The end of the line for the UK’s legacy ISDN communications network is approaching fast. In 2025, the last remaining ISDN networks will be switched off for good and the UK will embrace an all-digital future. However, many companies still aren’t ready for this switch.

Whether it’s voice services, fax machines, payment terminals or door systems, a lot of firms still run large parts of their day-to-day business on these analogue services, and they’ll all need to be migrated in good time before ISDN networks are fully withdrawn. So what will you need to make this a success?

Lessons to be learned from Germany and France

One factor in the UK’s favour is it’s not the first country to go through an ISDN switch off, and the experiences of other nations offer a good roadmap for what to do – and what not to do.

For example, Germany has already completed its move away from analogue telecoms networks, while France stopped selling ISDN and PSTN lines in 2018 and 2019 respectively. And what these experiences have shown is this is not something any business should take on lightly, or leave until the last minute.

Chief executive of Deutsche Telekom’s domestic business Dirk Wössner, for example, likened the process to “changing tyres at full speed” because of the need to maintain continuity of service throughout the migration process. He noted: “‘Temporarily closed due to construction work’ is not an option.”

While Germany did eventually migrate 25 million customers to IP services, the process took a lot longer than expected. It was also especially challenging for the last few legacy customers, many of whom were stuck on an old way of thinking and were reluctant to consider new options, or were even unaware of the impending changes.

This meant many businesses left their migration until the very last minute. In turn, this led to companies making decisions quickly without fully evaluating their options, leaving them with services that were unsuitable or not cost-effective for their long-term needs.

UK firms will therefore need to learn from the experiences of their European counterparts and avoid making the same mistakes. Fortunately, there’s still time for firms to go through a thorough evaluation process to ensure they choose a solution that’s right for them. But this window is closing fast, so it’s important to act now.

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Making the ISDN migration a success

To make the move a success, it’s important to fully understand your firm’s needs, and know what solutions will be best suited to your unique circumstances. It, therefore, pays to have an experienced partner like Arrow to guide you through the process.

Arrow has a long history of migrating businesses from ISDN lines to more modern IP-based solutions. For example, in 2019, we helped Glasgow-based charity Lifelink move away from ISDN and onto a Leased Line, with 20 SIP Trunk channels to ensure its employees could keep in touch across its five offices and support its users through phone counselling sessions.

This deployment not only ensured the organisation was prepared for the ISDN switch-off, it also delivered a faster, more reliable data connection and meant Lifelink was ready for whatever the future held – such as the necessary shift to digital solutions due to COVID.

Migrations are always challenging, but with the right preparations to minimise any disruption, we can help ensure it’s as quick and stress-free as possible.

To make the ISDN migration process as easy as possible, we have created an ISDN Migration Checklist which helps to identify which services you’ll need to switch, what your options are, and how to go about this.

Get in touch with Arrow today to learn more about ISDN migrations our read our ISDN checklist to ensure you know what you need to do.

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