ISDN is a nearly forgotten service provided by the telephone company to provide digital transmission of voice, data, video, and more over a conventional land line. It is faster and more reliable than the 56k modems that have been in use since the late 1990s. [There was a time when we had ISDN service for Low End Mac in the early 2000s. I think it cost $125 per month, but it was always on, which let us run our dedicated email and listserv software from our home office.]

“To be honest, I’d say look at an Ascend Pipeline 75, and get the POTS support . . . we were able to eliminate the house phone lines and take advantage of incredible long distance areas and deals on ISDN compared to regular phone lines. I’m paying nothing inside my area code, and 6¢ a minute outside all the time. International is locked at 75¢ per minute. Not too shabby, and you can eliminate the business phone lines that cost $25.

“This has got me intrigued. I’ve never realized you could balance off ISDN costs this way and would like to get more details either through the list or email. My ISP offers ISDN at no extra charge so that helps too.”

Getting ISDN to your house might be a bitch in price. It runs around $100 a month for the ISDN phone line here, but you do get the ability to split off both 64 kbps channels as voice whenever needed. I have a client that dials into me via ISDN, and he also uses these lines as his primary voice and fax lines – when the phone call via voice ends, the Ascend redials my server and picks back up at 128 kbps instead of just 64 kbps. The only time he’s off my network is when both lines are called with voice – it’s neat.

“…you’ll need an ISOBAR to make sure that your lines are kosher – ISOBAR’s actually check polarity, since most idiot electricians like to connect the white and ground wires inside the box (this is wrong, but it passes most code). In this case, mismatching your black and white on an outlet will overheat a lot of computer equipment.

“Wow, someone else has heard of Trip-lite! I usually get blank stares from folks on this amazingly enough.

I do as well. I’m the only consultant in my area that actually sells the things now, just so I could have them in the area. I live by this brand and have never had a problem with them that Tripp-Lite didn’t solve without a hitch. There is no other surge protector for me or my clients. (Yes, I’m a VAR for them, but I felt this way before I became VAR.)

Scott L. Barber <>
Pres/CEO, SERKER Worldwide, Inc.
Providing Hardware/Networking/Telecomm for 13 years

Scott L. Barber first posted this to Quadlist, the listserv for users of 68040-based Macs. It is reprinted with his permission.

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