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 Now the Blogosphere is incessantly echoing this story … I first noticed in GigaOM, their story is really Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) extremist journalism (how’s that?) Their story is linked below.

Voice Calls Over 4G LTE Networks Are Battery Killers

The key quote is:

The results of those tests should give carriers and consumers pause. The average power consumption for a 10-minute CDMA circuit-switched call was 680 milliwatts (mW), while the average consumption for a VoLTE call of the same duration was 1,358 mW. That’s double the power drain. Spirent estimated that on a full charge, its test smartphone could support 502.6 minutes of talk time using CDMA only, but the same charge would deliver just 251.8 minutes of talk time using VoIP on the 4G network.

So as a quick refresher, VoLTE (Voice over LTE) calls are similar to the 3G/2G counterparts with VoCODING and so on, but are carried like VoIP, over LTE packets back to the network, where instead of a circuit switch there is an IMS for calls etc etc…

Some related info from before…

Mobile Wireless HD Voice Today and VoLTE in the Future

 Firstly measuring battery consumption is a brute force thing to do here but it does expose the maturity of VoLTE clients at the moment, so I will give them that. The FUD part of it is that the client on the device they tested is really not like anything on a 2G/3G voice phone today. Most of the grunt work of a 2G/3G call takes place in hardware on the phone, with the phone’s UI being the only significant software piece. Voice calling has been optimized in hardware over the years to consume very little power as there is no need for memory, CPU etc… 

On the other hand, the current crop of VoLTE clients are running the whole VoLTE protocol ‘stack’ (SIP + more) in software plus running the VoCODING at this point in software. The bottom line is today’s VoLTE clients are CPU hogs that do use CPU, memory, UI, etc…but are very UN-OPTIMIZED. Let’s give the developers a year or two to optimize the solution and come back and measure. In the end, there will be no difference in power consumption on average.

Let’s stop getting hysterical!

Metro announces they sold their first VoLTE phone in the Dallas market tonight (07Aug12), the LG Connect 4G Android™. This is a necessary step for Metro as they will now be able to offer simultaneous voice and data for the first time now (SVLTE) and helps address the lack of spectrum they face in a few markets. I imagine they will w

ant/need to go down from AMR 14.4 voice coding in the future (default for VoLTE) due to the lack of efficiency compared to the EVRC-B that they are using today but they can surely start there. Also note, with the IMS client on the LG Connect, this device can also technically (InterRAT) handover to a WiFi channel (assuming they have deployed edge security and ePDG in the network), so they can technically have offload very rapidly, no small cells to deploy. This could be very interesting.

BTW, SK Telecom and LG Uplus announced their launches today too, so there was apparently a race on to be the first in the world, although the Korean launches seem to feature HD voice with a wideband Vocoder.

Gold/silver/bronze finish for US and S.Korea…

 

The full Press Release is at the bottom…

 Now full disclosure here: I have been involved with MetroPCS’s (again should we go to MetroLTE?) LTE involvement from the time it was a what if scenario. OK, fast forward…so I’m reading Bloomberg, Reuters etc… and they are going on about the good results from MetroPCS. Let’s review. Reuters specifically says: 

At the end of the second quarter, the company said, about 8 percent of its subscribers were using its so-called fourth generation high-speed service, which is based on a technology known as Long Term Evolution.

The company’s service revenue rose 4 percent to $1.16 billion for the quarter. Quarterly average revenue per user was $40.62, up 13 cents from a year earlier.

MetroPCS posted a net subscriber loss of 186,000 in the second quarter. Analysts had been expecting its subscriber numbers to fall by 94,000 to 174,000, according to four analysts contacted by Reuters.

The company said it expects to boost subscriber growth with 4G LTE For All, a line of affordable 4G LTE smartphones it plans to launch in the second half of 2012.

“During the fourth quarter, we expect our 4G LTE For All initiative to lead to a return to subscriber growth,” Chief Executive Roger Linquist said in a statement.

Churn — or customer defection rate — fell by half a percentage point to 3.4 percent for the quarter.

