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Difference Between IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) and Softswitch

IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) vs Softswitch

Telephones allow people to communicate with each other even when they are located at a distance from each other. While only a few years ago the telephones used were connected to lines which were connected to switchboards, today’s mobile phones are connected through cells located at various sites.

One can also connect with any phone using the Internet, specifically the Internet Protocol. Through IP, people can send and receive voice calls and messages from any device such as a mobile phone, PDA, or a computer. Two ways of relaying calls and information are the IMS and Softswitch.

The IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is a framework designed to deliver Internet Protocol (IP) multimedia services. It is meant to help in the access of multimedia and voice applications from both wired and wireless terminals by creating a fixed-mobile convergence (FMC).

IMS allows users of mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDA), and computers to use standard IP in order to connect with the IMS network even if they are in another network or country. It does not only offer voice services but other data services as well. It consists of three layers: control, which serves as the controller and functions as a central routing machine that facilitates real-time transmissions using IP transport; service, which provides service applications in the IMS; and transport, which serves as a transport medium for call signaling, voice information, and call and media setup.

Softswitch, on the other hand, is a device that is used to connect telephone calls made on the Internet from one phone line to another. It handles IP-to-IP phone calls and runs on software in the computer system. When one makes a Skype-to-Skype call, Softswitch connects the caller to the party that he is calling. It is intended as a voice-service solution It controls the connection between the circuit-switched network and the packet-switched network using a call agent which controls call routing, signaling, and other services; a media gateway which is a translation device that converts data from different formats used by different networks.

There are two classes of Softswitch; the Class 4 Softswitch which routes large volumes of VoIP calls, protocol support and conversion, transcoding, and handles VoIP traffic between carriers; and the Class 5 Softswitch which is intended for the end users and offers services such as IP PBX features, call center services, and other features like those of class 5 telephone switches.


1.IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is a framework that delivers Internet Protocol multimedia services while Softswitch is a device that connects calls from one phone to another using software.
2.Softswitch is intended as a voice-service solution only while IMS is intended as a voice-service solution as well as other data services.
3.IMS helps voice and multimedia access to wireless and wired terminals through FMC while Softswitch connects a caller to the party being called in IP-to-IP phone calls.
4.IMS is more advanced and has more features than Softswitch.

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