An exception to the rule – When HD Voice Goes Bad

For all of HD voice’s goodness, it isn’t the right solution in a few environments.

EUS Networks, a telephony integration firm with offices in New York, Chicago, and Dallas, has encountered a few cases where an HD voice installation has had to be “ripped out” in a virtual sense due to environmental and acoustic factors.

“The [HD voice] shoe doesn’t always fit,” said Jeronimo Romero. “The comfort [background] noise wasn’t right, or there have been a lot of acoustic background noise. For the person on the other end, it’s extremely annoying, the phone has picked up every single minutia.”

Romero says EUS has been involved in a handful of HD voice installs that have “totally bombed,” resulting in the the customer moving from G.722 to G.711 in order to make the phone system more usable.

Most of the installations were in “acoustically unforgiving” rooms in manufacturing environments either with lot of background noise and/or a lot of chamber echo, but one office also proved to be a problem. “[The room] was a high-ceiling space at a hedge fund with over 100 cubicles,” said Romero. “There was a significant amount of ‘acoustic residue’ despite using noise cancellation,” resulting in a “marked difference” between the usability of G.722 vs G.722.

Different handsets and hardware made little difference in mitigating problems.  Instead, the ultimately solution was to move to the G.711 codec — a disappointment for customers who have purchased a shiny new phone system.

It also takes time for some users to adopt to the better quality of G.722.  “It creeps people out. The comfort noise is totally different,” said Romero. “You can literally hear the yapping of the gums, when people scratch.  It doesn’t resemble the traditional audio telephony experience people are used to. People get audio that sounds like it’s coming out of a PC, [broadcast] studio audio. It takes people aback.”

Make no mistake, EUS is sticking with HD voice. “All in all, G.722 has been a winner for us,” said Romero. “The shoe doesn’t always fit, but it tends to fit, and tends to fit marvelously.”

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