So the key points that stuck out to me are:

  • Metro is shedding their prepaid voice subscribers but gaining sticky LTE subscribers. 
  • Metro expects to grow subscribers- LTE subscribers
  • OPEX doesn’t seem to be out of control with prepaid all you can eat LTE data users.
  • They are planning to refarm their CDMA spectrum using VoLTE and presumably an all LTE device line up.
  • Churn is down so customers seem to be happy
MetroPCS deployed LTE on their existing AWS and PCS spectrum. Many said they couldn’t be successful on such limited spectrum. Metro even made tough choices with their towers and antennae to deploy but not break the bank. That took some courage. Also worth noting, they are completely prepaid so customers are buying these smartphones outright. LTE smartphones to boot.
So the big (public) bets placed by Metro’s exec team like skipping EVDO and heading for LTE with their prepaid customer model intact seems to be working for them. This is a good thing for MPCS shareholders but a really good thing for consumers (with an interest in wireless services) in general. It must have been a moment to sit in their conference room and get the news that the bets are paying off. So obviously they have their work cut out for them, they need more LTE devices from more OEMs, they need more spectrum to both improve performance and meet the demand from their growing customer base, and to do that they will either need to buy more spectrum or deploy VoLTE (with the associated IMS integration, UE clients etc…) to help them refarm the existing CDMA spectrum. That’s a lot to get done!
Go MetroPCS!
Links: reuters.com, prnewswire.com


MetroPCS Launches World’s First Commercially Available Voice Over LTE Service and VoLTE-Capable 4G LTE Smartphone (via PR Newswire)

DALLAS, Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – MetroPCS Communications, Inc. (NYSE: PCS) today reached another innovation milestone by announcing the world’s first commercial launch of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services, availability of the world’s first VoLTE-capable handsets and the first sale of a VoLTE-capable…

Read Full Article →

Update: Cisco came out with a post today (23JULY12) titled, “Evolving to LTE- Cisco’s Seamless Migration for CDMA Operators.” Have a look at that resource too. Their primary motivation is the recent purchase of Starent and so have CDMA and LTE gear to offer. From their page: (Seems a little like boilerplate from their HSPA but it’s cool they put it out!)

What You Will Learn

… This paper will outline how mobile operators can prepare their networks to support 4G broadband services that will improve the user experience and yield new revenue opportunities. Specifically, we will discuss how Cisco can assist operators in their move toward Long Term Evolution (LTE), a 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standard that represents a significant advancement in mobile technology.

With industry-leading mobile infrastructure solutions from Cisco, operators can:

  • Gradually transition from 2G/3G to 4G without a comprehensive network upgrade
  • Support 2G/3G and 4G functionality on a single platform
  • Meet LTE requirements for increased data rate capacity, reduced latency, and improved spectral efficiency
  • Provide transparent roaming between High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) network and LTE network
  • Take a phased approach to migrating the HSPA network to LTE by upgrading the core network to Evolved Packet Core (EPC) elements without an overlay Radio Access Network (RAN)

The downloadable page is here..

I hear a lot of confusion around 4G LTE/3G CDMA hand up and hand down, so I wanted to put some various notes I had to bear on helping to keep some of you guys straight on this topic. Now WiFi 802.x is technically an InterRAT type of hand over but I think it would be more clear if I outline that separately.

Here’s the lay of the land. Part A is the device piece and Part B is the network piece.

Overview

Focus here will be the common but difficult transition between LTE and CDMA (3GPP2.) A great number of end users via Verizon, Sprint, US Cellular, MetroPCS, Cspire and others share this pain so we will talk about it.

Next piece is how to fit all the evolutionary pieces together. I think Nokia came up with this handy chart…

 So here is the QCOM and Nokia chart summarized…in matrix form

Key point here is there are tradeoffs for the various configurations, such as use more battery to get more seamless coverage options, or notice the crazy amount of upgrades to the 3GPP2 network and device that is required for this ‘seamless’ experience? It’s not free by a long shot. It’s debatable in my mind as to the benefits of the eHRPD, sSRVCC and eCSFB dual radio service but there are operators moving forward on this plan. 

