I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for a long time. In fact, my transition to T-Mobile happened when I bought my first smart phone, a Blackberry 8100 (aka Pearl).
More recently I’ve been using an LG-made Nexus 5. No, not the newer 5X. Late last year I semi-regressed from a One+ One to a Nexus 5. One of the reasons for that step backward in time was to finally be able to enjoy mobile HDVoice calls to my wife, who also carries a Nexus 5.
T-Mobile, who lead the US in the rollout of mobile HDVoice, supports it’s use for in-network calls between a list of supported handsets, including the Nexus 5. That initial rollout of HDVoice came before the big build of their LTE network. They enabled the AMR-WB codec (aka G.722.2) over their existing 3G HSPA+ network.
Most other US carriers waited until their LTE rollout to launch HDVoice. An LTE network is natively an IP network, readily supporting advanced voice codecs and video. When the voice calls are handled over the LTE network it’s called Voice-Over-LTE or VoLTE, which is very different from how voice was handled on 3G networks.
I’m especially interested in the following new capabilities:
New audio codecs: SILK (used by skype), G.722.1 (aka Siren 7), G.722.2 (aka GSM-AMR Wide band)
Video codecs changes: H.264 optimizations
Added RTP TOS support
Support for DNS SRV caching
While developed primarily on Linux Ekiga has long supported multiple platforms. I took a short while today to try the new release on an older Windows XP laptop. The Windows installer also installed the GTK libraries necessary to support the application. Installation was quick and painless.
Steve Perich, also of Australia, pointed me to an older post on Telstra’s coprorate blog. It highlights the fact that earlier in the year they launched HDVoice capability across their mobile network. Given the size of their coverage area they claim to have the largest HDVoice footprint on the planet.
The blog post includes nice video that highlights not only the improvements to the audible frequency range, but also the fact that it’s possible to do a better of job of background noise suppression with the richer audio data provided by the HDVoice stream.
Yesterday Dan York, in his role as Director Of Conversations at Voxeo, gave a webinar* on HDVoice. Dan’s presentation included a good basic introduction to wideband telephony. He cited the well known limitations of the legacy PSTN before moving on to highlight the wideband capabilities of Voxeo’s new Prophesy and Prism product offerings.
This session was part of the companies Jam Session series that introduces new capabilities to developers. To put it simplistically, Voxeo is a tool-maker. The offerings of the tool-makers typically lead the services that we eventually see in the larger consumer space. That makes the tool-makers very important. That the tool-makers show both imagination and leadership is critically important.
It’s no secret that I’ve been living with a couple of Polycom VVX-1500 Business Media Phones around my office for the past few months. My review of these devices will shortly run over at Small Net Builder.
This is one of the few times that 3000 words seemed like a problem. That is, I could use more space to get into more detail about the devices. Perhaps we’ll run a follow-up later on. That’d be great, presuming that I get to run a trial installation of the phones as I hope.
Anyway, Media Phones. It’s a whole new category. It’s like the iPhone for the home or office. That includes some other devices that I’ve shown interest in, like the Verizon HUB from Open Peak, and Glass from Cloud Telecomputers (pictured).
The thing that makes this fact so curious is not immediately obvious. The VTX 1000 is not a SIP device, nor even IP capable. Like it’s closest relative the Polycom SoundStation 2, it’s designed to connect to a plain old analog phone line (a.k.a. POTS, the PSTN).
Of course, the common wisdom is that you just can’t have wideband telephony over the PSTN. Yet the VTX 1000, circa 2003, delivers wideband conference calls so it seems that assertion is not strictly true. Understanding this is in a little more depth would seem like a good thing. Happily, Polycom published a white paper describing the internals of the VTX 1000.