As IQ Wired celebrates our 20th anniversary this October, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the incredible journey of the telecom industry and the broader technology community over the past two decades. During this time, the world has witnessed astonishing technological advancements, and IQ Wired has played a pivotal role in driving this evolution as a trusted partner and advocate to our Clients for these technology solutions. 

IQ Wired was founded two decades ago, in 2003, and operated within a telecom landscape that bore little resemblance to today’s environment. Landlines were the primary method of communication, and mobile phones were only utilized for voice calls and playing the infamous snake game. Home internet access was indicative of frustratingly slow DSL connections. The potential of fiber-optic networks was acknowledged, but they had yet to become the dominant force that they are today. This period marked a crucial transition from analog to digital communication, laying the foundation for the modern high-speed, data-driven telecommunications that we now enjoy.

Here are some key snapshots of the telecom world in 2003:

Analog Lines and PBX: Analog lines were the traditional, copper-based telephone lines used for voice communication. Each analog line typically represented a single phone number,  supporting only a single voice call at a time, and they lacked the capacity to transmit digital data efficiently. Private Branch Exchange (PBX) were still prevalent as analog telephone systems but were on the cusp of shifting towards digital and IP-based solutions.

Wired World: The telecom infrastructure was primarily wired, with copper cables ruling the roost. Fiber-optic networks were in their developing stages, with only limited coverage in select areas or for the back haul networks. While copper cables were reliable for voice communication, they had limitations when it came to data transmission. They were not well-suited for high-speed internet access, which was emerging as a new necessity for consumers. 

T1s Were All the Rage: T1 lines were considered state-of-the-art for businesses due to their reliability and capacity. T1 circuits provided dedicated and symmetrical (also dynamically allocated by a few Providers) internet connectivity, meaning that the upload and download speeds were the same. At speeds of 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps), they were considerably faster than dial-up or DSL connections that were available at the time. National cable providers were still in their infancy, and the competitive landscape was dominated by Local Exchange Carriers (LECs) and Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs) selling T1 lines. Companies like Comcast had yet to become major players in the market. 

Leaping to present day in 2023, we are witnessing the 5G revolution of connectivity, catapulting lightning-fast data transmission into the forefront of our digital outlook. Traditional analog lines and analog PBX have largely given way to digital iterations of PBX systems, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking and a number of collaboration tools for communication (Teams, UCaaS Providers). These digital solutions provide a significant boost in flexibility, scalability, and a wider range of features, ultimately resulting in more efficient and cost-effective communication within organizations.

One of the most momentous developments has been our entry into the convergence era. In this exciting phase, we’ve witnessed the merging of voice, data, cloud and security into a unified whole. Historically these elements were often small-scale and siloed specializations, but when approached through the lens of convergence can be harnessed to fundamentally reshape how we communicate and conduct business in today’s dynamic environment. Our journey at IQ Wired has mirrored this evolution, starting as an organization primarily focused on limited technology solutions with less than half a dozen Providers. We have grown to embrace the unification of specialties and explore new markets. Our continued maturation as now a mid-sized business is paramount, requiring pivotal strategic shifts towards deeper and wider solutions and support that will enable us to continue expanding our knowledge, expertise and agnostic solutioning with over 400+ providers to meet our Client’s needs.

Standing in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, IQ Wired shoulders the importance of relevancy. It is our privilege to stand at the forefront of technology and the trends that will drive business success for our clients. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we recognize that the journey thus far has been remarkable, but the path ahead promises even greater strides in the ever-evolving world of telecom and technology. Cheers to how far we’ve come, and here’s to the exciting horizons of the future!