In the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), there are two levels of service: the Basic Rate Interface (BRI), intended for the home and small enterprise, and the Primary Rate Interface (PRI), for larger users. Both rates include a number of B-channels and a D-channel. Each B-channel carries data, voice, and other services. The D-channel carries control and signaling information.
The Basic Rate Interface consists of two 64 Kbps B-channels and one 16 Kbps D-channel. Thus, a Basic Rate Interface user can have up to 128 Kbps service. The Primary Rate Interface consists of 23 B-channels and one 64 Kpbs D-channel using a T-1 line or 30 B-channels and 1 D-channel using an E1 line. Thus, a Primary Rate Interface user on a T-1 line can have up to 1.544 Mbps service or up to 2.048 Mbps service on an E1 line. PRI uses the Q.931 protocol over the D-channel.
The Primary Rate Interface channels are carried on a T-carrier system line (in the U.S., Canada, and Japan) or an E-carrier line (in other countries) and are typically used by medium to large enterprises. The 23 (or 30) B-channels can be used flexibly and reassigned when necessary to meet special needs such as videoconferences. The Primary Rate user is hooked up directly to the telephone company central office.