FaceTime Audio vs Cellular / Verizon

Perhaps this thread will help a lot of people .

Where I live, Cell towers are unable to hold reception for a 5 mile drive from my home to office. I’ll drop 3-5 times guaranteed !! I tried multiple carriers and just accepted it’s not happening … I called Verizon multiple times and they just don’t have enough repeaters to hold the connection …

A friend told me to use FaceTime Audio! Wow! That worked!! I don’t lose calls and it solved my issue… sometimes there is a brief pause, however the call comes back alive …

So: question to the intelligent copa community, why does this work ? I am not using satellite for calls as FT audio works off Cell Data … (has to right?)

Factor in, I am aware we should be focused on driving and be safe. FT audio allows me to increase safety as dropped calls create a need to redial and lose focus.

I would assume it has something to do with the persistency (is that even a word) of the connection…FaceTime vs POTS (plain old telephone system). Rather than dropping the call, your iPhone “pauses” the FaceTime session until signal (IP-Internet Protocol) can be re-established.

I don’t have the answer, but sometimes FaceTime from my iPad … it has an ATT data account and my cell is Verizon. Between the 2 I can usually get coverage. My kids suggested I use the iPad when we had no signal in Alaska… duh Dad.

Shouldn’t you be in surgery [:D]

+1 Jake: the IP connection tries to restore the connection after a re-connect. Because it will automatically reconnect it doesn’t feel as disruptive.

The big warning :
when u lose a regular cellular call and your radio turns on, this Symbolizes the call is dropped (traditionally ). You immediately feel fully disconnected and free say anything !

When FaceTime audio pauses - my radio goes on - however moments later, the connection reestablishes and your caller might hear you say something u didn’t intend them to hear .

I’ve found that Skype’s audio is a little clearer than Facetime. Also, my kids use an app called Discord, which has excellent audio. You have to be getting some kind of cellular/data service for these apps to work but you need it for Facetime, too.

It uses the same protocol as Voice over IP (VOIP).

Your voice is digitized into packets (UDP protocol) and sent over the internet. It doesn’t matter what route each packet takes, they are re-assembled on the other end. If a packet is lost (or delayed too much), it is dropped.

You can hear this dropped packet if it happens when someone is talking. A part of the word disappears. But since most phone calls have only 40% voice and 60% is silence you don’t notice it.

In contrast, when you access a website, it uses TCP protocol. Every packet gets delivered and in order. If a packet is lost, it keeps trying over and over.

Good input.

As a note FT works only between Apple devices.

Duo, and WhatsApp do the trick on all smartphones.

As do Skype, Viber, and others.

So, back to the original question:

We determined that FaceTime is using VOIP - however I am driving and not connected to wifi, Thus using the same cell towers … are these cell towers accessing internet connection and than processing the call via VOIP vs Cell towers trying to transmit w/o VoIP. Is that what is causing a superior result in connection ?

Yes, you are using data on your cellular plan with FaceTime audio. It is likely using the same towers as with traditional voice calls with the additional processing done on your phone. Buffering and tolerance to packet loss allow for less dropped calls potentially than legacy circuit-switched 2G/3G audio calls, and superior compression codecs give better sound quality. Data usage isn’t too bad, about 3MB every 5 minutes apparently.

However, many carriers are already using Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) which is less processor intensive on your device and allows better network prioritization for the cellular carrier rather than “over the top” programs like Skype, FaceTime audio, Viber, etc. Usually there’s a setting on your phone to enable it or you can call your carrier and ask if it can be enabled for your device.