30 March 2011

Pre-Release Announcement: PortaSwitch Maintenance Release 24 New Features

This is a pre-release announcement of the changes and new features anticipated with PortaSwitch maintenance Release 24. MR24 is expected to be available in June 2011. Please note that some of the newest features and changes may not be available in the build 0 at the time of the initial release.

New versions of Linux and MySQL

PortaSwitch Maintenance Release 24 will utilize Oracle Enterprise Linux version 6. Oracle Enterprise Linux version 6 includes a new version of kernel and updated collection of applications:

  • it delivers faster performance,
  • provides better support for modern hardware and
  • offers higher reliability.

Maintenance Release 24 also introduces the latest stable version of MySQL database server (5.1), which besides important performance and stability improvements includes an important feature: table partitioning. This significantly increases the speed of the most frequent data access operations on large tables like those storing xDR information, since just a small portion of a large table needs to be accessed.

Tariff override

This feature allows you to manage a large number of similar tariffs (those containing nearly identical sets of rates, except for a few destinations) with minimum effort and a low probability of error.

Override tariff is the one derived from a “master” tariff, so it only contains the actual differences to the master tariff. This allows PortaSwitch to manage “generic” sets of rates within a single tariff, and then create override tariffs adjusting the master rates for any particular destinations based on the requirements of the specific product or customer.

Codec enforcement policies

PortaSwitch administrators will be able to define the list of acceptable / preferred codecs for each customer connected to a vendor.

When a call is processed by PortaSwitch, the policy settings prevent “undesirable” codecs from being used and then permit only the carriers with a compatible set of codecs to route the call. T.38 capabilities provide another option for this policy, making it is possible to specifically mark the carriers capable of providing T.38 – and then selling the “T.38 guaranteed” routing plan as a premium service.

Advanced routing with regard to the connection load

Multiple available routes traditionally fill up according to their precedence, i.e. if the first route has the capacity for 100 simultaneous calls – only when this route has been completely utilized (there are actually 100 established calls), calls will go via other routes.

A service provider normally wants to have a balanced distribution of calls among multiple vendors. Maxing out call capacity on a single route is considered undesirable from a business perspective.

The new feature in the load-balancing routing module does not simply allow ceasing the calls routing to a specific connection when the available capacity is exhausted. Instead, it will gradually reduce the amount of calls sent to a carrier as the load on the connection approaches its limit. This allows better utilization of multiple available connections and establishes efficient load-sharing among multiple vendors.

Time-based bandwidth management

In addition to the ability to provision the allowed bandwidth for Internet access (via WiMAX or similar hi-speed Internet access services), it is now possible to design a flexible definition and assign a specific amount of bandwidth to time intervals such as day-time or night-time hours, thereby optimizing network usage.

When a time period changes, PortaSwitch automatically provisions the new value of the bandwidth to the currently active sessions using a RADIUS CoA request. The change is automatic and undetected by the end-user.

SIP device handling policies

Sadly, many IP phones available today are not fully RFC-compliant. Communicating to such devices requires special handling on the PortaSIP side with regard to the syntax and content of SIP messages. Moreover, each equipment type from different manufacturers typically has to be handled separately.

PortaSwitch allows now to assign handling policies to individual accounts, thereby applying the required handling policy to a specific device. This way various non-RFC-compliant IP phones can simultaneously work with PortaSwitch.

Handling PortaUM options via the unified self-care interface

With maintenance release 24, all configurations of the unified messaging service (e.g. settings for voice mailbox, auto-attendant, call queues, etc.) will be accessible in the new self-care interface along with other hosted IP PBX features.

This will simplify service provisioning for PortaSwitch end-users and administrators.



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