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This is one of the most common questions we get asked; should I have ISDN or VoIP? Like most things, there are various factors to consider but here are the pros and cons of ISDN and VoIP.

What are ISDN and VoIP?

ISDN (Integrated Service Digital Network) has been the main solution for businesses for many years when it comes to their communications. It is a set of digital communication standards for transmission of voice & data. It consists of physical lines connected via telephone exchanges across the world.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a fairly new piece of technology in comparison to ISDN. VoIP uses the internet to route calls rather than a physical telephony circuit.

What are the Benefits and Negatives of ISDN?

Benefits of ISDN

  • It has been a proven technology for many years and is very reliable when it comes to the quality of voice calls
  • It is still very flexible and can be incorporated into various systems

Negatives of ISDN

  • You tend to be limited on phone numbers as they need to be geographical.
  • It can hinder growth plans as it does not easily expand to fit your business growth in terms of new users.
  • It can be costly if you do expand or move offices because of installation cost and also downtime would be an issue to overcome.
  • Limited options to keep inbound/outbound calls in service if ISDN circuit becomes unavailable
  • High rental costs for equipment
  • Some ISDN faults can take up to 72 hours to repair

Are you doing Research on the Phase-out of ISDN and Alternative Solutions?

We have a selection of resources available (for free) on the phase-out of ISDN.

View all Related Resources

What are the Benefits and Negatives of VoIP?

Benefits of VoIP

  • Easily transferrable if you are moving office because no physical installation is required
  • It’s easily scalable with growth with adding users being very simple and no physically installation required, too.
  • One single network for voice and data which reduces costs on line rental and improves business operations as you can use different applications such as video and I.M.
  • Flexible as you can use it to route calls to those working remotely. Also ideal in a Disaster recovery scenario.
  • Free internal calls
  • Options to choose your own phone number regardless of geographical location.
  • Low rental costs for telephony equipment

Negatives of VoIP

  • Voice quality is a concern as it is reliant on the broadband you have in place.
  • There may be an initial cost to replace other systems that you have in place as it won’t work with some systems.

So, which should I choose?

The most logical solution seems to be VoIP particularly with the phasing out of ISDN happening by 2025 (see Phasing out of ISDN blog.) However, ISDN still has a place until then.

VoIP is highly dependent on the broadband quality and this can’t be ignored. For some businesses in a rural location, this just would not be a viable solution until that is addressed.

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