Do I need a PSTN gateway ?

In most cases the answer is no as the whole range of scenarios can be deployed without having one’s own equipment. The calls collected from voip clients can be terminated directly through voip carriers and sent to them over the internet without the necessity of being connected to them through physical links. The only exception is if you want to offer termination through a local PSTN telecom and the only way to connect is through an E1/T1 interface (or sometimes analogue lines or GSM). In such implementations you will need a gateway which will provide the required interface; however, its role will be limited only to converting PSTN to VOIP and vice versa – the rest will be controlled by VoipSwitch. The softswitch is compatible with all h323 or SIP compliant gateways, e.g. Cisco, Quintum and others.
Similarly with origination services like calling cards, the system can work with DIDs, i.e. virtual phone numbers delivered through the internet directly from a provider to VoipSwitch. For example, if you want to establish an access number in the UK you can rent a local phone number from the desired geographical location (or national or toll free number) and have the required number of channels associated with the number, so when your customers dial the number their calls will be instantaneously forwarded through the internet to your VoipSwitch which in turn will carry out the programmed IVR scenario. This IP based approach in the IVR module allows for easy deployment of multiple access numbers in various geographical locations without high capital expenditures in equipment. If still for some reason you have to connect to a local telecom company in order to setup an access number you will need a gateway with the proper physical interface (E1/T1, analogue, GSM..). The gateway does not have to support IVR systems, it has only to be configured so that all incoming PSTN calls are converted to voip and then forwarded to VoipSwitch. Then it is VoipSwitch which plays voice prompts, asks for a PIN (or authorizes by ANI) and carries out the whole procedure.

The H323 protocol is supported by VoipSwitch up to and including version 985.131. Later versions of VoipSwitch do not support this protocol as it is becoming increasingly obsolete.
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