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What is happening in the PSTN switch off?
March 03, 2023 - With the convergence of voice and data, BT Openreach announced in April 2017 that they will phase out their existing copper wire PSTN telephone network by 2025. Anyone currently using PSTN-based services will have to switch to another service before then. Despite this deadline, a recent survey by National Business Communications revealed that 70% of UK businesses are still using landlines and an astonishing 24% are not even aware of BT Openreach's plan to discontinue traditional copper wire telephone services.
The switch off will have a significant impact on businesses and consumers, as they will need to upgrade their phone systems to newer digital technologies in order to continue making and receiving phone calls.
The main alternative to PSTN is Voice over IP (VoIP) technology, which enables voice calls to be transmitted over the internet. Unlike PSTN, which uses analogue signals to transmit voice calls, VoIP uses digital signals.
Benefits of VoIP
Cost savings: VoIP is typically more cost-effective than traditional phone systems because it eliminates the need for expensive hardware and infrastructure. It also offers competitive pricing for long-distance and international calls, making it an ideal solution for businesses that need to make a large volume of calls.
Advanced features: VoIP offers a range of advanced features, such as video conferencing, call recording, and call analytics. These features can help businesses to improve their communication capabilities and gain valuable insights into their call activity.
Flexibility: VoIP enables businesses to integrate a range of communication channels, such as voice, video, and instant messaging, into a single system. This makes it easier for businesses to collaborate and communicate effectively with their customers and employees.
Mobility: VoIP enables users to make and receive calls from anywhere with an internet connection, using a range of devices, such as desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. This makes it easier for businesses to work remotely and stay connected while on the go.
Improved call quality: VoIP provides high-quality voice calls by prioritizing voice traffic over other types of internet traffic. This helps to ensure that calls are clear and free of distortion or dropouts.
Scalability: VoIP is a scalable solution that can grow or contract based on business needs. This makes it an ideal solution for businesses that experience seasonal spikes in call volume or that require a flexible telephony solution.
How to deploy VoIP
Another advantage of VoIP is that it is easy to set up. Follow these steps to go digital:
Step 1: Assess your current network
Before deploying VoIP technology, it is important to assess your current network infrastructure to ensure that it can support VoIP traffic. This may include upgrading your internet connection, implementing Quality of Service (QoS) to prioritize voice traffic over other types of traffic, and ensuring that your network switches and routers are configured correctly.
Step 2: Choose a VoIP solution
There are many different VoIP solutions available, such as hosted VoIP, on-premises VoIP, or hybrid VoIP. Hosted VoIP solutions are managed by a third-party provider and are typically more cost-effective, while on-premises VoIP solutions require more upfront investment but offer greater control and customization.
Step 3: Select the right hardware
Depending on the type of VoIP solution you choose, you may need to purchase or upgrade your hardware, such as IP phones, analogue telephone adapters (ATA), and network switches. Choose hardware that is compatible with your chosen VoIP solution and that can support the features and functionality you require.
Step 4: Configure your VoIP system
Once you have selected your VoIP solution and hardware, configure your VoIP system to meet your specific requirements. This may include setting up call routing, voicemail, call recording, and other features.
Step 5: Train your staff
After your VoIP system is deployed, train your staff on how to use the new system effectively. This may include providing training on how to use the new hardware, how to make and receive calls, and how to access and use the new features.
Step 6: Monitor and maintain your VoIP system
VoIP systems require ongoing monitoring and maintenance to ensure that they continue to perform effectively. This may include monitoring call quality, troubleshooting issues as they arise, and implementing software updates and patches to keep your VoIP system secure and up to date.
Deploying VoIP technology requires careful planning and attention to detail, but the benefits can be significant. By following these steps and working with an experienced VoIP migration partner, businesses can successfully deploy VoIP technology and take advantage of its many benefits.
With more than 45 years of experience implementing in-building IT and communications technologies, certified engineers, time-tested methodologies, and a proven track record of providing best-in-class services, Black Box can help you transition to VoIP seamlessly and at your own pace.
If you want to learn more about your options for VoIP, download the Business Guide to Phone Systems. For enquiries about business communications solutions and services, fill out our contact form.