5 Benefits of the VoIP Softswitch

voip softswitch We have come a long ways since the manual telephone switchboard. 139 years, to be precise. From the days of manual telephone operators to PBXs to modern solutions that tap into VoIP technology to do more than just call routing.

We have written previously about what a VoIP softswitch is and even the difference between Class 4 and Class 5, but we had yet to actually delve into why you should use one. Let’s look at just a few of the benefits of using a VoIP softswitch…

1. Scalability

As a software-based solution, a VoIP softswitch can be scaled both up and down relatively easily. It will grow with your company so you can start as small as necessary. Upgrades are done by downloading new software.

2. Versatility

Routing, billing, reporting, and monitoring are just some of the functions that can be done on a VoIP softswitch. Integrated apps and software create a very comprehensive solution for maximum efficiency.

3. Billing

One of the most valuable functions of the VoIP softswitch, billing software is very accurate and gives you the ability to customize call rates and invoices for individual users. It takes the busywork out of billing so you have more time for what matters.

4. Cost-effectiveness

With no additional hardware to purchase, VoIP softswitches are more cost efficient than traditional switches. Upgrading via software is also much less expensive than purchasing new hardware.

5. Flexibility

Finally, with all of the aforementioned functions and capabilities, there is no denying that VoIP soft switches are very flexible. This makes them an ideal solution for all kinds of businesses and organizations.

An example of a VoIP softswitch is PBXware. Our integrated billing module is TELCOware. Visit our website to learn more today.

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How to Become an ITSP

itspBecoming an ITSP or Phone Company is easier than it has ever been before. As communications technology has become more advanced in recent years, it has also become more simple and user-friendly. All it takes is a dream and some motivation to get started.

You can become an Internet Telephony Service Provider with four essential components:

  1. Hardware – This starts with a VoIP Softswitch and may include servers, routers, IP Phones, etc.
  1. Software – Core telephony services will be offered via unified communications software, billing software, etc.
  1. A VoIP Carrier – A VoIP carrier is necessary to become a services provider.
  1. Support – Too often forgotten, a good support system is vital to becoming a successful and growing ITSP. Nothing compares to having support from somewhere that has been there before.

Bicom Systems has all of the hardware and software that you need to get started, and our Account Managers are the icing on the cake. Visit our product pages to learn more or read our How to Start & Grow an ITSP whitepaper. 

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What Is the Difference Between a Class 4 and Class 5 Softswitch?

A softswitch is the modern convergence of software and switchboards. In the past, calls were manually “switched” by an operator using a switchboard, but this is now done automatically but softswitches.

So what is the difference between a Class 4 softswitch and a Class 5 softswitch?

Class 5 softswitches are used within small geographic areas or businesses and organizations. They can route calls within cities, organizations, states, or even small countries. Class 5 softswitches connect phones and devices, operating on the end-user level.

Class 4 softswitches operate on a larger scale for long-distance calls over large areas or between countries. They route calls between Class 5 switches. Class 4 softswitches connect suppliers, operating on a provider level.

The following diagram illustrates the place of class 5 and class 4 softswitches.

softswitch

Bicom Systems PBXware is available as both a Class 5 and Class 4 softswitch.

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What is a Softswitch?

softswitchHaving passed from live operators to automated hardware devices, most telephony switches introduced today are in effect central devices in a telecommunications network using software on open standards hardware. These softswitch have greatly reduced cost and increased functionality to an extent that we are only beginning to know & understand.

In many parts of the world, it is now typical that the connections made by the softswitch are done via the internet from one IP Telephony line to another, with even the media stream able to pass directly rather than the expense of bandwidth and resource staying on-net. There is, however, still the need to be able to interface with traditional hardware based switches and to have a true control of services, Media Stream must be controlled.

Class 4 Softswitches (Tandem) are used between local offices exchanges and carriers or carrier to carrier to avoid the high costs of long-distance calls via PSTN. Class 5 Softswitches, on the other hand, can route even PSTN telephone calls, making them an ideal solution to offer End Users. However, because of the interaction with the end users, Class 5 inevitably has the features and functions of a PBX which are increasingly a part of Unified Communications.

BENEFITS OF SOFTSWITCH

The softswitch is highly favorable to more traditional methods of routing for a number of reasons, including:

  • Higher scalability
  • Less hardware needed, saving money and space
  • Expansions or upgrades only involve new software, not a whole new product
  • More affordable
  • Open Standards creation, resulting in a more customized and flexible system
  • Remote installation is possible
  • Can route any & all types of incoming calls – IP, cable, copper, etc.
  • May provide extra software-based features such as:
    • Voicemail
    • Call recording
    • Billing
  • Requires less time-invested

Don’t waste time and resources with older, less efficient systems. Upgrade to a voip switch today and begin offering the above features – and more – to your customers!

HOW TO CHOOSE A SOFTSWITCH

So you’ve decided that you want to upgrade to a voip softswitch, but are unsure where to start. With so many options on the market, it’s important to do research and know what to look for. We’ll help you get started.

When shopping for a voip switch, keep the following features in mind:

LEAST-COST ROUTING

Least-Cost Routing (LCR) is a feature that allows the softswitch to select and route to the least expensive outbound line of communication. The voip softswitch will periodically compare paths from different carriers and choose the least expensive one. This is especially useful if you or end users call a number of different companies. The least-cost route to a city in South America may be entirely different from the least-cost route to a city in India. With this feature, your voip switch will always route you to the least expensive route for that particular call.

CALL CAPACITY

There are a few ways to measure call capacity. It is important to ask about these measures and softswitch capacity when doing your shopping.

Busy Hour Call Attempts (BHCA) is a measurement of the number of attempted calls during the peak – busiest – hour. If the softswitch capacity does not meet or exceed the BHCA, you can expect failed calls and stress on the network. A good softswitch company will calculate their BHCA and adjust the capacity of the softswitch accordingly.

Similarly, the number of calls set up per second will give you an idea of how many incoming and outgoing calls you can have at once. Be sure to choose a softswitch that can handle the volume of calls you need. The number of simultaneous calls is another important angle to look at.

On the more technical side, the number of lines, racks, and media gateways is another measure of capacity. Again, do not make the mistake of selecting a softswitch with a capacity lower than what you need. In order for customer and your own satisfaction, the softswitch should have a capacity above and beyond what you need.

ADDITIONAL FEATURES

While some softswitches only include the barebones routing system, others come with incredibly useful features or add-ons. It is highly recommended to take advantage of those features. Look for a softswitch that can integrate with other modules and essentially serves as a central controller. Some useful add-ons include:

  • SIP PROXY – A SIP Proxy is an indispensable softswitch feature that will allow routing of not only IP telephony calls but also traditional PSTN calls. If you wish to use your softswitch with end users, this feature is required.
  • PRESENCE SERVERS – A Presence Server feature will allow enhanced communication between users. It gathers information about connectivity and availability, giving users alternative ways to communicate. With this feature you will be able to select what to share and with whom.
  • BILLING A softswitch with an included billing feature will save you ample time, money, and resources. It will automatically bill users based on calls. If you don’t want to look for and spend on separate billing software, look for a softswitch that includes a billing module or add-on.
  • REPORT GENERATION – Similarly, softswitches may include a report generation module that will automatically provide you with statistics about calls. Rather than buying software or paying additional employees to determine and report call statistics, look for a softswitch that will do this for you.

CUSTOMIZATION

Finally, be sure to select a softswitch that is customizable and flexible. In today’s market,
finding an open source option should not be difficult. This will allow you to customize the softswitch to your needs and those of your end users. Save money and time by getting a solution made just for you.

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