For decades now, the world has relied on PSTN and ISDN landlines for telecoms. First came PSTN (public switched telephone network), the same copper wire technology that connected the earliest phones.

ISDN, which came to Ireland in the 90s, was the digital upgrade. And side by side, ISDN and PSTN have been the backbone of telecoms worldwide. Slowly but surely, those days are coming to an end.

As broadband speeds increase and our technological needs evolve, more and more countries are switching to an IP (internet protocol) infrastructure. In other words, calls will be routed online – and businesses will need phone systems that can do this.

This process is well under way in Germany, Sweden and the UK – and complete in Estonia and the Netherlands. So what about Ireland?

Is the PSTN switch-off happening in Ireland?

Yes – eventually. Some countries are switching to an IP network according to a fixed deadline. Ireland doesn’t have a fixed date, but it is gradually upgrading. The rollout of fibre broadband is the critical infrastructure required. It’s hard to put an exact date on that, but analogue landlines could easily be obsolete by the end of the decade.

What’s wrong with PSTN?

PSTN and ISDN are 20th-century technologies, for the age of landlines and fax machines. We’re now in the age of videoconferencing, social media, vast online data transfers, cloud storage … Quite simply, an IP network will carry more data, more reliably. And that’s just as true when it comes to voice.

The growth of broadband has been happening since the early 2000s. Telecommunications and connectivity companies have seen a mass exodus from analogue network usage in the past decade, and many businesses have already made the switch to IP phone systems. The old copper cable network is also difficult to maintain, and there are increasingly fewer staff with the skills available to do so.

Eventually, when the whole country is switched over, you’ll have to route calls through the internet. Setting this up now will futureproof you. But that’s far from the only benefit.

The benefits of IP telephony

Routing calls over the internet does more than just futureproof you. It brings a host of benefits, which thousands of businesses are enjoying right now through either SIP trunking or VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone systems.

For one, it can significantly reduce call costs and line rental. We’ve helped businesses make huge savings from this alone.

As if that were not enough, IP phone systems are much more rapidly scalable. If you need to add new users or lines, there’s no need to wait for an engineer to come out and install anything. We can do the whole thing remotely, and much faster too.

IP telephony also offers better reliability too. Forget the stereotypes of crackly calls – modern IP phone systems offer high-quality, crystal-clear calls, with greater resilience. Even if there is a service failure, you’ve got automatic failover to keep you connected.

Especially with a cloud phone system, remote working becomes much more productive too, because you can access all its features from anywhere with an internet connection. Ireland may soon be making it a legal right to request remote working, so it could pay to be ahead of the game on that.

Finally, you can enjoy so many more features with a modern phone system. We’re thinking unified communications, Teams integration, call analytics and so much more. It opens up a world of possibilities to help make your communication more productive.

Checking what might be using your old phone line

Though you may have made the switch to broadband and IP telephones already, you may still have hardware that is being hosted on the old lines. It could be a telephone in a lesser-used office space, an analogue CCTV system … It’s certainly worth checking if you are unsure. Access control systems also, are costly and time-consuming to replace, so it’s likely they might be using the legacy lines.

What technology might I need to make the switch?

When it comes to phone systems, your basic choice is between cloud and on-premise. These often have similar features. The difference is how they’re hosted, and how you pay.

With a cloud phone system, the whole platform is hosted on a data centre away from your site. You pay on a subscription basis, and maintenance is factored into the cost.

With an on-premise system, you host a physical piece of hardware on your site that connects to your phones. You pay for the hardware, and you’re responsible for maintaining it.

We’ve written on the subject before if you want a more in-depth comparison. But either way, you can benefit from a huge range of great features, and route your calls online. That way you’ll be ready for the future of IP telecoms!

Making the switch with GoldStar

We’re Ireland’s sole distributor of Ericsson-LG’s world-renowned iPECS range of telecoms solutions. Since 1987, we have provided services across Ireland to businesses small and large, delivering value for money, peace of mind and reliability..

We know the industry, we know the technology, and we know how to make it work for our customers. If are looking to modernise your business before the switch-off arrives, head to our contact page so we can discuss a bespoke package that will suit your needs.