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Frequently Asked Questions
The intention of this document is to provide you with a background on what the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) is and why it is a significant network for Fiji.
What is ISDN?
The Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) is both a set of digital transmission standards and a network infrastructure that allows digital transmission over existing
copper telephone wiring. It is essentially, a switched network capable of digitally transmitting voice, video and data from one location to another. The network offers you the best of both worlds - the utility! and reach of the public telephone network, combined with high quality, digital transmission that was previously only available on leased data services.
'Integrated Services' is used to denote the technology's flexibility to support these multiple services through one physical connection standard. In most cases, voice, video and data services can be used concurrently e.g. you can make a telephone call while setting up a session to your ISP. This depends on the ISDN service that you have as well as how your terminal equipment and applications are configured.
What are the Origins of the ISDN?
Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) was specified under ETSI by the CCln standards body (now known as ITU-T) in 1984. It was originally designed as a "next generation" telephone system, integrating voice and data into one connection. Equipment development and compatibility have improved significantly in the late 1990's, simplifying network rollouts and reducing cost of deployment.
Why has Telecom Fiji introduced the ISDN to Fiji now?
Telecom Fiji invested in the ISDN in response to the increasing use of computers as a communication and information-sharing tool within Fiji.
Telecom Fiji's current telephone service is not optimised for computer communications, but rather for voice communications. Dial-up users using the existing telephone service therefore experience slow call set-up times2 as well as low connection speeds3 when connecting to an ISP or corporate modem bank. With the introduction of the ISDN, call set-up times reduce to a few seconds only, with guaranteed connection speeds4 well above what the best analogue modems can do.
In addition to improving the performance of dial-up sessions, ISDN services enables the introduction of innovative communication applications, such as video-conferencing and feature-rich PBX networking, applications with high interest among the business community in Fiji.
1. Refers to the fact that one can call any number (locations) on the network compared to alternatives such as leased circuits or frame relay, which are fixed between any two locations
What ISDN standard does TFL's ISDN use?
Telecom Fiji's ISDN uses the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) standard.
What are the key features & benefits of ISDN services?
- Multi-Service Concurrent Sessions
ISDN services uses carefully organized 'bearer' channels between any two ISDN connections. These channels can carry different communication services such as telephony, fax, computer, data and video communications. At a minimum, two services can operate concurrently, significantly improving your productivity. At a maximum, thirty (30) services can operate concurrently over one physical connection.
2. Between 40 seconds to over a minute in some cases
3. Under 56 kilo bits per second (kbps).
4. Refers to minimum transmission rates of 64kbps compared to the best analogue modems which can only handle 56kbps max.
- High-Speed Access
For the first time in Fiji, you can set up high-speeds dial-up computer sessions within half the time, and connect at more than twice the speed of dial-ups over the existing telephone service. This is achieved by using ISDN's 'bonding' capabilities which combine 'bearer' channels together to provide a virtual single high-speed connection for those applications that require 'speed' e.g. high-speed dial-up to your ISP, video conferencing, high-speed leased circuit backup, etc. The performance of the service improves your level of responsiveness and productivity.
- Digital Optimisation
A key feature of ISDN services is that it handles dial-up communications digitally. This means that your computer (a digital machine) can now use a communications channel that is optimised for computer communications, rather than using the existing analogue telephone service, which is optimised for voice communications. You will therefore notice improved transmission speeds because digital compatibility eliminates unnecessary retransmissions inherent in analogue networks.
What can I do with ISDN services?
- Rapid Internet access and downloading
You can surf the Internet much faster than with an analogue modem and it also takes less time to download data. To use this application, you need an ISDN package from your ISP in order to get connected at high-speed.
- Fast file transfer
If you need to send lots of large files to another party who has an ISDN service as well, then fast file transfer over ISDN is a more efficient way to send data compared to attaching them via e-mails. You simply dial up the distant computer and send your files directly to it.
- Connecting satellite (branch) offices
ISDN services have equivalent functionality as a leased data service with the key difference being that ISDN services are timed services, whereas leased services are fixed price-based services. Depending on your requirements and budget, ISDN services may prove to be a cheaper alternative than leased data services for connecting branch offices to head offices, particularly if the branch does not need an 'always-on' data communications service.
