ONSIP Becomes First Hosted PBX Service Provider to Support HD Voice for All On Network And Conference Bridge Calls

Nobody’s perfect, but isn’t it great when a good service keeps getting better? I’ll admit that I completely missed it when way back on January 6th Junction Networks’ issued a press release about the availability of HDVoice in their OnSIP hosted pbx service. I must’ve just overlooked the announcement. Of course OnSIP does HDVoice….I’ve been using them with G.722 capable phones for almost two years.

For a modest $19.95/mo you can add a 15 seat conference bridge to your account. There’s no further cost to use the bridge from SIP end points, and only the basic per minute cost of termination when calling into it from the PSTN. It’s a reasonable deal. Some time ago we transitioned Pixel Power US to using an OnSIP conference bridge so that we’d have it accessible via our own DID, and totally private.

However, one of my minor frustrations was that their conference bridge didn’t make the best use of the wideband capable hardware. In fact, it was a little confusing. Once the service was established on the account you could dial into it from G.722 capable phones like our Polycom IP450, IP550 & IP650s. The phones would clearly indicate that they were receiving G.722 media streams, but the actually call quality was unmistakably G.711 ulaw.

It seems that the OnSIP conference bridge mixed the media in G.711 even when the end-points supported G.722. The mixed media was then upsampled to G.722 such that the phones were receiving a wideband stream…but with narrowband content. Bummer. That was certainly the case in August of 2008 when I purchased my IP650s.

I mentioned this to the folks at Junction Networks and at the time they said simply that wideband conferencing was on their list of future projects.

Well, according to the January 6 press release they now support G.722 for all in-network calling and the conference bridge. Looking at the teaser to their press release we find a concise summary of the claim:

Hosted PBX Provider Implements Support For The Wideband HD Voice Codec, G.722 for Better-Than-PSTN, You-Are-There Sound Quality On All VoIP and Conference Bridge Calls

We’ve been using the bridge weekly since January, but with a mix of older and newer phones in the company it’s quite possible that I didn’t notice that the conference audio mixing was now being done in wideband. We usually have a mix of staff calling in from cell phones, IP600, IP430, IP450 & IP650 phones. With such a diversity of sources you might not realize that a few sounded really good. It’s also possible that the wideband participants might not be very active on the calls.

To prove this new claim I decided to conduct a little test. I dialed up the conference bridge using my Polycom IP650 and set it to record the call audio. I then dialed up the bridge using Eyebeam with only G.722 enabled. The IP650 indicated HDVoice on its LCD display, but that’s not the proof I was seeking.

As I’ve done previously, I took the resulting recording into the Cool Edit Pro audio editor for evaluation. Here’s a view of that recording using the display mode that presents acoustic energy plotted against frequency.

The very fact that the vertical axis runs from 0-8,000 Hz indicates that the recorded file has a sample rate of 16,000 Hz. This is consistent with a G.722 recording. Further, the display clearly shows energy present all the way up to 8 KHz. This proves definitively that the OnSIP conference bridge is now delivering real wideband conferences when suitable end-points are being used.

Many thanks to Mike & Co. at Junction Networks for making good on their promise to deliver HDVoice conferencing.

Now…if only we could get some nice administrative controls on the conference bridge…like we have in the my.onsip user portal.