Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

US Wireless Carriers Shifting To Voice Over LTE

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the can-you-hear-me-now dept.

Communications 126

jfruh writes "For years for cell phone companies, one specific kind of data — voice calls placed by dialing a traditional telephone number — was entirely different from all the other kinds of data a phone used. But in the U.S., that's finally starting to change, as all the major carriers are planning shifts to voice over LTE. The carriers promise sharper call quality and quicker connections."

cancel ×

126 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Will it count against the data? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47076881)

Or will it be counted per minute? Per byte sounds more reasonable.

Re:Will it count against the data? (5, Insightful)

Bradmont (513167) | about 4 months ago | (#47076953)

Will it count against the data, or will it be counted per minute? Per byte sounds more reasonable.

Do you have any doubt that it will be counted as both?

Re:Will it count against the data? (2)

BronsCon (927697) | about 4 months ago | (#47077019)

This. Sadly, AT&T and Verizon will definitely do this. I don't doubt that T-Mobile will, as well, but since they offer unlimited (albeit, there's a cap on LTE speeds and you get throttled back to 2G speeds when you hit it -- unless you pay $30/mo for unlimited, which I do) it won't be quite as much of a cash grab for them. Sprint is an entirely different situation, being unlimited, but not really having enough data capacity to support it...

Re:Will it count against the data? (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 4 months ago | (#47078013)

I have a shared 3GB month data cap (family plan), but unlimited voice with Verizon. Are you saying that by virtue of making this change, my contract is by default null-and-void?! Wow, I'd love to see the backlash from that hammer!!!

Re:Will it count against the data? (1)

BronsCon (927697) | about 4 months ago | (#47078093)

It depends. They could VLAN the voice traffic and not count it toward your data plan. The question is, will they? We're talking about Verizon; this isn't outside the realm or possibility in any way, but only time will tell.

Voice Doesn't Use Much Data (3, Informative)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 months ago | (#47078741)

I don't know the VoLTE protocols, but for regular PBX-style VOIP, the voice compression is good enough and the voice payload in the packets is small enough that most of the bandwidth is used for IP/UDP/RDP headers, not the actual voice. There are way too many standards to choose from, but most of them run about 5KB/sec or less (that's bytes, not bits), so about 300 KB/min, or about 3000 min for 1 GB. There are people who use that much voice time, but not many :-) I'd expect that for a while you'll see multiple different standards for handling hd-mobile-to-hd-mobile, sd-mobile-to-sd-mobile, mobile-to-wireline, mobile-to-other-mobile-carrier, etc.

Back around 1990, I went to a technology talk by a guy from MCI who thought that the conflicting economics of offering voice and video on the same network were going to be a serious problem for telcos - video at the time meant ~1.5-3 Mbps corporate teleconferencing, and either you could price video too high to sell much of it, or you could sell T1 bandwidth cheaply enough to make videoconferencing affordable, in which case you'd undercut your voice pricing because companies would buy your video T1s to interconnect their PBXs for cheap. Better video compression got us out of that hole for a few years (384kbps or especially 128kbps video didn't cause that much trouble), but the Internet came along and started doing the same technological undercutting, VOIP started becoming feasible, etc. Mobile phones gave us a way to charge lots of money per minute again, but Moore's Law is still relentless.

Disclaimer: I do work for AT&T, but I do computer security, not mobile phones, so I have no idea what they're planning to charge for this, this is my own opinion, not the company's, blah blah blah. On the other hand, I have been doing various kinds of telco things for many generations of technology :-)

Re:Voice Doesn't Use Much Data (1)

BronsCon (927697) | about 3 months ago | (#47078849)

Just speculating here, but I wouldn't be surprised if, since it's being done in software, a less effective (this more efficient) algorithm is used for VoLTE. LTE data channels already use more power than LTE or GSM voice channels, by virtue of the data being processed by a general purpose chip (e.g. the phone's ARM CPU) versus the GSM or LTE radio handling the encoding of the voice data, so we're already looking at a substantial impact on battery life. Using an algorithm that yields best-case compression on a general purpose CPU will just add to the power requirements.

Re:Will it count against the data? (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 months ago | (#47077407)

Do you have any doubt that it will be counted as both?

Stop with the FUD. Verizon doesn't double dip for MMS (picture messages use data, but they do not add to your data usage), even though such double dipping would likely go unnoticed, why would they do it for minutes?

There's plenty of legitimate things to bash the cellular carriers for without making shit up.

Re:Will it count against the data? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47077661)

Why would they do it for minutes?

As an experience and abused Verizon subscriber, I would offer several reasons.

(A) The can
(B) They want to
(C) They are Verizon
(D) All of the above

My guess is D.

Re:Will it count against the data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47078847)

But this is a Free Market, it will correct itself. Obviously if there is a problem with Verizon, ATT, and Comcast it must be because of government regulation. Equally obviously get rid of the government regulations, abolish the FCC, and the Free Market WILL correct problems like this.

Re:Will it count against the data? (2)

evilviper (135110) | about 3 months ago | (#47079729)

Stop with the FUD. Verizon doesn't double dip for MMS (picture messages use data, but they do not add to your data usage), even though such double dipping would likely go unnoticed, why would they do it for minutes?

