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34. Musings On The Fiber Phase-In.   3/22/13 by Dave Immer

It’s a shame that the telcos, in their easing away from Circuit-Switched services, are forsaking the magic synchronous 64kbs “channels” that make up our ISDN connections. Everyone who uses the PSTN uses exactly that bit rate to make a call. No packet collisions or jitter to slow down or destabilize a connection. 

It’s a shame telcos, in some locales, are not installing new copper lines. The Circuit-Switched services that deliver ISDN, among other products, have been built up around the copper infrastructure. Copper also allows current to flow, enabling POTS phones to work even when the power fails, providing an important measure of public safety – calls to emergency services (911 in the US) will still work.

But as copper recedes, fiber ascends with its own advantages. Fiber has prodigious bandwidth  potential. And the Packet-Switched internet is an on-demand arrangement. This is convenient for everyone.  Also, the elimination of circuit switching equipment is a huge cost-savings for the service providers. And the elimination of long-distance charges is a big cost-savings for the users.

Technically there is nothing preventing fiber from carrying ISDN – the long distance portion of an ISDN call is all fiber anyway. Perhaps the evolution of routers and computers will enable development of fixed bit-rate “clear channels” between users. Or maybe a clear channel cloud service will emerge.

Let me know your musings.                     Thanks,

Dave