With the completion of the NBN rollout, legacy phone systems, such as ISDN and frame relay, will be completely cut-off. We’ve known about this for some time, but many businesses remain on these legacy systems as we approach the final cut-off date.

And it’s easy to see why, particularly for small and medium enterprises that don’t have dedicated IT or telephony teams to evaluate options and ensure the rollout doesn’t get in the way of your business. While it’s likely been on your radar for a while, in the midst of business as usual (not to mention devastating bushfires, floods and pandemics!), it’s easy to put off something that won’t have an impact for a few years to come.

But we are reaching crunch time. However, the good news is that it doesn’t need to be a headache for you or your business if it’s done right. Here are three steps for a smooth transition from ISDN.

#1 Take action as soon as possible  

With rolling disconnection dates up until June 2022, if you haven’t made the switch, it’s important to make it a priority now. If you make the switch after ISDN has been cut off in your area, you may encounter several additional issues with your transition and may even risk losing your existing business phone numbers.

The good news is that there are many benefits for your business beyond just ticking a box. Installing a modern phone system really enables communication and collaboration anytime and on any device – something that has really come to the fore in the last twelve months. With remote and flexible working only set to grow, these systems future-proof your business, so it makes sense to use this opportunity to invest in the right tech.

#2 Understand what is happening and your options

Essentially, you are switching from an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), which uses a circuit-switched network to transmit and receive voice and data, to Session Integrated Protocol (SIP) Trunking, which uses the internet for this process instead.

While telcos will often make this sound complicated, what it boils down to is essentially moving from an old school network to a cloud-based one, a process we’ve done for almost every aspect of our businesses at some point.

When it comes to making the cutover, you have a couple of options, bearing in mind that which options are available to you will depend on your current phone system and your future needs:

  • Installing an ISDN to SIP Trunking converter: This is essentially a gateway device that physically sits between your NBN fibre and your current phone system. It will allow you to continue using your current PBX system, but it’s not a great long-term fix; it’s best used when you need a quick, interim solution.
  • Migrating to a cloud-based phone system: This is where you will move your entire telephony from your legacy system to a fully online system. Depending on your business needs and your budget, these modern phone systems can help you with every aspect of your traditional telephony, along with a host of collaboration tools for your team and your customers. You’ll no longer need desktop handsets as calls can be made from a PC, laptop, tablet or mobile device using your company plan – it really is the freedom to work anywhere.

#3 Find the right partner for your business

This is a critical step in your rollout. There are a few options when it comes to switching from ISDN, and the right partner can really help you navigate and evaluate these to make the right decision for your business.

Some key questions to think about when deciding on the right partner are:

  • Do they offer a range of technologies? You want a supplier who can support your business needs and your budget, so look for one that works with a range of technologies rather than trying to make you fit with their preferred tech.
  • Do they start with your needs? Your supplier should start by understanding what you want and need out of a system and then find options to match – not the other way around.
  • Do they have their own infrastructure? A supplier with their own infrastructure can act as your single source of telephony services, so you won’t need to act as the middleman between service providers. Otherwise, it can be extremely difficult to identify and resolve issues as each provider only plays their own small part, and no one is taking overall responsibility for your system. It can also make it hard to monitor and control costs with billing for each part of your system coming from a different supplier.
  • Do they speak telco language – and yours? Look for a supplier who can explain things to you in the language of business. Telecommunications is full of acronyms and jargon – but it shouldn’t be up to you to understand this. It’s not your line of work, and you likely don’t expect your customers to understand your industry jargon – so don’t put up with a supplier who won’t speak your language.
  • Do they have local support? With so many tech and telco companies going offshore for tech support, finding one with local support can feel like a needle in a haystack, but the search is worth the effort! Your phone system isn’t something you want to play roulette with, and a local support team will pay for itself ten times over if you ever encounter an issue.

Get in touch with Cloud Earth to find out how the right partner can make the end of ISDN a breeze and future-proof your business.