Verizon does double-dip in some situations, and has TRIED to do it more, but once the DoJ put their foot on Verizon's neck and started investigating, Verizon changed their mind... Or rather, delayed the changes indefinitely, and eventually rolled them out only slowly to new customers and new devices for a mish-mash of reasoning.

Re:Will it count against the data? (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 3 months ago | (#47078577)

Voice traffic is not worth measuring. It just does not take up bandwidth at all.

Re:Will it count against the data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47078897)

Yeah, because they severely overcompress it, you can't share background music, etc. Remember when phone companies actually competed to give you better sound? now that I think about it, that was probably a delusion back in the day too...

Re:Will it count against the data? (2)

alen (225700) | about 4 months ago | (#47076993)

everyone offers unlimited minutes these days

Re:Will it count against the data? (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#47077153)

probably. I currently have verizon, and I get unlimited calls and text, but limited data (family plan that im not in charge of, verizon talked my dad into "upgrading" IE losing unlimited data) I can see verizon counting the call data as data and still insisting that you have unlimited calling

Re:Will it count against the data? (1)

MasterEvilAce (792905) | about 4 months ago | (#47077425)

Good morning, Anonymous Coward! I am the CEO of , and we heard about your idea of charging by the byte. We think this is a very fair system for consumers, since they will only pay for service that they utilize. Because we like your idea so much, we will be offering the bare-minimum introductory price to you, at $0.01 per byte! Sign-up now to lock-in this pricing for one full year! We thank you for your input, and we can't wait to see what comes ahead!

AOL (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#47077523)

I must decline your offer because AOL back in the early 1990s with a 2400 bps modem was 1000 times cheaper than that, at $0.01 per kilobyte.

Re:AOL (2)

omnichad (1198475) | about 3 months ago | (#47078541)

But Verizon beats that at .002 CENTS per KB [blogspot.com]

Re:Will it count against the data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47077471)

I'm sure they'll ding us for use of both voice and data.

Re:Will it count against the data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47078639)

Due to Net Neutrality issues. It will have to be counted as bytes. Otherwise, it will be viewed as giving a fast lane.

Re:Will it count against the data? (1)

Livius (318358) | about 3 months ago | (#47079305)

...byte sounds...

I see what you did there....

Seamless fallback (4, Insightful)

vigmeister (1112659) | about 4 months ago | (#47076933)

Blindingly obvious to me is the fact that voice calls and SMS reaches me even without a high bandwidth 3G or faster data connection. If this leads to better network coverage for high speed data, I will be the first to celebrate, but until then I will stick to a split data/voice provider ... or one that can transition relatively seamlessly between the two types of networks...

Cheers!

Re:Seamless fallback (1)

TWX (665546) | about 4 months ago | (#47076969)

Don't worry. I'm fairly sure that they won't, unless you want to pay for a high-availability account or something.

Yep, they're doing seamless feedback (2)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#47076983)

until [data coverage improves] I will stick to a split data/voice provider ... or one that can transition relatively seamlessly between the two types of networks

The article mentions that T-Mobile will implement handoff from VoLTE to the legacy system. "T-Mobile is using eSRVCC (Enhanced Single Radio Voice Call Continuity), a feature from the LTE Advanced set of standards, CTO Neville Ray wrote in a blog post. The new feature will ensure calls don't get dropped when users move into areas that don't have LTE, he said."

Re:Yep, they're doing seamless feedback (3, Insightful)

KeithJM (1024071) | about 4 months ago | (#47077291)

They won't want to pay for both systems forever though. The reason you'd do something like is partly to make your customers happy, but partly because you realize you're installing two sets of hardware on each tower (one for data, one for telephone calls) and if you treated everything like data, you could save money on purchasing and maintaining the hardware because you'd only need to install one.

Re:Yep, they're doing seamless feedback (2)

omnichad (1198475) | about 3 months ago | (#47078559)

And eventually you could use both frequencies you control for LTE, leading to much higher capacity.

Re:Seamless fallback (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | about 4 months ago | (#47077007)

I do not know if I should apologize for RTFA or that I made the post above without doing so....

Re:Seamless fallback (1)

serbanp (139486) | about 3 months ago | (#47079069)

Unfortunately, the major carriers keep scaling down the voice repeaters to increase the data bandwidth instead. The network I'm on (Sprint) is getting worse and worse for pure voice calls, with new dead zones appearing very frequently - all in a metropolitan area.

Soon the voice service will be so bad you'll be happy to permanently switch to VoIP.

Does VoLTE work from one carrier to another? (2)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#47076935)

From the article: "For VoLTE to work, both phones on the call need to have the software." So it doesn't work by having the network act as a proxy between the old GSM voice protocol and the new VoLTE protocol. Will it work even if both VoLTE-supporting phones are on different carriers, or will calls between AT&T and T-Mobile need to fall back to old tech?

Re:Does VoLTE work from one carrier to another? (1)

LordSkippy (140884) | about 4 months ago | (#47077017)

And will calls across carriers count against your data cap?

Re:Does VoLTE work from one carrier to another? (1)

BronsCon (927697) | about 4 months ago | (#47077039)

Also, will it fail when two companies implement VoLTE slightly differently? Think early 802.11n implementations...

Re:Does VoLTE work from one carrier to another? (1)

pkinetics (549289) | about 4 months ago | (#47077851)

Heck it is IM different protocols. Except this is your phone.

