Acme Packet (www.acmepacket.com), the dominant name in the session border control (SBC) space has rolled out heavy-duty support for HD voice, including codec management functions and transcoding functions for its Net-Net family. One big surprise is support for EVRC-B, a narrowband voice codec for the CDMA world.
The new set of capabilities, called HD Voice – Xtended Reach (HDV-XR) is billed as a way to bridge HD voice services across IP network borders and easing the transition from standard definition (SD) to HD voice.
One of the cooler features out of the release is codec reordering, so that wideband codecs go to the top of the codec preference list in the Session Description Protocol (SDP) used to setup SIP calls; this automatically makes HD – and hopefully transcoder-free – operation automatic even if one party doesn’t have an HD codec configured by default at the top of the list. This will be VERY useful in situations where the IT guys haven’t reset phones to have G.722 at the top of the codec list.
All of Acme Packet’s hardware, including the SBC, the session routing proxy (SRP), and the Net-Net Session Router, now can route SIP sessions based on codec. If an endpoint uses a wideband codec, the Net-Net SBC or SRP will attempt to route the session over a transit network that insures it will not be transcoded to a lower quality codec. If the session negotiates the use of a narrowband codec, it gets routed along a path configured for SD.
Speaking of HD voice codecs, Acme Packet’s Net-Net 9200 SBC supports transcoding and transrating for G.722, G.722.2/AMR-WB, and EVRC-B. In combination with the broad range of narrowband codecs Acme already supports, Acme will be able to transcode and transrate from HD to HD as well from HD to “non-HD VoIP” services and peering relationships.
No big coincidence that the announcement comes out before CTIA and VoiceCon, with the release citing the benefits for audio endpoints such as “HD-capable mobile handsets” (CTIA), HD telepresence (VoiceCon) and IP phones used in audioconferencing and contact centers (VoiceCon).
Needless to say, this announcement is a Big Deal given Acme Packet’s reach into the VoIP and SIP worlds.