, Aastra announced G.722 wideband audio codec support (HD audio) in their new 67xxi firmware version 2.5.0 or later. It's available as a free download from Aastra with no strings attached. No need to upgrade your 67xxi (formerly 57XXi) phone to a newer model to get HD audio. I spoke with Aastra at ITEXPO about this free upgrade and got a demo as well. First, it's important to note that the speaker and the microphone built into the existing 67xxi don't have the full frequency response for full HD audio. However, there is still a noticeable improvement in audio quality, especially in the low-end bass side. For 100% HD audio from the microphone to the speaker to the full-range frequency response you can purchase their newer phones which feature upgraded hardware components.
But for the thousands of Aastra phones out there - including one I use as my primary desk phone - you can simply upgrade to the new firmware and immediately see a performance improvement. I also mentioned to Aastra some issues with the speakerphone switching to half-duplex mode when there is a lot of ambient noise or if the remote caller is talking too loud. The remote caller who is speaking can't hear you (half-duplex) no matter how loud you yell. Well, apparently this new firmware does some tweaks and solves that issue as well.
Aastra is calling their wideband audio feature Hi-Q. Let's face it, Polycom has done a good job positioning themselves as having the best
sounding IP phones, especially with their HD Voice product line. Aastra's new Hi-Q offering now allows them to compete with other HD phones including not only Polycom, but also Cisco, Snom and others. Aastra Hi-Q wideband audio will be supported on the 6757i CT, 6757i, 6755i, 6753i, 6751i, 6731i and 6730i.
I did a demo with Aastra on the ITEXPO show floor with Hi-Q turned off and then on and I noticed the difference right away. Can't wait to get back to Connecticut and upgrade my Aastra 6757i CT phone! They also demo'ed some cool new DECT 6.0 phones and new WiFi phones that are just now coming to the United States. (They are currently available in Europe)
According to Aastra, "Aastra's Hi-Q audio technology is a software based acoustic optimization, backwards compatible with existing 67xxi series SIP phones, delivering a more life-like conversation and richer user experience via an industry standard G.722 wideband codec."
Aastra 67xxi firmware with Hi-Q wideband audio support can be downloaded here