Monday, June 20, 2005

Why not we Speex more often?

Aswath Rao - Aswath Weblog

During early 80s, the bellheads were trying to use wideband codec for voice communication. Those feeble attempts failed along with its benefactor ISDN. Now with the widespread deployment of VoIP, it is more likely use of wideband codec will be routine. But early deployments didn’t use them, because they were more focused on replicating/replacing POTS phone service. Thanks to Skype, more people are aware of the benefits of wideband codec and are exploring incorporating these codecs in their offerings. Two well known examples of this class of codecs are iSAC from Global IP Sound and G.722.2, an ITU standard that will be used in 3G deployments. Both have licensing or patent restrictions. As I was researching this topic, I came across an open and free codec called Speex. This has both narrowband and wideband components and requires comparable bandwidth. From the google search it looks like the quality is quite good. Xten, Asterisk and Open323 (did you now that they also support SIP) all support this codec. I hope that Speex is used more widely by other VoIP service providers. Since Speex is royalty free, media gateway vendors must be able to upgrade their products to support this codec.
The only hitch is I am not sure whether ATA users will observe the added benefit of using a wideband codec.


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