Experience 4.0, HD Voice and Video Everywhere

VoLTE HD Voice for Experience 4.0

During the initial phase of an LTE network, the CS Fall Back technology is used. When a user on the 4G network is making a phone call, they will have to fall back to the 2G or 3G network and cannot use high-speed data services until they go back to the 4G network. In addition, the CS Fall Back scheme has shortcomings such as long call setup delay and poor voice quality.

VoLTE offers a significant improvement by enabling users to enjoy HD voice over LTE and Experience 4.0.

In the 4G era, CS Fall Back was the major voice solution. VoLTE had a small deployment scale and only a few subscribers. With the advent 4.5G, more subscribers will shift to VoLTE services for a better voice experience. To attract more users, operators place tremendous importance on VoLTE coverage and voice quality, with the expectation of offering Experience 4.0 anytime and anywhere.

As is widely known, an ideal VoLTE network must meet the requirements of "three Always", that is, Always On LTE, Always On MOS4.0, and Always Online. Coverage and voice quality are the most important factors in meeting the "three Always" requirements. Huawei VoLTE Plus is the solution of choice for operators as it not only improves the VoLTE coverage but also ensures VoLTE voice quality in strong-interference, heavy-traffic, and other typical scenarios.

Approximately 20 worldwide operators in Hong Kong, Korea, Germany, and other countries have selected Huawei to deploy its VoLTE Plus solution in order to provide a better network experience. At the 2015 LTE Summit held in the Netherlands this past June, the HKT VoLTE network constructed by Huawei in Hong Kong won the Best VoLTE Innovation Award.

HD Mobile Video for Experience 4.0

•Network Experience, the First Principle in the MBB Era

User experience is an important factor in stimulating increased profit. While being price sensitive, consumers are willing to pay more for better services and higher quality products to obtain a satisfying experience. A customer survey on online video services conducted in China indicates that 36% of participants would pay more for better video service. This desire is correlated to regional level of economic prosperity. People in eastern China have stronger willingness to pay for a better video experience than people in western China.

•Mobile Video Accounting for Over 50% of Network Traffic

Social video applications are boosting the rapid increase in mobile data traffic. According to statistics, a total of 300 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Half of that is viewed on mobile devices, and traffic from mobile devices takes up 40% of the total traffic. In addition, 75% of Facebook video browsing is performed on smartphones. As it turns out, the quality of social media video content is becoming increasingly professional while social networking apps are the major portals for mobile video traffic. On networks in the United States, Japan, Korea, and other developed markets, 50% of traffic comes from video and is continuing to grow.

•HD Mobile Video Becoming Popular

With advancements in technology, the cost of producing HD screens has decreased drastically producing smartphone screens with increasingly higher resolution. According to statistics compiled by Huawei’s mLAB, 77% of smartphones delivered in the first half of 2015 have a resolution of 720p or above. Screens from flagship smartphones of all device vendors reached or exceeded 1080p. In addition, videos with a resolution of 720p or above are becoming more and more mainstream. On YouTube, available videos with a resolution of 720p or above reach 51%. Offering video services with a resolution of 2K has become a focal point for industry leaders. The most common 2K resolution is 2048 x 1080. The resolution of iPhone 6 Plus is 1920 x 1080, which is very close to the 2K resolution. Currently, the standard 2K resolution on smartphones is mostly 2560 x 1440, which is three times higher than 720p. By now, there are over 40 smartphone models offering a resolution of 2K. It is expected that over 10% of newly delivered smartphones will be equipped with 2K-definition screens in 2016. A premium 2K video experience will be one of the objectives of mobile networks and will become the mainstream requirement in 2018.

Smartphones equipped with 4K and 8K screens will soon be available on the market, providing users with an experience previously only imagined.

•HD Videos Posing Huge Challenges on Networks

HD videos require high data rates. To achieve a quality video experience, the initial buffer rate and the rate during 720p video play must reach 5 Mbps and 2 Mbps, respectively. As well, the initial buffer rate and the rate during playback for 1080p videos must reach 21 Mbps and 4 Mbps, respectively. Meanwhile, 2K and 4K Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) videos require even higher rates. Indeed, the initial buffer rate and the rate during playing for 2K videos must reach 13 Mbps and 8 Mbps, respectively. And the initial buffer rate and the rate during playing for 4K videos must reach 32 Mbps and 18 Mbps, respectively. Due to the fact that there is currently no unified standard, different video websites require diversified data rates for 4K videos. Watching Sony 4K videos requires about 100 Mbps, while watching 4K videos on Netflix requires 15.6 Mbps.

HD videos require shorter E2E latency. 720p videos require E2E latency shorter than 100 ms. 1080p and 2K videos require E2E latency shorter than 50 ms. To ensure a satisfactory user experience, 4K videos tolerate E2E latency shorter than 10 ms.

HD videos are imposing great challenges on the LTE networks, which cannot yet fulfill all requirements of 1080p and 2K videos. The capacity of a single LTE cell must be increased to accommodate more video connections while data rates at the cell edge must be increased to meet the minimum rate requirements of video watching.

•vMOS, the Mobile Video Experience Evaluation Standard

MOS has been widely recognized as a subjective quality measurement method for traditional voice services on mobile networks. However, there is no standard for measuring the user experience for mobile HD videos. By analyzing the entire experience of a user watching mobile HD video, several major key factors determining the user experience can be identified. These include whether the video can be played, waiting time before watching, video play fluency, and whether the video resolution selected by the user can be supported. These factors can be further subdivided into four measurable indicators, which are the initial play success rate, initial buffer delay, play rate, and proportion of video freeze duration. These four indicators are correlated with one another.

To normalize the video experience evaluation standard, Huawei has proposed video Mean Opinion Score (vMOS) as a new measurement standard of video performance in the mobile environment and submitted vMOS to ITU and other standardization organizations. Currently, vMOS has entered the ITU model selection phase. The phase 1 standardization results are scheduled for release in 2016.