Can't wait to see what happens when it hits the same iMessage fiasco.

Re:Does VoLTE work from one carrier to another? (1)

BronsCon (927697) | about 4 months ago | (#47077969)

This is open "enough" that it'll just come down to implementation details, more or less. Still, I'm not hopeful that the device manufacturers won't manage to fuck it up.

Re:Does VoLTE work from one carrier to another? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47077665)

As someone who works with this: GSM phones will not talk to VoLTE phone with the current LTE revisions. A T-Mobile VoLTE phone cannot talk to an AT&T VoLTE phone (unless roaming- the latency requirements are too rigid to allow for it).

The main driver behind VoLTE is to get more traffic over to one type of network (4G) instead of having to keep two networks up and running (4G+3G). Not sure this is common knowledge or not but right now (=pre-VoLTE ) no voice goes over LTE - All voice traffic is directed to 3G networks (this means that if you're downloading something over LTE it will cut over to 3G speeds when you are in a conversation. Try it and weep.).

2 radio networks mean less spectrum for data and with the ongoing massive pressure for increased capacity VoLTE is the obvious solution.

(BTW, There is no way the operators will charge for the data used for voice - someone would do the math and skewer the marketing department. Also, the actual data content in VoLTE packets is miniscule - the header data consumes more than the payload...)

So it won't make much of a dent at all (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#47077801)

GSM phones will not talk to VoLTE phone with the current LTE revisions. A T-Mobile VoLTE phone cannot talk to an AT&T VoLTE phone (unless roaming- the latency requirements are too rigid to allow for it).

The main driver behind VoLTE is to get more traffic over to one type of network (4G) instead of having to keep two networks up and running (4G+3G).

So unless all major carriers merge into one, something that no sane national competition regulator will approve, all carriers will have to keep their 3G networks going more or less indefinitely. These limits would appear to prevent any substantial progress toward the "main driver". And good luck replacing the CDMA2000 flip phones that people still use precisely because voice-only service on a dumbphone is cheaper than voice and data service on a smartphone.

Re:So it won't make much of a dent at all (1)

alen (225700) | about 4 months ago | (#47077879)

my GN3 makes calls just fine. why should i spend another $800 so the carrier can save some money?

unless i get a free phone with no increase in my bill i'll probably keep my GN3 for 3-5 years

Re:So it won't make much of a dent at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47078307)

Unless it doesn't work like that. The main idea isn't to completely eradicate the 3G network but rather
1) Claw back spectrum.
2) Stop investing capital in 3G (I.e don't build it out, get all your smart engineers on 4G and outsource the rest to Huawei/Ericsson/Nokia)
3) Invest in data, which is getting higher ARPU (Average Revenue Per User).
4) Slowly migrate majority of users over to 4G.

Same thing happened with 2G. Still exists (GSM is a fantastic technology), but there is zero capital and operational expenses in maintaining it. Good luck complaining to your local carrier about poor quality on your 2G phone ("We understand sir, how about we ship you a Samsung Galaxy S4 for free?").

Re:So it won't make much of a dent at all (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47078355)

Good luck complaining to your local carrier about poor quality on your 2G phone ("We understand sir, how about we ship you a Samsung Galaxy S4 for free?").

If carriers are willing to replace an outdated phone at no charge to keep a customer, that's one thing. But alen says it's unlikely to happen [slashdot.org] . How were the handset replacements associated with transitions away from AMPS and D-AMPS handled?

Re:So it won't make much of a dent at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47078911)

They will replace that phone today for free. You will have to sign up for a contract which will have you pay twice as much on a monthly basis, but the phone will be free.

If you have a 2G phone (or irrelevant technology x) then you will stop having service in a number of years. The economy (spectrum, power, tower leases) isn't there to support a few people who most likely aren't paying anything anyway (since voice and data is virtually free).

And of course that will suck and you might be angry at the carrier, but guess what, there are no other carriers supporting technology x any longer so it's either getting a new phone or not using a cell phone....

A recent example would be Sprint's awful technical bet on WiMAX. Guess where Sprint will tell you to shove your shiny EVO 4G when they kill off WiMAX? (actually, that is unfair, Sprint is being nice about it and have laid out a phone upgrade plan in newer WiMAX contracts. But keep the phone you won't)

Re:So it won't make much of a dent at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47078951)

(since voice and data is virtually free) should have read (since voice and texting is virtually free)..

2G is going away fast - LTE's more efficient (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 months ago | (#47078785)

My GPS uses 2G cellular to get its traffic data and gas prices and to do Google search for destinations. It's going away next year, because Garmin's contract with the cellphone carrier isn't going to be renewed :-(.

Carriers really want that spectrum back, and 3G and LTE are much more efficient in terms of data bitrate per MHz of radio, plus they want to cut down on the number of separate types of equipment (not only for equipment costs, but also because keeping two separate channels of data is much less efficient than one fat channel.)

Re:Does VoLTE work from one carrier to another? (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | about 4 months ago | (#47078157)

It seems strange to me that VoLTE needs *both* ends to support it in order to work. What about when you want to call a traditional non-mobile number? Surely they can't intend to keep 2G/3G around forever for this purpose, or is this feature planned for a later version of LTE?

Re:Does VoLTE work from one carrier to another? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47078229)

It seems strange to me that VoLTE needs *both* ends to support it in order to work. What about when you want to call a traditional non-mobile number?

