High-End digital CTI boards for a voice portal is not cheap! In fact some of them cost as much as a Honda Civic car in India. 🙂 So, choosing a right CTI Board for your Voice Portal may not be easy, that is until you read this article :).
So, how to choose a CTI Board for your voice portal application ? There are few parameters using which one should choose CTI Board for Voice Portal:-
1. Number of Expected Simultaneous Calls
Most important factor to consider! If you expect simultaneous calls to be not more than four, buy any four channel analog card. But than, most probably it will not remain a voice portal! Ideally, if one should choose a CTI board with 50% more capacity than the expected number of glutenous calls. if some one expects 10-15 calls, he should choose one 30 port Digital CTI board.
2. Time to connect a call
Time taken for connecting a call when an user call is important! It depends of the interface the CTI board supports. For example, CAS R2MF connects much slower than SS7 or ISDN PRI. One will hear “teent teent teent” sound after dialing the Voice Portal before connection. Normally quick and instant connection to Voice Portal is desired.
3. Interface With Switch Support
The type of interfacing with switch of Telecom Provider is important parameter to consider. Many Telecom Service Provider may not have CAS or ISDN protocols on their switch or they may not be willing to provide that connectivity to Voice Portal operators. So, one must consider about available protocol with Telecom Provider before deciding on a CTI board. Interfacing with various protocols is responsible time to connect of calls. SS7 cards are costlier than ISDN PRI or CAS R2MF boards, connects calls almost instantly. And some CTI Manufacturer like Dialogic does not have a combined board which has both Voice Processing and SS7 Signaling so far! This kind of arrangement has its own advantage over combined CTI boards. For example, one can have add more Media Processing (Voice Processing) Boards while keeping one signaling board in one system. Also combined (Signaling and Media Processing) CTI boards do not come in low density configuration, they normally have 8 E1 or more. 4E1 meaning at least 120 simultaneous calls!
3. Scalability and IVR Software
This is another aspect one should not ignore. If the Voice Portal becomes popular, which is the main aim by any Voice Portal Operator, so the CTI Boards should have scalability feature where increasing number of simultaneous calls should not make existing hardware redundant, or make IVR Software obsolete. Separate boards for signaling and media processing is recommended for scalability. IVR Software should be designed such a way that, it can handle more voice resources without having to re-develop the IVR Software.
4. Support for the CTI Board
Availability of development support as well as quick 24 hours support for any problem in the CTI hardware is a must! Every minutes of downtime of Voice Portal, the operator loses revenue! So, one should choose a CTI vendor which can provide quick support or quick replacement of CTI hardware in case of CTI board failure! Also, CTI Vendor should have active forum to discuss various issues and should have good number of third party developers!
Cost is very important, well for everybody! But, one should not compromise of quality of CTI cards for cost.
My Favourite and Recommended CTI hardware:
1. For 30 to 120 simultaneous Calls.
Start with Dialogic D/300 JCT or DMV1200 card. They have ISDN, R2MF protocol, good support, quite tested CTI board. Many developers have written IVR Software on them! Dialogic has good support, active forum, large number of developers. But since they are the biggest CTI vendor, they may not provide you with a demo card for development of your Voice Portal!
These boards can be even used with Dialogic SS7 Signaling boards.
2. For 240 or more simultaneous calls
1. Synway SHD-240D-CT/PCI
Good Value for money, good support. Built in Signaling and media processing. Cheaper than Dialogic equivalent.
2. Dialogic SPCI4/SPCI2 and DNI2410
Awesome combination, great scalability, very good support and large number of developers as well as very active forum. Cost is almost double that Synway though!