Cellcos need holistic view of VoLTE
Samir Marwaha, VP of Products & Platform Management at Tektronix Communications, outlines the challenges of VoLTE deployments and explains why end-to-end monitoring will be a crucial component of VoLTE’s success
LTE Insights: What are the specific benefits of this approach?
Samir Marwaha: Well, estimates differ, but Ovum estimates around $479 billion [by 2020], or 7% of all voice revenues. So, it’s significant to say the least.
Is VoLTE the solution to that threat?
Yes, but it’s not without its risks. Remember, we’re talking about voice calls here, which have been around some time and for which customers have very high quality expectations. While they might accept some lag and drop with data sessions, they won’t accept that with voice. So, unlike other IP traffic the consequences of getting VoLTE wrong are probably higher.
In other words, VoLTE is not just another IP traffic flow?
No, it’s absolutely not, and the risk of thinking that way is considerable. In today’s competitive world customer experience is so important that it has to be one of the major priorities when deploying the monitoring and management systems around VoLTE.
Why is VoLTE so challenging?
Wow, big question! I guess in a nutshell it’s because of the number of network technologies and domains it touches. There are so many points of failure, so many areas to troubleshoot when things aren’t working perfectly. And then of course there’s all the handovers, so it’s important that your VoLTE monitoring is well integrated - after all, that’s how the customer uses them!
Without a unified monitoring and optimization suite that combines, among others, 2G, 3G and LTE to give you a complete, access-to-core view of the network including RAN geo-location, VoLTE could turn into a fairly big problem for a carrier. In addition, new VoLTE-capable handsets have to work cohesively with the network elements for optimal subscriber experience.
How important is RAN geo-location?
I’d say it’s an absolute must have. Once you’ve seen and experienced the difference it makes to be able to interrogate real-time geo-located customer experience data, you won’t go back. And of course, it’s all part of a wider end-to-end monitoring solution that helps carriers ensure really high quality voice services.
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