Here’s the typical UE architecture for a dual radio device BTW…

Now for the network piece. Here’s how it all goes together. Firstly we have the circuit switched domain….

The basics are Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) operates by enabling paging (1X MT calls), SMS, and registration of the UE by tunneling messages through the LTE domain via interfaces like the S102. Don’t forget the UE basically operates either as a LTE data device, while monitoring pages etc, or is in conversation state on the 1X network while monitoring the LTE domain. The standards groups revisited CSFB and came up with eCSFB to greatly reduce the transition time by getting the 1X traffic channel ready before the transition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how it goes together in the packet domain:

 

High Rate Packet Data handover essentially allows a seamless user experience when the device leaves the LTE coverage area, by enabling a session transfer to the 3G domain. The full transition could take up to 7 seconds! Enhanced HRPD (eHRPD) improves the transition time. So there is an optimized handover with a 5-7 second transition time and optimized handover with <300ms transition. To make this happen, most everything has to be upgraded but it’s all possible now.

 

 

 

 

So there are all of the parts to the story. It’s up to you to decide what you think is the best way. Personally, I think Verizon has been working hard to have LTE everywhere 3G is, therefore reducing or eliminating the need for all of these handover crutches once they deploy VoLTE. Else, there are lots of levers and knobs that can help save the day until the VoLTE roll out.

Presentation about eSRVCC and VoLTE

Download (PDF, 237KB)

 

 

 

Update: Forgot that Artiza Networks has a nice and clean version. Mine looks like a messy room in comparison. :) See bottom.

Just sharing this, it’s something I did before and forgot where I used it. I think I summarized some details, such as the millions of IMS pieces but broke out important functions such as HSGW vs PDSN and IWS etc for clarity. Enjoy…

The Network Mona Lisa

 

This version was created by Artiza Networks…

 

I just wanted to add a link to Qualcomm’s latest HD Voice Video. It has some good description of the voice improvements going into their chipsets. This is probably a strong reason not to jump off their platform but there are other ways to create these same improvements.

HD Voice is starting to get some attention with the recent launches by Orange and Sprint. As the hypeometer’s needle climbs, there will be a lot of attention focused in this area. I just wanted to put a few facts out there to keep it all straight. These operators have actually different technologies behind their HD Voice launches that eventually merge at VoLTE. I saw some silliness about the HD Voice launches in AnandTech and other places so let’s get started…

Technologies

First a brief history of the universe, starting with current voice technologies used with 3G networks.

Narrowband voice coding has been used in digital cellular systems since the beginning. Today’s smartphones typically employ EVRC for CDMA2000/3GPP2 based networks with a fraction of those employing the more advanced EVRC-B algorithm and AMR for UMTS/3GPP networks. EVRC and AMR are CODECs to transform voice into digitized speech using low amounts of bandwidth/throughput with a primary technique being limiting the input frequency ranges.

This chart shows the tradeoffs involved…

The measurement of voice is based on sampling a population of listeners that rate the quality of the spoken sentences after coding and decoding by an algorithm. Listeners are asked to (subjectively) rate the recordings they heard vs a reference standard. The reference standards are like (A) direct recording of voices or (B) Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) at 64Kbps known in standards as G.711. Here is an example of the rating questions:

This is an experiment to determine the perceived quality of speech over the telephone. You will be listening to a number of recorded speech samples, spoken by several different talkers, and you will be rating how good you think they sound.
Use the single headphone on the ear you normally use for the telephone. On each trial a two- sentence sample will be played. After you have listened to the sample, determine the category from the list below which best describes the overall quality of the sample. Press the numeric key on your keyboard corresponding to your rating for how good or bad that particular passage sounded.
Select the category which best describes the sample you just heard for purposes of everyday speech communication.
The OVERALL SPEECH SAMPLE was:
5 – EXCELLENT
4 – GOOD
3 - FAIR
2 – POOR
1 – BAD

EVRC compresses each 20 milliseconds of (300-3200 Hz), 16-bit sampled speech input into output frames of one of three different sizes: full rate of 171 bits (8.55 kbit/s), half rate of 80 bits (4.0 kbit/s), eighth rate of 16 bits (0.8 kbit/s). EVRC has a peak bitrate of 8.5Kbps, a minimum of 0.8Kbps and ‘conversational’ planning rate of 6Kbps. 

