Network coverage for calling has been improving throughout the world. However, there still are many geographical regions where there is poor or no network coverage, especially in remote and rural areas. This is where WiFi calling comes in.
Using Wi-Fi calling, users can make and receive calls without any cellular network coverage. Moreover, Wi-Fi calling is much more cost-effective which has made it an ideal alternative to traditional cellular calling.
So, we can say that Wi-Fi calling is one of the new telecommunications technologies that has revolutionized traditional calling. Let’s learn more about what WiFi calling is and how it works.
WiFi Calling: A Brief Overview
WiFi calling is a recent telecommunications technology that enables calling via a WiFi network, which means you do not need a regular cellular network. In short, you can still make and receive calls when your phone does not have a cell network.
Wi-Fi calling can be beneficial when you are traveling to a remote or rural area where you have access to Wi-Fi. Or there might be dead spots in your home or work where there is no cellular network, in these cases, you can use wifi calling or seamless communication.
But remember, your phone must support Wi-Fi calling, and your carrier must support this feature.
Most carriers and smartphone brands support these features but you can check if there are any additional charges for using this service.
As WiFi calling implements VoIP technology, people often confuse it with the virtual phone system. However, they are totally different from one another.
Explanation of Traditional Cellular Calling
Traditional cellular calling, also known as cellular telephony, is the process of making and receiving phone calls using a cellular network. Traditional cellular calling involves using some specialized and sophisticated infrastructure and technology to establish voice communication between two or more users or callers.
How Does WiFi Calling Work?
WiFi calling works in a simple way. When you make a call, your phone automatically connects to the best WiFi that is available in the same network in your area. After that, your voice is converted into small data packets. After the voice is converted, it gets transferred through the internet. This process is known as VoIP technology.
First of all the data packets are transferred to your carrier’s server and then it is transferred to the recipient’s phone where the data packets are converted back to voice. This way, the communication occurs via Wi-Fi calling.
However, there are various other steps that are usually not seen. For example, during the transmission process, the data packets are encrypted for data security.
Technical Overview of WiFi Calling Technology
WiFi calling is a simple process but requires many steps for successful and high-quality calling and seamless communication. So, WiFi calling uses two technologies VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol). Let’s learn about them in detail.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)
WiFi calling uses VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology to enable communication over the Internet. It includes digital conversion, packetization, transmission, network routing, reassembly, and analog conversion.
- Digital Conversion: This process includes converting the analog or voice into digital data packets for transmission.
- Packetization: This process involves dividing the digital data into smaller data packets and naming them.
- Transmission: In this step, the data packet is transferred via the Internet.
- Network Routing: As packets transmit over the internet, they pass through a number of routers and switches that direct them to their destinations.
- Reassembly: In this process, the data packets are collected and organized into the correct order after transmission.
- Analog Conversion: After successfully collecting and organizing the packets, it is again converted into analog or voice on the recipient’s end.
SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)
Session Initiation Protocol is an important communication protocol for WiFi calling. It is used for starting, maintaining, and ending real-time communication and applications. Here is how it works.
- Starting the Call in Wifi Calling: SIP sets up and starts voice calls by locating the recipient’s device, processing the limitations for the call, and connecting the initial communication link.
- Session Management: SIP plays a crucial role during the call as it helps in call management. This step includes enabling and controlling features like call transfer, call hold, and conference calling.
- Ending the Call: This is the last step of SIP in WiFi calling. After the call is terminated by either the caller or receiver, SIP ensures that the connection between the two ends is properly terminated. This helps in freeing up the network for calls and other activities.
Requirements for WiFi Calling
There are a few requirements for WiFi calling like devices which has an operating system that supports WiFi calling.
In iOS, any model after the iPhone 5s that has iOS 9 or later supports WiFi calling. Similarly, talking about Andriod, any device that has Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or later usually supports WiFi calling.
WiFi calling also has a number of network requirements, some of which are as follows:
- Cellular Network: You will need a cellular network even though you are using WiFi for calling as a WiFi network is just an extension. The cellular network must have a carrier that supports this service.
- WiFi Network: Next, you will need a WiFi network with optimum bandwidth capacity and minimal interference to enable seamless calling via the Internet.
