What Is VoLTE?
What Is VoLTE?: There is no change in Life of Voice Calls until VoLTE was launched recently. It was the same voice call on 2G earlier which continued on 3G without any major change for so many years. Do you know there is a better way to make or receive calls using your Normal Handset? Nowadays you can make Crystal Clear HD Calls on your phone with this topic.
This is also called as Voice Over LTE on 4G network. In this article technical aspect will be explained of Voice Over LTE Technology and also you will learn how to enable this technology on your Handset. VolTE Stands for Voice Over LTE or 4G Network for easy understanding, its ordinary device calls which are carried over a data network. This works like a normal cellular call and charged on the same rate with no extra money required. Since this call is carried over the IP network provided by 47G, it also 9gives lot of flexibility for the mobile operator to enhance calls here.
For example, if the user is using a high-end smartphone, better codecs will be provided which eventually give you HD voice quality and faster call setup time. Let’s understand how VOLTE works. For understanding VolTE, we need to back into the history where VoLTE was not launched as there was only 4G network along with 2G/ 3G networks working on the ground. 4G came before VolTE, 4g Started getting commercial launched in 2009, while Volte came very late around 2014.
Since 4G is an all IP technology and therefore cannot transport circuit switch services such as voice call. You can see on the in the images on this article below that so many data packets which are moving between internet and user using the 4G network. Let’s see how Voice works in this scenario. Since 4G cannot carry voice traffic, this is a big problem for everyone. Circuit switch fall back which is also known as CSFB helped operator here, while 4G or LTE networks used for internet and data connectivity. User is thrown to underlying 3G or 2G network for voice calls. Existing 2G and 3G mobile systems use circuit switching to carry mobile traffic.
Circuit switching or CS is a dedicated, end to end, channel or a circuit is established to carry the voice traffic for the entire duration of the call. While the user can use the circuit switch for voice services, but there are so many voices calls with this technology as the user needs to switch between 4G and 3G network for every voice call. This also requires a lot of Batter in the handset and also generates lot so signalling traffic for the mobile operator. This is bad for the network. Not everyone started working on a better solution and they come up with VolTE as the solution to all of these problems. Now, let’s understand how VoLTE works?
VoLTE uses your 4G data connectivity to send data packets for Voice Calls. It’s like calling someone using the internet just like WhatsApp call, just like Skype call. VoLTE enables the Voice on LTE network or 4G network. Let’s understand, how VolTE works. As LTE has given us all IP to IP based network. We need to have some technology to carry voice traffic using IP packets over a data connection. For this, VolTE solution is discovered. We also call this as packet switched network as all traffic goes in form of a stream of IP packets and it doesn’t require dedicated or served path. Let’s understand what all benefits of VolTE bring to the life of the user.
The 1st benefit is better user experience: As the user is not running pillar to post between 4G and 3G radios. This improves the overall experience of the user and it also brings a lot of relief for mobile operators. The 2nd benefit is HD calling: As VolTE is running on All IP to the based packet network. This provides an opportunity for mobile operators to use bigger pipes and better codecs for carrying high definition voice calls. This gives us crystal clear HD voice calls on VolTE which was not possible in old or 2G or 3g networks.
The 3rd benefit is not drop in background data speeds without VolTE, the user needs to switch from 4G network to 2G or 3G network for voice calls. Which reduces the speed of data connection running in the background. In few cases such as 2G networks, Data stops working while you are on call. In case of VolTE call, since user remains always on 4G, speed of data connection never degrades here. Even during voice calls, another great benefit. Faster calling. This network connects calls faster than any legacy network. A Normal 3G call takes 4-6 seconds.
But, VolTE calls require less than 1 second to run. Better Battery life: Since your phone is not changing networks between 4G and 3G and 2G for voice calls. Users save a couple of AMPS and battery life with this. Let’s quickly understand the evolution of mobile technology and the history of VolTE. Initially, the IMS network, which is the core network providing VolTE services was opposed by various operators due to multiple complexities involved in this. In the year 2009, a couple of operators and equipment manufacturers such as AT & T, Verizon Wireless, Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent and so many of them gathered and proposed a solution for IMS based VoLTE network.
This initiative was called “one voice” and the proposed solution was supposed to provide a seamless and common solution for voice over IP networks. Further GSMA (Global system for mobile communication) got attention on this subject and they started to work towards standardizing this as an official solution for providing next-generation voice calls over LTE networks. Along with 3GPP, Finally, we have seen the initial working trial of VoLTE happening in the year 2012.
