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GENBAND, Nokia Networks Team Up on Voice over Wi-Fi Enhancements

November 26, 2014

GENBAND and Nokia Networks have announced a partnership to combine GENBAND's QUANTiX evolved packet data gateway (ePDG) with Nokia's voice evolution solutions, including Voice over Wi-Fi. The GENBAND ePDG will be integrated into Nokia's Liquid Core portfolio to support multimedia voice, data and video session along with anywhere/any device services.

“Combining GENBAND’s ePDG with Nokia’s Liquid Core portfolio allows operators to take advantage of communications services in Wi-Fi networks, offering their customers the ability to make calls and send messages regardless of where they may be,” said BG Kumar, chief product officer at GENBAND. “We are excited to build on our longstanding partnership with Nokia Networks, a global leader in mobile broadband, to bring advanced solutions to the mobile marketplace.”

The ePDG is a key component of GENBAND's wireless access gateway solutions, enabling voice over Wi-Fi and Voice over LTE (VoLTE) interworking to allow for seamless, secure network connectivity and an enhanced customer experience. Features include secure, seamless network handoffs and enhanced mobility experiences for voice and data applications as users roam between networks.

Nokia's Liquid Core portfolio is built on core network virtualization – better known in the industry as Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) – and telco cloud management.  GENBAND's software approach to apps, running solutions on commercial hardware, likely comes into play with slotting in the ePDG into a NFV framework. Under this approach, an operator running the Nokia Liquid Core solution could easily spin up more ePDG capability as an NFV process during peak and surge times on standardized hardware and throttle it back when not needed.

Voice over Wi-Fi has had its ups and down, now coming back into vogue among operators as a tool to offload voice from cellular networks while providing "free" long distance and international calls when there's a hotspot within range. The rollout of LTE and VoLTE in combination with Apple supporting Wi-Fi calling in the iPhone 6 family has resulted in both AT&T and Verizon announcing support for the technology in 2015. T-Mobile has been a long-time advocate of Wi-Fi calling, while Sprint rolled out free international Wi-Fi calling over the summer.

Needless to say, the GENBAND-Nokia partnership comes at an opportune time for both companies. VoLTE, since it already delivers voice in an all-IP fashion, seems to be an enabler for carriers to embrace Wi-Fi calling – another form of VoIP – as a part of a larger package for cost reduction (offload of cell networks, push traffic onto someone else's broadband network) and expanded features for customers. With the number of LTE networks expected to roughly double next year, being able to seamlessly handoff calls between LTE and Wi-Fi networks will be a must for carrier shopping lists.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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