Long-term evolution (LTE) technology (also referred to as 4G LTE) is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals. Commercially available since 2011, LTE is now closer than ever to realizing its full potential thanks to a ramp-up in the deployment of advanced services such as Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi).
Demand for VoLTE is growing rapidly, thanks to its capacity to support voice calls over an LTE network. And now, thanks to the growing popularity of Wi-Fi (which accounts for some 80% of data consumption on smartphones and tablets), VoWi-Fi is also heading for the mainstream. In fact, cellular access now merely plays a supporting role, as mobile subscribers are increasingly relying on nearby Wi-Fi services to access data services on smartphones and tablet devices in place of their own cellular network subscriptions.
With Wi-Fi growing in dominance and popularity, mobile operators have the opportunity to exploit significant business opportunities by extending the coverage that they provide with LTE and 2G/3G networks. For example, mobile operators can now offer Wi-Fi services as a differentiator from over-the-top (OTT) providers. To date, VoWi-Fi has been almost solely available to users on OTT smartphone and tablet clients from vendors, but device makers are increasingly implementing a complimentary VoIP client for Wi-Fi in terminal chipsets, making both VoLTE and VoWi-Fi calls transparent to subscribers.
Despite the significant cost savings and business opportunities offered by VoLTE and VoWi-Fi, assuring quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) for these services is critical, but can also be challenging. In addition, the transition from circuit-switched voice to Internet protocol-based voice must be seamless from the end user’s perspective. And, due to the inherent complexity of VoLTE, many operators lack confidence in their ability to effectively roll out the service, keep it running reliably and troubleshoot it on a continuous basis.
The good news is that there are now powerful tools available that are capable of guaranteeing that QoS/QoE levels for VoLTE meet or exceed those of traditional voice services. Even better, these tools offer a complete end-to-end overview of call transit across the multiple domains of all-IP networks.
For more information, read our white paper on how to deploy VoLTE and VoWi-Fi with confidence.