Wideband Calling With EyeBeam & The Polycom C100

For about the past week I’ve been making a lot of use of the Polycom C100 in conjunction with a copy of Eyebeam provided by ZipDX. The C100 is a great little USB speakerphone device. It was one of the first devices from Polycom the supported wideband audio, providing that you have a similarly capable soft phone client.

I must admit that mine is the C100S model which is designed to work with the Skype client, although there are models that are not client specific. As a practical matter the only functions that are client specific involve the use of the five buttons on the device. The buttons support volume up, volume down, place a call, bring the soft phone client to the foreground and mic mute.

On my desktop system with both Skype and X-lite installed when I tap the button with the Skype icon both soft phone client jump to the front of my Windows desktop display.

On my laptop I have a newer, wideband capable Eyebeam release courtesy of ZipDX. Earlier this week I made a test call to VUC’s Randulo. We were able to confirm G.722 interoperability between Eyebeam and the Polycom IP650 desk phones*. Even using the C100 the call quality was markedly better in G.722 mode, as one would expect.

For a mere $110 the C100 seems like a very affordable means of getting started with wideband audio calling. I bought it as a speakerphone solution for times when I was traveling, but these days it stays mostly on my desk. Of course, you’ll need the soft phone client as well.

X-lite is free and works well, but not in G.722 mode. Eyebeam is a solution if you can buy it from someone other than Counterpath. The version that they sell from their web site is NOT G.722 capable. They only sell the G.722 capable version to companies licensing a quantity to resell for their own purposes. Their Mac-based soft phone doesn’t support G.722 either. Counterpath seems to be very counter-intuitive in some regards.

I’m still on the hunt for another wideband capable soft phone. There’s talk that FWD may add G.722 to their Communicator offering. If that software is any good then widband capability alone could justify the $30/yr annual fee.

* Update – In fact we did not have G.722 interoperability between the IP650 and Eyebeam. We must’ve both been using the same end-point at that moment.

  • Hmm….I believe that Randy and I had this working. However, I will try it myself again locally to be sure.

    Yes, as you note, many soft phones offer a range of codecs that are only commonly found in soft phones. Many people pointed me to Speex as being wideband capable. But this of limited use unless all user keep to using soft phones.

  • Michael,

    To be fair, X-lite is (I believe) wideband-capable; it just doesn’t offer the G.722 codec (it has other wideband codecs that are not popular in current hardphones).

    Congratulations on getting direct interoperability between eyeBeam and the IP-650 in G.722. I can’t get that to work; the timestamps in my eyeBeam RTP stream are wrong, so the audio path only works in one direction. I can get eyeBeam and an IP-650 talking to each other through ZipDX in G.722, but that’s because we transmogrify the RTP stream.

    I do like the C100. Quality isn’t as good as a headset, or as the speakerphone on the IP-650, but it is a very portable device and convenient to use.

    David

  • David,

    You are 100% correct. Eyebeam and the IP650 work perfectly when in a conference bridge, but not when communicating directly. The audio stream from Eyebeam to the IP650 is silent.

    Does Counterpath have anything to say about this?

    Michael

  • Here’s the last word I got from Counterpath Support some weeks back (after initially raising the issue in November 2007) :

    “According to the engineer that I have spoken with what we are doing is correct, and it is the Polycom that is incorrect. Still waiting on 1 more engineer to respond.”

    Polycom, snom and others timestamp the packets one way; I’ve seen others do it the way CounterPath does. I believe it all goes back to the infamous SDP error noted in RFC3551 section 4.5.2. My position is that we have to comply with the spec, even though it is admittedly “wrong.”

  • Randy and I must’ve been both on IP650s at the very instant that we had the “HD” lit up and working correctly. I’ve send a note off to a contact at Polycom for comment.

  • I am wondering if you have any updates since 2008? I am also looking for a softphone with G.722 support for my Polycom Communicator that will interop with other HD voice devices. I downloaded the Polycom PVX client but couldn’t figure out how to make it work with my SIP service provider.

    • Updates? Not sure what you mean by that, the C100 us a basic USB audio device. I see no need to update it in any way.

      There are a handful of soft phone that are G.722 capable. I use and recommend both Eyebeam 1.5 and PhonerLite.