PortaOne is a software company that develops and markets solutions that enable Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSPs) to implement and manage a wide range of telecommunications services for their customers. The company started in 1997 as the in-house billing software project for Nextra, a leading ISP and part of Telenor, one of the world’s largest mobile operators. This software was infused from the beginning with the domain expertise of a leading VoIP provider, and has since been tested in the market by the most demanding users. PortaOne was later spun off to create a separate company that is devoted exclusively to the development of SIP softswitches and VoIP billing solutions. The company has its headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia and technical development centers in both Kiev, Ukraine and Prague, Czech Republic. PortaOne claims over 250 systems installed in over 50 countries around the globe.
PortaOne’s flagship product is named the PortaSwitch, which is an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) designed to integrate customers’ voice, video, fax, and messaging services. The product enables ITSPs to deliver advanced telephony services on a common, DSL- or cable-based broadband infrastructure. The system features a carrier-grade, scalable softswitch; support for Class 4 and 5 services and major VoIP standards, including H.323 and the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP); a wide choice of endpoints, including standard analog handsets and IP telephones; a centralized service creation and management platform; and a web-based subscriber self-provisioning and service management interface. The platform thus allows for the immediate launching, pricing, and provisioning of prepaid, postpaid, and wholesale VoIP services.
The PortaSwitch includes three key software components: PortaBilling100, a carrier-grade billing, provisioning, and customer relationship management (CRM) system, PortaSIP, a class 4 and 5 VoIP softswitch; and PortaUM a unified messaging application.
The PortaBilling100 module is a VoIP billing solution designed to facilitate customer management and system administration functions. The module’s architecture includes both a master and slave database for higher reliability and a Web interfaces supporting administration, customer management, and account transaction functions. This module can track approximately 100 call attempts per second, with 10,000 simultaneous concurrent calls.
The PortaSIP module includes a media server, Real Time Protocol (RTP) proxy, and Back to Back User Agent (B2BUA), that support connections to SIP telephones, with the associated calls tracked and managed by the PortaBilling100 module.
Finally, the PortaUM module provides a number of unified messaging applications, handling voice, fax, and standard e-mail messages in a single mailbox accessible via a Web interface or by telephone.
The PortaSwitch system is designed to provide several key applications that address a comprehensive set of communications features. It can deliver IP Centrex via converged access for small to medium-size businesses, thus providing a single, converged voice and data network at each location. Benefits include consolidated long distance service from all locations, variable-length abbreviated dialing at each location, and reduced costs for moves, adds, and changes (MAC). The IP PBX application provides dial tone as well as personal and group calling features. It allows services to be rolled out to specific departments or sites, or across multiple sites to replace and/or complement existing equipment, with superior functionality over a traditional PBX. The Voice VPN provides a web-configurable enterprise and private dialing plans for routing site-to-site calls over either private or public IP networks. The private dialing plans can be integrated with a PBX or other network infrastructure, thus decreasing both implementation time and expense. Finally, the Callback Management application allows service providers to enable end users to initiate long-distance calls using a variety of origination methods, thus offering an alternative to costly outbound long-distance rates.
Further details on the PortaSwitch product and architectures can be found at www.portaone.com. Our next tutorial will continue our examination of vendors’ architectures.
Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2006 DigiNet ® Corporation, All Rights Reserved
Mark A. Miller, P.E. is President of DigiNet ® Corporation, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.