Understanding the Difference Between a Class 4 and Class 5 Softswitch
August 14, 2012
By Jacqueline Lee
, Contributing Writer
A softswitch on a VoIP network connects IP-to-IP calls and controls connections at the junction point between packet-switched and circuit-switched networks. Where VoIP is concerned, a softswitch is classified as either Class 4 or Class 5.
A Class 4 softswitch routes large volumes of long-distance VoIP calls. For businesses that want to interconnect their VoIP servers, a Class 4 softswitch secures the delivery of VoIP traffic and services over multiple IP networks.
Features of a Class 4 softswitch include intelligent call routing, which reduces congestion, latency and cost while improving the quality of VoIP calls, and a variety of security elements. Many Class 4 softswitches also include a billing interface that provides call data records.
Also, a Class 4 softswitch can filter information by client, date or other parameters to generate reports about incoming and outgoing calls, unauthorized calls, traffic volume and call routing.
A Class 5 softswitch, on the other hand, serves to connect phones and other devices to each other. Also called an IP switch, a Class 5 softswitch routes calls to the correct IP address, SIP address or DID number.
Additionally, a Class 5 softswitch enables end user features like auto attendant, call forwarding, call transfer, caller ID, call waiting, e-911 and video conferencing support. VoIP providers use Class 5 softswitches to meter minutes so that they can bill customers automatically.
A Class 5 softswitch makes hosted IP-PBX (News - Alert) possible. Many of these softswitches provide IVR menus as well as a variety of types of authorization. For instance, authorization can be by IP-number and prefix, by a number, by PIN or by login and password for SIP authorization.
Some networks utilize a hybrid softswitch like the Class 4/5 HDX softswitch from REDCOM. The Class 4 component operates the tandem/transit exchange, while the Class 5 component provides end office solutions.
Classes 1 through 3 of softswitches are for larger scale applications. Classes 2 and 3 connect cities, towns and even states, while Class 1 softswitches serve as international gateways.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey