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(1) (Soft-Switch) Earlier software from Soft-Switch, Inc. that converted email messages from one protocol to another using X.400 as a common base. Running on IBM mainframes and Data General minicomputers, Soft-Switch, Inc. became a division of Lotus in 1995. See X.400.

(2) A programmable switch that processes the signaling for packet-based telephony protocols. Also known as a "media gateway controller," "call agent" or "call server," telephony providers use softswitches to integrate PSTN signaling (SS7) with VoIP. Using network processors at its core, softswitches can support IP, DSL, ATM and frame relay transports in the same unit. The softswitch's programmability enables it to adapt to future protocols. See IP telephony, VoIP and SIP.

It Should Be Able To...
According to the International Softswitch Consortium, a softswitch should be able to (1) control connection services for a media gateway and/or native IP endpoints, (2) select processes that can be applied to a call, (3) provide routing for a call within the network based on signaling and customer database information, (4) transfer control of the call to another network element, and (5) interface to and support management functions such as provisioning and billing.

Softswitch Infrastructure
This shows how a softswitch fits into the integrated SS7 and VoIP worlds. (Illustration assistance courtesy of GNP Computers and
References in periodicals archive ?
The VoIP softswitch can send and receive the call volume from the VoIP network as well as PSTN (Public Switched Telephony Network).
Compared to traditional central office switches, the Telica softswitch allows us to significantly reduce our capital and operating expenses, while improving the quality of service our customers experience," states Guy Fardone, senior vice president and general manager at ATX.
Softswitch vendors like to point to the benefits of switches based on standard software: interoperability, faster addition of new services, and cost savings.
Westwave's access softswitch is standards-based and interoperates with best-of-class next generation access equipment including NGDLCs and media gateways.