If we were to summarize the current situation in the ALL IP market, we would see that the migration from ISDN to ALL IP has reached a stage where the number of IP-based telephone connections has exceeded other fixed-line connections such as analog or ISDN. In contrast to other VoIP/SIP providers, Germany’s largest carrier has not been able to offer SIP trunk connections in the last year, thus many business customers could not migrate from ISDN point-to-point connections to ALL IP. Another important point to mention is that the offer of cloud-based ICT solutions has increased therefore migration to ALL IP is even possible for non-office environments.
The particular challenge is now to guarantee the customer all these special services despite the on-going migration to ALL-IP. For the customer, the question is: will it work and who is responsible for it?
First of all, let us have a closer look at these special services. Deutsche Telekom lists the following services:
- · Alarm systems
- · Electronic cash terminals
- · Elevator emergency call systems
- · Accounting systems for medical doctors/physicians
- · Remote meter reading systems
- · Medical alarms
- · Pay phones
Especially alarm systems are very common, taking into account the fact that alarms such as fire, burglary, heating, cooling or power failure, pump defects, door monitoring, water-pipe-rupture and many other functions are supervised and, in case of an emergency, are reported as soon as possible to mobile phones, fire departments, the police or security companies. Broadly speaking, services related to these problems have to be alerted – reliably and quickly!
Special services include also applications such as ISDN Eurofile transfer, fax, PBX maintenance which are integrated in company processes.
Analog or ISDN point of sale devices can be exchanged at a reasonable price by now. Some providers offer this service even for free. Nevertheless, particularly in financial transactions, the device function requires maximum reliability.
In case the customer uses applications which do not yet have an IP solution or which are too expensive to migrate to IP, the whole subject has a greater impact. Investment protection plays an important role.
Therefore, let us have a closer look into the technology All-IP. All these aspects above need to be considered in each case individually.
Voice and Voice Applications
Almost perfect migration solutions for voice and voice applications have been created thanks to decades of very intensive development. The quality is far higher compared to ISDN and analog solutions. HD voice or voice in Hi-Fi quality can be achieved. Basis for this is the fact that humans perceive speech in a different way than machines. A short example without getting too much into the technology below:
In case voice packets are lost, clicks and drop outs are normally expected. Cutting-edge technology compensates this problem by stretching the packets and adapting the transition from one to the next packet according to the sound. How does this affect the listener? The listener does not notice it because the voice sounds only slightly deeper and no noise occurs.
Why do I mention this? This example mentioned above is an important aspect when migrating from conventional technology to ALL-IP and integrating the new technology.
ISDN PBX maintenance
Why is this an important example? Large ISDN PBX systems which are operated by the manufacturer are often quite expensive and are deeply integrated into internal corporate processes. IP upgrades are rather complex and cost-intensive if at all possible. A special feature of ISDN is the synchronous connection which does not accept package loss, however the network is very stable but rather slow. Error corrections have been left out since they were not necessary.
PBX maintenance bear the risk that only one single transmission error can near-irretrievably put the PBX out of operation.
Is there a solution for this?
Yes, there are solutions but not all will be supported by every provider and terminal. It is the customer’s responsibility to clarify this.
Deutsche Telekom’s official statement mentions that functionality of a special service operating via an ALL-IP connection can only be guaranteed by a qualification test of the service provider. Therefore, it is important that you as the customer contact your service provider to agree about further steps before actually migrating to IP.
What does this mean from the technical point of view?
A brief excursion into the technical details of ISDN, tells us that, it is a technology which even differentiates between voice and data. In case of EuroFile transfer or PBX maintenance connection, a request for comment will be created, more precisely RFC4040, payload format for a 64 kbit/s transparent call. This is a quasi standard for processing this kind of data. Thus, in case you have a media gateway or a PBX and your provider supports RFC4040, you are well prepared to successfully migrate your special service to IP.
RFC 4040 in combination with a sufficient bandwidth and Quality of service (QoS) enables a secure and error-free deployment of ISDN data transfer via the ALL-IP network.
From the technical point of view, analog data connections via analog and ISDN connections cause problems. Here, the customer along with the provider has to prove each case separately. Nevertheless, functional reliability cannot be guaranteed and can be affected by any kind of change in the provider’s network.
In general, experiences with many customers as well as tests show that data transmission rates up to 33 kBaud have a good chance of a successful migration into the world of ALL-IP.
As already announced in our previous blog entry, we will have a closer look into the two ALL IP approaches: migrating the ISDN PBX or replacing it via a new IP-based voice and data solution.
Migrating the ISDN PBX
Migration means continuing with the already existing PBX whilst a media gateway takes care of the ISDN connection from the PBX’s point of view. The biggest advantage related to migration is that the PBX remains unaffected. In this process the media gateway will be positioned between PBX and the ALL IP broadband connection.
It is very important to use a professional media gateway unifying all necessary interfaces and features. Sophisticated QoS (quality of services) mechanisms are in this case especially important as it guarantees the required voice quality and the solution’s reliability. One of the basic requirements is of course the available bandwidth. As a rule of thumb, a good voice quality comparable with ISDN can be obtained by allocating 100 kbit/s for each voice channel, bidirectional for up and downstream. Also qualitative parameters such as delay, jitter and an acceptable level of package loss have to be evaluated. For instance, losing 10 coherent data packages at a stretch, can lead to losing 100 to 300 ms of voice information. In order to have a smooth operation for incoming and outbound calls, the media gateway converts ISDN voice data into IP data and vice versa.
The same applies to the communication of the ISDN PBX behind. It is important to note that all data coming from or transmitted to the ALL IP platform has to be conformed and compatible with SIP which is the network protocol being used. SIP (session initiation protocol) is in charge of the control as well as the set up and dismantling of the connection. The voice data as such is transmitted via the real time protocol (RTP). Experience shows that SIP is not the same as VoIP and VoIP is not the same as ALL IP.
