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New TIA Standards For HDVoice Over Analog Jacks

HDVoice News RJ-11 Wall PlateDoug Mohney of HDVoice News recently noted that The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has issued a series of new standards documents in reference to wideband audio over analog connections. These new standards specify how HDVoice may be implemented with regard to analog telephone, speakerphones, headsets and related terminal equipment.

Yes, that is exactly what it sounds like…formal specifications for delivering wideband voice over traditional FXO/FXS connections.

This is more than just a curiosity, and could be very valuable to the widespread adoption of HDVoice outside of the mobile space.

Let’s consider the case of the Cable Companies. It’s been noted that their “Digital Voice” customers are well positioned to benefit from HDVoice. Cable companies have gained many residential and SMB voice lines in recent years, enough to cast Comcast as the third largest Telco in the US.

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Defining HD Voice vs HD Audio

Earlier today Doug Mohney of HDVoiceNews issued an interesting tweet;

Briefing with Tier 1 telco on #HDvoice. Product manager started using the useless marketing term #HDaudio. Maybe should use #HDtelephony?

I find myself agreeing with Doug’s assertion that “HD Audio” is not appropriate terminology. “HD Audio” is way too broad a term, and more appropriate used with respect to entertainment than telephony.

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HDVoice: On The Cheap & Analog RJ-11 Style

HDVoice RJ-11 Wall Plate A short while back I addressed the question of how DECT & CAT-iq may foster the broad deployment of HDVoice. At that time I described one possible scenario where carriers would deploy customer premises equipment (CPE) with an on-board cordless base station. Although a frontrunner, and the basis of Comcast’s (decidedly non-HD) HomePoint service, this is not the only approach afoot. There’s another possibility arising that involves conveying HDVoice over a plain old analog RJ-11 connection.

At first glance HDVoice and analog lines would certainly seem to be mutually exclusive. The common wisdom is that wideband telephony requires the use of an all-IP call path. This is in fact a generalization, and not absolutely true.

Firstly, it has long been possible to pass wideband audio, in the form of G.722 encoded media, over the PSTN by way of ISDN connections. Also known as BRI interfaces, an ISDN connection supports  up to two 64 kbps channels (bearer channels) and one D channel for the purposes of call setup & teardown signaling. High-quality voice using G.722 was one of the selling points of ISDN in the 1980s.

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ZipDX Addresses The FCC On The AT&T-T-Mobile Merger

ZIP-DX &  IP7000 It’s nice to see people “thinking outside the box” as exemplified by David Frankel’s recent presentation to the FCC. Please recall that David is the CEO of ZipDX, a leading voice in the battle for HDVoice and a sponsor of the VoIP Users Conference.

Doug Mohney’s HD Voice News has a good overview of David’s petition. David’s idea was that the merger hearings present an opportunity to point out how the ILECs have utterly failed to advance the issue of call quality. What Doug doesn’t mention is the mechanism of David’s presentation on May 27th.

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Hello VTech? Your “HD Audio” Isn’t HDVoice, ok?

Doug Mohney, Editor of HD Voice News is quite plain in saying that he Hates The Term “HD Audio!” In this case his comment stems from the fact that VTech, a Canadian manufacturer of consumer cordless telephones, has started to use the term “HD Audio” describe some of their latest hardware.

The company describes the “HD Audio” feature as follows:

“The frequency band has been extended allowing for the signal to be reproduced and tuned for a fuller and clearer sound.”

In addition, they seem to have implemented a kind of tone control with several preset contours.

“The equalizer feature on the handset enables you to change the audio quality of the handset to best suit your hearing. While on a call or intercom call, or listening to a message or announcement, press EQ to select the equalizer setting Treble 1, Treble 2, Bass or Natural (the default setting) for the handset. The current setting is displayed on the handset briefly.”

Since these are DECT 6.0 devices it’s possible that the cordless aspects of the system use G.722 encoded audio to provide higher quality sound for calls between handsets. However, since the device offers only the analog PSTN interface to the world it’s going to be limited to narrowband G.711 for all calls to the PSTN. The intercom function may be improved, but it’ll have limited impact upon most of the things that people do with a telephone.

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