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Sprint, T-Mobile Test Ruckus's Refined VoWiFi

Vendor builds in new WiFi calling tools to help improve the experience for operators with Sprint and T-Mobile amongst the first to test them out.

Sarah Thomas

February 9, 2015

3 Min Read
Sprint, T-Mobile Test Ruckus's Refined VoWiFi

Mobile hotspot provider Ruckus Wireless is using its WiFi expertise to improve the quality of WiFi calling, or voice-over WiFi (VoWiFi), with new technologies it has reportedly tested with both Sprint and T-Mobile.

The company announced a slew of new Smart WiFi software updates on Monday that it says have been successfully tested with two of the biggest mobile network operators in the US. Ruckus Wireless Inc. Vice President of Corporate Marketing David Callisch wouldn't comment on who the operators are, but sources close to the company say they are Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. , which seems reasonable given they are the only two big operators that have deployed VoWiFi in the US to date. (See T-Mobile Turns Up VoLTE-to-WiFi Handoff and Taqua Lets Mobile Users Talk Over WiFi.)

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has said it will start supporting the capability in 2015, and Verizon Wireless has yet to outline its plans. (See AT&T to Launch WiFi Calling in 2015.)

Specifically, Ruckus's new VoWiFi tools, which will be integrated into its products and used in conjunction with its BeamFlex adaptive antenna technology, include capacity-based client access control, WiFi multimedia admission controls, directed roaming and automatic packet flow heuristics. (See Ruckus Virtualizes WLAN Management, Ruckus Takes On HP With Cloud WiFi Services and Who Cares About Wi-Fi Quality?)

  • Capacity-based client access control: If too many clients are already connected to an access point, Ruckus can decline connection requests from new clients to avoid service degradation for all.

  • WiFi multimedia admission controls: In order to prevent oversubscription of bandwidth, Ruckus ZoneFlex access points will require clients to request a specific amount of bandwidth before connecting. The AP will take into account its network load and channel connections before allowing new clients on board.

  • Automatic packet flow heuristics: Operators will have the ability to prioritize WiFi call traffic by constantly identifying voice packets and delivering them first.

  • Directed roaming: The 802.11v standard will be used to direct clients towards the WiFi access point that will provide the best user experience.

Read more about WiFi strategies on the dedicated carrier WiFi channel on Light Reading.

As an equipment provider, Ruckus can't control the WiFi experience in the mobile core, but Callisch says it's doing what it can to improve in the space it does own: unlicensed spectrum. He says voice is harder to deliver over WiFi because the voice package is super small and erratic. But by managing congestion and prioritizing WiFi calls with its new tools, the Ruckus man says operators can achieve a carrier-class calling experience, which necessitates seamless handoff and a high-quality connection.

"We're good at creating the pristine connection between the always-moving client to the WiFi network because of our ability to handle signaling and quality," Callisch says. "The service providers look to us to solve these problems."

There have been a number of vendors looking to help operators introduce WiFi calling to their customers, a service many are coming to expect as WiFi becomes more prevalent and high quality. Nokia Networks , for example, has teamed up with both Radisys Corp. (Nasdaq: RSYS) and Genband Inc. to build out its VoWiFi and voice-over LTE (VoLTE) offerings. Expect more action around the technology at Mobile World Congress where Ruckus will be showing off its new technology. (See Republic Welcomes More WiFi-First Action, Radisys Helps Nokia Enable VoLTE and Genband, Nokia Team Up on VoWiFi.)

— Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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