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Common Class 4 Softswitch Deployment Challenges

  • April 19, 2023

Class 4 Softswitch is popular for delivering carrier grade services to wholesale VoIP businesses. It is impossible to imagine a SIP telephony network without this Class 4 Softswitch. It connects retail and wholesale VoIP traffic and makes cheap international calling possible. This is the reason for ages this VoIP software has been one of the most essential business components in the VoIP industry. The Asterisk and FreeSWITCH development companies have been investing in research and development to make this solution more robust and scalable. 

A majority of businesses whether VoIP service providers or development companies focus on building scalable and robust wholesale Softswitch. This is necessary, but what is even more essential is to keep an eye on other challenges that can degrade the quality and efficiency of this software. One of the vital aspects of the software development lifecycle (SDLC) is the deployment of the software. Deploying this VoIP Softswitch solution successfully and efficiently is as important as the development of the software. In many cases, the development of the software becomes a robotic process as developers and companies constantly build the same type of software on an ongoing basis. However, deployment often brings in major challenges because of different deployment environments, different requirements, and other similar factors. 

In this article, we will explore major and commonly faced challenges by wholesale business owners and we will also share how you can overcome those challenges.

1. Setup type

The major challenge that businesses face while deploying this solution is unplanned setup. Often, companies tend to follow the same setup plan for all customers and customers blindly let their provider set up the system as per their recommendations. However, each company is different, its business goals and wholesale traffic are different. This may cause challenges while setting up this software with a standard process. 

A wholesale business handles several carriers, call routing strategies, termination gateways, and more. Some class 4 Softswitch solutions often get connected with other VoIP Softswitch solutions. Moreover, this solution needs to handle different numbers of concurrent calls, business users, etc. 

To keep the Softswitch efficient in handling wholesale call traffic in the VoIP business, it is necessary to define a full-proof deployment plan. The deployment plan starts by considering the setup type. Any VoIP solution can be set up either on on-premise servers or on the cloud. The cloud can be public, private, or shared. In addition to the server and cloud setup, one more thing that affects deployment and can cause challenges is whether a provider needs a simple setup or a cluster setup. Cluster setup also has different types such as 1+1, 1+N redundancy, N+N redundancy, etc. 

All above mentioned factors need to be taken into consideration before actually initiating the setup of the software. As this wholesale VoIP Softswitch solution handles massive call traffic, it is necessary to implement a cluster setup else it may cause performance and uptime related challenges in the future. Furthermore, to keep the system more scalable and reduce scaling up time, it is recommended to use a cloud setup of the software.

VoIP Softswitches Offering Advanced Solutions for Telecom Industry

2. Infrastructure

The first challenge related to infrastructure that is faced by VoIP companies is reusing existing infrastructure. Often, customers tend to force development companies to use their existing infrastructure or cope up with cheap deployment solutions to keep costs low. However, it is necessary to use high quality infrastructure that can support the business vision and output of the class 4 Softswitch. 

In the technology industry, innovations are made rapidly and therefore, a deployment company must ensure that the infrastructure used to install and maintain the switch is updated to match the latest technology used to build the switch. This infrastructure should also be easy to upgrade to match the future enhancements in technology and switch. Ideally, cloud based solutions or hi-grade servers are used by the deployment companies to achieve this need of time.

3. Handling traffic spike

A spike in traffic is common when a business makes any huge announcements. Starting over a wholesale VoIP business or upgrading to the latest technology or similar announcements can increase the traffic for a time being. This can take the system down by crashing the software or server. 

It is necessary to run a stress test on class 4 Softswitch software to test how it responds to the sudden increase in traffic. Of course, the setup model affects how this solution handles the increase in call traffic, but still, it is necessary to keep the system tested before making it available for the end users. For example, if you have used cluster setup to achieve the highest possible elasticity and uptime service level agreement, it is still possible to test the efficiency of the system at the deployment time to avoid bad user experience or other technical challenges once the deployment is finished. 

Common Class 4 Softswitch Deployment Challenges

4.  Switchover process 

If a wholesale business was already running, there must be some system setup, which can be a hardware switch, open source class 4 Softswitch, or some other form of the switch to manage wholesale VoIP traffic. In this case, the business is switching over from the old switch to the new one and the deployment process may need to have a plan to ensure that existing business and customers don’t get affected. The whole switchover process has to be as smooth as possible to keep clients unaffected. Moreover, staff may also find it challenging to switch over to a new solution than what they were using earlier. Different VoIP Softswitch solutions usually have different user interfaces. This may cause the challenge of learning a new solution and an efficient way to use that solution. 

The deployment team needs to keep these challenges into consideration in their deployment plan. They must have a clear way of switching over to the new system. One easiest yet most expensive option is to let two systems work in parallel and then gradually keep moving traffic to the latest class 4 Softswitch solution. This would give time to take backup and migrate to the new system without causing many hiccups to the ongoing business. This would also grant time and other resources to the staff to learn the new system. The deployment team must have user manuals, training videos, etc. along with interactive training to use the new Softswitch solution.

5. Unanticipated cost of deployment

Deployment of a new solution has a certain hardware or infrastructure cost. But is that the only cost associated with the deployment of a proprietary or an open source class 4 Softswitch? 

There are some unanticipated costs associated with the deployment process such as: 

  • Time required deploying a new solution 
  • Time and cost required to upgrade existing infrastructure to deploy a new solution 
  • Potential downtime to switch operations and data and execute recovery process during deployment
  • Cost associated with customer support to answer queries related to downtime, changes, etc. 
  • Resources associated with training and learning process 

These are some of the aspects related to the deployment of a switch, which can increase the cost of deployment because freezing even a single resource for deployment would be an investment for the company other than tangible expenses. Thus, it is necessary to keep all tangible and intangible expenses into consideration while getting ready to deploy a new Softswitch solution.

6. Post-deployment support

A majority of companies, whether a development company that deploys the software or a wholesale VoIP business owner that is getting a new solution deployed, fail at anticipating this aspect associated with deployment. Once the software is deployed, there would be some challenges or queries, which can be technical or non-technical. This would need to have a clear process on paper to reduce turnaround time and respond to and resolve these bugs and challenges. For services, companies should include a post-deployment support plan in their cost and deployment plan, and wholesale providers must promptly resolve bugs to avoid business disruptions.

Customer concerns and queries must be mapped to the right team for a great customer experience. This is the real point of dilemma in many cases and things go bitter due to assumption. “Clarify the customer support provider before deploying: deployment company or existing customer care team. After deploying a new wholesale VoIP system, the right team must attend to customers’ technical questions and explanations.

Concluding notes 

In a nutshell, deploying a wholesale Softswitch is a huge change in the course of a business is functioning. “It will surely enhance the process, but we must consider various aspects to prevent future challenges. The deploying team must have a clear and well defined plan to ensure smooth deployment. 

If you are seeking consultancy service, deployment service, or a class 4 Softswitch with deployment support, we are here to help. Let us share how we can help. Contact us.