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The Difference Between VoIP and VoLTE

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Voice over Long-Term Evolution, also known as VoLTE or 4G LTE, is the newest evolution in IP telephony and it is changing the way people communicate. But what is the difference between VoIP and VoLTE? For one, they both let users make calls over the Internet, but there are also numerous other differences, outlined below.

VoIP

When a VoIP application is used, packets of voice data are sent over an Internet connection from one party to the other. VoIP services are dependent on a packet switched network and require careful consideration and r esource management. With a VoIP system, voice packets are treated the same as packets of any other kind of data sent over a public Internet connection. Packets are handled on a first come, first served basis which can affect call quality, especially when using a busy network.

VoLTE

With a VoLTE solution, call packets are given special priority, ensuring greater call quality. VoLTE provides three times more voice and data capacity than 3G and frees up bandwidth because its packet headers are smaller than those used by VoIP. VoLTE networks have quality of service capability built in directly, offering numerous benefits:

  • VoLTE systems maintain call quality even on heavily congested networks
  • Initializing a VoLTE call takes about half of the time of a typical 3G call
  • VoLTE calls take fewer resources - both from the network and handset - providing longer battery life and a more efficient network

Changing With The Times

VoLTE is still a relatively new technology, but it has the potential to thoroughly disrupt the voice market in the near future. Three of the four major wireless carriers in the U.S. have already committed to deploying new voice services that will operate over 4G LTE networks. In some cities such service is already available from AT&T and T-Mobile and is providing VoLTE options where 4G LTE is available. It will take some time before the full potential of VoLTE is achieved, however, as the technology has not been rolled out far enough for every user to be making VoLTE to VoLTE calls and experience the full benefits of the service.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to believe that VoLTE is the future of digital voice is the fact that it offers complete device interoperability. It will take some time for this to be fully realized. But, as carriers begin to offer VoLTE services more frequently and make them interoperable among networks, service will flow more seamlessly across devices and locations, creating a never-ending connection. With new innovations like Unified Communications (UC) platforms and WebRTC portals, any technology that offers integration and interoperability will be a major force to be reckoned with. 

At ShoreTel, we've integrated VoLTE technology into our Mobility, which allows users to call over cell networks if the Internet goes down. VoLTE compatibility with Mobility is just one example of how ShoreTel helps ensures businesses don't get left without a phone system when the power goes out.