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VoIP on Android phones: Mitigating the signaling storm

By admin on Mon 13 February, 2012

We have recently shared information about heavy network traffic load generated by Android phones. Looking at existing 3G smartphones that have been tested in our Nokia Siemens Networks Smart Labs using OTT Voice over IP applications Nimbuzz, GoogleTalk and Skype, the issue seems to be more about different smartphone behavior. This includes the signaling load during a Skype voice call on Samsung´s Android phones compared to Nokia phones and iPhones. The Android phones generated 600% more signaling traffic during VoIP calls, which results in more network congestion caused by proprietary device-controlled Fast Dormancy.
VoIP Signalling on Android
The difference is called 3GPP Release 8 – Network Controlled Fast Dormancy (NCFD). Release 8 requests that radio access technology (e.g. from Nokia Siemens Networks) needs to support NCFD to reduce signaling so that smartphones can benefit with longer battery life time. Calculated in active Voice over IP (VoIP) hours, the iPhone4 and Nokia N8 (both NCFD featured) benefit with 2 hours more speech time in a Skype call.
These impressive results have recently convinced a number of device manufacturers using an Android operating system (OS) or a Blackberry OS to step back from proprietary device driven Fast Dormancy and move on to standardized Network Controlled Fast Dormancy.
A European mobile operator that had enabled NCFD-featured WCDMA by Nokia Siemens Networks in its network was able to reduce the network signaling load by 30% after 6 months of operation, while data traffic continued to grow.

As always-on OTT applications proliferate, developers and handset manufacturers will increasingly have to look at new ways to reduce signaling load.

This post is by Gerald Reddig from Mobile Broadband Marketing.

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