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FreeSWITCH Advances "Free" Speech With 1.0.6 Release

Apr 14, 2010, 04:03 (0 Talkback[s])

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Latest FreeSWITCH release adds new codecs and features, advances open source telephony.

The FreeSWITCH team is proud to announce the official release of version 1.0.6, the latest release of the popular open source soft-switch library. FreeSWITCH 1.0.6 builds upon previous FreeSWITCH releases and brings dozens of new features and scores of enhancements in codecs, SIP processing, CPU utilization, TDM hardware support, and more. In the eight months since the release of FreeSWITCH 1.0.4, the core developers and key contributors have made improvements in almost all areas of the project.

New Audio Codecs

Two key additions to FreeSWITCH are the SILK and BroadVoice audio codecs, both of which have recently been released in open source fashion. The BroadVoice family of codecs, supplied by Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq: BRCM), were recently released under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) on a royalty-free basis. The SILK codec, created and used by Skype, has been released for developers to use in non-commercial applications, such as interop testing. These new codecs augment the impressive list of free codecs now supported by FreeSWITCH. By supporting such a wide array of free codecs, FreeSWITCH enables truly "free" speech in the VoIP world.
These codecs were added with relative ease, highlighting the value of FreeSWITCH's modular architecture. "It only took about 90 minutes to add the SILK codec to FreeSWITCH," reports Brian K. West, one of the core FreeSWITCH developers. "It was very gratifying to be making SILK calls with FreeSWITCH on the very same day that Skype released the SILK source code." Easily adding new codecs is also valuable for testing. The FreeSWITCH developers found an issue with one of the BroadVoice codecs and immediately reported it to the Broadcom engineers, who were able to resolve it quickly.
Another important codec addition is G.729. Although G.729 is not "free" like many of the other codecs, it is both widely used and reasonably priced. FreeSWITCH previously supported G.729 in "passthrough" mode only. Our users will now be able to transcode to and from G.729 with new commercial G.729 licenses.

New Features

A major new feature in 1.0.6 is support for the Broadsoft method of performing Shared Call Appearance (SCA) in a VoIP environment. The Broadsoft SCA method is known to work with Polycom, Snom, Cisco SPA (Small Business Pro 500 Series), and Aastra phones among others. The FreeSWITCH team spent many hours testing this feature on numerous telephones and in various calling scenarios. Anyone who has dealt with SCA knows what a challenge it is just to get phones from a single vendor working, so you can appreciate the effort needed to make this feature work across phones from multiple vendors. Using this method of SCA you can have one shared line appear on Polycom, Cisco, Aastra, and Snom phones at the same time. SCA is enabled by setting the "manage-shared-appearance" parameter on the SIP profile and turning on SCA in the telephone configuration.
The latest version of FreeSWITCH includes many new features that allow for advanced call processing. The new "valet_park" dialplan application allows for greater control and flexibility in how calls are parked and retrieved. The valet allows the operator to specify a location where the call is parked for later retrieval from any phone. The new "valet_park" supports both manual and automatic assigning of park locations for calls. Another feature for call handling is "campon." The "campon" feature is similar to call waiting where a phone in use can receive a second call. If the called party does not answer then the call can forward to voicemail or another extension. There is also a new "fifo_position" channel variable to allow an administrator to see the position in queue for each caller waiting to be answered. The playback dialplan application has been enhanced to allow playback to start at a random point in the target sound file by appending "@@