3GPP2 EVRC Standards:  3GPP2 C.S0014-D

The AMR (Adaptive Multi-Rate) codec encodes narrowband (200-3400 Hz) signals for each 20 milliseconds of 8000 Hz at variable bit rates ranging from 4.75 to 12.2 kbps with toll quality speech starting at 7.4 kbps. AMR has a peak bitrate of 12.2Kbps, minimum of 4.75Kbps, ‘typical’ conversational rate of 4Kbps.

3GPP AMR Standard: TS 26.071

The goal of these narrowband VOCODERs is to reduce bandwidth during a conversation while delivering acceptable call quality. You will achieve near ideal speech quality but not full lifelike sound in perfect network conditions.

If you are reading this then likely you have first hand experience with the voice coders used in 3G networks. Moving forward …

Qualcomm (the main commercial influence for EVRC) has developed a more advanced (newer) line of CODECs they call 4GV which include EVRC-B and EVRC-WB (wide band.) Alternatively, there is a small consortium of companies that drive patents for AMR including Voice Age, Nokia, Ericsson, and France Telecom, and they have evolved their narrowband AMR with AMR-WB (you guessed it, wide band.) Lastly, there is SiLK, propelled by Skype. 

 

 

 

 

EVRC-WB is based on a split band coding paradigm in which two different coding models are used for the signal by independently sampling the low frequency (LF) (0-4 KHz) and the high frequency (HF) (3.5-7 KHz) bands.

MOS: 3.24( Street Noise, 15 dB SNR  )

EVRC-WB white paper by Qualcomm      EVRC-WB test results from 3Gpp2 testing

3GPP2 EVRC-WB Standard C.S0014-D_v1.0_EVRC

AMR-WB provides improved speech quality due to a wider speech bandwidth of 50–7000 Hz.

  • Configuration A (Config-WB-Code 0): 6.6, 8.85, and 12.65 kbit/s (Mandatory multi-rate configuration)
  • Configuration B (Config-WB-Code 2): 6.6, 8.85, 12.65, and 15.85 kbit/s
  • Configuration C (Config-WB-Code 4): 6.6, 8.85, 12.65, and 23.85 kbit/s
MOS: 3.14 ( Office Noise, 15 dB SNR  )
3GPP AMR-WB Standard TS 26.204
AMR-WB Whitepaper by VoiceAge

Comparison of AMR-WB and EVRC-WB…

SILK negotiates one of four modes during call setup: Narrowband (NB): 8 kHz sampling rate o Mediumband (MB): 8 or 12 kHz sampling rate. Wideband (WB): 8, 12 or 16 kHz sampling rate. Super Wideband (SWB): 8, 12, 16 or 24 kHz sampling rate. The purpose of these modes is to allow the decoder to limit the highest sampling rate used by the encoder.

MOS: 3.22 ( Office Noise, 15 dB SNR   )

Skype: Silk Data sheet and IETF Standard

Nokia paper comparing Silk and AMR-WB. (Note they are a patent holder for AMR-WB and the paper does slant that way.)

HD Voice is a broad term marketed by operators that seems to refer to the voice coding, more specifically the use of the wide band CODERs like AMR-WB and EVRC-WB. Therefore, under typical conditions, the additional bandwidth used will provide a more lifelike sound between the caller/called.

Operator Deployments

Orange in the U.K. began marketing HD Voice in September of 2010. They have a 3GPP based UMTS network thus they are using the AMR-WB vocoder. They have 7 handsets on their website as supporting the AMR-WB vocoder.

