How to Choose the Best Softswitch Software for VoIP Services?
Softswitch is one of the most important elements of VoIP business. However, it may become difficult for the VoIP service providers to select the right tool for their business. Before going into the details of how to choose the best Softswitch, let’s discuss what exactly Softswitch is and how it works.
What are VoIP Softswitches?
In simple words, the term SoftSwitch or Software Switch generally refers to a component that is utilized in the central network of a telecom network operator to assure call control, signalling and efficient processing of media streams. Unlike earlier switching equipment, which uses dedicated switching hardware, the soft switches use the software on standard hardware to manage phone calls.
A Softswitch VoIP generally comprises two elements:
- A call agent or call feature server for call control, routing, and signalling
- A media gateway for handling out media streams
These elements can either be co-located on a single hardware or on separate hardware where one call agent or feature server can manage one or more gateways.
One more important thing to note is that the concept of a soft switch is only appropriate for Next Generation Network (NGN) architecture or older networks. It is not applicable to the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architecture, where the concept of a Soft Switch doesn’t exist.
As mentioned in the beginning, the Soft Switch software is an essential part of any VoIP solution as it helps to manage almost everything in a VoIP system.
Even the success of a business usually depends upon the smooth functioning of the Softswitch. Therefore, it is very important for VoIP service providers to select a Soft Switch carefully.
Benefits of VoIP SoftSwitch
Some of the key benefits are:
- Scalability: Being a software-based solution, this can be scaled easily as per the business’s requirement. Any upgrades can be performed as and when required by just downloading new software.
- Versatile Solution: It is quite versatile as it can be used for routing, reporting, billing, and various other purposes.
- Billing: Billing is one of the most important functions of the VoIP switch. The software provides accurate details and allows VoIP service providers to customize call rates and invoices for individual users.
- Cost-Efficient Solution: as compared to traditional switches, VoIP soft-switch is more cost-efficient. Besides, to implement this, there is no need to purchase additional hardware. Also, updating it via software costs much less than buying new hardware.
- Flexibility: Very flexible in terms of functionalities and capabilities. They are the ideal solution for all kinds of businesses and organizations.
Types of VoIP Softswitch
There are basically two types:
- Class 4
- Class 5
Class 4 SoftSwitch is considered as a wholesale solution and is used to route calls between suppliers, whereas class 5 SoftSwitch is a retail solution that connects suppliers with real customers or end-users who actually make and receive calls.
Class 4 Softswitch
Class 4 works on a larger scale and involves the routing of a huge volume of calls. This makes it an appropriate solution for long-distance and international calls. Class 4 also plays an important role in routing Class 5 calls.
Features of Class 4
- Protocol support & conversion
- Smart calls routing
- Secured firewall
- Flexible UI (User Interface)
- Billing interface including CDR
- Concurrent calls
- Filtered Third-party routing engine
Class 5 Softswitch
Class 5 SoftSwitch is a retail solution that focuses mainly on smaller areas and calls between end-users. It is the best suitable option for routing domestic calls within a smaller geographical area.
The Soft Switch route calls to the right SIP address, IP address, and DID number. In order to initiate international calls, Class 5 Soft Switch Software has to connect to a Class 4.
The VoIP service providers can use Class 5 o record the duration of calls based on which they can produce automatic invoices for the customers.
Features of Class 5
- Call center service
- Social media usability
- Billing interface
- Calling features
- Call authentication
- Support for Codec, media transcoding
- Analog-to-digital conversion
- Call forwarding
- Call transfer
- Caller ID
- Call waiting
- Call forking
- Video conferencing support
Which VoIP Softswitch to Choose?
There is no doubt that both Class 4 and Class 5 are comprehensive VoIP solutions. When it comes to selecting a soft switch, it is vital to understand the key purpose of using a soft switch.
For instance, Class 4 which is a wholesale VoIP solution is ideal for routing the calls to the long destination. On the other hand, Class 5 is a retail solution that is used to route the calls to comparatively smaller areas.
In order to place long-distance calls via Class 5 SoftSwitch, it will first transfer the calls to Class 4 SoftSwitch and then the Class 4 SoftSwitch will route the call to the long destination.
Thus, for long-distance call routing, Class 4 is the best option and for short-distance call routing Class 5, is an ideal solution.
With innovation and new developments in IP communications, the VoIP Softswitch industry is experiencing a revolutionary time. According to some studies, this industry is expected to reach USD 145.76 billion by 2024.
Both Class 5 and Class 4 Softswitches are undoubtedly a complete VoIP solution that helps VoIP service providers in delivering feature-rich next-generation services.