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ISDN Protocols Overview
Integrated Services Digital Network
(ISDN), as the name implies,
provides integrated services that consist of telephony, data, and video
transmission over ISDN.
ISDN is of two types:
Basic Rate ISDN consists of two 64kbps B-channels (B for Bearer)
and one D-channel (2B+1D). B-Channels are used for transmitting user information
(voice, data, or video), and D-Channel is used for transmitting control
information. B-Channel offers a bandwidth of 64kbps, and D-Channel has a
bandwidth of 16kbps. With 2B channels, BRI provides up to 128kbps uncompressed
bandwidth. Note that the total bandwidth used by ISDN BRI is 192kbps. The
remaining bandwidth [192 - (2B+D)] or 48kbps is used for framing.
Primary Rate ISDN consists of 23 B-channels and one D-channel
(23B+1D) for US or 30 B-channels and one D-channel (30B+1D) for Europe,
Australia, India, and some other countries. The ISDN standard followed by Europe
is also known as Euro ISDN, and standardized by ETSI (European
Telecommunications Standard Institute). The PRI D-Channel offers 64kbps
There are several constituent standards that define ISDN.
I.430 Standard: It describes the Physical layer and part of the Data Link
layer for BRI.
Q.920 and Q.921 Standards: Together, they provide the Data Link protocol used
over the D channel.
Q 930, and Q.931 Standards: Documents the Network layer user-to-user and
user-to-network interface. The functionalities offered include call setup and
breakdown, channel allocation, and other optional services.
G.711 Standard: It describes the standard 64 kbps audio encoding used by
ISDN Reference Points:
ISDN standards specify several reference points that functionally separate
the ISDN network. The ISDN devices need to comply with applicable reference
point specifications. For example, a TE1 device such as an ISDN phone or a
computer need to comply with reference point 'S' specifications. Various
reference points specified in ISDN are given in the figure below:
R: This is the reference point between non-ISDN equipment and a Terminal
S: This is the reference point between user terminals and Network Termination
T: This is the reference point between NT1 and NT2 devices.
U: This is the reference point between NT1 devices and line termination
equipment of the Telco