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This weeks announcement[1] by Orange that it plans to roll out mobile HD Voice to several more countries throughout Europe, and from UK operator Three that they will roll out HD Voice capability to ‘most’ phones by the autumn is good news for the spread of HD Voice, but Orange are missing a trick.

Read down to the bottom of the Orange press release and you come to the part about hooking up its HD Voice capable mobile networks with its own broadband fixed network service that currently has approximately 800,000 subscribers. Orange is not planning to enable a customer who might have its wideband service on their home network to talk to someone (possibly a member of the same family) in HD Voice quality on a mobile phone until 2012 or 2013!

If HD Voice is to succeed in a big way, then you have to create a system that allows you (with a HD Voice capable device) to call another person (with an equally capable device) and not have to rely on that person being on the same network as you to guarantee the ability for the call to be setup with the best quality.
If disparate islands of HD Voice capability are developed in isolation, then the technology will never achieve its potential to revolutionise the voice communications landscape. What is needed is a concerted effort, from Orange and others, to create the bridges between these islands. Continue Reading...

Don't turn a deaf ear to Orange!

September 2, 2010 7:29 AM | 1 Comment
HD VOICE BADGE V2_sml.pngThis week saw the UK get national coverage of the next evolution in telephony, HD Voice, from Orange. Technically, it has been a long time coming - the first wideband codec to be standardised by the telecommunications industry (ITU-T) was G.722 and it dates back to the 1980s! It was perhaps constrained in its early years by the patents in place to use it, but now patent free, it is seeing widespread adoption in enterprise solutions such as IP-based desk phones and conferencing systems.

Orange's announcement is of nationwide availability of HD Voice based on a codec developed specifically for mobile environments, AMR-WB (a.k.a. G.722.2).
Continue Reading...

Which wideband codec to choose?

April 1, 2010 6:31 AM | 1 Comment
 In the second part in my series of articles on HD Voice, I discuss the wideband codecs currently available and deployed, and suggest which might be the best choices for a wideband voice platform. Part 1 in this series discussed the question of how much bandwidth do you need for voice solutions.
Wideband (up to 8kHz audio bandwidth) codecs currently available and deployed include:
wideband_codecs_today_table_v2.png
Other interesting wideband codecs currently available but not yet widely deployed are the embedded codecs G.711.1 and G.729.1. These codecs, as their name implies, are meant to operate as extensions of existing narrowband codecs. The idea behind them is that they can operate in both narrowband and wideband modes.
Continue Reading...
In this article, the first of a series covering HD Voice, we discuss the issue of audio bandwidth for VoIP systems, and in particular, how much audio bandwidth do you actually need for voice?

Voice communications systems in use today are based on traditional telephony standards that haven't changed much since the 1950s. These standards were set at that time and limit the information bandwidth for voice communications to 300-3400Hz (200-3200Hz in the US and Japan). However, if one analyses normal conversational speech, it typically covers the frequency range 0-8000Hz. In fact, only 20 percent of the frequencies utilized by the human voice are transmitted in the 300Hz to 3.4kHz range. Furthermore, the human ear is capable of hearing frequencies up to 18 or 20kHz. Back when these standards were set, it was felt that a voice channel limited to 3.4kHz would be good enough and ever since that time we have all accepted that telephone conversations would have a slightly muffled tone.
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