System : Integrated Digital Services Network (ISDN)

Integrated Digital Services Network (ISDN)
A structured all digital telephone network system that was developed to replace (upgrade) existing analog telephone networks. The ISDN network supports for advanced telecommunications services and defined universal standard interfaces that are used in wireless and wired communications systems.

ISDN provides several communication channels to customers via local loop lines through a standardized digital transmission line. ISDN is provided in two interface formats: a basic rate (primarily for consumers) and high-speed rate (primarily for businesses). The basic rate interface (BRI) is 144 kbps and is divided into three digital channels called 2B + D. The primary rate interface (PRI) is 1.54 Mbps and is divided into 23B + D. The digital channels for the BRI are carried over a single, unshielded, twisted pair, copper wire and the PRI is normally carried on (2) twisted pairs of copper wire.

The “B” channels operate at 64kb per second digital synchronous rate and the “D” channel is a control channel. The D channel is used to coordinate (signal) the communication with the telephone network. When used on the BRI line, the D channel is 16kbps and when provided on the PRI channel, the D channel is 64 kbps. Because the amount of telephone system control signaling is relatively small, the D channel can also be used for low speed packet data messaging. The 64 kbps “B” channels can be used for voice and data. On the BRI system, the two B channels can be combined for 128 kbps data connection.

ISDN telephone lines exclusively use digital transmission. This requires a customer to replace their analog telephones with ISDN digital telephone equipment if they upgrade to ISDN service. ISDN service is typically provided using modular plugs. These plugs include a RJ45 interface (8 pin) for data equipment (called a BRI-S/T) and the other physical connection type is a two-wire, RJ11 type standard (called the BRI-U).

The maximum distance for a BRI-S/T line is approximately 3,000 feet and the maximum distance for the BRI-U is 18,000 feet. Beyond these distances, the service provider may install repeaters to provide service. However, repeaters are expensive to install and setup.

The ISDN BRI allows the user to change the use of the B channels whenever desired. For example, an ISDN user may be sending data using the two B channels at 128 Kbps. If a voice call comes in or is initiated, the data transmission is not interrupted; but is automatically reduced to one B channel at 64 Kbps. When the voice call ends, the data transmission returns to 128 Kbps on the two B channels.

Figure 1 provides the different interfaces that are available in the integrated services digital network (ISDN). The two interfaces shown are BRI and PRI. These are all digital interfaces from the PSTN to the end customers network termination. 1 (NT1) equipment. devices that are ISDN compatible can directly connect to the NT1 connection. Devices that require other standards (such as POTS or data modems) require a terminal adapter (TA).


Figure 1: Integrated Digital Services Network (ISDN)

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