| ||Definition:|| ||ISDN stands for "Integrated Services Digital Networks", and it's a CCITT term for a relatively new telecommunications service package. ISDN is basically the telephone network turned all-digital end to end, using existing switches and wiring (for the most part) upgraded so that the basic call is a 64 kbps end-to-end channel, with bit-diddling as needed (but not when not needed!). Packet and maybe frame modes are thrown in for good measure, too, in some places. It's offered by local telephone companies, but most readily in Australia, France, Japan, and Singapore, with the UK and Germany somewhat behind, and USA availability rather spotty.
A Basic Rate Interface (BRI) is two 64K bearer ("B") channels and a single delta ("D") channel. The B channels are used for voice or data, and the D channel is used for signaling and/or X.25 packet networking. This is the variety most likely to be found in residential service. Another flavor of ISDN is Primary Rate Interface (PRI). Inside the US, this consists of 24 channels, usually divided into 23 B channels and 1 D channel, and runs over the same physical interface as T1. Outside of the US then PRI has 31 user channels, usually divided into 30 B channels and 1 D channel. It is typically used for connections such as one between a PBX and a CO or IXC.|