Hybrid/Bonded calling vs VoLTE vs WiFi Calling?

I am having a hard time trying to figure out what makes R.W. so unique with their Hybrid/Bonded calling tech as they advertise.

Could some one link me an article or post as technically detailed as possible with an explanation as to how it works and the differences between R.W.'s. Bounded/Hybird wifi calling, vs the other similar technology already used on other carriers - like normal WiFi Calling (which does has cellular fallback too) and VoLTE. (Voice Over LTE).

Also, how is R.W. different than how Project Fi does there own hybrid calling thing?

All RW compatible phones can use WIFI for calling where as may providers WiFi calling only works on a limited number. RW app is one of the things that makes this possible and helps to transfer calls in progress between cell and WiFi. VoLTE is simply a mobile cell signal that works with many devices and unrelated to WiFi.

When bonded calling is in play you have both a WiFi connection and a cell data connection. Your digitized voice travels over both paths to RW’s servers. The server’s select the best quality packets.

VoLTE is in widespread use by T-Mobile now and my S7 uses the T-Mobile towers. Call quality is as good at the WiFi call quality from my home. The quality is definitely superior to the cellular call quality I had with Sprint and Verizon.

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  • Republics “Bonded Calling” uses VoIP and combines it with Cell backup utilizing a bunch of patented processes
    • It is a part of the overall Adaptive Coverage outlined in the link below
      • Note: one of the references indicates it is limited to the older phones (Moto EGX) and a request for update has been submitted, it functions on all phones/plans except the DEFY
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Yea I have read that before. Pretty basic and general descriptions. The same info can be found about other carriers info on Enhanced Calling, HD Voice, WiFi calling…whatever they market it as.

From those general explanations, they all seem to do the same thing. I have tested VZW and Tmobile wifi calling. Instant or near instant handover and how it is piggy backing data packets over both wifi and LTE. (It can be observed if you packet sniff/capture using something like WireShark and a rooted device and tether via usb to a computer)

The only real difference I could find is that the device is natively doing such via the carrier settings and system menu, where as, with R.W, the app administrates these tasks. I can keep the app active, but block the R.W. app from network access and thus the features stop working. (as expected)

I do really like how the R.W app has the setting to manually do a handover. so easy. On other carriers u have to have a root app to do that properly.

To the end user…it don’t matter. It works. They don’t care how or why…But I am not a typical end user. I want to know the technical details. But since the info i desire i guess is “proprietary” and R.W. as a company arn’t geared towards chatting with advanced users like me…guess I’m out of luck.

O well. Thanks anyway.

I would say patented processes, which is why I included a link to their patents, for those of us that that like to dig deeper

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Whoops.

I didn’t realize the “Bonded Calling” and patented processes were links. Just the Adaptive Coverage link that made the window populate.

That’s much more like what I was looking for. (Though its still a simplified explanation of the tech.) Thank U.

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You already read all the patents in their links?

:flight_departure:

I’m not as tech aware as you are, so I wonder whether you see other pros and cons of RW’s wifi calling method.

Now that other carriers have effective wifi calling through Android, RW’s VOIP first, app based calling seems possibly unnecessarily complicated. For example, their list of vetted BYOD phones still seems limited and their VOIP based phone numbers can’t be directly ported to all other providers. What do you think?

I have read that some users have had issues Porting their R.W. out to another carrier. Some do have restrictions and do not allow VOIP numbers to be ported. However, I see many other posts of users that successfully port out just fine, even to the same carrier that another person reported issues with…so that is a gamble i guess.

As far as pros/cons… I do think its overcomplicated and unnecessary as the tech is pretty much built into the device and backbone carrier already. However, in this case, there has to be some intermediary gateway interface that makes it a MVNO. That interface is the R.W. app. Without that, and u can get that by becoming a customer of that carrier backbone (tmobile).

The idea off a user level (non system) app having primary control over the devices communication ability is certainly a less reliable idea than full native carrier. Apps can crash, or run into compatibility issues. Especially if use a Pixel device where you are among the very first users to get OS updates. So thus, those users will be the first ones to have issues. Also, those advanced users who run custom roms and mods.