You need a gateway of some sort...

Re:Does VoLTE work from one carrier to another? (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | about 3 months ago | (#47078445)

Makes sense, but then surely the same gateway could be used to let an LTE mobile phone talk to a non-LTE mobile phone, without the need to kick the handset itself onto 3G. I can understand the lack of urgency though - VoLTE is hardly a selling point and they'll have to maintain the older network for the forseeable future anyway.

Re:Does VoLTE work from one carrier to another? (2)

profplump (309017) | about 3 months ago | (#47078399)

It doesn't. They can terminate the VoIP call to the PSTN. It's just that when they control both ends it's possible for the devices to talk directly to each other, using whatever route the IP network finds most efficient, rather than forcing all calls out onto the PSTN or through their central VoIP server.

It's nothing different than the way SIP calling works today in non-mobile contexts -- all setup goes through a central server, and the server *can* route to non-SIP targets or forward voice traffic between SIP targets that can't reach each other, but it's *also* possible to bypass the server for voice data if the endpoints can reach each other directly and speak the same language.

Re:Does VoLTE work from one carrier to another? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47078859)

It doesn't. They can terminate the VoIP call to the PSTN. It's just that when they control both ends it's possible for the devices to talk directly to each other, using whatever route the IP network finds most efficient, rather than forcing all calls out onto the PSTN or through their central VoIP server.

It's nothing different than the way SIP calling works today in non-mobile contexts -- all setup goes through a central server, and the server *can* route to non-SIP targets or forward voice traffic between SIP targets that can't reach each other, but it's *also* possible to bypass the server for voice data if the endpoints can reach each other directly and speak the same language.

Sure it's possible, but one of those methods makes it much harder to meet the CALEA legal requirements than the other so do you think it'll ever get used?

Re:Does VoLTE work from one carrier to another? (2)

schnell (163007) | about 3 months ago | (#47078561)

GSM phones will not talk to VoLTE phone with the current LTE revisions. A T-Mobile VoLTE phone cannot talk to an AT&T VoLTE phone

Kinda sorta correct but only in a very narrow sense of "talk to." True, you can't currently roam across VoLTE carriers - which is why all these phones will still carry 3G chips for a long time to come. HOWEVER, when you make a VoLTE call, the carrier routes it back to their PSTN switches, and where it goes from there is immaterial - to a land line, to another carrier, to a data-less feature phone, wherever. So it's not like having a VoLTE phone means you can only call other VoLTE users on the same carrier - you can call whomever you want, wherever. It's just the VoLTE capability itself on that phone that is restricted to where you can use it.

Expose limits as unnecessary? (2)

ReekRend (843787) | about 4 months ago | (#47076989)

Wouldn't this make it obvious that voice/data are interchangeable and limiting one would be silly?

Re:Expose limits as unnecessary? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 4 months ago | (#47077329)

Is it possible to put a meaningful dent in data using voice?

5 hours a day using the highest voip kbps here (http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/support/docs/voice/voice-quality/7934-bwidth-consume.html) gives me 80MB/month.

Re:Expose limits as unnecessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47077621)

Bandwidth is likely less than that. They are probably more likely to use variable rate codecs not in that table like AMR/AMR-WB/EVRC/EVRC-WB. 12 kilobits per second gets you a reasonably nice quality AMR-WB. And that bitrate is without DTX, and generally only one of the participants in a conversation is talking. Basically small potatoes even if they DID charge you for the bandwidth...

Voice Codecs and Protocol Overhead (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 months ago | (#47079013)

Vanilla telco G.711 is 64kbps, and it's what the digital parts of a telco voice call use. G.729 codecs, mostly used for PBXs, use 8 kbps. GSM had several codecs, including 13.3, 6.5, and less. The problem with all of these is that they need to send lots of packets per second to minimize latency - typically 20 or 30 - so the transport protocol overhead is usually several times higher than the actual voice payload, between IP, UDP, RDP, plus any layer-2 overhead (Ethernet's huge, or ATM's a bit less, if your DSL is using ATM.) In some limited environments there are ways around it, e.g. using CSLIP to do header compression on modems or whatever, but I don't know if most of the LTE carriers are going to do anything like that, or if they're just going to run native VOIP.

The overhead gets a lot worse if you need crypto and implement it naively using IPSEC, because you end up with a couple more layers of headers on top. It would obviously be better to have an encrypted payload standard, because then all it would cost you is some setup key exchange, but the telcos haven't had a big reason to do that, and most of the IP PBX vendors haven't either.

Re:Expose limits as unnecessary? (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 3 months ago | (#47078647)

Google tells me that 150 hours * 8 kilobits per second is 527 megabytes per month. And that's the lowest bitrate I can find for wideband voice (G.729). Skype uses 5 times that.

Re:Expose limits as unnecessary? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 3 months ago | (#47078713)

yes, I messed up and only went to minutes from hours, shame on me.

For people that still talk a lot, it will be a relevant amount of data.

Re:Expose limits as unnecessary? (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 3 months ago | (#47078789)

In my case, going with 15kbps because I'm hoping for that as a minimum, would be 43MB/mo. (wife and I combined) at my talking level.