- Connecting PBXs
Upgrading the connection between Telecom Fiji exchanges and your PBX will result in clearer communications, improved feature handling and better utility for your business. For instance, in addition to handling voice calls, this link can be used for high-speed dial-up as well (by dialling through your PBX) instead of purchasing a dedicated ISDN service for your dial-up. In essence, you would now have a multi-purpose, information rich, high-speed communication facility.
5. Defined as a minimum of 128kbps (compared to the existing 56kbps). Based on the ISDN service variant, High-speed is achieved by bonding as many 64kbps channels as needed into one high-speed dial-up session.
With video conferencing, you'll be able to see and hear the person at the other end of the line, as well as discuss and amend work/presentations in real time. It is best to use ISDN services for this application rather than leased circuits because you only pay as you use the service, and more importantly, you can call any other party who has a video conferencing unit connected to the ISDN, increasing the overall utility of this application to your business.
- Protecting Leased circuit failure
If your data communications equipment (e.g. router) is ISDN compatible, then you can use ISDN services to dial-up from a remote site to your data centre in the event your leased circuit fails between these two sites. The above applications are not exhaustive, but meant to give you a feel for what can be done with ISDN services. Telecom Fiji can assist with most of the applications above. Do contact your Account Manager if Telecom Fiji has assigned one to your business. Else, you can call our Contact Centre free-of-charge on '11 22 33' to log your interest. We will schedule an appointment with you once we have consulted our product and solutions specialists.
What ISDN service options exist?
ISDN services use carefully organized 'bearer' channels6 between any two ISDN connections. These channels can carry different communication services such as telephony, fax, computer and video communications.
Two service options are available over the ISDN.
- Basic Rate ISDN Service
This service is the smallest service option available and comes with two (2) bearer channels which are capable of supporting either a telephone, facsimile, computer, data or video session. Moreover, the two bearer channels can be 'bonded' together to form a high-speed dial-up session operating at 128kbps.
Telecom Fiji's 'Speedstream' product is based on the ISDN's Basic Rate service option and includes other value-added services. Speedstream extends this functionality to your premises using specially sourced Integrated Terminal Adapter (ITA) units.
. The product is suitable for both residential and business use particularly if computer communications (to the ISP or elsewhere) is an integral part of one's lifestyle or work.
Speedstream is ideal for:
- Concurrent ISP dial-up access and phone/fax use · High-speed ISP dial-up sessions
- Point-to-point file transfers - an alternative to emailing large files
- Data communications contingency links - in the event your leased circuit fails
- Point-to-point video conferencing
- PBX connectivity for small systems
- Remote working (teleworking) with head offices. Please see the Product Fact brochure for
Telecom Fiji's Speedstream service for more information on service configuration, pricing and billing.
- Primary Rate ISDN Service
The Primary Rate Interface (PRI) is the larger service option available on the ISDN and comes with thirty (30) bearer channels each capable of supporting a telephone, facsimile, computer, data or video session.
Telecom Fiji's 'SpeedstreamMAX' product is based on the ISDN's Primary Rate service option and includes other value-added services. As with Speedstream, each channel can be connected to a different destination, carry different applications, and combined to give even faster transmission speeds.
Telecom Fiji's SpeedstreamMAX is extended to your premises over high-capacity transmission links. The product is primarily suitable for businesses because of the scale of the service.
In addition to the applications supported by Speedstream, SpeedstreamMAX is ideal for:
- High-quality point-to-point or multi-site video conferencing
- PBX connectivity for large systems
- Server-end connectivity for corporate dial-up requirements
- Data centre contingency links - to switch communications quickly to disaster recovery sites in the event the main data centre suffers catastrophic failure
Please see the Product Fact brochure for Telecom Fiji's SpeedstreamMAX service for more information on service configuration, pricing and billing.
Where are ISDN services available?
Speedstream and SpeedstreamMAX services are available in the following areas: Ba, Denarau, Deuba, Labasa, Lami, Lautoka, Nakasi, Nadi, Namaka, Nasinu, Samabula, Sigatoka, Suva and Tamavua.
