“Remember the good old 1980s, when things were so uncomplicated…” Ticket to the Moon, ELO
When Jeff Lynne wrote these lyrics in 1981, the Nortel Digital Multiplex System (DMS) voice switching platform was in its heyday. The voice business accounted for the majority telecommunications, and data connections were somewhat of an oddity, requiring a phone line and a dial-up modem to connect –so service providers recognized this revenue as voice. Forty years later, service providers are all about data and what was once the backbone of many carriers’ business, taking up an entire row, now looks like a dinosaur; a relic of a bygone era.
Surprisingly, there are still plenty of DMS switches out there (100s, 250s, 500s…), which goes to show migrating off of legacy technologies is at the bottom of the priority list. The power consumption is orders of magnitude greater than the much more compact (and more powerful) VoIP systems, not to mention the opportunity cost of the inordinate amount of space they consume. And, while these beasts were built to the highest standards of performance, even the most reliable gear will eventually fail (and when it does, good luck with sparing).
When a mid-sized CLEC was looking to upgrade their voice switch from TDM to VoIP, we knew the business case was a no-brainer. We also knew they had postponed the inevitable as long as possible due to the data, network and customer migration complexity involved. Core Network Solutions performed an audit, put a project plan in place and successfully decommissioned the switch, handing all customer coordination and communications. “If we had known it would be this painless, we would have done it years ago” said a delighted customer (too embarrassed that they still had the technology to be named).
Done kicking the can?
Believe it or not, you’re in good company. Many great service providers worry about the potential adverse impacts that might come from migrating their legacy voice infrastructure, they forget to focus on the improved service they can deliver with the latest technology (not to mention the savings).