One of the more interesting bit of news coming out of ITEXPO is that XConnect is not only offering "High-Definition (HD) Voice Peering Federation", but they're also offering a free one month trial. Their federation service for carrier peering let's you carry both HD voice and HD video by passing codecs across carrier networks.
Importantly, there is now a bridge server as part of Asterisk that assists in HD transcoding. So if 3 of us on a call and if only 2 of us have HD voice phones, Asterisk can transcode it so 2 phones that have HD stay on HD, while the 3rd phone goes down to G.711 or another non-HD codec. Normally, with Asterisk or other IP-PBX solutions it goes to the lowest common denominator, but that's no longer the case with Asterisk.
However, that only helps with internal HD calls (extension-to-extension). Once you make an outside call then your carrier has to support HD. Further, if your carrier has to hand the call off to another carrier to terminate the call, you need both carriers
to have a peering agreement to allow the HD codec to traverse their network. Lastly, for HD to work across networks, the entire call path including the endpoints themselves must also support high definition
Well, that's where XConnect
comes into play. At ITEXPO XConnect announced they are bringing to market the first carrier-based HD Federation which will enable scalable, secure All-IP interconnection, using ENUM technology, to enable cross-network, end-to-end HD traffic between service providers.
The trial, open to qualified operators, waives sign-up and monthly fees for its April-June duration. Multiple providers using the G.722 wideband codec will be able to test the interoperability, scalable interconnection, reliability and support of XConnect federation services.
Trial participants will form a private peering community under the Private Alliance feature of XConnect's Global Alliance, which combines ENUM-registry and multimedia interconnection hub services. Supporting multiple protocols and codecs, the Global Alliance enables new IP services, including HD voice, to be delivered across networks.
I'm told they will also support HD video as well, so you will be able to make high-quality HD video calls from your HD videophone across carrier networks to another HD videophone endpoint. This could finally be the critical step to enable videoconferencing across different companies and finally ditch boardroom H.323 videoconferencing systems once and for all. Of course, that presumes the video endpoints all use the same HD video codec. Don't get me started on video interoperability
For more information and sign-up, check out www.xconnect.net/hd-trial