VoWi-Fi explained: How Wi-Fi calling facility works, benefits and more
Airtel has launched Wi-Fi Calling service in India. Here’s everything you need to know about the new VoWi-Fi feature.
Airtel on Tuesday announced the commercial roll-out of its voice over Wi-Fi, popularly known as VoWi-Fi, in India. As the name implies, the technology allows users to make calls through Wi-Fi network instead of the regular carrier radios. This new facility is likely to come in handy for users with access to fast broadband network at home or anywhere else.
Right now, Airtel's VoWi-Fi service, marketed as 'Wi-Fi Calling', has its own limitations - handful of compatible phones and it works only with the company's Xstream broadband service. It also doesn't allow you to make international calls either.
Nonetheless, the technology is here and competitors such as Reliance Jio are likely to introduce the service very soon. Here are key things you need to know about the new calling technology.
What is VoWi-Fi?
The technology has been around for quite some time. It essentially uses IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi) standards for voice calls. It's quite similar to the widely used VoLTE network and allows users to easily switch from LTE network to Wi-Fi, and vice versa.
How is it different from WhatsApp calling?
WhatsApp, Skype and other instant messaging applications use something called 'Voice over Internet Protocol' or 'VoIP'. In India, these apps allow you to call from the app to the app on recipient's phone. In the case of VoWi-Fi, you can make calls through the native dialer app. This does away with the need for a third party app.
One of the biggest advantages of the technology will be saving on mobile costs such as roaming and leverage higher data packets available through broadband plans.
The technology also reduces dependence on the regular telecom radios. For instance, if you've access to good Wi-Fi connectivity and bad telco network, you can still make the calls from the phone to other person.
This also reduces load on telecom networks or in areas with poor network coverage.
Wi-Fi calling doesn't consume a lot of data as well. In the case of Airtel's, a 5 minute of Wi-Fi calling will cost less than 5MB of data.