Sprint recently announced the launch of HD Voice with their launch of HTC EVO 4G LTE. Apparently they are using Transcoder Free Operation (TrFO) to support this feature. The basics of this are the 2 end points (Caller and Called) must have the EVRC-WB supported to be able to enjoy the additional sound quality. (It also means the network accepts Service Option 73 requests…)

VoLTE

3G phones have the VOCODERs built into the device and they only work with the connected 3G network infrastructure for voice calling. VoLTE uses an IP Multimedia System (IMS) architecture, that essentially is an application that runs over the LTE channel. The devices (UE) have an IMS client that uses Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) signaling to place calls. The IMS is functionally equivalent to their 3G counterparts but slightly more flexible as you can have various architectures such as distributed, localized, centralized etc… Some interesting flexibility exists in the IMS client, as it is possible for the IMS client to have variable VOCODERs and the IMS has a flexible architecture that will allow support for various VOCODERS. This probably means you can upgrade/downgrade to/from HD voice while mobile, and operators will likely support (free/incremental cost) wide band coding when on high rate connections such as WiFi, femotcells etc.. This makes life more interesting. 

On the flip side, the only official VOCODER supported with 3GPP for LTE networks right now is AMR. Some of you need to push SILK and EVRC-B into the 3GPP standards. Mobile calling could be so much more interesting than it is today.

OK, that was a huge wind up for a little paragraph. The point is HD Voice is available on a few operators over 3G today and likely available almost everywhere with VoLTE using mostly wide band VOCODERs that provide higher MOS scores but also use slightly more bandwidth than 3G voice calls. It will be interesting to see how OTT providers like Skype fit in as they can easily integrate into the IMS/3GPP/VoLTE architecture and may have more to offer in some cases.


 

HD Voice is starting to get some attention with the recent launches by Orange and Sprint. As the hypeometer’s needle climbs, there will be a lot of attention focused in this area. I just wanted to put a few facts out there to keep it all straight. These operators have actually different technologies behind their HD Voice launches that eventually merge at VoLTE. I saw some silliness about the HD Voice launches in AnandTech and other places so let’s get started…

Technologies

First a brief history of the universe, starting with current voice technologies used with 3G networks.

Narrowband voice coding has been used in digital cellular systems since the beginning. Today’s smartphones typically employ EVRC for CDMA2000/3GPP2 based networks with a fraction of those employing the more advanced EVRC-B algorithm and AMR for UMTS/3GPP networks. EVRC and AMR are CODECs to transform voice into digitized speech using low amounts of bandwidth/throughput with a primary technique being limiting the input frequency ranges.

This chart shows the tradeoffs involved…

The measurement of voice is based on sampling a population of listeners that rate the quality of the spoken sentences after coding and decoding by an algorithm. Listeners are asked to (subjectively) rate the recordings they heard vs a reference standard. The reference standards are like (A) direct recording of voices or (B) Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) at 64Kbps known in standards as G.711. Here is an example of the rating questions:

This is an experiment to determine the perceived quality of speech over the telephone. You will be listening to a number of recorded speech samples, spoken by several different talkers, and you will be rating how good you think they sound.
Use the single headphone on the ear you normally use for the telephone. On each trial a two- sentence sample will be played. After you have listened to the sample, determine the category from the list below which best describes the overall quality of the sample. Press the numeric key on your keyboard corresponding to your rating for how good or bad that particular passage sounded.
Select the category which best describes the sample you just heard for purposes of everyday speech communication.
The OVERALL SPEECH SAMPLE was:
5 – EXCELLENT
4 – GOOD
3 - FAIR
2 – POOR
1 – BAD

EVRC compresses each 20 milliseconds of (300-3200 Hz), 16-bit sampled speech input into output frames of one of three different sizes: full rate of 171 bits (8.55 kbit/s), half rate of 80 bits (4.0 kbit/s), eighth rate of 16 bits (0.8 kbit/s). EVRC has a peak bitrate of 8.5Kbps, a minimum of 0.8Kbps and ‘conversational’ planning rate of 6Kbps. 

3GPP2 EVRC Standards:  3GPP2 C.S0014-D

The AMR (Adaptive Multi-Rate) codec encodes narrowband (200-3400 Hz) signals for each 20 milliseconds of 8000 Hz at variable bit rates ranging from 4.75 to 12.2 kbps with toll quality speech starting at 7.4 kbps. AMR has a peak bitrate of 12.2Kbps, minimum of 4.75Kbps, ‘typical’ conversational rate of 4Kbps.