Let’s quickly run through the evolution of mobile technology. You must have seen all these symbols on your handset. We have mapped them as per the name of their technical specification and year of introduction. We can see the evolution from 2G to 2.5G to 3G to 3.5G to 4G networks. Let’s start with GPRS/ Edge first: This is a normal 2G network with minimal support of low data services. This is very old technology and it will be shut across all entire globe in coming years. There are so many operators across the globe who have already shut down their 2G networks only.
3G – this is a 3G network with better data speeds and also provides voice support. H/H+ – This is a super-fast 3G network which is still in use. 4G or LTE network – This is the latest technology plan which is having a bright future. This will play a significant role in the next 5-6 years until 5G launch happens. Now, let’s come back to the topic again, voice over LTE was available to end-users in 2014 and SingTel Singapore became 1st operator to launch commercial VoLTE networks, SingTel users were able to make or receive voice calls on 4G networks at that time. Now, let’s understand, how to enable VoLTE on the handset.
On the left-hand side, we can see an Android handset and right-hand side, there is the Apple iPhone. Here, we will cover simple steps which can be used to enable VolTE in a handset. Nowadays, most of the upcoming smartphones are already supporting VoLTE, this also depends on your operator if a particular handset is allowed for VoLTE. The basic simple steps on iPhone – 1st of all, you need to go to settings. Here you will find mobile data. Now go to mobile data options. Select enable LTE and here and we can see 3 options.
Just select the 2nd option which is both voice and data-enabled. This means, both LTE and VoLTE are enabled. All voice calls will be now handled on 4G radio only. Now, let’s see similar settings on an Android device. Under mobile network settings, first, select “LTE” in preferred network type and then select “enhanced 4G LTE mode option” which is nothing but a VolTE switch. You will find this option in various other smartphones. by the name of voice over data or VoLTE or some basic On/ Off switch for VoLTE. In a few smartphones, VoLTE cannot be enabled in the settings menu as handset manufacturer has not enabled the same or you may require a software upgrade to get this set in setting menu.
However, in such devices, we can use the secret menu *#*#4636#*#* to go to hidden settings and enable VoLTE. This trick usually works in most of the android devices. Now, let’s see what all is required for the user to use VoLTE services. VoLTE is not supported in all the handset by default. Usually, every mobile operator performs testing of a handset and then handset manufacturer such as Xiami, Apply, Samsung, etc. The VoLTE support in software builds shipped along with the handset.
This software build and operator will decide whether VoLTE will work for your handset or Not? Here, we are going to cover the mandatory things required for VoLTE to run. On the left-hand side, we can see stuff which needs to be done by Mobile operator, on the right-hand side, we can see what all to be done by the user to get the VoLTE services. Let’s start with the mobile operator first. The 1st thing for the mobile operator is good 4 coverage. A good 4G coverage ensures the user can make or receive calls fluently. Good coverage will ensure that the user will be getting require bandwidth or radio speeds for the entire duration of a call. The 2nd thing is the provisioning of VoLTE. Your mobile operator needs to activate or provision VoLTE services in the profile of the user which is stored in HSS.
Few operator provision VoLTE by default for all users. Other operator provision VoLTE services based on the handset make/ model used by user selectively. On the right-hand side, you will notice the requirements for the user to use VoLTE services. First 2 are the most important things which belong to a handset. The handset used should support VoLTE. Also, the software or binary which is running on the handset should support VoLTE for corresponding mobile operator. This software / or firmware build is used to allow or disallow VoLTE service which is controlled by the handset manufacturer.
It could be possible that the VoLTE service on a particular handset is available one of the operators but is not available on another operator. So this is something which is controlled by a handset manufacturer and on the VoLTE testing which is done between handset manufacturer and the mobile operator. The VoLTE service is enabled. The 3rd one is ISIM or USIM which is used by the user. VoLTE will not work on traditional SIM used in the 2G or 3G era. The last one but most critical is the VoLTE switch in handset where user can enable or disable VoLTE services himself. Now, let’s see what all benefits, VoLTE brings to mobile operators.
The 1st one is the increased spectrum efficiency: Operators have wasted lots of spectrum of an older technology such as 2G radio which only is used for voice nowadays. If we can re-use this 2G spectrum and re-farm it to LTE, by doing this, operators will be able to use precious spectrum in a better way. The operator can do this once the majority of customers are moved to VoLTE network which runs both data and voice network. Ultimately, better use of spectrum makes for a better quality which in turn leads to higher subscriber satisfaction and retention. The same amount of spectrum if used in LTE as compared to 2G will give us 2x numbers of calls on LTE and 100% incremental data capacity on LTE.