Here at Computerworld we often have a lot of customers talk to us about problems they have had around trying to resolve the issue around poor signals from the mobile network operator. They have a number of complaints from staff about company mobile phones not being able to make calls in the office due to lack of signal. So in this blog we are going to be talking about Wi-Fi calling. Now there will be an even newer solution around the corner coming from Ruckus Wireless who recently made an announcement about #OpenG https://www.ruckuswireless.com/openg but that is going to have to wait for a later blog post due to a difference in governing bodies in the UK than the US and the management of shared spectrums in the UK.
As of last year, two of the UK’s biggest providers (Vodafone & EE) have introduced the Wi-Fi calling service which will let you make calls using a Wi-Fi connection when you don't have any cellular signal.
It’s not the first Wi-Fi calling service we've seen. Skype for example, already lets you talk using Wi-Fi, rather than your phone connection. EE and then Vodafone were the first UK networks to put the service directly into the phone, meaning you don't need a dedicated app.
Instead of using your normal cellular network connection, you will connect to voice calls using the Wi-Fi connection being offered at your work, home, restaurant etc. Anywhere where there is not a constant signal on the mobile network you can take advantage of the growing offering of wireless networks. You make a call in the same way you always would using the same numbers and the same dialler, with no need for an app to initiate the call. A bit like Skype/Viber etc. You still use normal phone numbers and if you were to go to an area where your phone signal is poor the phone should switch to Wi-Fi calling. The only thing you need to do is make sure the setting for Wi-Fi calling is switched on.
Wi-Fi calling has been around for many years in many forms including Skype and Lync, both of which have seen great success in the market. Lync has proven to be very successful in business applications and Ruckus equipment is now Lync certified. In the service provider space the industry now has a very strong solution based on the GSMA’s IR-92 profile for VoLTE. Unlike over-the-top services such as Skype and Lync, this approach uses the native dialler on the smartphone, and connects to the IMS complex in the MNO data centre.
Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi technologies enhance the Wi-Fi Calling experience, ensuring a service provider’s successful deployment in locations with cellular coverage issues:
Indoor environments with coverage holes
High-density public venues
Video calling that demands higher network capacity
Roaming outside of the home network
Enhancing Wi-Fi Radio Signal
A better Wi-Fi Calling experience comes from having a stronger radio signal.
Ruckus BeamFlex Adaptive Antenna Technology dynamically adjusts the antenna pattern for each and every packet transmitted. It enhances the network’s downlink performance while mitigating interference by directing more RF energy towards the intended receiver, adding up to 6 dB of additional receiver gain. This is especially important in high-capacity density public venues.
Ruckus BeamFlex+ further enhances BeamFlex technology by using PDMRC to add up to 5dB of additional gain on the uplink.
Prioritizing Voice Traffic
IR-92 based Wi-Fi Calling applications encrypt the airlink, which can make it hard to prioritize voice flows. Ruckus SmartCast utilizes type-of-service (TOS) and heuristic algorithms to detect and prioritize encrypted voice or video flows by looking at the size and frequency of the packet flow. This greatly enhances the reliability and performance of Wi-Fi Calling.