Are you ready for the PSTN/ISDN ‘switch off’?

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Old technologies sometimes die hard. The future is here, or fast approaching, with the blazing speeds of 5G and the mobile broadband future of IoT. With pocket-sized smart devices doing more in our hands than NASA’s Apollo guidance computers in the 1960s, one would think that technologies like PSTN and ISDN would be long gone!

With the “switch off” announced by BT’s Openreach and amplified by UK regulators at Ofcom, other businesses and even countries may follow the UK example to transform their networks and upgrade to the latest technologies.  

The migration of voice, data, video, and even broadcasting to the IP protocol requires tremendous coordination among communications service providers (CSPs), downstream providers, and customers.

Whether enterprises, government entities, or consumers, everyone affected will have to know what steps to take to keep things seamless as they migrate. This will be particularly important for organizations in the public and private sector that deliver essential services for health, energy and transportation.

Informing everyone of the switch off is the first step, and simultaneously efforts are underway to ensure everyone understands the protections that will be in place for mission-critical entities or at-risk individuals or groups for which compliance, security, and operational efficiency are a must. The next step will be the “what” in terms of the technology that will replace existing lines. If done right, switching to cloud-based communications like Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Voice over IP (VoIP) could be as simple as connecting telephones to broadband routers.

What becomes possible with the move to all-IP?

The biggest and most noticeable advantage to the all-IP move will be the breadth of capabilities, the mobility, and the flexibility that will be possible for organizations and consumers. The pandemic’s effect on remote working and virtual learning, and our accelerated “always-on” and “always-connected” mindsets mean this is the right time to make this final push for all IP.

Devices will work over the internet so that smart devices, mobile and IP telephony will combine with instant messaging (IM), video calling, video conferencing, and more to improve the businesses and institutions. 

Better access to business-critical apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Netsuite can boost collaboration and productivity, and bring significant change in overall quality of experience (QoE) for everyone. In that vein, we have joined forces with Microsoft by certifying Oracle Enterprise Session Border Controllers (E-SBCs) for use with Direct Routing in Microsoft Teams, which provides a 4-in-1 experience across chat, meetings, and calling within the Office 365 platform. It also provides a secure, fully integrated, real-time voice experience for Office 365 customers using Teams for collaboration.

In addition, because Zoom Premise Peering (Bring Your Own Carrier) is increasingly popular for unified communications, we have certified our Oracle Session Border Controllers (SBCs) for Zoom. This allows customers to keep their own carrier and enables enterprises to maintain their existing on-premise voice infrastructure. As Zoom Phone becomes a more integrated part of collaboration experiences, we will help organizations transition to the cloud with best-in-breed session delivery and SD-WAN products designed to deliver reliable and secure experiences.

The goal is to empower organizations making the move to IP to share information and collaborate seamlessly from anywhere and at any time with sophisticated communications and collaboration tools.

Doing it ‘right’ means availability, reliability and security

More sophisticated real-time communications (RTC) and enterprise applications inevitably become sensitive to latency, jitter and packet loss. Addressing digital congestion and security will therefore be more and more important. In fact, it is motivating more organizations to move business-critical apps to SD-WANs, which better guarantees availability, security and reliability. This is why we have developed SD-WAN for different sectors, like financial services, manufacturing, professional services, and public-sector Metro 911. The SD-WAN automatically reroutes traffic so that data gets to its intended destination, on time and without impact to the application and QoE.

Additionally, doing it right requires that you take the all-IP move as an opportunity to address the more sophisticated security attacks that are becoming more commonplace in organizations: denial-of-service attacks, robocalling, impersonation, artificial traffic, hijacking. These more sophisticated security attacks require a comprehensive secure edge strategy that scrutinizes all layers of edge communications—not just the network and transport layer, but also the session layer of the network.

Session border controllers (SBCs) will block session abuses, and SASE will detect nefarious transactional activity, while basic network modeling of network traffic would readily expose either persistent or abnormal behavior of a sending or receiving party. These capabilities will help detect larger session-based hacks, as with telephony denial-of-service (DoS), stolen identity, nuisance calling and caller-ID spoofing.

For this reason, there must be strong cloud-based security surveillance, with a holistic view of the network in order to accurately model traffic and identify anomalous patterns. An example of this is our SASE Cloud-to-Edge solution, which provides an architecture for gathering and analyzing network intelligence in the cloud and to disseminate control to the edge. We take it a step further by integrating, testing, and deploying Check Point’s CloudGuard Edge within our Oracle Talari E100 platform, which combines Oracle’s SD-WAN with Check Points’ FWaaS—both managed from the cloud. The advantage of this single platform being simplicity, speed, and scale as many network topologies require an easy-to-deploy, single-box solution for branch or remote offices. This ensures your network seamlessly delivers data across clouds, to branch offices, and to every type of user.

The BT announcement to completely replace the PSTN and ISDN services with IP Services is an example demonstrating that other large companies and even progressive countries can make the same transformation, within a reasonable schedule, while reducing overall costs and resources.   The ultimate winners in this transformation are the businesses and the public that consume the updated network services – they are more secure, highly reliable, and provide a superior quality of service. 

To learn more about our enterprise communications and contact center security solutions, register for our webinar or visit us here on how to learn how to protect your communications infrastructure.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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