WiFi Calling on AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint.

Posted by on March 13, 2017

How do you make calls over a Wi-Fi network through Internet instead of over a regular cellular network? Use Wi-Fi calling.

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What exactly is Wi-Fi calling and why would you want to use it?

In a nutshell, Wi-Fi calling is calling over a Wi-Fi network through Internet instead of over a regular cellular network. This can come in super handy in several situations. For example, when you visit Aunt Carol's ranch on outskirts of a cellular network. Or when you work in a building or in the basement and you have touchy cell service. Now, this assumes that both Aunt Carol and the basement have Wi-Fi coverage with adequate speed. /p>

Wi-Fi calling: A definition.

There're a lot of apps. available like Skype, Viber, Whatsapp, or Facebook Messenger. Such applications allow you to place calls or send messages over Wi-Fi. We're not including these because you have to use a separate app to send the messages or replace the call. It also won't hand off to a cellular network if you walk outside of the Wi-Fi range. What we're referring to, as "WiFi calling" is built into the smart phone natively. You don't have to do anything separate or different than you would, to normally place a call.

How do you get Wi-Fi calling to work?

You will need to be on a cellular carrier network that supports Wi-Fi calling. You will need to be using a device that works with Wi-Fi calling. Currently, all major carriers AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-mobile work with Wi-Fi calling. Many small carriers like Republic Wireless also work. Most Carriers are MVNO's of the major service providers anyway so it should work on those networks as well. However if you don't see your carrier listed here, and you want to be sure - Contact your mobile service provider to see if they support Wi-Fi calling.

You will also need to be using a device that supports Wi-Fi calling. Many smartphones today will work with Wi-Fi calling. However, it depends on the carrier. For example, a quick scan through Verizon's website shows many WiFi calling smartphone options. Check with your carrier to see which devices available would work. Wi-Fi calling is also free! You don't have to add any special packages or be on a special plan to make it work. However, it can use your minutes, whether you're calling over Wi-Fi or using cellular network. It just depends on the carrier where you have your wireless service.

What kind of connection is required?

When it comes to Wi-Fi calling, you want a strong reliable connection to your Wi-Fi network. Preferably a fast one. Wi-Fi calling doesn't use a ton of data. About one megabyte per minute for calls. About six to eight megabytes per minute for video calls. But if you have poor connection or slow Wi-Fi, then your call quality will suffer. You may even drop the call.

How do you use Wi-Fi calling?

All you have to do is turn it on. It is super easy. On an iPhone, simply go to Settings > Phone > Wi Fi Calling, and then tap on/off scroll button that goes left or right - to turn it on. On an Android device, tap on Settings > Advanced Calling > Activate Advanced Calling. Once you turn it on, that is all you have to do. Simply place calls like normal. Remember, you're connected to a Wi-Fi network. It will automatically switch over and use Wi-Fi calling.

When you leave that network, it will switch over and use cellular calling even if you're on a call at the time. Your phone will only use Wi-Fi calling if it connects to a network it recognizes or can log into. For example, in your favorite coffee shop, you will need to log into its Wi-Fi. Once it recognizes that every time you go there, it will switch over to Wi-Fi calling. It does basically provide really good call quality. Most carriers support HD voice. Some like Verizon actually require you to turn HD Voice on before you use Wi-Fi calling. With HD Voice, the calls you make will be some of the best you have ever made. However, this assumes that other party has HD Voice turned on as well.

Getting better call quality from home.

This is where your router comes in. Your router takes all the data coming in from Internet. It then funnels it out to all the devices connected. Everything like Netflix, YouTube, online gaming and even your Wi-Fi calls have to fight for that same amount of data. Therefore, if a behemoth like Netflix is sucking up all the data, your WiFi call is going to suffer. You're going to have poor call quality and may even drop the call.

Tweaking Router Settings.

Fortunately, there's an easy fix. You can tweak the QOS or quality of service settings on your router. This is going to differ from router to router. However, the basic idea is the same. What you're doing is setting the priority levels of how your router dispenses with data. Therefore, you would want to put your Wi-Fi calls at the top. Then let Netflix and Call of Duty etc. fall below that. Note that this may affect the network speeds or quality going to those devices. This is why you may want to tweak it to your specific needs.

If you’re not the type of person who likes to customize or tweak settings there’s still hope. Many routers come with a smart QOS. This will automatically take your devices, categorize them and then prioritize them accordingly. Usually it breaks down something like this: You will see voice, video, and lastly - everything that is not voice and video. Then come background activities like print jobs or downloads. This is why we advise you to do some research. Find a router that has a smart QOS that is going to work for you. Carriers also will carry routers that are specifically tweaked for their specific Wi-Fi calling. Calling your carrier isn't a bad idea either.

That is all there's to know about Wi-Fi calling. Watch the video above if you had trouble understanding this blog post because illustrations in the video do help. For improving mobile reception on your cellular network indoors, a cell phone signal booster is still the best option. Please contact us if you have any questions.

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