Feature Article

October 18, 2012

Patent Issued for Hybrid Power-Saving Mechanism for VoIP Over WiMAX

I am not an engineer, and don’t play one on the Internet or TV, but it is worth noting when there are interesting breakthroughs, particularly in the wireless industry, that might otherwise go unnoticed. Such is the case with the October 9,2012 issuing of a U.S. patent, #8284707 to inventors Choi, Hyun-Ho (Dajeon, KR); Cho, Dong-Ho (Seoul, KR); Kim, Doo Seok (Pleasanton, CA), filed on November 5, 2007. The assignee for the patent is none other than Qualcomm.

You can read the entire filing here, but below is the abstract which is a bit tough to figure out if you are not technical.

An embodiment of the invention is a technique for power saving in mobile communication. At least one of a base station (BS) and a mobile station (MS) is initialized for power saving using a downlink (DL) status and an uplink (UL) status associated with the BS and the MS, respectively, during communication between the BS and the MS. A first PSC mode is entered when both the DL and UL statuses indicate a silence period. A second PSC mode is entered when at least one of the DL and UL statuses indicates a talk period.

In the section on “related art” it is stated: "Current enhanced voice codecs, such as G.723.1A, G.729B, and 3GPP Adaptive Multi Rate (AMR), can use a silence suppression scheme that prevents voice packets from being transmitted during silent periods in order to eliminate wasted bandwidth. Statistically silent periods occupy about 60 percent of the total duration of a voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) call. Therefore the mobile station (MS) can save more energy if it can sleep during those periods. However, the conventional Power Saving Class (PSC) II used for VoIP services does not consider the silent periods of VoIP traffic, so the MS must wake up periodically during the silent periods even though it receives no voice packets."

In short, with VoIP becoming a critical capability for wireless network operators, the product realization of this patent is going to save on battery life for VoIP over WiMAX.

This leads to the question as to how important is WiMAX? The answer from various research firms is that it is relatively small but growing. In fact, Senza Fili research back in 2010 projected the number of WiMAX users to reach 100 million by 2014, and given the use of the technology is Asia Pacific the projections seem right on track. Originally intended for fixed wireless use, the technology is also being used for mobility, and industry revenues are projected to be over the $20 billion mark next year.

The bottom line here is that if WiMAX can provide high-quality VoIP with reduced drain on batteries more device makers are going to be accommodating it and a virtuous circle is then created. Congrats to the inventors for their success. Too bad it took from 2007 until now to have clear sailing.




Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli


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