Meaning of ISDN

In the past, Internet and telephone were unthinkable without ISDN. But the old standard has now been replaced by the IP network. Find out more about ISDN technology, how it has been replaced in daily use and which systems have established themselves instead.

  • ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network and describes a digital telecommunications standard for voice and data transmission.
  • ISDN replaced the modem in Germany in the late 1990s.
  • In the telephony area, the service has now been almost completely replaced by IP telephony and LTE.

What is ISDN?

According to abbreviationfinder, ISDN is an abbreviation for Integrated Services Digital Network, which in German means integrated voice and data network. It is a digital communication network that transmits data on the Internet. This system represented the successor to the telephone modem. Previously, there was only one connection available for telephony, fax and surfing in the network, but several lines could be used simultaneously with the ISDN connection. In other words, you could make phone calls in a relaxed manner while you were on the Internet. It also got faster connections and made working with the Internet easier.

Switching off ISDN – space for new technology

Since ISDN no longer complies with the latest standards, it was gradually switched off completely. As the country’s largest network provider, Deutsche Telekom has almost completed replacing the technology. This affects not only business customers, but also private households who use ISDN for telecommunications. The connections have been switched to IP telephony (Internet Protocol Telephony) or VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol).

Nowadays, communication networks are increasingly relying on NGN technology (Next Generation Network). Data and voice communication are combined in one network. The Internet protocol is used as the basis. Thanks to NGN technology, end devices only need a single connection. Special software ensures that the advantages of the NGN are available. The sending and receiving of data is IP-based, which is why the term all-IP network has become established.

Why is ISDN switched off?

ISDN systems are considered obsolete. The technology required to operate the ISDN networks is out of date. A second network for access to the Internet and data communication has been developed for a long time. A great financial outlay is associated with these two networks working in parallel. Thanks to the new technology, manpower can be saved. Energy consumption is also reduced. Modern IP telephony makes it possible to conduct calls directly over the Internet – regardless of the classic telephone network.

How fast is ISDN?

Compared to the modem, ISDN represented an enormous step in development, especially in terms of speed and convenience. The average data transmission rate in Germany with ISDN was 64 kbit / s. In addition, a bit rate of up to 160 kbit / s can be achieved with ISDN. ISDN basic connections have two channels, the multi-device connections are designed for up to ten phone numbers. These can be distributed to various devices. This type of connection was therefore a good idea, especially for companies with many offices, to ensure parallel communication.

Comparison with DSL and fiber optics

In the meantime, DSL or fiber optics has established itself as the standard. In terms of speed, DSL has clear advantages over ISDN. The DSL network is around 250 times as fast as ISDN – with 16k lines. The speeds used by DSL start at 16 Mbit / s, and many households now use 100k or 250k lines. In addition, working with DSL is safer, because with such a connection so-called dealers have no chance. These illegal programs can dial into ISDN systems and thus increase the cost of the Internet.

How does DSL work?

DSL uses the telephone connection for the fast transmission of data. Here the fiber optic cables or copper lines are used. Users use this to exchange various data packages – for uploading and downloading. Compared to ISDN, DSL has the ability to access the higher frequencies in the cables. This results in a more efficient transmission.


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