If you are unfamiliar with a softswitch, it can basically be defined as a central device for a telecommunications network that can be used to link PSTN and IP networks for more efficient telephone use. It can also connect two users from separate IP networks to make a call over their router. It has many of the same capabilities as a typical telephone, although it can generally be used for video calling and as a fax machine as well.
For reference, the most type of communication that uses softswitches today is Skype. Since Skype calls are entirely through IP addresses over the internet, it uses a softswitch in order to connect the caller to the called user. Let’s take a deeper look into this technology and see the benefits that it provides over traditional options.
Different Types of Softswitches
It is important to understand that there are many different features that can come with a softswitch. As will be looked at further in the next section of this article, this technology provides far more options for users than what most are used to. Most of these are used in combination with VoIP technology.
One of the biggest features that you will need to consider is the call capacity of the softswitch. This deals with both simultaneous calls and calls as a whole. The number of media gateways and lines are other areas where capacity will be a factor, especially for high volumes. While most do have high capacity capabilities, you generally need to make this clear when shopping around to be sure that you are getting an option that meets your needs.
A SIP Proxy is another potential feature and is necessary if you plan on making calls in connection with traditional PSTN networks. Other common potential features include report generation and the possibility of a Presence Server.
Benefits of Softswitches
There are several benefits to using softswitches over some of the more traditional methods of routing and taking calls. One of the biggest benefits, especially for businesses, is the scalability that they offer. Softswitches allow for automation for several different tasks, including taking voicemail, billing, and even call recording.
On top of their flexibility, softswitches are also generally much more affordable than traditional options as they require much less hardware to operate effectively. Upgrading them requires only the installation of new software, which prevents the need for purchasing new pieces of hardware.
Softswitches can be especially useful and efficient options for consulting or law firms that base their payment systems around the timing of their calls with clients. Users have the ability to include a billing feature that will automatically bill their clients based on the amount of time spent on calls.
The Final Word
Hopefully this short guide will help you develop a better understanding of what softswitches are and the many benefits that they provide over traditional communication options. If you are thinking about making the switch to this efficient technology, be sure that you do your homework to find an option that provides the features necessary to maximize productivity with your business.