The ITU has approved a new standard for high-quality digital wideband speech encoding that is set to bring significant improvements in terms of interoperability, easier implementation, and improved quality for wideband voice applications and services across a wide range of communication systems and platforms.
Several important applications are envisaged for the standard. These include: Voice over IP (VoIP) and the Internet, third-generation mobile communications, PSTN high-quality audio-conferencing and business applications (both in point-to-point and multipoint situations), streaming audio and speech, ISDN wideband telephony, and ISDN video telephony and video-conferencing.
The standard - known as Recommendation G.722.2 - is also referred to as the adaptive multirate wideband (AMR-WB) codec. It has been selected by 3GPP (third- generation partnership project) as the wideband codec for GSM and third-generation wireless W-CDMA applications. The ITU says this marks the first time that both wireless and wireline services may be able to adopt the same codec.
Wideband speech coding, using an audio band of 50-7000 Hz, offers major subjective improvements in speech quality compared to traditional narrowband telephone speech (200-3400 Hz). A bandwidth of 50 to 7000 Hz improves the intelligibility and naturalness of speech, adds a feeling of transparent communication and eases speaker recognition. The low-frequency enhancement from 50 to 200 Hz contributes to increased naturalness, presence and comfort while the high-frequency extension from 3400 to 7000 Hz provides improved intelligibility.
Rosario Drogo de Iacovo, chairman of the subcommittee responsible for the work adds, "experts from around the world have collaborated in the definition, selection and testing of this new codec. It is truly state-of-the-art". Simao Campos-Neto, chairman of ITU-T Working Party 3/16 (Media Coding) notes, "The adoption of the same algorithm by both standards organisations is the result of a closely coordinated effort. We are proud to offer a single standardised solution that can be used across several industries".
For further information contact Mike Buckley, ITU-T Study Group 16, [email protected]
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