Definition

wideband audio (HD voice)

Contributor(s): Sarah Lewis

Wideband audio, also known as high definition (HD) voice, is an audio technology that uses a wider frequency spectrum than narrowband audio to achieve better voice quality during cellular and voice over IP (VoIP) phone calls.  Calls initiated through wideband audio require the entire communication chain to be high definition compatible or the call will revert to standard narrowband audio.

Wideband audio has a frequency range of 50 Hz to 7 kHz, as opposed to narrowband audio which limits audio frequencies to the range of 300 Hz to 3.4 kHz, and does not encounter bandwidth limitations. Wideband also uses the G.722 codec and its variations to capture audio samples with a sample rate of 16 kHz per second. This high-quality codec makes it possible for devices to transmit deeper and higher speech tones as well as pick up details. In contrast, narrowband audio uses the G.711 codec and a sample rate of 8 kHz. Should a call have to revert from high definition to narrowband because a device in the communication chain does not support wideband, the resulting algorithmic delay is estimated to be 0.125 milliseconds (ms).

Benefits of wideband audio/HD voice

As the ability for a caller to have a high-speed internet connection increases, vendors and enterprises are increasingly supporting wideband codecs for HD audio to enhance voice clarity. From a business perspective, the following are benefits of wideband audio: 

  • Enhances natural sound and speech intelligibility.
  • Minimizes the difficulty of hearing calls in crowded spaces.
  • Provides an optimal solution for conference calls or situations where multiple people may speak at once.
  • Uses a better sound suppression algorithm for background noise.
  • Reduces latency and data loss.
  • Decreases amount of transcription errors.
This was last updated in October 2018

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