This post is by Kaushal Sarasia, Assistant Manager, Marketing for Aricent.
While LTE has established itself as the technology of choice to cater to the ever increasing demand for bandwidth one of the key challenges it faces is voice.
Given that LTE is an all IP network, the challenge is to provide seamless continuity for voice and video calls while using packets. The complexity means that operators are choosing to provide voice services via circuit switching by falling back to their legacy networks. This method of Circuit Switch Fall Back (CSFB) however, is rapidly falling out of favour as operators now want to leverage the full benefit of LTE by providing high definition voice/video services over LTE.
VoLTE not only helps operators reduce cost by eliminating the need to maintain legacy networks but also enhances the customer experience by providing distinct advantages such as high definition voice quality, simultaneous voice and data usability for rich service experience and seamless connectivity. The highly portable and scalable core network of LTE is being extensively leveraged by governments and other agencies for deployments in niche areas such as public safety for disaster management; here VoLTE becomes absolutely crucial for enabling vital voice communication during life critical operations. Moreover, VoLTE can help define a single wireless core network for both data and voice thus allowing multimedia communication involving voice, video and data at the same time. This can be leveraged to provide exceptional customer experience and to share critical information during disaster management.
Implementation of VoLTE is a complex undertaking that requires leveraging the IMS network and implementing specific QoS to enable seamless carrying of data and high definition audio/video quality. Its introduction impacts network elements across the spectrum including User Equipment (UE) (IMS Client), RAN (eNodeB), Core (EPC) and IMS Servers. The standards for VoLTE are still evolving and coupled with the complexity of implementing it means that it provides a huge opportunity for equipment manufacturers to introduce differentiation in their VoLTE solution.
An optimal VoLTE solution delivers an enhanced customer experience by providing many distinct benefits such as seamless HD voice/video quality, while enabling operators to reduce infrastructure cost and complexity. It also enables LTE equipment manufacturers to target this highly lucrative market by offering highly differentiated products, thus providing multiple benefits to every stakeholder in the LTE space. VoLTE has thus become an imperative for the success of LTE.