Untangling VoLTE

It takes a lot to make VoLTE service a reality and even more to make it operational.

Let’s start with the fact that today’s environment are filled with devices that come from a variety of vendors. This makes life complex. Take, for example, the situation where two devices (each from different vendors) must communicate via voice over Evolved Packet Core (also by two different vendors) into an IP Multimedia Subsystem (from yet another vendor) and through an application server or two. See where I’m going here?

As if that weren’t enough, Mobile Service Providers (MSPs) often have their own set of requirements when it comes to service design, and each path has its own set of challenges. There are a few paths you could be selected: pure VoLTE, GSMA VoLTE with RCS, Voice Call Continuity (VCC), etc.

Read: Give VoLTE a Voice

And this is just a sample of the complexity involved.

Simplifying the Picture

Let’s boil it down to the essential things you need to consider while building, deploying and operating a VoLTE service.

Service architecture is comprised of three parts: a producer of content (Service/Applications), a deliverer of content (Access) and a consumer of content (Device). You need to understand how each of these parts works separately and also how they work together as a whole. In order to gain that understanding, you first need to know where and how to collect your data and how that data can be used to drive service provider productivity.

Read: Monetizing LTE: Controlling Quality

Device to Access

The primary requirement of any 4G device is to enable it to attach to the LTE network – specifically the evolved packet core. The evolved packet core provides user and control plan mechanisms using GTP and Diameter protocols.

Having a probe in the EPC will be able to help quickly identify attachment/connectivity issues like:

  • Is the device connecting?
  • How many times is it connecting per hour?
  • What is the average connection time?
  • How much data is being used on average in this connection time?

If you contrast the metrics you receive from a probe, you can take it a step further and discover:

  • If Device Manufacturer A is working better than Device Manufacturer B
  • Whether the anchor to the PGW behaves different from one manufacturer to the next
  • How well the MME schedules dedicated bearers and bandwidth resources when Rx is triggered from the IMS, trigging a QoS policy to be applied

Probes collect all this data and provide them to an analytics engine. This enables a Mobile Service Provider to have a clear understanding of what’s happening in the EPC. This is also a great place to learn more about your customer behaviors and preferences, which enables you to derive insight about how they use your services.

Has your company begun to make the move to VoLTE? Let me know about your experience in the comments below. And stay tuned for the next post I’ll make on what you can learn from probes about service access.

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