served their purpose very well but for the 21st century the need is for flexible working in a digital world. Old telephone solutions are lagging behind and as of 2025, PSTN will be switched off and withdrawn from service. This year, products which use the PSTN network – such as ISDN products and services – will stop being sold and no longer used for line installations. In some areas this change will have already occurred and is now a reality for fibre exchanges covering around 2 million premises across the UK.

Some recent research showed that for SMEs the reliance on traditional landline services had dropped from 65% in 2020 to 18% in 2022 with the majority of organisations moving towards email and Teams/Zoom/GoogleChat to communicate with customers. However, 33% of businesses admit they are still using ISDN within their organisation and only 20% say they have an alternative solution ready.

The alternatives are Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunk service. Whilst they both use the internet to make phone calls, there is one main difference in the way that SIP trunks and VoIP work. A SIP trunk is an internet-based connection that is used to connect IP systems to the telephone network. SIP trunks can be used to upgrade older digital PBX systems (MITEL, Panasonic etc) to replace the ISDN lines that currently serve them (depending on compatibility).

A VoIP telephone system would describe a setup that is IP based all-through, i.e. the handsets plug into an existing IP network and operate based on those modern protocols. Users can then utilise a cloud hosted system rather than having to have a whole PBX system on-premise.

Businesses often adopt SIP trunking to reduce phone expenses or take advantage of cloud-exclusive features. For example, a digital phone system is much easier to monitor with analytics tools that can track critical information about business phone calls, including frequency, length, audio quality and the number of missed calls. This capability provides the company with important data about how it uses telephone systems in day-to-day work.

The technology behind SIP trunking makes it a good fit for businesses that want to reduce phone line costs and gain access to cloud-exclusive features but enablesIT can advise and convert companies onto a cloud-based telephony service – SIP or VoIP – depending on what is best for the business.

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