What does having no PSTN lines really mean?

Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

What does having no PSTN lines really mean?

what does having no pstn lines really mean?There are firm actions starting to take place about PSTN sunset.  What this means is that our landline networks that we grew up with will cease to exist – they are too costly to continue to support.  Effectively, the VoIP movement that started in the mid 1990s will have “won.”  And what a swift victory that has been.

Countries will have various PSTN sunset dates.  And they are likely years away, even for the closest ones.  But this PSTN sunset has caused much trepidation anyway. Because, what does having no PSTN lines really mean?  It means basically that there will be no more T1/E1 voice trunks coming into your business, or no more analog lines coming into your house.  A lot of us don’t even use the standard “kitchen” phone anymore so it’s no big deal.  But having only SIP trunks coming into a business could cause serious issues because of all the PSTN equipment inside of a business.

Why?  Because the PSTN equipment works, and why replace it if you don’t need to?  Hence, there is much trepidation about the potential upheaval in preparation for the PSTN sunset.  There really is no need to fear this – there is time to plan the best approach. And while one approach may be upgrading to all SIP equipment (maybe because you were planning to anyway), another approach could be to simply keep the existing PSTN equipment. 

How?  Well, if you put a gateway in front of the PSTN equipment you can do that.  The gateway will talk SIP to the SIP trunk, and convert the signaling and media coming in from the SIP trunk to PSTN signaling and media.  You may think of it as a “reverse” gateway – instead of using the gateway to convert from PSTN to SIP, you use the gateway to convert from SIP to PSTN.

So you have options regarding how to handle the PSTN sunset.  Use the one that best suits your needs.  One option is changing to SIP trunks into the enterprise now, installing a gateway, and keeping your existing enterprise infrastructure. This way, when the magic day comes when there are no more voice T1/E1 lines, you won’t even notice since you will have been running on SIP trunks anyway.


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