What is an SIP Softswitch?

In order to understand the meaning of SIP softswitch, one must understand the meaning of “SIP.” SIP is an acronym that stands for “session initiation protocol,” a reference to an event that takes place on the internet (Internet protocol) and involves two or more people.

SIP makes it possible for group conferences to take place over Skype’s voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) technology, for example.

The SIP softswitch refers to an operator that transfers calls. When you place a phone call to a switchboard operator, for example, the individual on the other end takes your call and asks you where you want the call to be transferred; if you say, “Transfer me to your sales division,” the operator will transfer you to sales.

If you say, “transfer me to your advertising division,” the operator will transfer your call. This is the job of an SIP softswitch: to transfer your calls from your machine to that of either a VOIP call recipient or even a physical landline.

To be more technically precise, the SIP softswitch operates by staying aware of phone signals passing through the software and ensures that the signals make their way to the intended destination. A public switched telephone network (PSTN), for example, has different signals and properties than a private network, for example.

SIP Softswitch in the News

In June 2003, VocalTec Communications demoed its first SIP softswitch, called the Essentra SIP-based Softswitch Architecture, at the SUPERCOMMM 2003 event during the days of June 1-5, 2003 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA.

In 2006, Turkey operator AVEA signed a three-year agreement with Nokia to use Nokia’s MSC Server 3GPP softswitch. Nokia’s Unified Core Network paved the way for the use of technologies such as 3G, VOIP, WiMax, GSM, SIP voice, and UMA and IMS over internet protocol.

In the latter part of 2006, FreeSWITCH, an open-source SIP softswitch, opened the door for SIP to GoogleTalk capabilities to allow room for phone calls and text messages.

The open-source softswitch company looks to bridge the communication gap by allowing persons on different internet protocols to communicate with one another.

In November 2007, a communications company called Zero One Technology Co. Ltd offered a digital SIP softswitch known as EzSKY S800.

The new SkySIP allows Skype and SIP to communicate with each other effectively. The digital SIP softswitch also allows for Skype caller ID, call waiting, call transfer/forward, as well as other Skype services.

In 2011, the Genband C-20 Converged Softswitch won the award for the leading Internet Telephony product of the year and has been deemed the leading SIP softswitch in the world.