ISDN to the Internet

What is ISDN?

The Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) was designed by the United Nations with the ultimate goal of allowing any communications equipment to plug into any phone jack anywhere in the world. While this goal is still many years from fulfillment, ISDN service in the U.S. is proving to be an extremely reliable and fast means of transmitting digital voice and data over existing copper wires, fiber optics, and satellite channels. The difference between the analog telephone service most of us are still using and ISDN is similar to the difference between LP records and CD ROMs. The digital service of ISDN will allow more information to be sent more reliably at higher densities and speeds, and in most cases without changing the telephone wiring in your house or building!

What is the Internet?

[image] Although some may envision the Internet as a tangible entity, it is actually the INTERconnectivity between thousands of public and private NETworks connecting millions of computers all around the world. This connectivity may exist over satellite, wires, microwave, or fiber. The Internet was developed during the cold war by the Pentagon to link and distribute the strategic information stored at various universities and government facilities, such that the loss of any one site would not jeopardize the integrity of the entire system. The Internet has proliferated in the university environment and the government has withdrawn, leaving the Internet to the thousands of universities and businesses and to the millions of computer owners around the world. Internet users (surfers) have found the medium to be ideal for posting messages, transferring files, and downloading images and information from resource providers. It is quickly becoming a useful tool for commercial enterprises, where goods and services may be bought and sold, and on-line catalogs displayed, complete with color pictures of products.

Why ISDN to the Internet?

ISDN is currently the fastest and most reliable method of connecting small computers to the Internet, and now there is a complete end-to-end solution at a very affordable price.


If you are already accessing the Internet over an analog modem, you have probably encountered difficulty with images. Image files are significantly larger than text files and take a long time to download from the Internet to your computer. ISDN is faster than analog for several reasons. First, the data rates of fast modems that can connect to the Internet are typically 14,400 bits per second (bps) or baud, while ISDN allows up to 128,000 bps.


It doesn’t take much math to see the rate increase ISDN provides. Second, analog data is subject to noise interference, such as static on the line, which can cause data corruption.


Modems usually degrade to a slower speed, or may even terminate the call, when this happens. The digital lines of ISDN improve the signal all along the way, maintaining full speed. And you will be pleased to know that the CyberSpace Internet™ Card is made in the U.S. and works with all the flavors of Basic Rate ISDN switches that are available in the U.S.


If you already have ISDN and are now looking at Internet access for your PC, the CyberSpace Internet™ Card has been designed to work with the most prevalent router hardware used by most ISDN-to-the-Internet service providers; and the bundled software saves you time and effort, because it is a proven Internet product.

What else will it do?

The CyberSpace Internet™ Card is a great way to get high speed access to the Internet. However, it can also be used for direct ISDN connection to another computer. For instance, if your co-worker, friend, or business partner has an ISDN-equipped computer, you can send messages or transfer files directly between the two at a very efficient 64,000 bps or at a blazing 128,000 bps. This also provides a nice small-business telecommuting solution.


How do I get it?

Usually four vendors are involved: your local phone company, an Internet service provider, the software provider, and the hardware provider. We’ll assume you already have a 386 (or better) PC running Windows 3.x, Win-OS/2, Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95/98, or Windows NT.

1. You will need to contact your local phone company to determine if ISDN service is available in your area. Check out the options and prices for the service. The CyberSpace Internet Card requires only the minimum level of service, but you may want to plan your line for future features.

2. Ask your phone company to recommend several Internet service providers in your local dialing area, since some service providers maintain their dialup access equipment (router) or "Point of Presence" (POP) within the phone company’s facility. If the provider is in another community, then you will incur toll charges each time you call the POP. (Some businesses and universities have their own Internet routers and do not require an Internet service provider.)

Ask the service providers if they maintain an ISDN gateway with synchronous PPP on their routers. If they don’t, request one. Most of the routers used by the service providers are upgradable to ISDN.

3. Many software packages are available for Internet access. Usually you will need two software resources, the TCP/IP stack (the software that gets you onto the Internet) and a browser (for navigating the Internet). Microsoft's Win95, Win98, and NT have a built-in TCP/IP stack, as part of their dialup networking, for connecting to your service provider. Add your own browser (like Explorer or Netscape) and you're on your way to the Internet.

4. The hardware, the CyberSpace Internet™ Card, or any of the CyberSpace Freedom™ Series of terminal adpaters, may be purchased directly from ISDN*tek. Just call ISDN*tek at 650-712-3000 or email us at and we'll process your order.


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