Never mind LTE, operators could do better with Voice over New Radio at times, says Rohde and Schwarz.
A new report from European telco equipment tester and analyst Rohde & Schwarz claims that Voice over New Radio (VoNR) is a ‘prerequisite for successful 5G deployment’.
When running a cloud-native 5G Standalone (SA) network, operators don’t need LTE an an anchor because Operators offer high-quality voice services over New Radio, claims the report.
The logic is that VoNR can fully exploit the SA architecture of 5G networks at a much lower latency and better sound quality, while still running data applications at 5G speeds for the duration of the voice calls.
Rohde & Schwarz, which has been testing and benchmarking 5G since 2019, says the improvement in the quality of voice services gives it the confidence to recommend VoNR use without LTE. It goes on to claim that many 5G SA-enabled data services like video conferencing or augmented and virtual reality features could also be run on VoNR.
T-Mobile has used Ericsson to build a 5G network in which 5G standalone architecture, VoNR and New Radio carrier aggregation are its major technology cornerstones.
New Radio killed LTE?
VoNR comprises a 5G RAN and 5G core. As with 4G LTE networks, 5G voice calls run as end-to-end Voice over IP (VoIP) connections managed by the IP Multimedia System (IMS) core.
The IMS specification, developed by the 3GPP, is a standard framework for delivering multimedia comms services.
The beauty of integrating IMS into the deployment scenario is that, just as in voice over LTE (VoLTE) IMS sets up the Protocol Data Unit (PDU) session with the requisite quality of service for perfect voice quality.
“This IMS architecture will play an increasingly important role in 5G VoNR,” claims the analyst. The IMS can give voice services over any type of access, such as fixed, cable and 2G/3G, in addition to all 5G-deployments. By contrast, 5G is not as flexible and can’t handle voice services without an IMS network.
In June, Deutsche Telekom announced the completion of a 5G Voice over New Radio call in partnership with Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung and Xiaomi.
“High quality and seamless voice calling remains a must-have service for our customers in the 5G era,” said Alex Choi, SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom. “The addition of 5G VoNR can be a differentiator for future apps that will combine high speed 5G data with high-definition audio.”
In July Singaporean operator M1 Limited hit a more significant milestone when it made VoNR available to Samsung Galaxy handsets on its 5G SA network via an over-the-air software update.