Koodo Community


VoIP Integration

Aren't we at this point in technologies where it would be better for both telecommunication companies and customers to have integrated VoIP on a cellular network? Voice lines are getting old and outdated. Why not have only one great 3.5G/4G/LTE/whatever-Internet Network that runs perfectly, rather than two in parallel, and use and prioritize VoIP services?

7 replies

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There are less than a dozen carriers worldwide who have launched VoLTE (Voice over LTE) and TELUS is in the process of deploying VoLTE.
Thanks for the quick response, I guess that's good news then. I hope they won't take too long.
Userlevel 1
I did some reading and research on this and while I can see some advantages to the carriers in implementing VoLTE I don't yet get the advantage to the customer or how it will really make much of a difference to them as the same codecs are used. We did discover that LTE consumes a lot more battery power than 3G/4G. Can someone outline the advantages and how this will make a difference to the subscriber? Thanks. My home phone is now VoIP/SIP delivered on Fibre but I don't get to integrate with that in any way (e.g. have it come directly into my VoIP system at home without converting to POTS first), it's only an advantage to the carrier in this case. I don't see VoLTE as any different. What am I missing?
LTE absolutely will drain batteries much faster than 3G, just as much as 3G did consume more energy compared to the older EDGE network (I know, Koodo doesn't support EDGE as their "oldest" technology is 3.5G). LTE antennas cover more ground surface, therefore antennas will statistically be further, and cellphones/modems will need more power to run at even faster speeds. Right now, as a consumer, I am running a SIP app over the 3G network (two years old phone) so I can have access to my home and business numbers (two local, one toll-free), plus the one line on from Koodo, as cellphone providers won't allow more than one line per telephone (two in some cases). Manageability by the user is my point here. FIY: My VoIP systems at home/work are, as you say, directly managed by SIP Phones, without going through POTS. And it works great. And they cost me about $7 a month for the three lines, 9-1-1, minutes, SMS, and taxes included. Now technically speaking, VoLTE will only be available to the models that are running on LTE networks, without being backward compatible. In parallels, VoIP already exists, and we know it's working good at the moment. It could be better and still has its hiccups, but it's readily available to big companies and consumers. The one easy thing to do would be to prioritize VoIP ports (which work on older wireless Internet connections, just not steadily) on cellular networks, just as you can prioritize them on your routers so voice goes first. And I understand why Koodo (and many others) won't do it, it would kill their "phone" business! Still on the technical side, I have bought, installed, and managed cellular phone systems/networks over the last few years in remote areas. I strongly believe VoIP is much easier to manage over a simple cellular-based Internet system than having to add servers and servers to translate voice that will be digitally compressed anyways (a lot, sometimes too much). It will be sent through the Internet anyways (yes, that's how it is today, everything's going through the Internet). A simple (ok, it's a little complex, but let's not talk about infrastructure too much) VoIP server can manage voice and SMS/MMS on the same physical machine managing the Internet. Maybe instead I should ask Koodo: Would it be possible to prioritize VoIP calls on your 3G network?
Userlevel 1
I absolutely get that and I do the same (running VoIP over data be it Wifi or cellular) but I don't see how the carrier's use of VoLTE will benefit me and it will just drain our batteries quicker. I would love to feed the SIP trunk that supplies my home phone directly into my VoIP system but the carrier won't allow it. They take it off the fibre directly at the optical terminal as POTS and in my area there are no VoIP carriers that can port or even supply a local number. So even though your VoLTE phone will technically be a VoIP phone, I don't see us getting access to it (aside from being able to talk over it with less battery life) or any of the advantages of VoIP. While this technology may benefit the carriers and make their provisioning easier, I still don't see any benefit to the consumer.
I'd simply put it this way "cheaper/easier access to multiple phone lines on one physical phone... natively" then. Without having to buy and carry one phone per line. And I don't think VoLTE is the best way to do it as it's got too many restrictions, battery life being indeed one of them. I know probably only a handful of clients may need or want it, but it sure would be nice to have it prioritized on the network. As an extra service maybe? Are you telling me your VoIP is getting into your building as a separate cable from the Internet? Now the problem with local numbers is that VoIP carriers don't have enough weight in the phone system yet as they're too small compared to big telecom carriers like Telus, Bell, or Rogers. If Koodo had access to VoIP servers, they'd be allowed to distribute the same numbers they have right now. Now as per CRTC's decision that phone numbers belong to their owner, you should be able to port any number to any other carrier (for a fee on most VoIP and non-VoIP cellphone carriers... Thank you Koodo for doing that for free!) The idea behind VoIP is that you can get as many (make it non-POTS, SIP, or ATA) phones, computers, or cellphones using a softphone as you want connected directly to the Internet. All of them are registered to the same account (different sub-accounts), and are able to make separate calls to different numbers at the same time, or in-between them as "extensions" (just as big companies' systems do), wherever they are, from the same number, or behind virtual ones, natively. Access to/from them is not geographic-based, as long as an Internet connection is available, and will not have substantial minute-based international charges. Travellers like myself would love that cheap solution out-of-the-box, without having to get a voice plus a data plan as international roaming fees are crazy (allow me to say stupid)-high. As numbers are Internet-based, they are easy to obtain, manage, and cancel. Forget about SIM-based phone numbers! Your SIM can still follow your Internet connection and you could get only one data plan for all lines. International calls are also much, much cheaper on VoIP services as carriers don't need to run servers to "translate" calls from voice to digital to send them through the Internet. I can only see advantages. And if you didn't need to run a different program running independently on your cellphone, I don't believe it would take that much more battery. You don't have to query your SIP server every 10 seconds, that's manageable. And if Wi-Fi's available in the area, voice calls can also be redirected. I know, it's not made for voice calls, but if prioritized on those networks too, it sure can work properly. It's just a big change people and big telecoms have to accept. Technologies evolve, and that's where we are now!
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The original cellular standard had NAM1 and NAM2 and support for more than one number. Someone didn't like that and figured that a single phone number should be tied to a single mobile phone so it was eliminated. I don't see the carriers going back on that one because of VoLTE. Of course if you are running VoIP over data they have little way of controlling that, nor should they. My Bell land line is provisioned as SIP on Fibre but they take it off at the optical terminal (separate VLAN) and turn it into POTS, not passing that on but letting the Internet and IPTV pass through. To ask them to deliver it beyond their terminal or give the customer access to their sacred SIP network would be sacrilege. Of course I can understand why - a single malformed SIP packet would probably take out their whole infrastructure 🙂 VoIP providers often use a hardened gateway that proxies SIP traffic and only allows the stuff that can't hurt their soft, inner core to pass through.