The load on VoIP networks is increasing and service providers must look beyond legacy class 4 softswitch software to more advanced solution that meet current and future next generation network needs. It is time to change.
The must haves
At a minimum the class 4 softswitch is expected to handle a minimum of functions such as:
- Ability to take on bulk traffic and handle packets with ease without loss of quality
- Security through authorization and authentication
- Billing is desirable and makes life easier with direct connection to traffic
- Least cost routing – configurable and customizable
- Control console to define and set parameters and permissions
The existing class 4 softswitch solution may meet all these needs.
However, it is time to look beyond to meet current rising use of VoIP, especially in the wake of Covid-19.
Borders are growing fuzzy
In the beginning the demarcation between wholesale and retail VoIP services were clearly demarcated. This is no reason to continue with the status quo as wholesale carriers already have infrastructure in place to accommodate retail and could improve services as well as revenues by addressing the retail segment. The borders grow fuzzy and it is worthwhile to consider local and long distance in tandem.
What you now need is super class 4 softswitch that incorporates elements of class 5 – ability to handle retail side through variety of modes such as PIN/PINless calling cards with CRM integration for better services.
Super intelligent call routing
Standard least cost routing works on a set of basic parameters. However, it does not always give the best option and, if there are issues then a call may not go through or it could experience difficulties.
Switch to AI infused superior class 4 softswitches with intelligent least call routing based on algorithms that take quick decisions in complex cases. Traffic always gets through and through the best available network at optimal cost and with quality preserved.
Media and data
The days of only pure voice in VoIP are over. Multimedia and data are as much a part of VoIP traffic as pure voice calls. Carriers implement IP multimedia subsystems and next generation network architecture in which the class 4 softswitch must blend in seamlessly both voice and IMS, able to take on functions of media gateway control. Are we going to see the softswitch morph completely into IMS? Time will tell. However, for now, it is desirable to choose class 4 softswitches that can handle gateways, routing, signaling, media gateway and applications rather than have disparate elements. The increasing traffic load necessitates newer softswitches that can work in a redundant hot standby architecture capable of taking on any amount of traffic and overload, handle media and database and seamlessly handle VoLTE.
With more traffic you have higher chances of breaches. The session border controller becomes indispensable but it would be equally desirable to use class 4 softswitch solution that incorporates features of the SBC for tighter security. Here too you have access to better solutions that take the help of AI, even including voice recognition and fraud attempts. You cannot have too much of security in VoIP. Layering in some security in the softswitch in addition to the SBC gives you peace of mind and a tough time for those with malafide intentions.
Increase market share
Can a superior class 4 softswitch help to increase market share? It can, provided the softswitch combines media, data and voice along with elements of class 5 softswitch. You can include local access and transport area services such as directory assistance, busy line verification and emergency numbers, for instance. An indirect method is that if your services are superior and satisfy a client in one region, then the same client that has operations in other regions, or branch offices, is likely to switchover to your service. In such cases local regulatory requirements kick in and you will need a class 4 softswitch that supports and complies with regulations in force.
Picking the right class 4 softswitch software provider is important. You will get better performance when it integrates within existing architecture, with other softswitches, with the gateway and with the SBC as well as with billing and accounting functions. You can expect the best performance and five-nine (99.999%) service availability with the right software and set up by the provider. This leads us to consider whether you should opt for blade systems or server based solutions. That latter did have limitations but with fast hardware and carrier grade solution, you can now expect peak performance and traffic handling capability with a software solution. You can have thousands of ports functioning to full capacity with built in redundancy.
Yes, the type of softswitch does make a difference, now and for the future. Switch to future ready class 4 softswitch software and climb over the competition.