3GPP AMR Standard: TS 26.071

The goal of these narrowband VOCODERs is to reduce bandwidth during a conversation while delivering acceptable call quality. You will achieve near ideal speech quality but not full lifelike sound in perfect network conditions.

If you are reading this then likely you have first hand experience with the voice coders used in 3G networks. Moving forward …

Qualcomm (the main commercial influence for EVRC) has developed a more advanced (newer) line of CODECs they call 4GV which include EVRC-B and EVRC-WB (wide band.) Alternatively, there is a small consortium of companies that drive patents for AMR including Voice Age, Nokia, Ericsson, and France Telecom, and they have evolved their narrowband AMR with AMR-WB (you guessed it, wide band.) Lastly, there is SiLK, propelled by Skype. 

 

 

 

 

EVRC-WB is based on a split band coding paradigm in which two different coding models are used for the signal by independently sampling the low frequency (LF) (0-4 KHz) and the high frequency (HF) (3.5-7 KHz) bands.

MOS: 3.24( Street Noise, 15 dB SNR  )

EVRC-WB white paper by Qualcomm      EVRC-WB test results from 3Gpp2 testing

3GPP2 EVRC-WB Standard C.S0014-D_v1.0_EVRC

AMR-WB provides improved speech quality due to a wider speech bandwidth of 50–7000 Hz.

  • Configuration A (Config-WB-Code 0): 6.6, 8.85, and 12.65 kbit/s (Mandatory multi-rate configuration)
  • Configuration B (Config-WB-Code 2): 6.6, 8.85, 12.65, and 15.85 kbit/s
  • Configuration C (Config-WB-Code 4): 6.6, 8.85, 12.65, and 23.85 kbit/s
MOS: 3.14 ( Office Noise, 15 dB SNR  )
3GPP AMR-WB Standard TS 26.204
AMR-WB Whitepaper by VoiceAge

Comparison of AMR-WB and EVRC-WB…

SILK negotiates one of four modes during call setup: Narrowband (NB): 8 kHz sampling rate o Mediumband (MB): 8 or 12 kHz sampling rate. Wideband (WB): 8, 12 or 16 kHz sampling rate. Super Wideband (SWB): 8, 12, 16 or 24 kHz sampling rate. The purpose of these modes is to allow the decoder to limit the highest sampling rate used by the encoder.

MOS: 3.22 ( Office Noise, 15 dB SNR   )

Skype: Silk Data sheet and IETF Standard

Nokia paper comparing Silk and AMR-WB. (Note they are a patent holder for AMR-WB and the paper does slant that way.)

HD Voice is a broad term marketed by operators that seems to refer to the voice coding, more specifically the use of the wide band CODERs like AMR-WB and EVRC-WB. Therefore, under typical conditions, the additional bandwidth used will provide a more lifelike sound between the caller/called.

Operator Deployments

Orange in the U.K. began marketing HD Voice in September of 2010. They have a 3GPP based UMTS network thus they are using the AMR-WB vocoder. They have 7 handsets on their website as supporting the AMR-WB vocoder.

Sprint recently announced the launch of HD Voice with their launch of HTC EVO 4G LTE. Apparently they are using Transcoder Free Operation (TrFO) to support this feature. The basics of this are the 2 end points (Caller and Called) must have the EVRC-WB supported to be able to enjoy the additional sound quality. (It also means the network accepts Service Option 73 requests…)

VoLTE

3G phones have the VOCODERs built into the device and they only work with the connected 3G network infrastructure for voice calling. VoLTE uses an IP Multimedia System (IMS) architecture, that essentially is an application that runs over the LTE channel. The devices (UE) have an IMS client that uses Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) signaling to place calls. The IMS is functionally equivalent to their 3G counterparts but slightly more flexible as you can have various architectures such as distributed, localized, centralized etc… Some interesting flexibility exists in the IMS client, as it is possible for the IMS client to have variable VOCODERs and the IMS has a flexible architecture that will allow support for various VOCODERS. This probably means you can upgrade/downgrade to/from HD voice while mobile, and operators will likely support (free/incremental cost) wide band coding when on high rate connections such as WiFi, femotcells etc.. This makes life more interesting. 

