VoIP services are big business. One can enter the VoIP sector as a service provider. Existing carriers can enhance value addition with the use of appropriate VoIP softswitch provisioning. There are two ways one can serve the markets. One is by providing retail VoIP services and the other is to provide bulk international long distance services. Each requires specific software environment and a service provider must choose the right software.
The VoIP softswitch is at the heart of modern telecommunications based on voice over the internet. It is software based and that is why it is termed “softswitch”. Service providers, according to their line of business, can choose software based on class 4 softswitch or class 5 softswitch. Class 4 serves bulk carriers handling high volume traffic across international boundaries and in such cases the carriers may not address retail solutions unless they specifically wish to. In that case they may have the basic class 4 softswitch coupled with class 5 which is meant to handle the retail terminations to actual users through IP phones. The class 4 softswitch routes long distance calls while the class 5 softswitch takes care of end user connections and calls in local exchanges.
The question for most VoIP service providers is to which type of VoIP Softswitch they should opt for. The answer is that a retail service provider would do well to start with a class 5 software installation to route calls from and to callers with additional features. These include DID number, call transfer, call forwarding, caller ID, video conferencing, interactive voice response and SIP authorization. The software has in built administration portal with features such as whitelist and blacklist rules, geographic number assignment, billing reporting, tracking and analytics.
Wholesale VoIP carriers are best served by class 4 softswitches that enable transcoding, least cost routing and concurrency in addition to billing and call data records. A carrier with class 4 installation can serve service providers with class 5 installation but not the other way around. A wholesale carrier can even enter the retail segment by opting for software that includes both VoIP softswitches in a seamlessly integrated package.
It pays to choose the package provider with care and examine the open source technology on which the integrated solution is based. Freeswitch has a rich set of features and developers using this technology offer a ready to use solution for bulk carriers and retail service providers. Scalability, feature sets and maintenance as well as ease of use are features to consider when selecting a solution that will help in revenue generation.