5 minute read |

PSTN Switch Off: Embrace the migration to IP

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The date has arrived! The PSTN switch-off will occur in the UK in December 2025.

In short, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) will be fully closed down in the United Kingdom.

Therefore, every old telephone line and broadband connection across the UK must be upgraded to a fully digital service that uses Internet Protocol (IP) over a fiber-based network.

Any equipment that currently uses the PSTN will stop working: alarms, EPOS machines, door entry systems, CCTV, faxes, and so on.

What is the PSTN Switch off?

The PSTN switch off signifies Openreach’s choice to fully phase out this outdated platform, which operates using underground copper lines and analog phone hardware.

Consequently, any devices dependent on PSTN for operation, particularly older landline phones, will cease functioning once the switch-off occurs.

Why is PSTN being switched off?

The decision to switch off PSTN stems from its inability to meet modern communication demands. Despite its history of providing reliable service, PSTN has become outdated and needs to improve to meet the speed and data-transfer requirements of today’s telecommunications landscape.

Telecom operators are driving this initiative to avoid the costly maintenance of an increasingly obsolete system.

In its place, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) will take over. VoIP enables phone calls over a broadband Internet connection rather than relying on underground phone lines. This shift promises a more reliable, faster, and cost-effective telephone service.

Additionally, VoIP eliminates the need for the extensive local infrastructure required by PSTN, allowing businesses to implement flexible and scalable systems tailored to their needs.

When is the PSTN switch off happening?

The anticipated PSTN switch-off in the UK is scheduled for the end of December 2025. There are no indications of a gradual phase-out or widespread public assistance. A mandatory migration is also planned from April to December 2025.

Therefore, if your business relies on devices and systems that depend on PSTN, it’s advisable to make arrangements to transition to VoIP before the deadline.

How will the PSTN switch off affect your business?

The upcoming PSTN switch-off may seem inconsequential, as it primarily impacts phones.

However, its implications extend to other legacy technologies reliant on the network, potentially posing business challenges.

Devices like telecare systems, fax machines, security systems, fire alarms, and payment terminals could be affected, as they are often designed to operate with PSTN features that VoIP platforms cannot fully replicate.

Please upgrade such devices and transition to VoIP phones in time to avoid losing essential business elements, including communication networks, record systems, on-site payment capabilities, and safety systems.

The Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), an early high-speed Internet solution introduced in the 1990s, is also being phased out for similar reasons. Post-2025, neither PSTN nor ISDN will be available in the UK.

Advantages of migrating to IP

These are some advantages that changing from PSTN lines to VoIP represents for business telephone communications.

A. Greater flexibility and scalability:

  • IP-based systems offer unparalleled flexibility, allowing businesses to scale their communication infrastructure up or down according to their needs.
  • With IP technology, adding new users, features, or locations is seamless and can be done without significant hardware upgrades or reconfigurations.
  • This flexibility empowers businesses to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and organizational growth, ensuring their communication systems remain agile and responsive.

B. Improved voice quality:

  • Migration to IP often results in a noticeable improvement in voice quality compared to traditional PSTN systems.
  • IP networks can transmit voice data in digital format, leading to more precise and more consistent audio, free from the distortions and limitations associated with analog signals.
  • Enhanced voice quality enhances the overall communication experience, fostering more explicit conversations and reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings or errors.

C. Reduced operating costs:

  • Transitioning to IP-based communication can lead to significant cost savings for businesses.
  • IP technology leverages existing data networks, eliminating the need for separate voice and data communication infrastructure.
  • Consolidating voice and data traffic onto a single network reduces hardware, maintenance, and operational expenses for managing multiple systems.
  • Additionally, IP-based solutions often offer more competitive pricing structures for long-distance and international calls, further driving down business communication costs.

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Challenges and considerations

Infrastructure and compatibility

Upgrading to VoIP may require assessing and updating your network infrastructure to ensure compatibility with the new technology.

Compatibility issues may arise with older hardware or software systems that work specifically with PSTN lines.

Evaluate the capacity and reliability of your internet connection to support VoIP traffic.