On the flip side, the only official VOCODER supported with 3GPP for LTE networks right now is AMR. Some of you need to push SILK and EVRC-B into the 3GPP standards. Mobile calling could be so much more interesting than it is today.

OK, that was a huge wind up for a little paragraph. The point is HD Voice is available on a few operators over 3G today and likely available almost everywhere with VoLTE using mostly wide band VOCODERs that provide higher MOS scores but also use slightly more bandwidth than 3G voice calls. It will be interesting to see how OTT providers like Skype fit in as they can easily integrate into the IMS/3GPP/VoLTE architecture and may have more to offer in some cases.

 

A quick rant. It bugs me that the current crop of LTE smart phones, even those demonstrated at Mobile World Congress this week,  just aren’t compelling enough yet. These devices have nice screens and all are striving for that thin, simplistic framed, glossy look that’s oh so desirable, however although the web experience is blazing fast when in LTE coverage areas, it’s boring after about 24 hours. After that 24 hours you start thinking about how many times you need to see an outlet for some electrons too. Now for tablets, LTE is awesome. All I do is browse the rich web at blazing speeds in my hotel room since the wifi is all choked up. On the other hand, the Smart phones are 1-2 generations away from being the replacement for the status quo. Firstly, need some technology improvements to help the battery life and cost, mainly though we need the operators to deploy is more compelling applications (I don’t mean phone apps) such as VoLTE. When I only need 1 radio (most of the time), so I get great battery life and smaller form factors and I get good or better voice and a good data experience, that is what I consider compelling. After this happens we get to the really cool stuff since the operators can reclaim 3G spectrum for 4G and etc…

From what I can tell, the device vendors are the hold up. The IMS/core is nearly ready, the standards are not finished but work arounds are possible (emergency services etc…) yet there are no devices that I have seen with an IMS client that also functions in circuit switched mode. How difficult can that be? BTW, the alternative and more sinister ending is the OEMs don’t want to finish the spec because they are milling the 3G network operators for as much as they can… either way…Grrr.

I guess I am just cruising down Gartner’s HypeCycle, perhaps in the Trough of Disillusionment, therefore I should be on to the Slope of Enlightenment next, Yes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the other hand check out the model of the American customer, I guess I am where I am supposed to be. Customer Complaints….

 

Links: Gartner, voici.com

 Ericsson and Qualcomm just pressed that they performed successful voice handovers back on December 23, 2011 with VoLTE (Voice over LTE) to WCDMA handover using Single Radio Voice Continuity (SRVCC.) The significance of this is that VoLTE/SRVCC allows a good user experience while reducing the required radio components thus saving cost and battery life and of course answers the question, what happens when the mobile user, on a voice call, leaves the LTE coverage area. There is a back up plan called Circuit Switched Fall Back (CSFB) but it’s painful in terms of latency and reliability. Exactly what must have been behind the response Steve Jobs gave previously when asked when Apple devices would have LTE . The delay from the beginning of time until in your hands is availability of broadband processing that support these features for the mobile device. The networks are more or less ready with some exceptions that can be worked around. (Note, 3GPP Release 9 added emergency services including location, SIM less emergency calling and some other fixes like faster CSFB so it’s to the implementers to make it happen.) Oh yeah, Ericsson provided the radio edge network (EUTRAN) and core network with IMS and Qualcomm used their MSM8960 in a VoLTE capability demonstrating device. As Martha Stewart would say, “It’s a good thing.”

Missed the boat…after the break Read Full Article →

Broadsoft has completed GSMA’s IR.92 testing for it’s TAS (voice call ‘server’ for IMS networks) It’s my belief that Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is getting into good position to eventually carry the voice that is presently circuit switched on 2G/3G networks so this was an interesting notification to me.

I also note that various companies have plugged Broadsoft into applications like the telephony bit for SIP based femtocell networks (OK they haven’t really yet gained a foothold in the US  but I digress…)


Links: Broadsoft, GSMA

Read Full Article →

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