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Friday, 28 September 2012

ISDN in United States and Canada

ISDN-BRI never gained popularity as a general use telephone access technology in Canada and the US, and remains a niche product. The service was seen as a solution in search of a problem,[4] and the extensive array of options and features were difficult for customers to understand and use. ISDN has long been known by derogatory backronyms highlighting these issues, such as It Still Does Nothing, Innovations Subscribers Don't Need, and I Still Don't kNow.[5][6]
Once the concept of broadband Internet access came to be associated with data rates incoming to the customer at 256 kbit/s or more,[7] and alternatives like ADSL grew in popularity, the consumer market for BRI did not develop. Its only remaining advantage is that while ADSL has a functional distance limitation and can use ADSL loop extenders, BRI has a greater limit and can use repeaters. As such, BRI may be acceptable for customers who are too remote for ADSL. Widespread use of BRI is further stymied by some small North American CLECs such as CenturyTel having given up on it and not providing Internet access using it.[8] However, AT&T in most states (especially the former SBC/SWB territory) will still install an ISDN BRI line anywhere a normal analog line can be placed and the monthly charge is roughly $55.
ISDN-BRI is currently primarily used in industries with specialized and very specific needs. High-end videoconferencing hardware made by companies such as Sony, Polycom, Tandberg, and LifeSize via the LifeSize Networker can bond up to 8 B-channels together (using a BRI circuit for every 2 channels) to provide digital, circuit-switched video connections to almost anywhere in the world. This is very expensive, and is being replaced by IP-based conferencing, but where cost concern is less of an issue than predictable quality and where a QoS-enabled IP does not exist, BRI is the preferred choice.
Most modern non-VoIP PBXs use ISDN-PRI circuits. These are connected via T1 lines with the central office switch, replacing older analog two-way and direct inward dialing (DID) trunks. PRI is capable of delivering Calling Line Identification (CLID) in both directions so that the telephone number of an extension, rather than a company's main number, can be sent. It is still commonly used in recording studios, when a voice-over actor is in one studio, but the director and producer are in a studio at another location. The ISDN protocol delivers channelized, not-over-the-Internet service, powerful call setup and routing features, faster setup and tear down, superior audio fidelity as compared to POTS (plain old telephone service), lower delay and, at higher densities, lower cost.

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