Telecom Fiji intends to expand coverage to other centres over the next three years. Telecom Fiji may make arrangement to expand coverage should customers demand ISDN services before the network expansion projects occur. This is subject to demand volumes.
How far can the ISDN service work from Telecom Fiji's exchanges?
The Speed stream service is highly dependant on the quality of Telecom Fiji's copper network. Telecom Fiji's market trials have shown that the service can be installed at sites located up to 5km away from its ISDN equipped exchanges.
When requested, Telecom Fiji will endeavour to provide services to premises located at such distances, however, we cannot guarantee that we can install the service to the required standard until we can verify the quality of copper with our test equipment. Line testing will be carried out on a needs basis.
How is ISDN services delivered to my premises?
The Speedstream service is delivered solely over Telecom Fiji's copper access network. This means that there is little or no need for new wiring up to your premises therefore shortening the time to upgrade or install a new service.
In the case of SpeedstreamMAX, Telecom Fiji has several options for delivering services to your premises. Delivery can be over copper, microwave radio or optical fibre cables. Prices vary depending on delivery method. Please consult the Product Fact brochure for Telecom Fiji's
SpeedstreamMAX service for more information.
Telecom Fiji technicians and/or contractors will carry out the installation of these services.
Will Telecom Fiji technicians set up my equipment?
The Speedstream service will be installed and tested up until the Integrated Terminal Adapter (ITA). If you're using the service in conjunction with your PC or MAC computer, the Installation Pack left at your premises includes:
- A Speedstream User Guide outlining the steps you need to take to connect your equipment to the ITA;
- Software driver options available to match your operating system. Two media formats are supplied for your convenience: 3.5"
floppy disk and CD;
- All cables necessary to connect your equipment to the ITA (USB cable, DB9 to DB9 cable, DB9 to DB25 port adapter, RJ45 to RJ45 cables x 2, RJ-ll to RJ45 cable xl).
It is your responsibility to load up the appropriate software drivers and connect your PC or MAC equipment to the ITA. Connect can also be approached for assistance.
For the case of the SpeedstreamMAX service, the service will be installed and tested up until the Network Terminating Unit (NTU). It will be your responsibility to arranqe for the set up of your equipment, which may involve technicians and enqineers from other units within Telecom f!jl
What Prices will apply to ISDN services?
Please consult the Product Fact Sheet for the Speedstream and SpeedstreamMAX services for this information.
What is an Integrated Terminal Adapter (ITA)?
The ITA is a special network termination unit that is provided by Telecom Fiji for the Speedstream service. It consists of an inbuilt digital network terminating unit, two analogue ports (for use with your analogue telephones or fax machines), two computer ports (USB and RS232C) and an S-Bus socket for attaching ISDN compatible equipment e.g. video conferencing unit. What's different about this unit compared to other network terminating units, is that the ITAs is a managed unit, meaning that Telecom Fiji can quickly run tests and diagnose faults in the event of receiving a complaint, change service configurations in response to requests, or download new firmware to keep the ITA performing at optimum levels. Telecom Fiji has chosen these units carefully to minimise disruptions to your service.
Does the ITA require 240V AC power?
Yes. The ITA requires connection to a 240V AC power outlet to operate
What happens to the ISDN service when the 240V AC fails?
Should the 240VAC power fail, the ITA will always provide one telephone service on Tell port, and the service will lose the capability to set up high-speed dial-up calls. If you are wanting to set up a dial-up ~ to your ISP or another computer during the period of where power is unavailable, then you can only do so by attaching an analoque modem to the Tell port and dialling out with this.
What are the computing requirements to connect to the ITA?
Telecom Fiji's ITA will work with most IBM compatible PCs and Apple Macintosh computers. The minimum specification for an IBM compatible PC is:
- Pentium III or later (really depends on the OS being used)
- Windows 98, ME, 2000,
- 32MB RAM (for WIN 98)
- 64MB RAM (for Win 2000 and ME)
- 128MB RAM (for WIN XP)
- SVGA display 800 x 600 x 256 colours
- Spare USB port and a CD ROM drive (or RS232 port capable of 115.2 kbps)
The minimum specification for a MAC PC is:
- OS X Version 10.1
Do I need to buy the ITA or does it come with the Speedstream service?
