> What useful purpose does ISDN serve these days?
It's VERY useful, actually. Where I work, we have a number of
Tandberg 6000's and Polycom FX devices scattered on a number of sites,
and quite a few of them are hooked up to both Gigabit ethernet and 3
bonded ISDN PRIs each. Videoconferencing is VERY big, even bigger now
that businesses are trying to cut their travel expenses.
While videoconferencing over IP is fine inter-office and usually works
well within the continental US, there have been plenty of instances
where connections to developing countries (South Africa, Guyana, parts
of Russia) and even some parts of Europe (Belgium, the UK, Ireland)
where the backbone connection over IP is unacceptably bad for even
384kbps full motion video with voice. However many of these sites can
be very easily and reliably reached by dialing in to their ISDN lines.
Lousy connections suddenly become very crisp 384kbps video and audio.
In fact as recently as last week, the US Department of Commerce was
leasing our equipment and services to connect to their contacts in
certain countries which I probably shouldn't name. Good luck trying
to get to those places by IP.
Even domestically, ISDN has helped helped greatly. On 9/11 and for
days afterwards while flights were grounded, ISDN saved our hides. A
number of emergency meetings had to happen, and the 'net was horribly
congested. But ISDN? I thanked my lucky stars for circuit-switched
connections that day, and I know a lot of other businesses did too.
Although New York was a total loss for a while, all other sites were
still able to communicate. ISDN made my department look like heroes
and miracle workers then.
I also know for a fact that even very modern, cutting-edge companies
like XM radio continue to use ISDN lines. Their remote New York
studios are connected to the headquarters in Washington via bonded
ISDNs. They consider their services too critical to risk putting on a
T1 and hoping the internet backbone will hold up. A direct dial ISDN
connection was the only acceptable solution.
E-mail fudged to thwart spammers.
Transpose the c's and a's in my e-mail address to reply.
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: So you are suggesting that ISDN makes
a very good backup system in the case of emergencies? PAT]