The development for PortaSwitch Maintenance Release 25 has been completed, verified by QA, and is now available for all PortaCare customers. For a safe environment to test the new MR25 features, we strongly recommend customers to deploy it on a staging system prior to updating their production installations.
MR25 New Feature Summary
- Percona MySQL
- Anti-Fraud Tools
- Phone Book
- Voiceover Announcements
- On-Demand DID Provisioning
- Polycom Auto-Provisioning
- SMS Services
- Concurrent Calls Limitation
- Billing by ANI (CLI)
PortaBilling Maintenance Release 25 replaces the original MySQL (Standard Edition) with Percona MySQL as the database server for improved performance and stability.
Anti-Fraud Tools. The fraud protection module in PortaSwitch uses an innovative fraud detection and prevention method based on analyzing deviations from the location where the service is used (geo-IP). This enables prevention of the majority of attacks without allowing a single fraudulent call to pass through, so there is zero loss for the service provider (or the customer).
“Phone Book” for each phone line. Now each account (a phone line) has an ability to maintain its own set of frequently dialed numbers and assign speed dial codes to them. This provides more flexibility for end-users and, since this list is also used to maintain the list of numbers to which a special “favorite” rate applies, it reduces the amount of work for PortaSwitch administrators.
Now, in order to allow calls to a certain number to be rated as “favorite”, the administrator does not need to enter the whole number; instead, the checkbox next to it needs to be checked.
Voiceover Announcements. Calling card services introduced many new enhancements compared to traditional home phone service, such as being able to hear your current balance, or how long you can talk for based on this balance, at the beginning of a call. Residential VoIP initially followed the traditional telephony (POTS) service model: pick up the handset, dial, get connected, talk.
To make the service even better, PortaSwitch now allows the introduction of prepaid card calling features (such as announcing the maximum allowed call duration at the beginning of the call, or announcing that the call is about to be disconnected) to the traditional residential VoIP service.
On-Demand DID Provisioning. This method allows service providers to vastly expand DID number coverage area and dramatically reduce the costs of DID acquisition while maintaining 100% profitability. Instead of purchasing large ranges of numbers in advance, an administrator or end-user can access the PortaBilling web interface to browse through an inventory of DID numbers available in various countries and areas.
When a specific number is requested, PortaBilling allocates that number on the DID provider network and provisions it to the customer’s account. The customer is then charged based on the actual DID cost plus the markup rate. Since the service provider can now work with multiple DID vendors and offer DID numbers from virtually any country and area on the planet, this adds a significant competitive advantage to the service offer.
Auto-Provisioning Support for additional models of IP phones. Recent additions include Polycom IP331, IP335, IP650, IP670, IP5000 and IP6000 phones.
SMS Services Integration Framework. In order to allow easy integration with various aggregators or carriers for transporting SMS messages, the messaging module in PortaSwitch has been redesigned and improved.
When PortaSwitch user needs an interconnection with a new SMS provider, all what is required is an additional plug-in module to take care of the actual communication with the provider’s server and the correct data encoding.
Bandwidth-Aware Limitation of Allowed Concurrent Calls. In order to guarantee a constant adequate quality of service in a situation where a customer’s Internet connection has limited bandwidth, it is important to consider not only the total number of already established concurrent calls but also how much bandwidth each one consumes (the actual amount of bandwidth depends on the codec used and other parameters).
A new addition to the call control module allows the administrator to split all phone lines of the IP Centrex environment into one or more “sites” with each site representing phone lines used in the same location, and then specify call limitations in terms of the available bandwidth. This way PortaSwitch can correctly determine whether a specific site can place or receive additional calls.
Billing by ANI (CLI). While normally calls are rated based on the destination number, in some situations (e.g. charging the owner of a toll-free number for incoming calls) the caller’s number must be used to calculate the billing charges (e.g. toll-free number costs are higher if the call originated in Alaska than in the 48 contiguous states). This method is now fully supported, thus allowing service providers to offer a full set of incoming DID services, including toll-free DIDs.