You need to purchase the Integrated Terminal Adapter (ITA) used in the Speedstream service outright. Telecom
Fiji will not bill you for this. To avoid delays, do ensure you enclose a valid cheque or purchase order for the ITA when ordering the service.
Can I retain my existing telephone/service number?
Yes. Telecom Fiji has developed ISDN services so that it can be introduced with minimum impact on your existing identities and business.
How does Billing for ISDN services work?
ISDN billing is virtually identical to how your existing telephone service is billed. You will therefore be billed a rental for network access as well as usage of the service. What's different about ISDN services is that Telecom Fiji will charge two different rates for the two types of calls: voice rates and data/computer rates. Please consult the Product Fact Sheet for the Speedstream and SpeedstreamMAX services for more information.
What can I expect on my first bill?
When you get your first bill, it may look rather high. This is because your bill will show amounts that may include:
- A service upgrade fee - if upgrading from your existing service to the ISDN service;
- Or a new connection fee - for totally new connections only
- A rental amount may look rather high - this is because it takes into account the rental from your connection date to the bill date, as well as a further one month's rental for the coming month. Telecom Fiji will always bill rentals in advance.
- Usage charges - itemised for each call including local calls as well.
Which Terms & Conditions of Service apply to ISDN services?
Please consult the 'ISDN Standard Terms & Conditions of Service' document found on the order form for complete details. You must understand and agree to the Terms & Conditions of Service applicable to Telecom Fiji's ISDN services before placing your order.
How do I order ISDN services?
Please complete the order form obtainable from any Telecom Fiji Customer Care locations or on Telecom Fiji's website www.telecomfiji.com.fj and deliver to Telecom Fiji Lim
- Hand Deliver: You can complete the order form and deliver it to a Telecom Fiji Customer Care Centre near you. A listing is provided below.
- Fax: You can complete the order form and fax it to 112244
Before we visit
Before our technicians arrive, you need to decide where you would like your ITA to be installed. Do note that the computer cable supplied with the Installation Pack is only 1m long. For this reason, we suggest that the best place to install the ITA is as close as possible to your computer. If required, a telephone connection can then be extended from this location. Please advise our technician where you would like the ITA installed when he/she arrives.
Can I use my existing Caller ID equipment on an ISDN line?
Yes. The Calling Line Identification feature is enabled with ISDN services. You will have to connect your Caller ID equipment to the Tell port of the ITA. You then connect your telephone to your Caller ID equipment.
How many calls can I make at anyone time with ISDN services?
With the Speedstream service, you can make two calls simultaneously regardless of whether it is a telephone call, fax call, computer dial-up call etc. So even though you may be able to attach more than two devices to your ITA, only two of them can use the Speedstream communication channels at anyone point in time.
With the SpeedstreamMAX service, you can make thirty calls simultaneously regardless of whether it is a telephone call, fax call, computer dial-up call etc. If any of your equipment attached to the service activates bondinq to get higher speeds, then the number of channels available for calls will reduce by the number of channels bonded. However, SpeedstreamMAX can handle more simultaneous calls/sessions than Speedstream.
Can I use Value Added Services on ISDN?
Yes, a range of comparable Value Added Services, such as Call Minder, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, and Calling Line Identity (CLl) are available.
Can I use the ISDN service to connect to a customer or supplier who only has an analogue modem?
It depends on the ISDN interface you have in your computer. ISDN ITA can emulate an analogue modem, which effectively limits its speed to that of the modem being dialed. Your equipment (from Telecom Fiji) supports this feature and you should have no difficulty in connecting to someone with an analogue modem.
Can I use a modem with the digital lines?
You cannot plug a modem directly into the ISDN ITA. However, you can plug a modem into an analogue port on an ITA - you will then be able to send data this way but will not see any of the speed enhancement benefits of ISDN.