The Pixel Tells Me About HD Calls

Google Pixel In-callThroughout 2016 I carried a Nexus 5 mobile phone. So did my wife. Hers is the red one. She loves it.

My Nexus 5 suffered a crack in the display the very week that I bought it. In fact, that happened the very day that the screen protector was to arrive from Amazon. In frustration, I merely applied the tempered glass screen protector and kept using the phone for a year!

Over that time, although the phone worked perfectly, the crack grew. By the end of the year it was something of an embarrassment, so I broke down and bought a Pixel from Google.

Some have heard me rant that the move from Nexus to Pixel was disappointing. I maintain that the Nexus phones were an outstanding value, whereas the Pixel, while a fine instrument, is just another costly device.

My experience with the Pixel has been great. It’s a big step up in performance. Nougat is nice. I really like the fingerprint unlock feature. Battery life is exemplary, at least in my use case. USB C fast-charging is ok, although I do miss wireless charging.

One of the things I liked about the Nexus 5 on T-Mobile was that I enjoyed HDVoice calling to the few people I call most often. They are also T-Mobile customers, with suitably capable handsets.

This morning, for the very first time, I noticed that the Pixel indicates when it’s connected in HDVoice. I’m not sure if this indication is a new thing, or I simply never noted previously.

There aren’t too many people who get excited about HDVoice. I still do. It’ll be great we can pass HDVoice between carriers. Some say that’s happening now, but I see no evidence of it.

New Gear: Grandstream’s HT812 Analog Terminal Adapter

In the earliest days of consumer VoIP services the venerable Cisco ATA-186 was the way to connect a traditional analog telephone to one of those new-fangled Vonage accounts and save some loot. It didn’t take too long before our strategy evolved from an analog terminal adapter (ATA) plus a an analog phone or a cordless phone, to SIP desk phones and SIP/DECT cordless phones.

As such, it’s been years since an ATA held any interest at all…until last week. Last week I received a couple of notices about a new pair of ATA’s from Grandstream, the HT802 and HT812.

Grandstream HT812

The first thing I saw was a promotional email from VoIP Supply for the HT812. It described the HT812 as a two-port FXS with a built-in router and Gigabit Ethernet.

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VoIP Supply On Conference Phones

Lenovo X-1-Carbon Voip Supply on Conference PhonesA few weeks ago VoIP Supply issued a blog post based around an infographic. It’s titled, “Best Conference Phones for Different Room Sizes.” Go now, have a look. It’s a quick read.

Normally I wouldn’t pay much attention to such writing. I suspect it’s really aimed at satisfying the mighty Google, and driving more traffic to their web site. However, I’m not the sort that lets the dissemination of questionable advice slide past unnoticed. Most especially from an organization that purports to be the subject matter experts.

The author suggests a number of different devices for different sized rooms. In this particular case I’m familiar with most of them. In fact, I have quite a few of them in inventory.

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T-Mobile Moves Beyond HDVoice

T-Mobile Nexus5 EVSI’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.

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A Microphone Deep Dive: Part 1 – Frequency Response

Last week, in response to Chris Koehncke’s blog post, I set about creating a couple of sample recordings to support my belief that a headset trumps a laptop’s built-in microphone. Along the way I came to a couple of realizations, or perhaps I should say remembrances, of things that I hadn’t thought about in a long while. There are numerous subtleties to the matter of microphones.

SONY DSC

Microphones, like most things, are built to address specific applications. There are microphones for recording studios. Microphones for stage performers. Microphones for board rooms. Microphones for mobile phones. Even a microphone for that cheesy tape recorder that you bought at Radio Shack back in the 1980’s when it was still a great gadget shop.

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Polycom Revisits DECT with the VVX D60

vvx-d60-tb-com-650x500-enusToday saw the introduction of a new model in Polycom’s VVX Business Media phones. The Poycom VVX D60 is described as a “wireless accessory” to compliment the existing VVX series of desk phones.

Examining the brochure it seems that the D60 works along side the VVX-300/400/500/600. It requires that the desk phone be running UC Software v5.4.1A or newer. The D60 is actually setup via the VVX web interface.

The feature set of the D60 closely matches the VVX series. Some of the highlights that catch my eye include:

  • Two-port Ethernet switch (10/100 mb)
  • Support for P.O.E.
  • Support for HDVoice (G.722)
  • Support for up to 5 cordless handsets
  • Support for 5 lines per handset
  • Up to 4 simultaneous calls
  • Provisioning via the VVX desk phone
  • Close integration with the VVX desk phone

Since I have the VVX-500 and 600 models hereabouts I certainly see a lot to like in the D60. I think that the D60 could be very well received by SOHO users. It’s certainly an interesting alternative to a DECT headset.

I’m curious about pricing, which doesn’t seem to be available as yet. Rest assured that I’ll be trying to acquire a D60 for review.

The idea of a DECT handset that pairs with a desk phone is not new. I once used an Aastra 480i CT that had a DECT base built into the desk phone and a small cordless handset. Ultimately that cordless handset was less than satisfactory as too many common functions were buried in menus or simply not available.

The Gigaset DX800a also has a built-in DECT based, supporting the use of any of the Gigaset DECT handsets. However, Gigaset’s US presence has faltered, making their offering less than appealing to North American users.