Michael Stanford of Wirevolution has an article called Better Sounding Calls in the March issue of Internet Telephony that was today published on TMCs HDVoice Community site. While very general it’s nevertheless a nice article. He cites Speex developer Jean-Marc Valin referencing the fact that wideband is the principle means of VoIP surpassing the PSTN in terms of end-user call quality.
He notes that transcoding between wideband codecs, or worse wideband and narrowband, is generally a bad idea. He further makes an assertion based upon Polycom’s release of the Siren7 and Siren14 codecs under a royalty free licensing scheme;
There are now three high quality wideband voice codecs that phone vendors can use without paying royalties: Speex and two from Polycom. There is no reason why any phone or soft phone should ship without all three of them.
I whole-heartedly agree, and further assert that Skype’s SILK should be thrown into that mix. Of course, G.722 is royalty free as well, although not nearly as sophisticated as the others mentioned.
It’s also interesting to note that Speex adoption in hardware remains extremely limited. I wonder if that might change as wideband continues to gain momentum? Or does it get left behind in the face of newer royalty free, if not open source, codec offerings? The open source community has also moved on to offer CELT, which is a very new but extremely low-latency, very flexible wideband codec.