Polycom SpectraLink Voice Priority (SVP)

Early in the days of voice over Wi-Fi, a company called SpectraLink—now owned by Polycom—created a Wi-Fi handset, gateway, and a protocol between them to allow the phones to have good voice quality, when Wi-Fi itself did not yet have Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) quality of service. SVP runs as a self-contained protocol, for both signaling and bearer traffic, over IP, using a proprietary IP type (neither UDP nor TCP) for all of the traffic.
SVP is not intended to be an end-to-end signaling protocol. Rather, like Cisco's SCCP, it is intended to bridge between a network server that speaks the real telephone protocol and the proprietary telephone. Therefore, SCCP and SVP have a roughly similar architecture. The major difference is that SVP was designed with wireless in mind to tackle the early quality-of-service issues over Wi-Fi, whereas SCCP was designed mostly as a way of simplifying the operation of phone terminals over wireline IP networks.
Figure 1 shows the SVP architecture. The SVP system integrates into a standard IP PBX deployment. The SVP gateway acts as the location for the extensions, as far as the PBX is concerned. The gateway also acts as the coordinator for all of the wireless phones. SVP phones connect with the gateway, where they are provisioned. The job of the SVP gateway is to perform all of the wireless voice resource management of the network. The SVP performs the admission control for the phones, being configured with the maximum number of phones per access point and denying phones the ability to connect to it through access points that are oversubscribed. The SVP server also engages in performing timeslice coordination for each phone on a given access point.

Figure 1: SVP Architecture
This timeslicing function makes sense in the context of how SVP phones operate. SVP phones have proprietary Wi-Fi radios, and the protocol between the SVP gateway and the phone knows about Wi-Fi. Every phone reports back what access point it is associated to. When the phone is placed into a call, the SVP gateway and the phone connect their bearer channels. The timing of the packets sent by the phone is such that it is directly related to the timing of the phone sent by the gateway. Both the phone and the gateway have specific requirements on how the packets end up over the air. This, then, requires that the access points also be modified to be compatible with SVP. The role of the access point is to dutifully follow a few rules which are a part of the SVP protocol, to ensure that the packets access the air at high priority and are not reordered. There are additional requirements for how the access point must behave when a voice packet is lost and must be retransmitted by the access point. By following the rules, the access point allows the client to predict how traffic will perform, and thus ensures the quality of the voice.
SVP is a unique protocol and system, in that it is designed specifically for Wi-Fi, and in such a way that it tries to drive the quality of service of the entire SVP system on that network through intelligence placed in a separate, nonwireless gateway. SVP, and Polycom SpectraLink phones, are Wi-Fi-only devices that are common in hospitals and manufacturing, where there is a heavy mobile call load inside the building but essentially no roaming required to outside.

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