Information Technology

Gartner Glossary

Softswitch Architecture

Softswitch architecture comprises softswitches/MGCs, VoIP gateways and application servers. These are among the terms used to identify the major network elements of softswitch architecture. For our purposes, the terms “softswitch” and “softswitch architecture” refer to the softswitch/VoIP gateway/application server approach to distributed switching technology.

Softswitches for cable networks are essentially the same as those used by traditional telephone companies, but they must comply with the NG standards from Cable Television Laboratories (CableLabs) for packetized voice-over-cable networks.

Softswitch architectures are mostly being deployed in traditional operators’ core networks for wireline or mobile trunking, and in the networks of long-distance service providers. Many voice-over-broadband networks are based on Class 5 architecture to provision Class 5 services, as well as calling card services using VoIP technology. In mobile networks, deployment of mobile softswitches in the radio access network (RAN) is limited by the slow deployment of third-generation (3G) infrastructure and the highly optimized TDM architecture in the RAN.

With the migration to SIP, softswitch architecture lends itself to the 3GPP and ETSI TISPAN standards to develop IMS-compliant applications.

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