With Android continuing to evolve, a user level software solution to make all this work is risky for the future. Android P already is kill the ability for idle apps to use any of the devices sensors and other more things in the name of security. There may come a time where R.W.s patented approach to this Hybrid calling is no longer possible. That is kinda why I am curious as to how R.W’s implementations compare to that of Google’s own Project Fi’s similar implementations.

In my brief testing, R.W.'s tech seems to work quite well, on my current test device and area. My mothers Moto G 1, on the 2.0 plan (Sprint) the call quality isnt that great, but I am more certain its the device itself that to blame, as that is not the case when I tested using a Nexus 5X and the tmobile based plan.

One thing i didn’t get tested, is what happens when the phones connects to a open wifi that requires you to “log in” by opening a web browser and accepting terms etc. Or for a corporate network that requires special secondary validation or is in fact a Intranet with no outside Internet(WAN). I would assume the R.W. app is smart enough to detect that the wifi connection has no Internet access, despite a strong signal, and will thus use Cell. Same question I have for Fi. I have read that Fi app is much more aggressive with auto connecting to “free” hotspots all over the country. Where as R.W, for the 3.0/4.0 plans BYOD, it goes based on the users manual wifi selection. (the older 1.0/2.0 phones did indeed force wifi on and was more keen to force user to use wifi).

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Thanks for your thoughts. RW is an innovative company but they are in a tough business with lots of competition and evolving technology.

Quality aside there is another consideration, cost. Republic, though now a separate company, was founded as part of Bandwidth.com. Bandwidth owns and operates its own telephone network. Republic WiFi calls still use that network, never touching either cellular partner’s networks. I submit it is (and always has been) more cost effective for Republic to leverage Bandwidth’s network (rather than either of its cellular partners) for WiFi calling and messaging.

It’s the Republic Wireless app that blends (and more or less seamlessly hands off between) Bandwidth’s network for WiFi calling and messaging with that of one of its cellular partners. It’s true that cellular carriers are now able to offer WiFi calling, however, calls and text messages still use their network infrastructure whether on WiFi or cell.

The cellular industry would have us believe the cost of voice is cheap while data for Internet use is expensive but what if that weren’t all that true? Cricket Wireless (owned by AT&T and an erstwhile Republic competitor) offers unlimited talk and text for $25/month. It adds 2 GB of data for an additional $5. If voice is cheap and data expensive, how does this pricing make sense? An additional example; I have an iPhone on T-Mobile proper. My plan pricing is $30/month for 5Gb of data, unlimited texting and 100 minutes talk. To be fair this plan is grandfathered and no longer available but, again, if talk is cheap and data expensive how does this pricing work? Finally, one might look at cellular pricing in Europe where essentially the same technology is used. Data allotments tend to be quite generous in Europe while both talk and text are typically metered.

Also, using Bandwidth’s network is what makes something like Republic Anywhere possible. Text messages when using Anywhere (or any 3.0 phone for that matter regardless of messaging app) use the Internet for delivery and never leave Bandwidth’s network (even when on cell).

As for VoIP numbers being difficult to transfer, this is largely nonsense. VoIP carriers like Bandwidth are deemed to be wireline by the FCC rather than wireless carriers. It’s true a wireline to wireless port as opposed to a wireless to wireless port can be more difficult but it’s hardly insurmountable. There are precisely two service providers I’m aware of (Cricket Wireless and Google Voice) that won’t (as a matter of policy not ability) port in wireline numbers. As mentioned previously Cricket is owned by AT&T. AT&T itself ports in wireline numbers, so clearly the ability is there. Google Voice (ironically a VoIP service itself), like Republic uses Bandwidth. I assure you, Bandwidth is quite capable of porting in wireline numbers. One last example of a wireline to wireless port not needing to be a big deal. This past Friday I ported one of my RingTo (another Bandwidth VoIP service closing as of March 31st) numbers to T-Mobile. The port was done literally in minutes.

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I don’t think it will be long before all calls are voip/volte, including traditional land lines. The emphasis will be on digitizers, path optimization, packet priority and address handover.

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That’s not going to work for the people with no WiFi or web access unless cell data is used to access the internet for V0IP? Is that what we may be looking at down the road in your opinion? Much of this future is based upon the assumption of everybody having a ISP bill every month? There’s no free web access or WiFi at my house.

