Five Hardware Considerations

By Jeffrey Rodman  |  Posted 2009-01-19 Print this article Print

Five hardware considerations

1. Be sure your PBX is HD-aware. If it's not already, this is a simple software update to a VOIP PBX. What happens is that "G.722" (by far the most popular wideband VOIP codec today) is added to the list of allowed codecs. Most major PBX vendors are already shipping (or are soon planning to) G.722 compatibility. 

2. Be sure that any new VOIP phone purchases are rated for HD Voice. Networks are rapidly moving to HD Voice and phones have a typical service life of five to 10 years-which means that a narrowband phone bought today will be obsolete long before it has been fully depreciated. A narrowband-only phone will also be the poorest-sounding participant in a group HD conference. Take advantage of the HD Voice and wideband phones available from multiple vendors today.

3. Get HD Voice quality-not just "G.722-compatible." For the same reasons that feeding an HD video signal to an old television set may give a picture but it will be the same old blurry video, HD Voice needs more than just a G.722 codec. HD Voice means HD microphones, a great speaker subsystem, a thoughtful acoustic design and tight integration among software, hardware and mechanics. And if the phone has a built-in speakerphone, it's even more critical. Just claiming HD Voice compatibility doesn't mean a phone will deliver full HD Voice performance so compare and listen for yourself. 

4. Confirm that HD Voice phones can be future-upgraded with new codecs. Today's G.722 (7kHz, 64Kbps) will soon be augmented with G.722.1 for full 7kHz HD Voice quality at less than half the data rate (7kHz, 16-32Kbps), so be sure that new phones have room to grow.

5. Convert those speakerphones. The advantages of HD Voice are most overwhelming in group conferences where distractions and lousy room acoustics-a lot of people, a lot of noise, people who don't speak up and a wide variety of accents-are an epidemic. That open-air setting really spotlights the HD difference, even more than on a handset. Switch from conventional narrowband speakerphones to HD Voice over HD connections and users will be astounded.

Jeffrey Rodman is Co-Founder and CTO of the Voice Division at Polycom. Jeffrey has been at the forefront of audio and video communications for most of his career. Following a BSEE Cum Laude and MSEE in Electronic Engineering from CSUN, Jeffrey spent six years developing and enhancing video and test capabilities for military-guided missile systems for Hughes Aircraft Company. During this time, Jeffrey also created a novel approach to sound synthesis that formed the foundation for his Master's thesis. Jeffrey also co-founded Specialty Video Systems to market digital video effects to the entertainment industry. In 1980, Jeffrey joined Harris Video Systems where he became Director of Engineering, pioneering new digital video processing systems for broadcast and production applications. In 1984, Jeffrey was recruited to build a hardware engineering organization and implement a revolutionary architecture for the then-new startup PictureTel (later PicTel), building the foundation for a family of systems that has transformed the videoconferencing industry. Jeffrey continued on as Director of Hardware Development through PictureTel's formative years. Jeffrey co-founded Polycom in 1990, and has been instrumental in the realization of Polycom's iconic products for voice, video, network communications and other media. He can be reached at

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