A simple example: The ALL IP service provider sends phone numbers in a canonical format which means that the customer number being called is for instance +49-91-196730. Without the media gateway converting the format into 091-196730 before sending it to the ISDN PBX, it is very likely that none of the phones connected to the PBX would ring. Vice versa, the same applies when calls are made from the ISDN network to the IP network.
New ALL IP solution
If the ISDN PBX which is already installed should not migrate due to technical or economic issues, then the PBX has to be replaced and an ALL IP voice data solution has to be found. However, one has to take into account that with an ALL IP solution, not only the PBX may lose functionality, but also the terminals may only be used partially or not at all. In this case new IP terminals have to be integrated. This is a cost factor not to be underestimated, especially in companies with a larger number of digital and often proprietary system terminals. However, a complete and thorough IP-based infrastructure offers plenty of opportunities to optimize working processes and thus achieves an economical benefit.
Numerous features such as DECT over IP, voice mail, IP-based door intercom including camera image of visitors on IP terminals or smart phones can be seamlessly integrated and used via professional ALL IP communication solutions. Now, wireless LAN or HotSpots for guests and customers as well as integration of home offices or mobile employees can be effectively combined.
Teldat as a qualified ALL-IP partner for SMEs, large corporations and integrators has attracted the service provider Deutsche Telekom as a customer by its various ALL-IP solutions for both approaches, migration as well as new ALL-IP solutions.
It is no new that ISDN will soon be switched off. Up to what point the whole procedure is planned to be done is also well known. There will be no or almost no delay because the necessity on the part of the carriers is clearly articulated and mandatory. Companies are forced to take action sooner rather than later. Two possible solutions are available for the conversion to ALL IP.
It is time for a “new” network
Technically speaking, ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network, from the user’s point of view, a long-standing, stable, and reliable communication network which standardizes a digital telecommunications network and unifies various services such as telephony, data, teletext or datex-P on one single network. Previously, each service required its own network and all networks were connected via gateways.
The term ALL IP means unifying and converting all currently existing transmission technologies in telecommunications networks on the basis of Internet Protocol (IP). Thus, services such as telephony, television and mobile communications will be provided by means of a uniform network protocol and no longer via the classical circuit switching. The switch to IP-based lines significantly reduces the complexity of networks while the number of operating network components decreases.
The migration from ISDN to ALL IP initially affects private and small business customer’s point-to-multipoint connections. Business customer’s that frequently used point-to-point connections (buzzword: SIP trunk) are expected to be switched off by Deutsche Telekom at around the time of CeBIT 2016 and alternative carriers are even one step ahead.
From the end of 2015 Deutsche Telekom offers its business partners up to eight parallel voice channels. Due to regulations, customers with more than ten phone numbers per basic ISDN connection currently have to apply for a second ALL IP connection in order to keep their phone numbers. Hence, it makes sense to actively develop an approach already in the run-up phase or to consider changing to another provider.
When evaluating which decision to take, one should consider how old the current operating PBX is, whether it is worth purchasing a new one, or whether the PBX has only been operating for a few years and it already supports VoIP. In the end a simple, economic cost-benefit analysis needs to be undertaken and an evaluation made.
Two options are available for the switch from ISDN to ALL IP
One solution is the migration of the already existing ISDN infrastructure by means of an ALL IP media gateway and the alternative is the replacement of the PBX by an ALL IP communication solution for both voice and data which can be integrated into the network infrastructure.
Teldat with its very long tradition in the telecommunication and IT market, provides both approaches: migration as well as the integration of an ALL IP communication solution. In our next blog entry we will look further into the available solutions for both approaches.
Traditional ISDN and POTS communication networks are now obsolete. Deployments using old technology, the devices making up these networks, etc., have reached, in many cases, the end of their lives. Another influencing factor is that experts and technicians in this field are approaching, or have even reached, retirement.
However, there are still millions of lines in service and millions of clients who use them on a daily basis, both at home and in companies, not only for voice communications but also for data. Communication carriers, the owners of said networks, are faced with the unavoidable fact that they must replace them with new technology. The dismantling of the old network goes hand in hand with deploying the new ultra-broadband.
Migration from traditional telephony to IP
The migration of traditional telephony to convergent services based on IP, plays a key role in dismantling the net. While data has been transmitted over IP for quite some time now, the vast majority of telephony services still continue to use the old ISDN and POTS networks.
One of the most important goals for carriers is to keep their customers during said migration. The latter, when faced with radical or abrupt changes, may well decide to change providers. Given this, the change for the end-user must be as transparent and staggered as possible while still meeting customer demands.
This boils down to three main factors:
- Customers should continue to use their existing voice infrastructure (PBX and phone handsets) for as long as they wish.
- The new networks retain all the advanced features currently used by said customers
- Quality of service remains optimum.
The carrier must be able to efficiently mass deploy the new convergent services. Integrated with the modern management and installation systems, all featured in ultra-bandwidth networks, the converging infrastructure, usually based on TR-69, must have zero-touch configuration ability.
Moreover, carriers require on-site product lines for customers, which integrate the advanced features of ultra-broadband networks, accessed through corporate devices, together with advanced telephony features: IP switchboards and media gateways for example. A perfectly integrated ecosystem of features and accessories (IP and DECT telephones, or wireless access points), for both voice and data, together with access routers, provide both customer and carrier with a simple, flexible, professional approach to new fully convergent IP.
The Teldat Grouphas been selected by a major ISDN network carrier, as the principal supplier to enable customer migration from ISDN to IP. Teldat’s expertise in telephony systems together with their successful range of access routers for carrier managed services, made them the ideal choice.