:flight_departure:

Part of my question had to do with the pros and cons (for us, the customers) of RW being a “VOIP carrier”. Other MVNOs apparently are not. That made a big difference when RW was a part of Bandwidth and used a custom version of Andriod to provide wifi calling but it may make less of a difference now or in the future. I’m not sure that wifi calling on other MVNOs costs them more money than RW now.

Some MVNOs offer WiFi calling today on a limited number of phones. Same is true of the major carriers today. Many of the phones compatible with RW’s system will are not capable of integrated WiFi calling with the other providers. My understanding is the WiFi calling was in the beginning limited to the higher end phones. That may change in the future but today RW seems to have a real advantage for many users wanting/needing the WiFi calling feature.
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A seamless WiFi calling system doesn’t come without costs to the majors. Networks cost money and need to be supported. They should benefit the majors bottom line and the MVNO’s additional cost to offer it is likely negligible other than the customer support they may need to have. Republic’s leveraging Bandwidth’s network allows a lower operating cost compared to other MVNOs. RW versus other MVNO WiFi calling cost would be difficult to pin down because the system/network is so different.

:flight_departure:

The reality is Republic isn’t a carrier of any kind. Carriers own telephone networks. Republic owns no telephone network. Republic blends Bandwidth’s VoIP network with one of its two cellular partners.

I think Republic would argue this blending provides a superior quality experience via Adaptive Coverage and Bonded Calling. I’m not a network engineer, so I have no objective way to validate that. What I can say is to my ears a VoIP call on Bandwidth’s network is often of a higher perceived quality to that of a call on the packet switched cellular network. This is true whether I’m using Republic or other VoIP services using Bandwidth’s network.

I’ve also argued, leveraging Bandwidth’s VoIP network for WiFi calls is more cost effective for Republic. At least, in theory, that should result in a more sustainable lower cost model that ought to benefit the customer in terms of lower prices.

There is also Republic Anywhere. Anywhere operates on Bandwidth’s network not either of the cellular partners. The other MVNO that offers something equivalent is Project Fi. One must have the agreement of the network owner(s) to offer this type of service.

There are also disadvantages. The most obvious of these is many other services refuse to acknowledge VoIP numbers are every bit as capable as wireless mobile numbers. The porting out thing is hardly a huge disadvantage. It’s not like one must do business with Cricket Wireless or Google Voice.

Other MVNOs aren’t carriers either. Like Republic, they’re service providers owning no physical telephone network. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of many MVNOs who offer unlimited talk and text for $15 or less. I’m not saying there aren’t any, however, they typically come with significant caveats of their own. The biggest deals are probably a lack of WiFi calling, no off-network roaming of any kind and MMS (picture and group messaging) counting against purchased cell data allotments. The story does change somewhat if one doesn’t need or want unlimited talk and/or text. There are certainly alternative MVNOs that would cost less than $15/month if one is willing and able to accept metered limits.

I agree, it makes sense to call MVNOs providers, not carriers. I recently did a trial of Mintsim with my Moto G5+. Their wifi calling worked very well but I also agree that there are tradeoffs with each provider. See my review of Mintsim here: Mintsim review

Thanks, good to know. My X Pure and G4 don’t seem to be compatible with their WiFi calling. It’s definitely a big plus to be able to make calls when there’s no cell signal.
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@rolandh,

Can you explain in layman’s terms what makes a phone WiFi compatible with other provider systems. Phone hardware, OS or other software? Have done several of web searches on the subject but results go in too many directions to find much concrete information. Thanks.

:flight_departure:

SMS over Internet connection is not as reliable as over cell. There are locations where u only have cell signal for calls and no data connection possible. So u still send SMS fine, but not of your SMS only works via data connection. Example: Hicking in rural part of the state forest, no data signal, but one bar of 1X. To weak to make a call, but strong enough to send a text for help.

I wish R.W. would have cell fallback for SMS/MMS…but they do not. I tested that.

The other thing is that R.W uses multiple sources to accomplish the same goal, make a call or send a message. Multiple points of failure and things to juggle. Vs being on raw carrier which owns and runs everything, so only 1 point of failure and contact to deal with.

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