What is 5G Voice over New Radio VoNR (Vo5G)

Voice over New radio or VoNR or Vo5G is the means by which voice calls can be handled efficiently over the 5G new radio system.

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Voice over New radio, VoNR, or as some are calling it, Vo5G or Voice over 5G is the method by which voice calls can be handled over the 5G network.

Voice still plays a major part within any mobile o]phone of mobile communications system. Even though data is now the focus for most operators, voice is still an important element of the overall offering, and without a good voice service, many users will migrate to other operators who have a good offering.

Many of the existing 5G deployments fall back to 4G, VoLTE or even other earlier services to carry the voice links. However as many operators increasingly need to provide voice over the 5G network, VoNR / Vo5G is becoming more important in its inclusion in the 5G network.

Advantages of VoNR

Operators obviously need to see a benefit for including VoNR in their 5G deployments because there are obviously costs to its inclusion and maintenance. There needs to be a visible return in investment, ROI for them.

Using Voice over 5G New Radio, the voice calls will be able to take advantage of the lower latency of the 5G networks as well as being able to provide better sound quality.

It will also be possible to provide high speed data activities at the same time, as is often required for presentations, demonstrations, video conferencing and the like.

It is also anticipated that the improved VoNR solution could be used alongside augmented or other virtual reality services.

In the much longer term, Vo5G or VoNR will enable a 5G only network, i.e. a 5G standalone network, 5G SA, to provide all the services that are required of it. With 5G set to become the dominant mobile communications generation, having a first rate voice capability is a necessity.

In the early deployments of 5G the network providers have used an existing 4G LTE network as the main network and then deployed a 5G network alongside it. This meant that the 5G New radio served as a secondary cell and the core technology remained the evolved packet core (EPC) of the 4G network.

As a result the voice was carried over the 4G VoLTE system and this involved a number of technical challenges to be overcome as the connection was effectively split over 4G and 5G. For future deployments, 5G is anticipated to be the dominant network.

5G Voice over New Radio network architecture

In essence, the technology behind VoNR is very similar to voice over LTE, VoLTE used for 4G, where IMS is the voice service enabler that uses the 5G core.

Accordingly, the VoNR network architecture consists of a 5G RAN, radio access network and 5G core.

As with 4G LTE networks, voice calls for 5G are implemented as end-to-end VoIP, Voice over IP connections which are managed by the IMS IP Multimedia System based core network.

The specification for IMS was originally developed by the 3GPP and it is a standards-based architectural framework for delivering multimedia communications services over a data network such as that contained within the 5G core network.

The Voice of 5G NR involves the 5G RAN, radio access network, the 5G Core, 5GC and the IMS infrastructure so that they can all integrate together.

The advantage of IMS is that it manages the PDU session establishment as well as the Quality of Service, QoS and in this way it is able to optimise the voice quality.

As a result it is a pre-requisite for VoNR that the 5G network provides support for IMS and has the IMS entities embedded into the system.

As there is currently a proliferation of voice services, it is considered that VoNR is a pre-requisite for a successful 5G stand-alone deployment.

In order to handle VoNR, it requires that both the 5G NR as well as the user equipment, i.e. the mobile phone or terminal device can both support the QoS flow for voice over the radio access system. This means that IMS QoS flow must be supported by the gNB or 5G base station.

Voice over 5G New Radio, VoNR or Vo5G is the way forward that many operators are looking to adopt. For the short term, many operators will use the method of falling back to existing 4G, VoLTE or even 3G or 2G circuit switched services. This will enable them to roll out the 5G services as fast as possible. For the long term, the Voice over 5G VoNR technology and approach is what most operators are looking to adopt.

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