Your TDM network will soon be obsolete. Here's how to upgrade.

Summary: Today's landscape, a time synonymous with uncertainty, requires modern-day connectivity options that support the growing demand for cloud-based apps, achieve business continuity and avoid the risk of downtime and lost productivity. Yet many organizations are still relying on outdated legacy access technologies that inhibit these goals. Here we show you how and why you need to make the switch.

Digital transformation is changing the way organizations operate and pressuring enterprises to adapt to the storm of new technologies. Businesses are tasked with making vital decisions regarding their digital strategies and how to innovate, especially when considering technologies that will reinforce business continuity and modern communications.

Man using phone in empty office

While many organizations are addressing these issues, some aspects of networking and communications are stubbornly hanging around—specifically Time Division Multiplexing (TDM), DS1 and DS3 Access solutions and copper-based services, such as primary rate interfaces (PRIs) and plain old telephone services (POTS). Relying on these legacy technologies undoubtedly leads to wasted spend, limited features and overall obsolescence. If you are still using these services, now is the time to start exploring modern-day connectivity options that will support the growing demand for cloud-based apps, achieve business continuity and avoid the risk of downtime and lost productivity. 

A retrospective look

At a previous point in time, these legacy technologies did present a reliable method of networking and voice communications. DS1s and DS3s were the access workhorse in the 1980s and 90s and the proliferation of carriers that offered these access solutions increased remarkably with the Telecommunications Act of 1996.1 This act was the first major overhaul of telecommunications law in 62 years, opening the playing field and allowing competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) to compete in the market with incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs).

TDM access technology—such as PRI T1s, traditional phone lines and data T1 circuits—predate the Internet. At the time, these carried the benefit of being readily available, offered by every telecommunications provider tested over the course of decades. Yet, most customers today using TDM access for Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) or voice services don’t have a failover in place; they’re single threaded and prone to outages.

Race against the clock

In our current landscape—and particularly during times of uncertainty—modern networks require more agility to quickly adapt to ever-changing demands. With an estimated 25-30% of the U.S. workforce that will be working-from-home (WFH) multiple days a week by the end of 20211, it’s safe to say that WFH is here to stay. The reality is: legacy network and voice services are not enabling the remote collaboration and uninterrupted experience needed to succeed in today’s world.

A recent survey found that almost half of businesses network infrastructure assets today are aging or obsolete.2 Many major telecommunications providers have already gone as far as to stop providing TDM access to new customers; they have increased rates on the existing base and are planning how to best retire TDM altogether.

Risky business

The disadvantages of sticking with TDM access technology prove to be both expensive and hazardous to any organization’s plans around strategic growth. The drawbacks include:

  • Expensive: Upkeep becomes more difficult and costly as legacy networks age, given that these services will eventually be decommissioned or subject to large rate increases.
  • Underperforming: TDM technology does not meet today’s needs for resilience or application performance, nor does it reach the demands for higher bandwidth.
  • Rigid: TDM makes it difficult to add new phone lines, has longer repair times and limited feature functionalities—all resulting in a significant loss of productivity and increased downtime.
  • Single point of failure: Few businesses can afford a single point of failure for communications (i.e., waiting for their phone company to perform cabling work every time a change is needed, or services that don’t integrate with mobile devices or cloud-based apps).
  • Poor Customer Experience (CX): Customers don’t accept “usually” or “almost” as an adequate level of service. If 100% uptime is imperative to your business, selecting cloud-based solutions significantly reduces the risk of down time.

Advantages of converting

To steer clear of network obsolescence, organizations are turning to Windstream Enterprise to enable a rich, unified experience with UCaaS and SD-WAN leveraging Ethernet, broadband and wireless access solutions. By replacing legacy access technology with more efficient, all-IP-based access mediums, organizations will start to see the following benefits:

  • Mission critical: SD-WAN networks based on Ethernet and broadband connectivity provide the bandwidth and resiliency needed to support crucial applications including voice and video.
  • Advanced functionality: Employees and customers gain feature-rich technologies such as high-speed Internet, mobility, security and real-time video and audio collaboration.
  • Futureproofed: Cloud-based features are continuously being developed and automatically updated.
  • Versatile: Guaranteed greater flexibility, resiliency and scalability.
  • Cost effective: Next-gen cloud technology better positions you for growth and profitability, without heavy upfront investments or costly software updates.
  • Accessible: These modern solutions promise high-speed connection anywhere, anytime. High bandwidth is achieved through Ethernet and broadband services; and UC services make telephone services accessible via desktop, tablets and mobile devices.
  • Centrally managed: With Windstream Enterprise, customers have access to an intuitive, award-winning, self-serving WE Connect portal to manage all of an organization’s services, from anyplace, on any device.

WE will help

The need to shift from these legacy copper-based services have been coming for years—not just within Windstream Enterprise, but for the entire industry. These technologies are nearing end of life and can no longer be trusted the way they once were. Organizations that are moving to more agile, integrated modes of business connectivity and communications are finding greater reliability, bandwidth, cost savings and interconnectivity gains when switching to cloud-based solutions.

Windstream Enterprise has a wide portfolio of unified communications, next-gen network and security solutions, making us the perfect partner to help you create a custom migration path that will future-proof your infrastructure and lay the foundation for an ever-changing landscape. To learn more about our award-winning UC and SD-WAN services, visit our website to explore our solutions, including  OfficeSuite UC®,  UCaaS: Unified Communications as a Service and SD-WAN Concierge.

References

1. Global Workplace Analytics. Work-At-Home After Covid-19. Accessed February 7, 2021.
2. FCC, Telecommunications Act of 1996. Accessed February 7, 2021.

Key takeaway: Stay ahead of the industry shift to eliminate copper-based services, such as PRI T1s, traditional phone lines and data T1 circuits. Start taking advantage of more features and saving costs by upgrading your connectivity, enhanced by modern UC and SD-WAN solutions.

 

About the Author

Adam Zonneville

Adam Zonneville is the vice president of access pricing and product at Windstream. Within this role, Adam manages Windstream’s Off-Net Access product and Offer Management solutions, where he is responsible for third-party vendor costing, strategic and special pricing, and contracting. Adam has been with Windstream since 2013, which includes numerous positions within the Access Management, Finance and Marketing organizations. Prior to Windstream, Adam held several senior level positions for access management, engineering and pricing, where he was responsible for overseeing teams of analysts responsible for all leased access pricing related to sales activity.

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