Is your lift ready for Analogue to Fibre Switch Over?
Can you remember the old rotary dial phones? How this changed to push-button telephones, then we had pagers and the brick size mobiles and today the smartphone. With the ever-increasing advances in technology, telephone lines, and auto-diallers becoming increasingly incompatible, these advances will for the first time affect the lift industry, current lifts not updated, and your business communications.
Who will be affected?
The switch-off will impact all businesses currently using ISDN or PSTN. The switch-off will affect a large volume of small businesses. 42% of SMEs still use analogue lines to transit data (around 2.4 million)
During the last 25 years, internet/data services have overtaken voice services. Making the original copper cable infrastructure in the UK struggling to keep up with demand for faster data. Now as fibre optic cables become the standard UK telephone line cable, which was first deployed in 1990, demand has significantly increased over the last 5 years.
This has never previously affected the lift industry. However, in 2020 Openreach (responsible for UK PSTN infrastructure) withdrew support for analogue services across the UK landline network regardless of if the line was copper or fibre optic! 1.2 million buildings have already been upgraded to digital services as of June 2021. With more following suit into 2022.
How Will Analogue to Fibre Switch Affect My Lift?
Existing auto dialler designs rely on both an analogue dial tone and dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) signaling to operate.
With support for analogue services being withdrawn, many autodiallers with landline connections will fail to dial out if a passenger tries to place an alarm call (no dial tone) and will be unable to place their 72-hour test call due to no DTMF.
48V lines are also being withdrawn. Auto diallers that draw power from the telephone line will simply cease to work.
Removing line voltage also poses a risk if you are using landlines for emergency communication. Fibre lines use their own mains power to work. This means they also need a separate battery backup to continue to function if there was a mains power failure, resulting in a lift entrapment and the telephone line also failing!
How can I ensure my auto dialler continues to operate?
Old-style analogue autodiallers units should be moved from their current landline connection to a GSM gateway. There is some good news the cost of the sim card is substantially lower than a commercial landline, these savings will eventually pay for the new hardware and installation. iKONIC recommend a full digital upgrade due to the power supplies and battery backups required to maintain EN81-28 compliant operation.
How can iKONIC Lifts help?
iKONIC Lifts can provide full upgrade packages for most lifts, offering the complete solution including battery backups and OEM equipment. Our team offer installation testing and support. Contact us for further information for a complete solution and packages we have available.
FAQs Digital Switch and the use of GSM gateways
We know there are a lot of questions about the Digital Switch and the use of GSM gateways. Here is a list of FAQs related to the change from analogue to digital autodialers…
What is ISDN?
Integrated Service Digital Network was the first release of high-speed internet evolving from the predecessor dial-up. This allows people to send data, such as voice calls or images through their phone lines using the internet.
What is PSTN?
Public Switch Phone Network is the classic analogue telephone system – that enables landline connectivity. First released in 1800 and allows for information to be transferred through a network of copper wires.
Can I fit the GSM on top of the lift car?
Yes, if you test to make sure that there is a signal available throughout the lift shaft. We do recommend that it is installed in the machine room where possible. We also have an MRL variant for machine-room-less installations.
Does the GSM have to comply with EN81-28?
If the GSM and telephone circuitry are part of the same device, then the requirements of EN81-28 apply. However, if you are using a separate GSM and telephone, it makes sense to specify a GSM with the same (or better) battery backup requirements as those outlined in EN81-28 so that both parts of the system support the same performance
Will there be a double cost? (SIM Card and landline costs)
Most lifts have a dedicated landline, this can be switched off when the autodialer is connected via GSM. SIM Cards offer a cost-saving against landlines and therefore this route can be cost-saving rather than an increased expense.
How do I choose the right SIM Card?
iKONIC want to make this as easy as possible for you, so we did the testing and offer SIM Card contracts of varying lengths to suit. Our SIM Cards have been tested specifically for the lift industry. The network recognises them as Machine to Machine. These typically have low usage and their status as M2M stops the network dropping them due to inactivity. They are non-steered, roaming SIM Cards and therefore will connect to the strongest network available as they have no loyalty to one network.
I cannot get a decent mobile signal in the building so why would I use mobile networks?
iKONIC recommend installing in the Machine Room iKONICs has an in-built signal strength tester for you to check the placement and the signal strength. Your mobile phone will only pick up one provider of service (one network) however our SIM Cards can roam across the networks to always be picking up the strongest signal. There is no preference to which network it picks up, it is based on the strength of the network at the time.