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ISDN: Still looking for the last user

Jan 17, 20062 mins

* ISDN users speak up

In our December newsletters, we asked for feedback on a couple of issues. One issue that we were particularly interested in was whether anybody was still using ISDN Basic Rate Service (BRI), and, if so, why?

In this newsletter, we’ll give a sampling of responses received. We’ll take a more detailed look at this issue later, but we’ll begin by sharing a comment that came in via the feedback mechanism.

In this message (we’re filling in a few of the blanks from the somewhat cryptic message), the writer, who seemed to work for a network service provider, commented that his company attempts to utilize ISDN BRI for call processing at a 24/7-network center, with all of their clients forwarding to ISDN trunks. He further expressed frustration that his company had failed, in working with BellSouth, to even acquire a photocopy of the provisioning that took from July 1 to Nov. 12 to make it work. Then, recently, over the Thanksgiving holiday the company’s trunk went down for 5 days without repair.

The user’s summary was that the Public Service Commissions was powerless with RBOCs and that the lack of response was damaging new and existing call center operations. He ended with a plea that, “We need ‘intervention’ to deal with all telcos when ordering ISDN BRI.”

We did have a somewhat positive comment from an analyst who mentioned that the analyst’s company use BRI with its clients for two circumstances. These are mainly for videoconferencing to unaffiliated third parties – but always using three BRI circuits for calls at 384Kbps. The second instance is for data circuit backup – one BRI circuit to kick in if the point-to-point T-1 is down. He pointed out that the routers are configured to automatically dial and connect in the event the T-1 drops. The further opinion was offered that this was considerably slower, but better than nothing. However, he also noted that this could be done by IP and probably will in the future, but there is something to say good ol’ telephone service on a point-to-point connection.

Thanks to all of you who responded on this topic, and we’ll try to include some further comments in later newsletters.

Jim has a broad background in the IT industry. This includes serving as a software engineer, an engineering manager for high-speed data services for a major network service provider, a product manager for network hardware, a network manager at two Fortune 500 companies, and the principal of a consulting organization. In addition, Jim has created software tools for designing customer networks for a major network service provider and directed and performed market research at a major industry analyst firm. Jim’s current interests include both cloud networking and application and service delivery. Jim has a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Boston University.

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