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There are dollars for users to make in ISDN applications.

ISDN claimed its share of the spotlight at the wave of conferences and trade shows this fall, particularly at the Communications Managers Association, Tele-Communications Association and Interop.

The message to the telecomm community from the CMA meeting was loud and clear: forget about ISDN technology. Focus on applications.

Users, consultants, telcos and vendors again and again repeated that theme. Check out the many ways to apply the existing technology, they said, and forget about waiting for some jack-in-a-box solution to arrive on your doorstep.

The applications can be as simple as saving money on facsimile transmission.

France Telecom was part of the first trans-Atlantic ISDN transmission at last year's CMA gathering. This year, FT's Igor Douplitzky demonstrated major savings from using ISDN for something as simple as fax.

Fax savings

Using Group 4 fax transmission, it costs about $5.40 to send a 30-page document via ISDN lines from Paris to New York. This contrasts with $19.95 for a traditional Group 3 transmission. Total transmission time is cut from 15 minutes to 2.5 minutes with Group 4.

A 100-page legal brief would cost $18 to transmit over ISDN-compatible Group 4 fax, as opposed to $66.50. As an added bonus, the fax machine and secretary are tied up for only 8.3 minutes with an ISDN transmission. The time involved in a typical Group 3 transmission would be 50 minutes.

In general, Douplitzky figured, sending fax over ISDN lines is eight times faster than over the usual lines.

ISDN also will be a handy way to order up DSOs as needed, said META Group's Dale Kutnick. Of course, the 56 or 64 kb/s lines can be multiplexed for further efficiency.

If you are using a full package of Nynex dedicated services for circuit-switched data under the RBOC's Switchway program you likely are paying about $125.25, not including customer premise equipment.

With an ISDN line, the cost drops to $38.50, according to Jeanne Altenau, staff director for primary rate ISDN at Nynex.

Even with Intellipath and Infopath, the cost for comparable service would be over $82.

Several big New York end users, including Citibank, Eastman Kodak, Merrill Lynch, Shearson Lehman and Young & Rubicam, are involved in an ISDN trial.

The New York Public Service Commission is overseeing the trial, which involves LECs, IXCs, network and equipment vendors.

The operational trial includes cross-hooking 5ESS and DMS-100 switches and involves services provided by AT&T and MCI.

Bell Atlantic's John Seazholtz, who also chairs the ISDN Executive Committee for the Corporation for Open Systems, called ISDN "a technology whose time has come."

Seazholtz listed a host of practical applications, including 3270 PC access to an SNA host over ISDN.

Thanks in part to the Iraq war, interest has jumped in videoconferencing, a technology that fits nicely with ISDN.

"You can get ISDN at a cost that is nominally the cost of a phone call plus a small premium," Seazholtz told a CMA general session. "The difference is not so much about new stuff as it is about access to technologies like videoconferencing that used to be considered too expensive."

For an extra $20 per month, a user can do all the nifty things that were the stuff of science fiction writers a few years ago. In the hard, non-fictional world of profit and loss statements, those applications easily will justify their costs.

Eventually, the ISDN market will be residential and the phone will be seen as an information appliance. Is that just more technology hype? Tell that to the companies saving $48 on every 100 pages of faxes they send.

TCA, Interop

At TCA, Pacific Bell demonstrated applications aimed at telecommuters and home workers, a "virtual key system" that emulates the functions of a key system or small PBX, and voice/daa/image services designed for specific real estate and health care industry needs.

At Interop, ISDN occupied its own Solutions Showcase along with hot technologies such as frame relay, FDDI< SMDS and token ring.

A variety of applications using basic and primary rate services were on display with live and simulated lines.

Nine companies took part in the showcase. They were: 3Com, AT&T Network Systems, Banyan, Cisco Systems, Rockwell CMC, General DataComm, Hewlett-Packard and its Idacom subsidiary, Northern Telecom and Tekelec.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:ISDN Forum; Integrated Services Digital Network
Author:Tanzillio, Kevin
Publication:Communications News
Article Type:Column
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Words:715
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