Special services are offered via analog or ISDN connections in combination with terminal devices by service providers.
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.
Many providers do not consider this as a problem because in most cases IP-based solutions are currently available. One of the most common examples is the electronic cash terminal.
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.
Technology of All-IP
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.
Deutsche Telekom’s customers have to face the fact that their service provider means business. Over a year ago Germany’s largest service provider started cancelling analog and ISDN connections if their customers refused to migrate their voice connection to VoIP.
The customers had to choose a new tariff otherwise Deutsche Telekom would terminate the contract. The provider’s plan is now to switch its whole network in Germany to ALL IP technology by the end of 2018, although they previously had a more ambitious goal of 2016. All this, without affecting their ongoing business.
However, the switch to this new technology for the service provider Deutsche Telekom, is not the first time and not a single case in Germany. Already in 2013, Deutsche Telekom’s daughter Makedonski Telekom switched its complete telephone network to ALL-IP. During 2014, the network in the Slovak Republic was converted and since the beginning of 2015, Croatia as well as Montenegro were affected, followed by Hungary. By the end of 2018, not only Germany, but also Romania and Greece should have an ALL-IP network.
Migrating all analog and ISDN connections to ALL-IP achieves numerous advantages for the service provider. In particular, a separate phone network no longer has to be maintained. Simply a DSL connection is needed in order to provide the customer with Internet data and telephony which results in notable cost benefits for the service provider. The customer benefits from a better service, shorter time to market and a faster network with less latency. Telephony is carried out via Internet protocol. Broadly speaking, users speak to each other on the phone over the Internet which is called VoIP (Voice over IP). This technology means that fixed telephony no longer has reserved its own frequency band for the voice transmission. Phone calls will be embedded in Internet data (the Internet Protocol – IP) and transmitted together with other Internet data traffic. A splitter separates the connection of the customer into a telephone and a data line. Thus, even during phone calls the user depends on a working DSL connection, which means a working provider software, as well as a satisfactorily high quality DSL connection.
Teldat has looked into the subject of ALL-IP as a whole and is a qualified ALL-IP partner for SMEs and large corporations, including integrators. The manufacturer has come up with various ALL-IP solutions. Looking back on a very long tradition in the telecommunication and IT market, Teldat attracted the service provider Deutsche Telekom as a customer, especially in the new technology ALL-IP.
Some countries switch off their telephone network in the near future. ALL IP is as previously mentioned one of the main buzz words. The shift to VoIP has already started and now is the right time to ask ourselves: “Do we need VoIP security?”