Test and measurement provider Spirent Communications announced it will now have the ability to test for all-IP services, such as voice-over-LTE, video calling and multi-player mobile gaming. The company said the testing will be enabled by its Landslide mobile packet core test system.
VoLTE was devised when operators realized they needed a standardized system for transferring voice traffic over data-only LTE networks. Originally LTE was seen as a completely IP-based system just for carrying data, with operators channeling voice traffic either by turning to legacy 2G/3G systems or by using voice over IP. Eventually, VoLTE became another facet that needed testing. Spirent saw this need and, accordingly, added it to its Landslide testing capabilities.
Spirent noted that Landslide was designed to emulate real-world traffic from millions of mobile subscribers over a range of access technologies to assist with testing of performance, availability, security and scalability of the mobile packet core. With the all-IP service enhancements, Spirent said Landslide could now test VoLTE performance and scalability at the intersection of the mobile cord and IMS cloud. The system can also test the network’s ability to support data traffic and high-bandwidth/low latency applications such as video calling, mobile gaming and social networking by combining control plane testing with the more realistic application data designed to provide insight into policy control procedures, charging and content awareness.
“Operators have an increasing need to test VoLTE capabilities, and when all traffic is eventually sent over IP networks, they will need to make the right policy, as well as [quality of experience] and [quality of service] decisions to satisfy end users,” said Ross Cassan, director of product marketing at Spirent. “Mobile voice services are a significant revenue source and VoLTE is poised to bring both higher call quality and expanded video capabilities.”
To this point, only a handful of network operators have rolled out commercial VoLTE services, including MetroPCS and SK Telecom. Verizon Wireless, which was one of the first carriers to jump on board in support of the VoLTE standard and completed its first test call in early 2011, has said it was still waiting for quality issues to be worked out before launching the service.
“Demand for VoLTE is being fuelled by carriers wanting to establish a native mobile VoIP solution, both for the long-term economic benefits and to defend against the threat posed by [over-the-top] VoIP providers such as Skype, FaceTime and Viber,” explained Asad Khan, analyst at Arc Chart, in a recent report. Infonetics Research recently noted that by 2016 VoLTE will make up only about 14% of global mobile VoIP revenue.