Re:Expose limits as unnecessary? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 3 months ago | (#47079297)

I use about 30 - 300 minutes / month now.(wow, before smart phones I would regularly break 2000), so that's 3.5 - 35 at 16kbps (I used 2 KB, because google).

Re:Expose limits as unnecessary? (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 months ago | (#47077847)

What makes them different is time-sensitivity. Voice packets can't be delayed, even for a quarter-second, without making talking really annoying. Sure voice packets should still use the same protocol, but they need higher priority, and you would expect to pay less for lower priority stuff that isn't interactive - even streaming video can easily be buffered for a half-second to mask jitter.

Some problems (1, Interesting)

jd (1658) | about 4 months ago | (#47077059)

First, data doesn't get the same protections as voice. Not that voice gets much protection as it is.

Second, carriers have said they will throttle data connections. This has serious implications for digital because it means carrier-to-carrier connections will (not may, will) be of inferior quality.

Third, I would believe digital was going to deliver, except that nobody uses much in the way of error-correction, the speakers and microphones are deteriorating in quality and reliability is naff.

Lastly, phone companies always promise jam tomorrow, or an increase in chocolate rations, but the reality is very different. I get a (billed) month of no service because of an upgrade to 4G. I can't remember the last free phone upgrade offered. My smartphone reboots itself regularly for no obvious reason. I used to be able to run a phone on full batteries for 2 days without a recharge. (Yes, phones "do more", but I don't bloody well want most of the more and the bits I do want aren't any bloody good! That is NOT a good exchange for 1/12th the uptime and nobody sells low-consumption phones any more.)

Re:Some problems (1)

michrech (468134) | about 4 months ago | (#47077517)

http://www.jitterbugdirect.com... [jitterbugdirect.com]

My mom uses Jitterbug (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 months ago | (#47079077)

Jitterbug's been a great phone for my mom. Her vision's not very good, so she doesn't bother texting (she'd need to hold a magnifying glass in one hand and use the phone with the other) , and she's stubborn enough she doesn't like to carry the phone around unless she expects to need it (e.g. going somewhere that she'll need to call a taxi), but it's reliable, does voice just fine, has big buttons for dialing, and makes free long-distance calls (so she doesn't bother buying long-distance from her landline telco any more.) The only way a smartphone would do her any good would be if Siri or equivalent could do everything, not just almost everything.

Re:Some problems (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#47077541)

My smartphone reboots itself regularly for no obvious reason.

That's probably not AT&T or verizon's fault though.

I used to be able to run a phone on full batteries for 2 days without a recharge. (Yes, phones "do more", but I don't bloody well want most of the more and the bits I do want aren't any bloody good! That is NOT a good exchange for 1/12th the uptime and nobody sells low-consumption phones any more.)

Well then go back to a dumb phone. 38 days of battery life on the nokia 515 [wired.com] . Or buy an expanded battery. Plus, again, how is that your carrier's fault?

I can't remember the last free phone upgrade offered.

Did phone companies ever offer you a phone that was worth more than $20 without a contract?

The first part of your post makes sense I think but asking AT&T to give you a free portable computer that has no software problems and doesn't occasionally need energy is a bit unrealistic.

Re:Some problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47078469)

GP did not talk specifically about carriers infrastructure but generally about the way things go and indeed with 'pay' for leaps of progress with lower or none existing quality for the lesser parts that however we still like to have. I hardly use my phone as a phone anymore and quality of the things I use it for besides calling is not so good comparing with specialized things. Yet I still use a phone because I had to buy one anyway so why not. This is just nature of things - we use shitty services and tools not because there are no better alternatives but because sheople made buying good stuff not possible financially or even at all. We all know the name of the game - as soon as majority of sheople is satisfied the rest can get stuffed. In old times one could migrate to the new territories but not we have this shitty thing - we humans are everywhere. Agent Smith was right. The stench (of stupidity and mediocrity) is overwhelming.

Re:Some problems (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about 4 months ago | (#47077759)

I used to be able to run a phone on full batteries for 2 days without a recharge.

I have an LG G2 and always get at least 50 hours before I hit 10% remaining on my battery. I have gone as much as 79 hours before getting down that low.

If my phone is idle, it uses around 1% per hour. Running most apps, I don't use more than 3% per hour, unless I run something that really uses the CPU or GPU. E-mail, web, light games, etc., all are easy on my battery.

That's on a phone with a quad-core processor, 1920x1080 screen, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of flash storage.

Re:Some problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47079411)

I have an LG G2 and always get at least 50 hours before I hit 10% remaining on my battery. I have gone as much as 79 hours before getting down that low.

If my phone is idle, it uses around 1% per hour.

After installing a custom rom without LG + AT&T + Google crapware I see about 1% per 10 hrs of idle on last years G Pro model.

Check wake stats in battery something is obviously keeping the thing from deep sleep or you have lousy signal/battery..which would royally suck G2 batteries are non-replaceable and real PITA to DIY :(

Re:Some problems You're forgetting iPV6 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47077773)

You're forgetting iPV6 has protections for VoIP as well as added other beneffits. As more carriers make the switch its reasonable to assume everyone will just use this down the road

Re:Some problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47077777)

Third, I would believe digital was going to deliver, except that nobody uses much in the way of error-correction, the speakers and microphones are deteriorating in quality and reliability is naff.

