PSTN vs ISDN: Which business landline is right for you?

The Alltel Team
The Alltel Team
PSTN vs ISDN: Which Business Landline is Right for You?

Many businesses just assume that a landline is a landline … until they go to sign up for one. Regular business landlines come in two flavours: PSTN and ISDN. (We’ll leave VoIP to one side for now, and talk about that another day.) Both systems have their pros and cons, and the ideal solution for your business may well be to use a combination of the two.

PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network)

PSTN, which is also called POTS (Plain Old Telephone System), supplies a single phone line with a single phone number. This service is ideal for smaller businesses that require only one or two lines. It is also recommended for many services where a dedicated line is required, such as fax and EFTPOS machines, back-to-base alarm systems, and ADSL connections.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)

ISDN provides multiple channels per line and enables multiple concurrent phone calls. Each digital line can carry both voice and data services, so it can be used for voice calls and internet use simultaneously with no problems. Its comparatively high bandwidth makes it well-suited for services such as data transfer and video conferencing.

With the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout, ISDN services are being shut down throughout Australia. Mandatory disconnections are set to start in September 2019, with all services cut by 2022. Sales of ISDN services have been in place since earlier in 2019.

If your business still uses an ISDN line, you should consider replacing it with a new phone line or connection before the ISDN switch-off. Better to act sooner rather than later.

Which one is right for your business?

PSTN remains a viable choice for businesses needing a single dedicated phone like, especially for the functions listed earlier. ISDN, however, is by now outdated.

Newer technologies like hosted PBX and unified communications have risen in popularity to become the main choices for business phone systems. These and other VoIP services are great options for businesses of all sizes.

Alltel solutions specialists can help you with getting business phone lines to match your specific needs. Call us at 1300 ALLTEL or visit

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