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Integrated Services

Digital Network (ISDN)

ECM 241


The Integrated Service Digital Network was the first

telecommunication service designed specifically for
sending voice, video, data over digital telephone lines or
normal telephone wires systems already in space.
ISDN supports data transfer rates of 64 kbps. Home and
business users who install an ISDN adapter receive web
pages at up to 128 kbps compared with the maximum 64
kbps rate of a modem connection.
ISDN also requires adapters at both ends of the
transmission so the access provider also needs an ISDN

What is ISDN?

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) is an all

digital communications line that allows for the
transmission of voice, data, video and graphics, at
very high speeds, over standard communication
ISDN provides a single, common interface with
which to access digital communications services that
are required by varying devices, while remaining
transparent to the user.

ISDN contd

ISDN is not restricted to public telephone networks alone; it

may be transmitted via packet switched networks, telex, CATV
networks, etc.

ISDN contd...

ISDN is a circuit-switched telephone network system,

which also provides access to packet switched
networks, designed to allow digital transmission of
voice and data over ordinary telephone copper wires
(Plain-Old Telephone Service - POTS ), resulting in
potentially better voice quality than an analog phone
can provide.
It offers circuit-switched connections (for either voice
or data), and packet-switched connections (for data),
in increments of 64 kilobit/s.

ISDN contd

With ISDN, voice and data are carried by bearer

channels (B channels) occupying a bandwidth of 64
kb/s. Some switches limit B channels to a capacity of
56 kb/s.
A data channel (D channel) handles signalling at 16
kb/s or 64 kb/s, depending on the service type.


Bearer Channels

Bearer channel is a
standard 64kbps in the US
and 56 kbps elsewhere
because they traveled over
RBS lines.
Bearer channel or Bchannel can also be used
to carry the end-users
actual data, since they are
nothing more than digital

Data Channels

Other type of channel is

the data channel or Dchannel. D-channel
contains the data such as
signaling errors, framing
and various control and
management signals.
This channels speed is
16kbps for a BRI and
64kbps for a PRI.

Primary Rate Interface (PRI)

In US, a PRI consists of 23, 64 kbps B channels and one 64 kbps D

channel for a total of 1.544 Mbps. Europe and Elsewherein the world
including Malaysia, a PRI consists of 30 B channels running at 56 kbps and
one D channel also running at 64 kbps. The reason for this difference is
that countries other than US use 7-bit word ( 7 bits x 8000 sample rate = 56
kbps) and no echo cancellation. The US uses an 8-bit word ( 8 bits x 8000
sample / second rate = 64 kbps) with echo cancellation in the voice network.
In the United Kingdom, British Telecom (BT) provides ISDN2e (BRI) as well
as ISDN30 (PRI). Until April 2006, they also offered services named Home
Highway and Business Highway, which were BRI ISDN-based services that
offered integrated analogue connectivity as well as ISDN. Later versions of
the Highway products also included built-in Universal serial bus (USB)
sockets for direct computer access. Home Highway was bought by many
home users, usually for Internet connection, although not as fast as ADSL,
because it was available before ADSL and in places where ADSL does not


Basic Rate Interface (BRI)

BRIs consist of two bearer channels and one data channel. The bearer
channels are either 64 kbps (US) or 56 kbps (elsewhere) and the data
channels is 16 kbps, providing up to 144 kbps of data transmitted and 128
kbps of usable user data.
BRIs typically used in small offices or for home
connections and PRI is used in larger environments Malaysia
because in provides higher bandwidth.
BRI line
ISDN modem


Serial port


Uses broadband transmission and is able to support transmission rates of

1.5 Mbps. It requires fiber optic cables. B-ISDN encompasses frame relay
service for high-speed data that can be sent in large bursts, the fiber
distributed data interface (FDDI) and the synchronous optical network
(SONET), B-ISDN is intended to support transmission from 2 Mbps up to
much higher rate. The designated technology for B-ISDN was
Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), which was intended to carry both
synchronous voice and asynchronous data services on the same
The B-ISDN vision has been overtaken by other disruptive technologies
used in the Internet. The ATM technology survived as a low-level layer in
most Digital subscriber line (DSL) technologies, and as a payload type in
some wireless technologies such as WiMAX. The term "broadband"
became a marketing term for any digital Internet access service.

Advantages of ISDN


BRI ISDN, using a channel aggregation protocol such as

BONDING or Multilink-PPP, supports an uncompressed
data transfer speed of 128 kb/s, plus bandwidth for
overhead and signalling. PRI transfers at an even higher
speed of up to 1920 kb/s.

Multiple Devices

ISDN allows multiple devices to share a single line. It is

possible to combine many different digital data sources
and have the information routed to the proper destination.

Advantages contd..

Signalling/fast call setup

Instead of the phone company sending a ring voltage

signal to ring the bell in your phone ("In-Band signal"),
it sends a digital packet on a separate channel ("Outof-Band signal").
The Out-of-Band signal does not disturb established
connections, no bandwidth is taken from the data
channels, and call setup time is very fast.


An external power supply is required. The Telcos dont supply

power for ISDN lines. If the power fails, the phones wont work.
Special digital phones are required or a Terminal Adapter to talk
to the existing POTS devices.
It is very expensive to upgrade a central office switch to ISDN.



As an alternative to analog connections most

commonly for internet access.
Successfully marketed as a phone with feature.
Commonly used in radio broadcasting.
Applied in videoconferences.

Integrated Services
Digital Network (ISDN)