Leading IP Phone vendor Aastra has announced G.722 wideband audio codec support in their new 67xxi firmware version 2.5.0 or later – available as a free download from Aastra.
Aastra Hi-Q audio technology is a software based acoustic optimization, backwards compatible with existing 67xxi series SIP phones, delivering a more life-like conversation and richer user experience via an industry standard G.722 wideband codec.
Aastra has dubbed their wideband audio feature Hi-Q, and allows them to compete with Polycom, Cisco, Snom and other manufacturers. Aastra Hi-Q wideband audio will be supported on the 6757i CT, 6757i, 6755i, 6753i, 6751i, 6731i and 6730i.
Aastra 67xxi firmware with HiQ wideband audio support can be had here.
UPDATE 9/11/2009 – Some further clarification on our story on Aastra’s new Hi-Q offering. Aastra’s Hi-Q technology is a bit different from Wideband Telephony implementations such as Polycom’s “HDVoice”. With Hi-Q, Aastra has vastly improved the audio quality possible on many of their existing IP telephones (6757i CT, 6757i, 6755i, 6753i, 6751i, 6731i, 6730i), but have not made any supporting changes to the actual hardware design of the phones. High Definition audio capable models from competing vendors such as Snom and Polycom feature additional design optimizations, specifically enhancements to the telephone handset and speaker phone. Aastra will likely implement similar handset and speakerphone enhancements in future Aastra IP phone models to deliver a true HD calling experience. With Hi-Q, Aastra has made their existing phone models backward compatible for G.722 wideband codec support.
From the Aastra Hi-Q FAQ:
Is Hi-Q the same as HD voice?
No. Both HD voice and Hi-Q are all about an enhanced user experience. The Aastra Hi-Q offer was specifically designed to greatly enhance the user
experience leveraging the existing embedded base of Aastra phones while not affecting the existing hardware design or price for the existing
family of phones. HD voice requires an optimization of the software working with the G.722 codec (like Hi-Q) and making specific changes to the
audio hardware (telephone handset and speaker phone). In the future, as Aastra introduces new hardware, all aspects of HD voice will be integrated
into the design.
In summary the Hi-Q experience greatly enhances the user experience at the same price the customers are paying for the existing devices. Try it
for yourself and see!