Technologically, the world has advanced in many areas. Let it be in the area of medicine, science and IT or space science, man has seen quantum change. No field has been spared of modernisation. Incidentally, telecommunication is one area, which has developed enormously since the last two decade, and the credit goes to the internet.
Within telecommunication, internet Protocol (IP) telephony is one technology, which is widely used by industries for business operations and individuals for personal usage. Of all the telecommunication that happens worldwide, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is ruling the roost. The reason being, easy accessibility and low cost.
Introduction to VoIP
Voice over Internet Protocol is a technology, which converts the analog voice signals into digital with the use of the internet. This is done by converting the signals into IP packets, which are transferred to the destination. This is one of the most economical means of telecommunication in the present age. Most organisations that have business dealings overseas use this technology extensively.
What is a Softswitch?
It is the heart of the internet telephone network, which acts as a hub connecting one telephone (usually a PSTN connection) to other. The system uses an advanced software technology for its smooth working. It is not just the software that helps in the working of Softswitch, there are several hardware devices too. These hardware devices help in call routing over the internet.
Working of Softswitch
The purpose of the Softswitch is like a connection between the physical switch and the packets that are sent via the internet. Earlier, only one device was used to achieve this objective. The device has evolved and is modified into two parts, a media gateway and call-agent.
Billing, call services, routing of the call are all primary functions of the call-agent. It regulates media gateways in a particular area using internet protocol system. Media Gateway acts as a medium which carries the voice as well the data packets from the source to the destination. Media Gateway has an interface, which can connect to the conventional Internet Protocol networks. The call agent helps media gateway in connecting the media packets between these interfaces.
The switch has the list of phone number and users stored in it. When a user tries to connect other user, the switch searches the details in its database. If it is unable to find it, then the search continues to other softswitches until the required user is found. Once the user is found, Softswitch finds a new IP address for that particular user’s machine or device. Eventually, the details are sent back via a VoIP phones and the connection is achieved. Softswitches along with other hardware devices help in VoIP communication.
Advantages of Softswitch
All those using this technology have several advantages over the other switch devices. The following are some of the benefits:
- The functionality can be changed due to its flexible nature.
- Several users can be connected using a single Softswitch.
- The switches are rather separate devices from the other hardware devices. This makes it highly compatible with any computer aided devices.
- They can be used for data as well as voice switching between users.
- The commissioning of the system is pretty easy. The setup can also be installed remotely and the entire softswitch system is user friendly.
- Maintenance of this setup is quite inexpensive.
- Additional software applications that can be used for billing and recoding of the calls come along with it.
Future of Softswitch
The future softswitches can be used for voice, videos and fax transmission. Earlier, VoIP couldn’t maintain quality of service and thus, Softswitch technology was effectively launched to overcome the drawback.