Book Review: Voice over LTE (VoLTE)

Do you want to learn about VoLTE but you are not sure where to start? If so, here's a tip for you:

Volte-bookLearning how VoLTE works in a reasonable amount of time is not an easy task, there's just so many things to learn. Reading the 3GPP specifications to get up to speed as a first step is probably the last think one should do as there is just too much detail that confuses the uninitiated more than it helps. The get the very basics, my books probably serve the purpose. As they don't focus only on VoLTE however, that might be too little for people who want to focuson VoLTE. This is where Miikka's Poikselkä book on VoLTE comes in that he has written with others such as Harri Holma and Antti Toskala, who are also very well known in the wireless industry.

If you are involved in Voice over LTE, you have probably heard the name Miikka Poikselkä before. He must have been involved in IMS since the beginning as he's published a book on IMS already many years ago and he is also the maintainer of the GSMA specifications on VoLTE and other topics (e.g. GSMA IR.92). In other words, he's in the best position to give a picture of how VoLTE will look like in the real world vs. just a theoretical description.

I've spent a couple of quality time hours so far reading a number of different chapters of the book and found it very informative, learned quite a few new things and got a deeper understanding of how a number of things influence each other along the way. The topic of the book could have easily filled 500 pages but that would have looked a little overwhelming to many. But I am quite glad it wasn't that much and in my opinion the 240 pages of the book strike a very good balance between too much and too little detail.

The book is perhaps not for beginners as many concepts are only quickly introduced without going deeper, which, however, suited me just fine. In other words, you'll do fine if you have some prior knowledge in wireless networks. With my background I found the introduction chapters on deployment strategies and the VoLTE system architecture, that also dig down a bit to the general LTE network architecture to be just at the right level of detail for me to set things into context. This is then followed by the VoLTE functionality chapter that looks at radio access and core network functionalities required for VoLTE, IMS basics on fifty pages, IMS service provisioning on an equal level of detail and finally a short into to the MMTel (Multimedia Telephony) functionality. Afterward, there's a detailed discussion about VoLTE End-to-End signaling that describes IMS registration, voice call establishment and voice call continuity to a circuit switched bearer on 60 pages, again at the right level of detail for me. CS Fallback, although not really part of VoLTE is described as well. Other VoLTE topics discussed are emergency calls, messaging and radio performance.

In other words, a very good book the bring yourself up to speed on VoLTE if you have some prior experience in wireless and a good reference to refresh your memory later on. Very much recommended!