Why do you want error correction of any sort for an audio stream? VoIP largely uses RTP over UDP, and modest packet loss is quite acceptable for the audio stream. Error correction introduces latency, and the cure is worse than the disease here -- drop a few percent of packets in an audio stream and you can't really tell the difference anyway, especially with loss concealment on the receiving end. Video is another story though...

Compact Disc error correction (0)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#47077863)

Why do you want error correction of any sort for an audio stream?

Ask the inventors of Compact Disc Digital Audio why it includes CIRC error correction. I've had too many calls stay in the loss concealment zone to the point where unconcealed losses keep me from understanding the other party.

Error correction introduces latency

I don't see why it'd introduce more than 10 milliseconds.

Re:Compact Disc error correction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47077999)

By which mechanism would you do error correction for VoIP that won't introduce lots of latency? VoIP(SIP at least) largely uses RTP over UDP, sending packets with 20 milliseconds of audio data. It accepts that UDP is unreliable, and that losing 20 milliseconds of voice is not a problem. Latency (despite what you seem to think) is a real problem in voice. CDs buffer and play, they are not real time in any case. And the quality needed for a decent voice conversation is in any case quite different than that needed for good quality music...

Depends on the packet loss rate (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#47078313)

Losing one packet out of 50 in a second can be concealed, I understand. Even CD players predict waveforms for blocks where CIRC fails. Losing ten packets is harder to conceal, as far as I know. I was just guessing that if packets can be corrected instead of lost, fewer losses will be presented to the loss concealment layer. I was thinking about adding some forward error correction (FEC) to each packet so that enough correctable packets make it across the channel to give loss concealment enough data to work with. I know TCP-style retransmissions add unacceptable latency, but what latency does FEC add? Is it an algorithmic latency (like lookahead in an audio codec) or just a practical processing latency? Or are losses in practice already beyond FEC's ability to correct?

Re:Depends on the packet loss rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47078551)

If you do FEC, you need to buffer on the transmitting end. Built in latency. That is fine if the source is a cd player or such, not good if the interaction is a person talking in real time. If you are losing more than one packet out of 50 you aren't in good shape, and if you are losing 10 consecutive packets how can FEC help you? 10 packets typically covers 200 milliseconds, you are going to buffer more than that on the sending side? And besides, you are wasting lots of bandwidth to add the redundant data needed for FEC...

Mind you, there are some things sent over VoIP such as FAX, DTMF tones, etc that are more sensitive to packet loss. FAX has a built in error correction/feedback. Tones are transmitted with redundancy, though if it is actual audio tones you have issues with dropouts splitting tones, etc.

Re:Depends on the packet loss rate (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47079619)

If you do FEC, you need to buffer on the transmitting end. Built in latency.

If you do any sort of compression, such as linear prediction or cosine transform, you likewise need to buffer. Match the size of your FEC packets to your codec packets.

and if you are losing 10 consecutive packets

I apologize for being unclear; I didn't mean 10 in a row, just any 10 out of 50.

how can FEC help you?

We appear to have lost sync, and we won't be able to progress until we renegotiate definitions [c2.com] . Is a packet considered "lost" if it contains a single bit error at the receiver?

And besides, you are wasting lots of bandwidth to add the redundant data needed for FEC

When the receiver detects excessive errors, that means the channel capacity (in Shannon's sense) has decreased, and the sender needs to use more bandwidth to push the same rate of information.

Re:Compact Disc error correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47078573)

There is limit to everything. It is indeed true that nature of distortions that come with (especially varying) latency and just loss of some data is such that humans deal better with the later. Yet if the loss is to high your call is gone you cannot understand what the other side is saying. The problem here is that in standard ip traffic over the normal pipes used by everybody else for pr0n and new distro downloading voice has no protection and thus is problematic. Not for majority of conversations anymore but still enough. Annoyingly the problems are not distributed evenly either so either you have good quality and satisfying experience or you live in misery. Telecoms had a huge advantage and could provide good quality voice because they used protected/isolated networks. Now the advantage is gone and we sometimes have a problem. I guess this will go away in some years for most of us but not for all.

Re:Compact Disc error correction (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 3 months ago | (#47078723)

100 ms latency is perfectly fine for voice. VoIP from Europe to China with 400ms is surprisingly usable, most users do not notice the walkie-talkie effect. Anyway, it is trivial to do error correction for VoIP with far less than 100ms latency. The easiest solution is to include a digest of the previous packet in the following packet -- if the previous packet arrives later than the following packet or not at all, use the lower-quality data in the following packet. Spread the information across multiple packets and you will be able to handle multiple packet drops of course.

I wish Asterisk would come with a simple-stupid PLC codec mode where it simply appended the previous packet contents in their entirety to the following packet. It would double bandwidth, but packets-per-second would be unchanged, and 128kbps is nothing on most modern lines. The added 20ms latency would be unnoticeable.

Re:Compact Disc error correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47079129)

100 ms latency is perfectly fine for voice. VoIP from Europe to China with 400ms is surprisingly usable, most users do not notice the walkie-talkie effect. Anyway, it is trivial to do error correction for VoIP with far less than 100ms latency. The easiest solution is to include a digest of the previous packet in the following packet -- if the previous packet arrives later than the following packet or not at all, use the lower-quality data in the following packet. Spread the information across multiple packets and you will be able to handle multiple packet drops of course.