Inadequate bandwidth or network congestion can affect call quality and reliability. Identify any potential limitations or areas requiring upgrades or modifications to support the transition effectively.

Security and privacy

VoIP introduces new security considerations compared to traditional PSTN lines, as calls are transmitted over the internet and are susceptible to interception or eavesdropping.

Implement robust security measures, such as encryption protocols and firewall configurations, to safeguard sensitive business communications.

Ensure compliance with industry regulations and data protection laws to protect customer information and maintain privacy standards.

Regularly update and patch VoIP equipment and software to address potential vulnerabilities and mitigate security risks.

Conduct employee awareness programs to reinforce security best practices and minimize the risk of security breaches or data leaks.

Employee training and adaptation

Provide comprehensive training to employees on how to use VoIP systems effectively and securely.

Address any concerns or resistance to change through clear communication and support from management.

Encourage employees to embrace the new technology and highlight its benefits, such as improved flexibility and productivity.

Offer ongoing support and resources to help employees transition from traditional phone systems to VoIP.

Monitor employee feedback and performance to identify areas where additional training or assistance may be needed.

Planning and timeline

Develop a detailed plan and timeline for the transition to VoIP, outlining key milestones and tasks.

Allocate resources and establish clear responsibilities for each phase of the transition process. Consider deployment phases, testing periods, and contingency plans to ensure a smooth transition.

FAQs about the PSTN switch off

  • What is PSTN, and why is it being migrated to IP?

PSTN stands for Public Switched Telephone Network, a traditional analog telephone system. It is being migrated to IP (Internet Protocol) due to the outdated infrastructure and the need for more advanced communication features and capabilities.

  • What are the advantages of migrating from PSTN to IP for businesses?

Migrating from PSTN to IP offers cost savings, enhanced flexibility, scalability, improved voice quality, and access to advanced communication features like video conferencing and unified messaging.

  • When migrating to IP, will I need to replace my existing hardware and equipment?

It depends on the compatibility of your existing hardware with VoIP technology. While some equipment may need to be replaced or upgraded, many modern systems can integrate with VoIP without significant hardware changes.

  • How will the quality of voice calls compare between PSTN and IP?

IP-based calls generally offer comparable or superior quality to traditional PSTN calls, especially with high-speed internet connections. Factors such as network bandwidth and equipment quality can affect call quality.

  • Is my internet connection suitable for supporting VoIP calls?

It depends on the bandwidth and reliability of your internet connection. VoIP typically requires a stable, high-speed internet connection to ensure clear and uninterrupted calls.

  • What security measures are in place to protect VoIP calls from cyber threats?

VoIP systems employ various security measures, including encryption, firewalls, access controls, and intrusion detection systems, to safeguard calls and data from cyber threats like eavesdropping and hacking.

  • How will emergency services be affected by the migration to IP?

VoIP service providers are required to provide access to emergency services, similar to traditional phone services. However, it’s essential to ensure that your VoIP system is configured correctly to transmit accurate location information to emergency responders.

  • Can I keep my existing phone numbers when switching from PSTN to IP?

In most cases, yes. VoIP service providers often offer number portability, allowing you to keep your existing phone numbers when migrating to their service.

  • What training and support resources are available to help businesses transition from PSTN to IP?

Many VoIP service providers offer training sessions, documentation, and customer support to assist companies with the transition process. Additionally, IT professionals and consultants can provide guidance and assistance as needed.

  • What steps should I take to ensure a smooth transition from PSTN to IP for my business?

To ensure a smooth transition, companies should assess their current communication needs, evaluate VoIP service providers, plan and schedule the migration process, test the new system thoroughly, train employees, and monitor and adjust as necessary during the transition period.

Do you have any more doubts? At VoIPstudio, we’re here to assist you with this transition.

Just click here and contact us for support!

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Thousands of businesses across the world trust VoIPstudio for all of their most vital business communications. Why not be the next?

Thousands of businesses across the world trust VoIPstudio for all of their most vital business communications. Why not be the next?

Start a free 30 day trial now, no credit card details are needed!