Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions about VoIPSwitch - Part 1

What is VoipSwitch?

VoipSwitch is a complete software platform that can be used to serve various purposes and can be used in various VoIP related applications, like:
  • Internet Telephony Service Providers as the base system for offering VoIP services to end-users.
  • Wholesale voip termination brokers as the traffic controller.
  • It can also be used as an IP PBX system.
  • Enterprises that wants to connect their remote branches,

It has simplicity, friendly interface and modularity, which allows minimizing the initial investment, VoipSwitch (VSR) is also a brilliant choice for start-ups in this challenging and rapidly growing VoIP market. VoipSwitch system (VSR System) consists of the main package and additional modules extending its functionality.

The main package includes the SIP/h323 SoftSwitch, built-in billing system based on SQL, web interfaces both for administrator and for end-users, SIP softphone with embedded VoIP tunnel client and some other useful tools. The additional modules are optional and can be added to the system at any moment without interrupting current activity.

Services can be offered using VoIPSwitch:
VSR provide basically all kind of services that are available in the VoIP market. The services can be divided on retail and wholesale:

Retail VoIP:
Device to phone i.e. making and receiving calls from SIP or h323 terminals (bidirectional NAT support), full compatibility with all popular brands of SOHO gateways and IP phones, voicemail, support for 5 class services, actual balance information on phone's display, waiting message indicator feature and more.

PC to phone and PC to PC - using our own sip based softphone with embedded voip tunnel client which allows for communication (both receiving and making calls) from behind voip blockades/firewalls, for example from UAE, or other countries where voip ports are closed.

Class 5 services - call forwarding, call waiting, follow me - possibility to set forwarding rules conditioned on various events like no answer, busy, not logged with different forwarding phone numbers / destinations (possibility to set multiple numbers with different priorities), hold, hold with conversation.

DIDs / Virtual phone numbers services - assigning phone numbers from various geographical regions to SIP or h323 devices or softphones. Customers can pick up a phone number directly from the web interface with immediate delivery. The system can work with leading DIDs provider thru their API or/and using own DIDs numbers stored in the local database.

Callback services - triggered by SMS, Web or a missed call. Works with DIDs as an access numbers. Authentication by callerID (ANI) or PIN. Also supported DID callback with unique DID associated with each customer and his/her phone number. Manageable thru the web interface, possibility to add multiple ANIs per user. Multilingual Interactive Voice Response System (IVR). More on the callback and its variants here

Voicemail - checking voice messages by calling predefined voicemail number from Softphone or SIP / H323 device or from PSTN through the IVR system (calling cards) or using the callback service. Detailed information about left messages on the web interface. Possibility to record own welcome prompt. Email notification about new voice messages.

Call Shops - by callshop is understood a place like internet café or a shop where are cabins/booths with IP phones from which customers can make calls and then pay for them at a cash desk. The callshop is a windows based application which shows all the cabins and the calls that are taking place. When a customer has finished, the cashier can see the made calls with their details and costs and can charge the customer. The application also allows printing bills. The advantage of this solution is that the callshop application does not require any special hardware as the calls are not sent thru it, instead they go directly to VoipSwitch (thru the internet connection) and the callshop program exchanges with VoipSwitch only little data needed for billing purposes. Also as the clients can be used softphones installed on PCs or FXS gateways with analogue phones connected, not necessarily IP phones.

Calling cards - phone to phone services in which a customer dials an access number first and he / she is asked about PIN (or authenticated by callerID/ANI) and then prompted for a destination phone number. The system comes with own IP based IVR system that supports several languages (possibility to add new), balance announcement, max duration for the call announcement, also it allows to recharge account by PIN and register actual ANI during the call and more. There are several scenarios which can be associated with particular access numbers. Moreover new scenarios can be added or the existing ones be modified by voipswitch's administrator as they are programmed in xml format. More on the IP IVR can be found here


Wholesale services:
Wholesale Call Termination - bulk voice traffic termination, in this scenario VoipSwitch acts as the traffic controller which on one side collects calls from clients gateways or other equipment, authenticate them, and then depending on the routing tables send the traffic further to termination gateways/gatekeepers. The whole traffic is billed and controlled in real time, the billing supports both prepaid and post-paid accounts types. Also the media (voice) flow can be set per destination and be sent in full proxy mode where all packets are going through the switch or in the modes where only signalization is sent through the system while the media goes directly between endpoints. The system allows to hide the source and the destination what is often important especially if you work as a broker buying and selling traffic from various parties. Additionally the system offers high flexibility in modifying calls setup, called numbers, enables you to manipulate prefixes, caller IDs and all other significant data before sending calls to the destination. There is also a web interface both for clients and terminators with CDRs (which can be exported to file) and other reports. More on the SoftSwitch's functionality here.

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