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VoIP Switch - How a VoIP Switch Works

January 04, 2013


The term VoIP these days and the amount of people increasingly switching to this next generation technology is almost as popular as reality television is currently. In fact, companies in every industry throughout the globe are leveraging VoIP in their business operations to improve communications, cut costs and gain access to innovative features.

While you may heard of the term VoIP switch before, do you know what it actually means and even more importantly how it works? If you don’t, never fear because my article is now here.

Defined as a device that is need to power VoIP in conjunction with other network devices and touted as being one of the most vital aspects of this infrastructure, a VoIP switch also known as a softswitch is a scalable SIP platform that supports a wide range of business scenarios including retail operations, calling cards and callback services to wholesale VoIP termination and hosted call centers. Complete with capabilities such as voicemail, call waiting, messaging waiting indicator and three way calling, this solution is highly cost-effective and powers network protection against a multitude of cyber attacks.

Now that that’s out the way, how does it actually function?

“The VoIP switch contains a database of users and phone numbers. If it doesn't have the information it needs, it hands off the request downstream to other soft switches until it finds one that can answer the request. Once it finds the user, it locates the current IP address of the device associated with that user in a similar series of requests. It sends back all the relevant information to the softphone or IP phone, allowing the exchange of data between the two endpoints,” according to recent article. Acting as a complete and comprehensive network management solution for VoIP carriers, in essence it enables service provider to easily create reliable VoIP networks in a short period of time.

The central call processor is a piece of hardware that runs the VoIP switch and heavily relies upon a variety of protocols for all of the devices in the network to work together seamlessly. While at this time there are multiple protocols being used, H.323 is the most popular. Originally unveiled by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), it was created with the specific needs of video conferencing in mind as it requires real-time, highly intensive bandwidth to work properly.  Other protocols include Session Initiation Protocol (News - Alert) (SIP) are much more streamlined and was developed to handle VoIP application demands.

The piece added, “One of the challenges facing the worldwide use of VoIP is that these protocols are not always compatible. VoIP calls going between several networks may run into a snag if they hit conflicting protocols. Since VoIP is a relatively new technology, this compatibility issue will continue to be a problem until a governing body creates a standard universal protocol for VoIP.”

While VoIP switches have come along way since their inception, there is still tons of room to grow which I’m sure will continue as more people realize how beneficial they are.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

VoIP Switch - VoIP Comes of Age in the Enterprise

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