Choppy, latent "Wi-Fi Calling"

Wi-Fi Calling, in general, is often choppy and the delays with the transported speech audio almost renders this option useless. Are there any configuration adjustments that might improve the quality of cell phone Wi-Fi Calling over the Viasat satellite network?

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Thanks for posting. To help us reproduce the issue, which type of phone are you using? Hopefully we can reproduce the bad quality and then ask the optimization team for any configuration adjustments that might be made to improve the experience.

Android, Product Name: Galaxy A51, Version 13

Ok thanks we will attempt to document your “choppy” experience. Once we have that we can ask the team what sort of configuration adjustments if any are available to you.

Thanks,

Peter

@rs_cook Just an update…not much to report yet.

We tried to reproduce this over Viasat today without success. We need to figure out how to force the Wifi calling when cellular is available. Hopefully we’ll be able to get the choppiness reproduced soon and then we can see what kinds of optimizations can be done to improve the experience. Thanks for your patience.

Hi @rs_cook, we are still trying to test Wi-Fi calling over the satellite. We hope to have a better update soon. Thank you for your patience.

I use Wi-Fi calling a lot as I am on the very fringe of Verizon cell coverage (1 bar most of the time) and get frequent loss of connection on cellular. I would not describe my calls as choppy, which to me means that parts of the conversation randomly drop out, but the latency is maddening, especially when talking with impatient people who talk fast and expect you to respond in milliseconds when they stop talking.

There is nothing that can be done about the 700 ms or so of latency and this is enough to make normal conversation difficult. I tell people in advance of a call, assuming it is a scheduled call, that I have to use my phone over a satellite link and the latency is at least 700 ms and I often record more than 1 second latency in the evening. So, I tell them to expect a 2 second or more delay after they stop talking before they hear back from me. It takes that long for me to be sure they have stopped talking and aren’t just between sentences and then to reply to them and deal with the latency both directions. Once people understand this, you can communicate reasonably well, but the reality is that satellite internet is simply a lousy means for anything real-time, be it phone calls or computer games.

@WhitingMS thanks for posting. We recently discovered that MS Teams (similar to Zoom) videoconferencing is experiencing much higher delays than the ~600 ms due to geostationary satellite distance delay. We measured delays that were more than twice that and we are working on optimizations to fix this. I’d like to explore doing the same for Wi-Fi calling. In other words, we know there’s nothing to be done about the 600 ms but why make it worse?

I reached out to @rs_cook in a 1-on-1 chat and he agreed to setup a call with us so that we can troubleshoot and capture data that will characterize the issue in the hopes that it is something we can improve and we will report back here after that call to summarize any findings.

In the meantime, a question for both of you – do you think WhatsApp audio or Facetime audio is any better or different in terms of quality of the experience when compared to Wi-Fi Calling?

Certainly keeping as close to 600 ms as possible is helpful, but even then it is a challenge for real-time things like voice calls. I think it is key to educate users and those they talk with about the issue as knowing it is there is half the battle.

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I don’t use WhatsApp at all and use FaceTime only occasionally. I did use Zoom a lot during the covid insanity, but not so much anymore. The delay in Zoom was challenging, but we got used to it and people just have to learn to be patient in waiting for a response and not just assume you didn’t hear them and start talking again just as your response comes through to them. So, I don’t have any information to comment as to whether WhatsApp or FaceTime is any better than voice. Zoom certainly was no better than a Wi-Fi voice call and possibly worse if anything.

If making a short call, I tend to use Verizon as it is much easier to communicate, until the connection is lost. Generally, I lose the connection about once every 1-2 minutes. For a short call, I will risk losing the connection once for the ease of communication. For longer calls, I use WiFi as the connection reliability is better, just have to deal with the latency challenge.

Ok thanks for this information @WhitingMS. We will report back if we find anything in our Wifi calling debug session.

Just reporting back to say we did capture some Verizon Wi-Fi Calling traffic. Thank you to @rs_cook!

We will report back again when our analysis has made some progress. Thanks for your patience.

Just to chime in here on this thread that I have been anxiously following since I am very frustrated with the latency as well. I am using the Viasat phone service with my landline phone system. I will keep track of the thread with hopes of a solution that will cut back on or eliminate the delayed voice issues. Thanks for addressing issue.

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