Wideband Codecs and High-Definition (HD) Audio

Wideband audio provides high-definition voice quality for telephony calls, and offers better quality than standard digital telephony. It does so by extending the frequency range of audio signals transmitted over telephone lines, resulting in higher quality speech.

The great advantages of wideband audio, also marketed as high-definition (HD) audio, are:

  • Offers clearer sound quality
  • Provides easier voice recognition, even in the presence of background noise, speakerphone, and voice overlapping (two persons speaking at the same time)
  • Makes certain words easier to understand, such as words containing letters which sound similar

The final result for users is better phone calls, where both the effort required to understand each other and the need for callers to frequently repeat themselves is greatly reduced.

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Choosing Audio Codecs

This time we will analyze what are the main characteristics to take into consideration when choosing codecs for communication systems.

Codec stands for coder-decoder. A codec codes a signal into a digital data stream and decodes a digital stream into a signal.

In the case of VoIP, when choosing a codec, we are mainly interested in two characteristics:

  • Amount of bandwidth used
  • Quality

Adequate bandwidth is necessary for a high-quality conversation. Even when implementing jitter buffers and packet loss concealment in the endpoint, if the current connectivity cannot withstand the traffic transmitted over it, there is going to be huge packet loss, making it impossible for users to have a conversation.

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