By now just about everybody is on 4G LTE on their personal devices, but I’m looking for ROUTER devices that can be used on Marine Vessels … Sail and Motor Yachts. It almost seems like it happened by accident in the 3G era which was legacy / backward compatible historically from 2G stuff. It may be that the router boxes started out Primarily as Voice devices (landline replacement they call it on land) and took the 2G GPRS and EDGE along with for added bonus. Early versions had to be hooked up like a modem over RS-232 (COM PORT) style connections (I even did COM Port over wireless on a boat or two to extend the range of this.)
3G Routers from the likes of Ericsson and Telular ended up having Voice via an RJ11 port or jack on the equipment – this used the old Circuit Switched Voice cellular functionality to provide voice telephone service. They also got Quad Band if the RF (Radio Frequency) section which turned them into WORLD-capable routers for voice and data. It was a beautiful thing.
Then along came 4G LTE. And shit hit the proverbial fan. Not only did this break the beautiful WORLD-capable router thing – but it also broke the VOICE PHONE thing. And to keep it difficult – embedded card manufacturers don’t seem to be able to make a card that can do all of the 4G LTE bands (big difference between US and European / Asian frequency bands.)
So! Although it is possible to have 3G up to HSPA+ or 3G+ worldwide … doing so in 4G LTE is not so easy.
Doing voice on mobile phones … up until recently … has been Circuit Switched voice telephony like it has been for a long time, even with 4G LTE capable mobile devices. People have got to be able to make phone calls … or what’s the point of having a PHONE. And the Voice over LTE or VoLTE stuff seemed to be an afterthought for the cell phone carriers. So it is just now … slowly being deployed on their networks. (And I look like an idiot because what I want for boats, what boats want themselves, just isn’t ready yet.) And because of that Nobody Making Routers has yet made a VoLTE capable router. With some exceptions …
Netgear – http://www.netgear.com/service-providers/products/mobile/lte-gateways/mvbr1517.aspx has an MVBR1517 model and I got excited for awhile – last year I think it was? – because there WAS an VOLTE 4G router! Only one problem it is made for the EMEA – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europe,_the_Middle_East_and_Africa market and not the U.S. I was so excited initially that I became a NETGEAR PARTNER in order to be able to resell them. I contacted them and they said to become a reseller / partner and get on their mailing list … because one day soon they might make one for the U.S. as well. Well well well … so far it seems to not be happening. Probably because of lack of support in the US Cell Carriers for VoLTE anyway!
VOLTEVoLTE, an acronym for Voice over LTE, which is based on the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) network, with specific profiles for control and media planes of voice service on LTE defined by GSMA in PRD IR.92. This approach results in the voice service (control and media planes) being delivered as data flows within the LTE data bearer. This means that there is no dependency on (or ultimately, requirement for) the legacy circuit-switched voice network to be maintained. VoLTE has up to three times more voice and data capacity than 3G UMTS and up to six times more than 2G GSM. Furthermore, it frees up bandwidth because VoLTE’s packets headers are smaller than those of unoptimized VoIP/LTE.
* What that technical description means is that the control of, and the actual voice “signal” or information is transmitted over the data part of the connection rather than being on a separate “bandwidth limited” circuit switched channel system as in 2G / 3G. It has more capacity because it’s now an INTERNET / DATA thing rather than a restricted just telephone thing. Kind of along the lines of how faster speeds got sent over telephone lines by breaking out of the constraint of limited bandwidth (frequency range of a voice signal) voice call. So anyway what do you do with all that capability … could make STEREO phone calls (if you needed such a thing) … probably! If there were an APP for that. Anyway the point is IT’s DIFFERENT! And having the Cell Carriers support it – along with the Device Manufacturers, well, manufacturing stuff that does it has been part of the problem.
SO WE GET STUCK IN LIMBO. You can look at the DEPLOYMENT chart on the Wikipedia page … and see that things are catching up finally!
AT&T United States launched May 2014 
C Spire United States planned 
MetroPCS United States launched August 2012 
T-Mobile United States launched May 2014 
Verizon United States launched September 2014 
MetroPCS supposedly had it way back in 2012 … I wonder if anybody has had a hand phone that would do it? AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon have supposedly deployed VoLTE this year! In 2014.
* I wondered this as well … having just upgraded to an iPhone 5 … and now 6 is out. Did the iPhone get VoLTE? See DEVICES chart on there. I guess this chart wasn’t a WHEN chart but a list of only the devices that GOT IT.
Apple iPhone 6 
iPhone 6 Plus 
VoLTE (Voice over LTE) support allows for simultaneous voice/data over LTE networks, while drastically improving voice quality.
(Well we could already do simultaneous voice and data … at least on AT&T? through some technical tricks in iPhone 4 and 5 and in the cell carriers networks [ones that supported that?])
* But anyway … I think we’re still in the wait for a Mobile 4G LTE Router that can do VoLTE in the US … and a Mobile 4G LTE Router that can do the US Frequency Bands as well as the Euro / Asian bands (and Islands that follow these) … and the marriage of the two in one nice little router box (VoLTE plus World 4G LTE) would be the goose that laid the golden egg … or the Killer Hard Platform (“Killer APP”) for Marine.
**** Any comments or information are welcomed and appreciated!
Alan Spicer Marine Telecom
+1 954 354-2748
communications @ marinetelecom.net