SipExchange Overview

Please read the terminologies section to get a better understanding of some of the terms used in this page.

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The SipExchange project aims to build a feature-rich SIP softswitch that can be used by service providers to offer voice, video, chat and other multi-media services to their subscribers. There are many service providers that are providing SIP-based phone services. Examples include companies like AT&T, Vonage and Packet8. SIP-based phone services have become increasingly popular as they tend to be cheaper and offer more features. Most SIP-based services use the Internet for sending and receiving messages necessary to setup and tear-down call sessions (signals) as well as for the voice payload. In addition, service providers also have gateways that connect their SIP network to the traditional telephone network (PSTN).  The SipExchange application allows service providers to offer such SIP services to their customers and can be extended to provide more as described further below.

SipExchange can be used in the following ways:

  1. Service providers can use SipExchange to offer SIP-based voice, video and data services to their customers.
  2. Internet service providers can host specialized SIP services for their corporate customers using SipExchange.
  3. SipExchange can be used as an IP PBX for communications within an office or even inside a home.
  4. Companies can provide specialized SIP-based services to their customers and partners by extending SipExchange.
  5. Software vendors can offer specialized SIP-based services to their customers by extending SipExchange.

SIP voice, video and data service using SipExchange

The following diagram illustrates a SipExchange deployment used to provide voice, video and data services to subscribers.

In the above diagram, the SIP service is provided by the SipExchange server(s) directly connected to the Internet. The server(s) provide service for two domains:

  1. cafesip.org
  2. quik-j.com.

Domains can be provisioned in the SipExchange system by an administrator using the SipExchange web-based administration user interface. The system allows multiple domains to be added to the same server(s). From the administration user interface, users (subscribers) can also be provisioned. In the above example, three such users are shown:

  1. sip:amit@cafesip.org : User amit belongs to domain cafesip.org
  2. sip:becky@cafesip.org : User becky belongs to domain cafesip.org
  3. sip:joe@quik-j.com : User joe belongs to domain quik-j.com.

These users can use any standard SIP phones to register their locations and make phone calls to each other or to users in another SIP domain (shown in the above diagram is another domain called my-sip.com managed by a different SIP service provider).

The SipExchange users can subscribe to features like voice mail, call forwarding, do-not-disturb, anonymous call blocking, etc. These feature are provided as standard features by a SipExchange server (note, all of these features may not be implemented yet but they are planned for upcoming releases). In addition, service providers using SipExchange can write their own set of features using the external call control capability that SipExchange provides.

As shown in the above diagram, the SipExchange application can be interfaced with external management, billing and provisioning systems. SipExchange comes with its own management application that can be accessed using a web-based user interface.

As demonstrated in the diagram above, an Internet service provider (ISP) can host one or more domains belonging to a SIP service provider or an organization.

PBX service using SipExchange

Using SipExchange as a PBX is basically the same as offering SIP voice, data and video services as shown above. Instead of using the Internet, a PBX is going to use the company Intranet. For communicating with the outside world using SIP or PSTN, the company must subscribe to SIP services offered by service providers (carriers). Using the presence service provided by SipExchange (not yet implemented, planned for an upcoming release), the PBX users can manage their buddy lists and can get notified when an user is logged in or logged out.

SipExchange plans to offer some features suitable for a PBX environment. In telecommunications terminology, these features are often referred to as CENTREX features. Examples of such features include making a call using an abbreviated address, call queuing, operator access, etc.

Specialized SIP services using SipExchange

SipExchange supports powerful external call control mechanisms. Using these mechanisms, specialized services can be developed and plugged in to SipExchange. Some examples of these services include:

  1. Contact center services
  2. Voice-activated dialing
  3. Video on-demand
  4. News on-demand.

In addition, SipExchange provides an API that enables external management, billing and subscriber provisioning applications to interface with SipExchange, thus facilitating seamless integration with external features.

SipExchange Portal

SipExchange provides a portal site from where system administrators and subscribers can access routine operations on the system. When an user logs in to the portal, based on the role of the user (administrator or subscriber), different sets of portlets are presented to the user. The SipExchange portlets runs on the Jboss Portal. The Jboss Portal runs on the Jboss application server and provides portal functions as defined by JSR 168 and JSR 286.

From the SipExchange administration portlet, administrators can create domains, subscribers, view reports, etc. In addition, the administrator can customize the look and feel of the portal, introduce additional portlets, etc. using standard portal features provided by the Jboss Portal.

From the portlets, the subscribers can personalize the calling features that are assigned to them.

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