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Signals Ahead: Behind the VoLTE Curtain, Part 2

  • ID: 3071321
  • Report
  • Region: Global
  • 49 Pages
  • Signals Research Group, LLC
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Analyzing VoLTE Client Performance In A Commercial Network
KEY HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS STUDY

This report presents the results of an analysis of four smartphones / VoLTE clients using T-Mobile’s LTE network in Southern California. The smartphone tested are the Apple iPhone, the LG G Flex, the Samsung Galaxy Light, and the Sony Xperia Z3.

Authors' view:

We did this study in collaboration with Spirent Communications, who provided us with its test equipment and engineering support to collect much of the data. In addition to gaining some insight into how VoLTE compares with HD-Voice on a 3G network and how the 23.85 kbps voice codec compares with the more widely used 12.65 kbps voice codec, we also identified the performance differences between the four smartphones / VoLTE clients that we tested.

Although we didn’t identify any meaningful differences when it came to the perceived voice quality (MOS) we did observe differences when it came to the impact on the current drain and estimated battery life. For example, only one smartphone achieved a longer battery life with VoLTE than with 3G CS voice. Two smartphones came relatively close to achieving this important threshold and one smartphone had a significant performance disadvantage with VoLTE compared with 3G CS voice.

We were only able to obtain chipset diagnostic information for two of the smartphones so we also relied on results taken last summer when we tested AT&T’s VoLTE implementation. In this category the two smartphones preformed largely on par with each other – not surprising given that they both use the Qualcomm chipset. Both smartphones also had much better KPIs than what we observed last summer. Various factors could explain this phenomenon, but in any event the trend is positive for VoLTE.

Lastly, we included FaceTime and Viber, along with Skype, to see how the OTT voice applications compared with VoLTE.

Consistent with our results from last summer, we observed that these applications can deliver a great voice call – in some cases outperforming VoLTE. However, they do quite poorly with network loading while the cost impact in terms of the shortened battery life and the higher network resource requirements cannot be ignored.

SIGNALS AHEAD SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION

This report is included as part of a subscription to Signals Ahead or it can be purchased separately.

Signals Ahead is a research-focused product that is published on a periodic basis. Its clientele include all facets of the wireless ecosystem, including some of the largest mobile operators, the top handset suppliers, the major infrastructure vendors, subsystem suppliers, semiconductor companies and financial institutions, including Wall Street, Private Equity and Venture Capitalists, spread across five continents.
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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1.0 Executive Summary

2.0 Key Observations and Conclusions

3.0 Voice Call Quality Analysis

4.0 Network Resource Analysis

5.0 Battery Life, Current Drain and Power Consumption Analysis

6.0 Test Methodology

7.0 Final Thoughts

8.0 Appendix

Index of Figures & Tables

Table 1. Matrix of VoLTE and 3G MOS Values - Carlsbad (poor RF conditions)
Table 2. Matrix of VoLTE and 3G MOS Values - La Jolla (decent RF conditions)
Figure 1. LG G Flex and Samsung Galaxy Light VoLTE Call - decent RF conditions with a 23.85 kbps codec rate
Figure 2. LG G Flex and Apple iPhone 6 VoLTE Call - decent RF conditions with a 12.65 kbps codec rate
Figure 3. Sony Xperia Z3 and LG G Flex VoLTE Call - decent RF conditions at 1705 hours
Figure 4. Sony Xperia Z3 and LG G Flex 3G CS Voice Call - 1435 hours
Figure 5. Sony Xperia Z3 and Apple iPhone 6 Skype Voice Call - decent RF conditions at 1545 hours
Figure 6. Sony Xperia Z3 and Apple iPhone 6 Viber Voice Call - decent RF conditions at 1615 hours
Figure 7. Apple iPhone 5 FaceTime Voice Call
Figure 8. Sony Xperia Z3 and LG G Flex Viber Voice Call - decent RF conditions at 1820 hours
Figure 9. Sony Xperia Z3 and Samsung Galaxy Light Skype Voice Call - decent RF conditions at 1900 hours
Figure 10. LG G Flex VoLTE MAC Layer Throughput - decent RF conditions with a 12.65 kbps codec
Figure 11. LG G Flex VoLTE MAC Layer Throughput - decent RF conditions with a 23.85 kbps codec
Figure 12. Sony Xperia Z3 VoLTE MAC Layer Throughput - decent RF conditions
Figure 13. LG G Flex Skype MAC Layer Throughput - poor RF conditions
Figure 14. LG G Flex Viber MAC Layer Throughput - decent RF conditions
Figure 15. Robust Header Compression Analysis
Figure 16. Downlink Resource Block Utilization Rates Analysis
Figure 17. Uplink Resource Block Utilization Rates Analysis
Figure 18. Downlink Allocated TTI Analysis
Figure 19. Downlink Total TTI Analysis
Figure 20. Uplink Allocated TTI Analysis
Figure 21. Uplink Total TTIs
Figure 22. Discontinuous Reception Rate (DRX) Analysis
Figure 23. Discontinuous Transmission Rate (DTX) Analysis
Figure 24. Uplink Transmit Power Analysis
Figure 25. Downlink Scheduling Grants Analysis
Figure 26. Uplink Scheduling Grants Analysis
Figure 27. Battery Milliamp-Hour Ratings - by Smartphone
Figure 28. Estimated Airplane Mode Battery Life Times - by Smartphone
Figure 29. Measured Current Drain in Airplane Mode - by Smartphone
Figure 30. Estimated versus Advertised Standby Times - by Smartphone
Figure 31. Measured Current Drain in Standby Mode - by Smartphone
Figure 32. Estimated Battery Life with VoLTE and 3G CS Voice - by Smartphone
Figure 33. Measured Current Drain with VoLTE and 3G CS Voice - by Smartphone
Figure 34. VoLTE Current Drain Relative to Airplane Mode - by Smartphone
Figure 35. 3G CS Voice Current Drain Relative to Airplane Mode - by Smartphone
Figure 36. Results by Location - Apple iPhone 6
Figure 37. Estimated Versus Advertised Talk Times - Apple iPhone 6
Figure 38. Results by Location - LG G Flex
Figure 39. Estimated Versus Advertised Talk Times - LG G Flex
Figure 40. Results by Location - Samsung Galaxy Light
Figure 41. Estimated Versus Advertised Talk Times - Samsung Galaxy Light
Figure 42. Results by Location - Sony Xperia Z3
Figure 43. Estimated Versus Advertised Talk Times - Sony Xperia Z3
Figure 44. Current Drain Comparisons with OTT Voice Applications - Sony Z3
Figure 45. Estimated Battery Life Comparisons with OTT Voice Applications - Sony Z3
Figure 46. Quantum Display
Figure 47. Sony Xperia Z3 and LG G Flex Skype Voice Call - decent RF conditions at 1740 hours
Figure 48. Apple iPhone 6 and LG G Flex Skype Voice Call - poor RF conditions at 1315 hours
Figure 49. Samsung Galaxy Light and LG G Flex Skype Voice Call - poor RF conditions at 1140 hours
Figure 50. Sony Xperia Z3 VoLTE MAC Layer Throughput - poor RF conditions
Figure 51. 3G CS Voice Current Drain Relative to Standby Mode - by Smartphone
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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