I wish Asterisk would come with a simple-stupid PLC codec mode where it simply appended the previous packet contents in their entirety to the following packet. It would double bandwidth, but packets-per-second would be unchanged, and 128kbps is nothing on most modern lines. The added 20ms latency would be unnoticeable.

400 millisecond latency is really quite noticeable. VOLTE will be a great advance:

How is the family? OVER
They are fine! OVER

Existing SIP I've seen (and I've seen quite a bit from a number of T1 carrier networks and with a number of codecs) doesn't bother with FEC of any sort. If you think that packet loss will be a bigger problem than latency, cool. I doubt it very much myself... And FEC won't likely translate usefully to the PSTN and other gateways that you'll be using to escape the IMS/VOLTE network.

Re:Some problems (1)

xfade551 (2627499) | about 4 months ago | (#47078009)

My smartphone reboots itself regularly for no obvious reason. I used to be able to run a phone on full batteries for 2 days without a recharge.

This has happened to me before: you probably have some app with a memory leak running in the background (or possibly some malware). One common warning sign is when a free app started out good, but after some patch, started serving up a whole bunch of advertisement. Start with uninstalling any rarely-used free applications and see if the problem goes away, then update your other apps.

How long before no more dumb phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47077065)

I had a smart phone for years then decided I was tired of paying through the nose for data plans. I've since reverted to a $20 dumb phone on a $7 a month prepaid arrangement. I just use the old smart phone on wifi which is nearly ubiquitous in my regular haunts.

How long until I have to have some sort of smart phone[along with $30-40/mnth data plan] to 'have a cell phone'? I reckon that'll be the day I transition to straight voIP through Vonage, etc.

This must also simplify collection of meta-data for the spokes too.

Data on the bus (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#47077401)

I just use the old smart phone on wifi which is nearly ubiquitous in my regular haunts.

But how ubiquitous is Wi-Fi between haunts, such as while riding transit?

Re:Data on the bus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47077457)

This is certainly valid. Hence the 'nearly' quantifier. What I learned over the years is that I don't need to be constantly plugged into the Matrix. It is actually better for my productivity and sanity if I'm not.

Lack of offline mode (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#47077693)

What I learned over the years is that I don't need to be constantly plugged into the Matrix. It is actually better for my productivity

Until the applications that you need to use stop offering a useful offline mode in favor of increased reliance on "the cloud" (that is, someone else's computer). "Please connect to the Internet to save your changes." Or "Please connect to the Internet to identify this song" (as opposed to recording the snippet while it is playing and identifying it once you do connect; Google Play Song Search is guilty).

ISDN flashback (4, Interesting)

BaronM (122102) | about 4 months ago | (#47077147)

Once upon a time when 128Kbps BRI ISDN was fast, voice calls were frequently billed at a lower per-minute rate than data calls. To take advantage of this, a common trick was to place a voice call and then pass data over it. This did result in a lower data rate of 56Kbps per channel or 112Kbps overall, but if that was enough, you could save a lot of money.

Fast-forward to VOLTE.

Most wireless carriers offer unlimited voice minute plans. Since it's all going to be IP over LTE now, I have to wonder if there will a way to pass your data off as a 'voice' call and avoid data caps and limits? Not on a stock phone, but on a rooted device with a custom OS build, maybe?

Re:ISDN flashback (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47077367)

If this started to become a widely adopted trick, I wouldn't be surprised if some call analysis started taking place to catch it. I'm sure human speech has very recognizable patterns that wouldn't be tough to detect.

The solution then, of course, would be to have our disguised data transmissions mimic human speech.

Two nodes having "voice" conversations in Simmish would make me just plain old smile.

Re:ISDN flashback (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 4 months ago | (#47078293)

become incredibly proficient at whistling, save money.

Re:ISDN flashback (1)

alen (225700) | about 4 months ago | (#47077411)

so how does netflix look like at 64kbps? what about 256kbps?

Re:ISDN flashback (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47077419)

I can just imagine it now... Cyanogen Mod offering "modes" for your calls. "Save data mode" that cuts it to 4k sampling. "Audiophile mode" that transmits 256 k sampling with variable bit rate". Oh, and "OSS nut mode" that sends it all in loss-less FLAC, but nobody can hear you.

Re:ISDN flashback - already here with CDMA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47078169)

You can still do MOU (minutes only use) billing for data for CDMA / Verizon wireless.

Truely unlimited minutes:
Even the slowest 1xRTT could get you ~15-45GB/month

With a realistic 5K "unlimited" minutes cap (~3hrs/day):
1xRTT = ~ 200MB/month.
1xEVDOrA = ~1.5GB/month

All you have to have is the correct billing code added to your account.

Re:ISDN flashback (1)

profplump (309017) | about 3 months ago | (#47078521)

Absolutely. There's nothing to stop you using a modem with your voice link. As in the ISDN days the bandwidth is much more limited when you used the encoded voice channel, and as with all voice connections you can only reach one endpoint at a time, but if you want to setup a PPP gateway someplace you can call into it and slowly exchange data with it all day long.

I suspect you'll have trouble improving upon the $/byte ratio when limiting yourself to cellular modem speeds -- your voice channel is probably less than 20 kbps (8.7 MB/hour) or usable bandwidth, but it's absolutely something you could do.

