31 July 2018
The BT ISDN Deadline is Approaching
The BT ISDN switch-off 2025 deadline is on the horizon but if you’re finally taking the leap from ISDN phone lines to SIP trunks, don’t worry – we’re here to help! We understand that the task of changing phone lines can be daunting, but the move is simpler and less expensive than you think.
The benefits of SIP trunks really are worth it, as this cloud-based telephony can improve the flexibility of your businesses’ communications and save running costs as well.
Below, we’ll guide you through the process of migrating from ISDN lines to SIP trunks step-by-step with our checklist.
1. Define Your Requirements
Planning is key, so think about what requirements you’ll need. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How many phone numbers and extensions does the company have? Break this down in detail.
- Where are inbound phone calls being directed to? Do they reach an automated recording or queue, or do they go straight through to a reception?
- How are departmental and individual users diverting calls to other configurations?
- How are unanswered calls dealt with? Is there a voicemail system? If so, how many systems are there, who has access to it and how do they access it?
2. Uncover Underlying Issues and Define Expectations
What is wrong with your current phonelines and what do you expect from the new SIP system to improve procedures? There will be several opportunities for change and it may be worthwhile to speak to staff to get an overall knowledge of the current situation and how to improve. Areas of consideration could include:
- Updating disaster contingency plans – protecting your business against any possible threats and disasters is essential. If this situation were to occur, where would the calls need to be directed?
- Having a unified communications system in place – A unified communications system can increase productivity and efficiency by having all calls, voice messages, email, instant messaging and video conferencing into one place.
- Reviewing the level of remote working in your organisation – Legacy systems unfortunately don’t accommodate for flexible workers, which can harbour hinder productivity. On the other hand, IP systems enable your employees to communicate regardless of their location.
- Capacity – is your organisation busy during particular times of the year? Seasonal spikes can be prepared for in advance with IP systems.
3. Draw Up Testing Plan
After determining which changes you would like to make, devise a plan which sets out to test how each change to the network will operate in real life, and what impact this will have on the business. This will also include any new emergency and resilience facilities which you are scheduling to implement.
4. Choose Your Equipment
The next step is to choose the equipment which will meet your demands. Equipment to consider includes:
- IP Phones – are your existing handsets compatible with IP?
- IPBX – if your current PBX is not compatible with a SIP trunks service, then you will need to invest in IPBX.
- Increased Bandwidth – your broadband will need to be able to handle voice data and you may need to implement a secondary connection in order to deliver SIP trunks.
- Switches – data and voice traffic should be separated to ensure optimum performance via the use of switching equipment. Which switching equipment you’ll need will depend on the quantity of phones using the system, but your SIP provider should be able to advise you.
5. Select SIP Provider
At this point, your planning and knowledge of requirements will help you in your selection of a SIP trunks provider. Here are a few considerations to think about when selecting your provider:
- Reliability – a vendor with a good level of SIP reliability which as has the infrastructure to restore service with minimal interruptions.
- Can they port your numbers? – you’ll need a company that can port all of your existing numbers to their own service; a good SIP trunks provider can port anything.
- Security – excellent SIP trunks providers will work hard to ensure that fraud can be prevented and will be able to provide you with a good idea of what protection is available to prevent such situations.
- Support – select a provider that can offer excellent support to keep a peace of mind that, should anything go wrong, you can be up and running in no time.
You can now port your phone numbers to the new IP service. This entails keeping the same numbers and moving it them to your new service provider.
How long this takes depends on the existing provider and the porting agreement in place.
7. Switch Off ISDN
You can now cancel your existing ISDN service, including the ISDN equipment.