Wholesale voice-over-IP carrier iBasis on Sept. 11 will do its part to improve the quality of consumers international VOIP calls when it introduces its new DirectVoIP Transcoding capability at the VON conference in Boston.
iBasis, the fast growing VOIP network wholesaler to carriers such as AT&T, Skype, Verizon and Yahoo Broadband, introduced into its network the ability to perform real-time media translation for codecs that are incompatible.
The rise of specialized compression/decompression devices used within IP Phones or PC-to-phone clients to improve fidelity, bandwidth efficiency or both for VOIP has led to interoperability challenges since most VOIP carriers only rely on one or two standardized codecs.
"We provide the media translation functionality in real time in our network to have seamless call transmission from source to destination. We support a wide variety of codes for many broadband service providers," said Alan Bugos, vice president of advanced technology engineering for iBasis, in Burlington, Mass.
Bugos believes that iBasis is the first major carrier to deliver the real-time protocol translation in a production network that can ensure better VOIP call quality and lower costs for carriers or service providers, since they dont have to incur the cost of converting the calls into other compatible formats.
"Transcoding is relatively new to the industry. iBasis identified this as an issue for VOIP backbones early on. We went to the vendor community to help solve this issue," he said.
Beyond the basic codecs used by carriers that are based on International Telecommunications Union standards such as G.729, G.711 or G.723, the transcoding capability in iBasis network interoperates with several variants of the G.711, G.723, G.726, and G.729, plus GSM-FR, Speex, and iLBC.
"The interesting thing about the iLBC codec is that it has a hi-fidelity, wider acoustic range, capturing low and hi frequencies that would be absent from standard telephony devices. Its also designed to operate over networks (that experience more packet loss, such as those that have) multiple transit points or points of congestion, which impacts the voice quality. We could lose up to 15 percent of the traffic and the fidelity of the call would still remain high," Bugos described. "You will see iLBC in quite a few consumer VOIP clients or even IP phones," he added.
Although relatively unknown because it is a wholesale VOIP network supplier, iBasis is among the top 10 international voice carriers with a run rate of 10 billion minutes. The company, growing about 50 percent per year, expects to generate revenue of between $500 to $520 million for 2006. Once its proposed merger with the international voice division of Dutch national carrier Royal KPN is complete, it expects to double its traffic and triple its revenue, according to Chris Ward, senior director of marketing.
"The fastest-growing segment of our business is consumer-focused VOIP. We have more than 40 consumer VOIP providers today, which is about 10 percent of our business," said Ward.
Toward that end, iBasis at VON will announce it has signed SunRocket as a new VOIP service provider customer.