Re:ISDN flashback (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 3 months ago | (#47078769)

Modern wide-band codecs use on the order of 50kbps for really high quality voice. If you use 50kbps continuously, you have added 16GB to your data cap each month (or 32GB is you transfer full duplex). Useful perhaps, but your phone would be constantly busy and battery life would suck. What are you going to transfer at 6kBps per second anyway?

Data masquerading as voice? Not likely (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 months ago | (#47079167)

When you make a VOIP connection, you're signalling to the network that you want to do that, it finds you the IP address and port number, either for a gateway into the old telco network or else for the phone you're calling. That's not getting you out to the public internet, though if you've got another friend with another rooted phone who's also got an active wifi connection, maybe you could do something useful with it.

But remember the other signalling that's going on, between your phone and the cell tower, which is keeping track of how much bandwidth you're sending - you'll have to make it think you're on a voice call also, if the voice prices are managed separately from the data prices.

Re:ISDN flashback (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 3 months ago | (#47079775)

, I have to wonder if there will a way to pass your data off as a 'voice' call and avoid data caps and limits?

2G networks got about 20kbps data throughput. Sure, you could set-up a call and do some acoustic coupling for data modulation over a call, but that's the ballpark of the speed you'll be getting.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Consumers wouldn't WANT the low speeds and inconvenience of the ad-hoc process, and I'm pretty sure business customers (like alarm service providers) could get dedicated data service MUCH cheaper than an unlimited voice plan.

Title II, when? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 months ago | (#47077189)

Data, communications, all synonymous, eh? I mean, HTTP really is a back and forth exchange.

Yep, reclassifying all Internet services as Title II makes so much sense.

Que Oversaturation in 3...2...1... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 4 months ago | (#47077271)

Remember a time when cellular carriers were trying to justify getting rid of unlimited data plans by claiming that the networks were becoming oversaturated?

Pepperidge Farms remembers. And we'll remember it when it happens again.

Voice over LTE (1)

woboyle (1044168) | about 4 months ago | (#47077755)

So, now your voice calls impact your data caps?

Re:Voice over LTE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47077855)

So, now your voice calls impact your data caps?

A 12 kilobit audio stream uses about 90 kilobytes per minute even without DTX to mitigate it. Compare that to watching your streaming videos or loading bloated web content and it isn't huge. I guess if you talk lots it could add up some, but likely not so huge as you might think...

Re:Voice over LTE (1)

woboyle (1044168) | about 3 months ago | (#47078895)

I knew that (I'm a wireless telecom professional and wireless tech instructor). It does add up though... So, are they just going to put our voice calls on the data plan, or still charge us per minute for the voice? Knowing cell phone providers as well as I do (too well, trust me), they are going to dick us both ways to Sunday. :-(

A new way to screw your customers! Nice! (2)

MikeLip (797771) | about 4 months ago | (#47078003)

Let's see - drop the voice connections. Decreased operations cost for the provider. Don't pass the cost reduction to the customer. SCORE! Use more bandwidth, making people either go over data caps and get penalized or have to buy larger data allowances and pay more for service. SCORE AGAIN! Tell them how awesome the new service is, when the old service worked and sounded just fine, making you look like a hero for screwing them over. TRIPLE SCORE! Use the extra income to build out your network! Oh, wait. No. Can't do that - daddy needs a new Bentley.

We'll see (0)

kackle (910159) | about 4 months ago | (#47078105)

"The carriers promise sharper call quality"

As someone who started in cellular field in the late 1980s, I'd say it can't get much worse.

Re:We'll see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47078655)

noticed that too - I am not sure what the reason is but considering how many codecs there are out there and how many networks your calls have to go trough it is a wonder that one can hear anything at all anyway. It is of course possible to avoid all the transmissions and make non transcoder call but for that everything needed be configured properly and you cannot do that on the cheap. It is indeed better to go full digital and over the pipes and peer to peer instead. I suppose when we finally all get ipv6 addresses we can stick them into modern version of a phone book and sip suddenly can be done without all the blood suckers around. Waiting for this to come.

Call Quality :-) (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 months ago | (#47079213)

Back in the 90s and early 2000s, we were trying to sell businesses on using 8kbps G.729 calls from IP PBXs instead of 64kbps telco voice, and they would whine about Mean Opinion Scores and latency (and didn't get that India just wasn't going to get any closer and the speed of light wasn't going to change.) Cell phones convinced most of those people that they didn't really need to care - GSM was 13kbps or 6.5, and your office PBX phones had much better microphones than a typical cellphone and usually didn't have wind noise and trucks going by in the background.

I did have one friend who kept an analog cell phone around for a long time after most people had switched over to digital, because he spent a lot of time out in the mountains and back-country where there wasn't yet much cellphone signal, and a bad analog call was noisy, while a bad digital call just wouldn't stay connected.

ouch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47078397)

dude reading that paragraph hurt my eyes and my brain...
please either copy an excerpt or learn how to write.
thank you

Quality levels of LTE vs voice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47078587)

I wonder if this means that my calls will drop any time I switch from one cell tower to another while moving at highway speeds, much like my Sirius app seems to do ever since 4g was rolled out with my carrier.

Re:Quality levels of LTE vs voice (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 3 months ago | (#47078937)

The quality level of current calls is pathetic. The sound quality is poor. LTE can run a much better codec.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>