The case for Header Compression in VoIP/VoLTE

On a PCM (G.711) RTP packet the payload is typically 160 bytes per packet.

But the total size of the frame on the wire is typically ~214 bytes, to carry a 160 byte payload that means 25% of the data being carried is headers.

This is fine for VoIP services operating over fixed lines, but when we’re talking about VoLTE / IMS and the traffic is being transferred over Radio Access Networks with limited bandwidth / resources, it’s important to minimize this as much as possible.

IMS uses the AMR codec, where the RTP payload for each packet is around 90 bytes, meaning up to two thirds of the packet on the wire (Or in this case the air / Uu interface) is headers.

Enter Robust Header Compression which compresses the headers.

Using ROHC the size of the headers are cut down to only 4-5 bytes, this is because the IPv4 headers, UDP headers and RTP headers are typically the same in each packet – with only the RTP Sequence number, RTP timestamp IPv4 & UDP checksum and changing between frames.

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