ISDN stands for “integrated services for digital network.”The ISDN is closely related to the PSTN (public switched telephone network) in that the ISDN is a set of communication standards for digital voice transmissions, and other types of digital transmissions, over the PSTN. The ISDN has added features to the telephone system that were not available before its invention. Primarily the ISDN is responsible for the integration, as suggested by its name, of different services over telephone communication networks. The integrated services for digital networks integrates speech and data on the same line.
Circuit-Switched Telephone Network
The ISDN is a circuit-switched telephone network, and it allows the digital transmission of voice and data packets over traditional copper telephone wires.This allows for potentially higher voice quality for telephone subscribers communicating over this type of network than for telephone network subscribers who are communicating over an analog phone.In many countries, ISDN is also extremely valuable as a means for internet access.
A telephone network can be thought of as essentially a network of wires strung together between different switching systems. The ISDN performs much better in communicating signals over these wires than many other types of telephone technology, because long encoded numbers are not required, which means messages can be sent much quicker.This results in faster call connection times and a greater number of features available to customers.
Slow to Gain Popularity
ISDN has failed to gain much popularity in the United States and Canada, since most people feel it is a solution to a problem that does not exist, since other telephone networks provide essentially the same service.Customers also have trouble understanding the additional services and features that ISDN can potentially offer them that other network types cannot.
ISDN is currently considered a “niche product,” and it is primarily used by companies who need its specific capabilities.For example, Sony, Polycon, Tandberg, and LifeSize are all companies that have developed high-end videoconferencing hardware that utilizes ISDN.These products perform at super-fast speeds, and can bond up to 8 channels together and provide digital connections almost anywhere in the world.This technology is extremely expensive, so it has mostly been replaced by IP-based conferencing.
Although ISDN has not gained a strong foothold in the US market, and has even been shunned by wireless networks like Verizon, other countries still widely offer ISDN as a telephone network option.