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Acme Packet boosts handover capabilities for voice over LTE

Though voice over LTE (VoLTE) is still at least a year away from making its debut on any major carrier, the technical work that’s required to make that transition possible is well underway.
LTE provides carriers with an opportunity to enhance their network coverage for voice and data through an all-IP network, but some legwork is required beforehand to make that possible. Carriers will have to take their existing 2G and 3G networks and couple them with LTE to provide a voice call that can handover seamlessly between any of their networks.
Acme Packet has announced a new enhancement that will bridge carriers’ circuit-based frameworks for 2G and 3G technology with these emerging IP-based LTE networks. The overall goal is to deliver on the “customer expectation for ubiquitous call coverage and a lack of call drops,” said Kevin Mitchell, director of solutions marketing at Acme Packet.
LTE is far from ubiquitous today and it may not be for decades, he said. This requires carriers to leverage their existing networks to provide a seamless experience. The wireless industry could be dealing with the handoff issues between circuit- and IP-based networks for the next decade or two, Mitchell added. “This is certainly complex.”
Acme Packet has incorporated the newly defined features of 3GPP Release 10 into its session border controllers, which are deployed in access networks to deliver VoLTE and other IMS-based services. “We think that’s the superior location for these IMS functions,” Mitchell said, adding that control elements at the access network level will make for more smooth call handovers.
“This does need to be something that’s a part of the initial LTE rollout,” he said, but added: “I don’t know of any service provider with LTE plans that doesn’t have a plan for launching voice.”
He sees VoLTE as a foregone conclusion because mobile service providers will want to maintain and offer as many services as possible.
“Once you offer a broadband onramp to the Internet and you’re not offering a communications business you’re exposing your business to over the top alternatives,” Mitchell said.
These enhancements to Acme Packet’s Net-Net Session Director for voice over LTE (VoLTE) is only for GSM/UMTS providers right now. Carriers in the CDMA camp will have to wait for more work to be done before they can implement similar solutions, according to Mitchell. Acme Packet plans to begin pushing the new offering into customer labs this summer.

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Matt Kapko
Matt Kapko
Former Feature writer for RCR Wireless NewsCurrently writing for CIOhttp://www.CIO.com/ Matt Kapko specializes in the convergence of social media, mobility, digital marketing and technology. As a senior writer at CIO.com, Matt covers social media and enterprise collaboration. Matt is a former editor and reporter for ClickZ, RCR Wireless News, paidContent and mocoNews, iMedia Connection, Bay City News Service, the Half Moon Bay Review, and several other Web and print publications. Matt lives in a nearly century-old craftsman in Long Beach, Calif. He enjoys traveling and hitting the road with his wife, going to shows, rooting for the 49ers, gardening and reading.

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