- Device Compatibility and Setting: Your device and operating system must support this service. Moreover, you must enable this feature from your settings.
- SIM Card: Some carriers require SIM cards that support WiFi calling. Make sure your SIM card is compatible with your carrier.
- Software Update: Finally, you should regularly update your device’s software to ensure that your phone is compatible with this feature. Moreover, the updates ensure that the bugs and issues are properly patched.
Troubleshooting WiFi Calling Issues
Using WiFi might not always be a simple and easy process as there are some issues and complexities that come with using this feature. However, there are also various troubleshooting which can come in handy. So, here are some major issues that you might face while using this service and the best troubleshooting steps.
Common Issues in WiFi Calling
- Compatibility Problem: There are usually some issues when this feature might not work in a specific device or operating system.
- Call Quality: There might be issues with the call quality like high pitch sound, distorted voice, and dropped calls.
- Network Interruptions: Similarly, issues like call drop during the transition of a call from the cellular network to a WiFi network are also common.
- Call Setup Problems: Problems when starting or receiving a call are also very common while using this service.
- Emergency Calls: Without proper settings, you might not be able to access emergency calls in WiFi calling.
- Ensure Connectivity: If the service in your device is not working, check your WiFi connection. If it is connected, ensure that the internet speed is appropriate.
- Restart your Device: Sometimes, restarting/ rebooting your device can do wonders. Reboot your phone and try again, this might fix some petty glitches. Make sure you turn on wifi calling feature.
- Regular Update: Regular update of your device and operating system is very important as it helps in fixing compatibility issues, fixing bugs, and patching any issues that were not addressed in the previous update.
- Toggle WiFi Calling: Sometimes there might be connectivity issues, so turn off the WiFi calling and again turn it on to fix the connection issues. Ensure that your wi-fi connection is good.
- Toggle Airplane Mode: You can also try to turn on Airplane Mode, wait a few moments, and then turn it off to reset network connections which can fix temporary network issues.
Security and Privacy Considerations
Always remember that there are security and privacy considerations that come while using WiFi calling services despite their convenience. Here are some considerations you should make while using this feature.
- Encryption: Most carriers use encryption to ensure the security of your call data during internet transmission. Ensure that your carrier has a good track of implementing proper protocols to protect your data (conversation). If they do not offer the proper encryption service, you might want to consider looking for alternative carriers.
- Network Security: You should always connect to trusted and secure WiFi networks to ensure the security of your calls. You can always use your home WiFi for using this service.
Remember Hotspots in public places may be less secure for attackers and hackers. It might be prone to unethical acts like eavesdropping and unwanted access to your data.
- Account Security: Protect your carrier account using strong passwords and two-factor authentication. Research and implement more available security measures to prevent unauthorized access to your WiFi calling feature.
- Device Security: To mitigate potential vulnerabilities, make sure your device is updated with the latest software with security and bug patches.
WiFi calling has become a common alternative to traditional cellular calling. The fact that you can call someone even when you do not have network coverage has made this an ideal feature for those who like or are traveling to rural or remote areas.
You can go through the requirements, issues, and troubleshooting as mentioned above for the best use of this feature.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the use of Wi-Fi calling on the phone?
Wi-Fi calling allows you to make and receive phone calls over a Wi-Fi network instead of a cellular network which can be very beneficial in geographical areas with poor or no cellular service reception.
Is Wi-Fi calling good or bad?
Wi fi calling work is good as you can make calls with Wi-Fi even when there are no cellular networks. Likewise, it is great for battery saving and call quality, just remember that your Wi-Fi network should be stable for the best use.
Do both callers need Wi-Fi calling?
No, both callers do not need Wi-Fi calling. Only the caller who is making the call needs to have Wi-Fi for calling. The receiver can engage in the call via the cellular network or Wi-Fi.
What is the difference between Wi-Fi calling and cellular calling?
The primary difference between Wi-Fi calling and cellular calling is that in Wi-Fi calling the calls are routed via the Wi-Fi network, while in a cellular connection, calls are routed via established cellular networks.
Is Wi-Fi calling free?
Wi-Fi calling is usually free, however, carriers might change some additional charges depending on the plan.