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| White Paper |

Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

| March 2012 |

Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

Contents
Background . ......................................................................................... Voice Q uality - The P roblem ....................................................................... Wireless Networks .................................................................................... Increasing Network Capacity with AMR-HR ................................................. Issues Impacting Voice Quality in Wireless Networks .................................... Voice Q uality Metrics ................................................................................ D itech Networks Overview .......................................................................... Voice Q uality Assurance . ........................................................................... Experience Intelligence ............................................................................... Conclusion . ......................................................................................... 3 4 6 8 11 12 15 16 19 19

Copyright 2012 Ditech Networks

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

Background
In the increasingly competitive wireless market, wireless operators must explore new ways to increase profits while reducing costs. Alongside capital and operating expense concerns, there are issues of customer retention and pressures to improve network capacity and service quality as ways to increase revenue from existing users, as well as attract new ones. Investing in better voice quality for wireless calls is a cost-effective way of improving customer satisfaction, increasing network capacity with minimal capital investment, and gaining competitive advantage by presenting subscribers with a powerful service differentiator.

Wireless Voice Quality


The world of voice communication is becoming more complex. Despite consolidation in the industry, device and IP telephony proliferation are making it more difficult to engineer for high voice quality. These two trends introduce impairments that are beyond the physical boundaries of your network - but directly affect your customers experience. There are varieties of options available to maintain and improve voice quality as wireless networks grow. One of these options is to try to address quality issues in the handset, for example, by ensuring that only handsets that can deliver the best possible voice quality are used on their networks; another is to address the problem through deployment of dedicated speech processing and monitoring equipment in the network. Choosing which option provides the best solution for your network requires careful examination of all facts, starting with a good understanding of the issues to address.

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

Voice Quality The Problem


Voice quality in wireless networks is affected by a number of factors, such as signal quality, transmission rate, as well as the presence of noise. Noise impairs the conversational quality both for the person placing a call from a noisy environment (the background noise makes it hard to hear the other party), as well as for the person receiving the call from a noisy environment (the callers voice is corrupted by noise). The caller and the called party may also experience impairments introduced by the handset or environment, such as acoustic echo (see Table 1).

Table 1 : : Impairment Causes and Effects

Impairment
Background Noise Far-end Noise Acoustic Echo

Cause
Noise from equipment (trains, airplanes) or people in the background Background noise in the called party location Sound reflections from the caller location are heard by called party after slight delay. Networks or handsets are not engineered to proper levels; Callers speaking unusually loudly or softly.

Effect
Caller has difficulty hearing the called party Caller hears the background noise from the called party, making conversation difficult Called party hears the caller twice, with a slight delay; often interpreted as noise; can be very annoying. Caller or called party sound too soft or loud.

Level Mismatch

All of the above occur on both ends of the call, doubling the number of potential problems to eight.

Voice problems are complex, and come from a variety of sources. Some of these issues are within the service providers control, and some are not.

THE HANDSET APPROACH


A large percentage of wireless subscribers place their calls from noisy environments (e.g., in the car, on the street, from the mall, at a ball game, in an airport, etc.). The ability to maintain high speech quality in the presence of noise should be a primary consideration when selecting a voice quality solution. This is especially important when lower bit-rate vocoders are in use. Studies on low-bit-rate vocoders [1] indicate that background noise is the root cause of poor performance. Poor C/I is a proximate cause that affects both low-bit-rate and high-bit-rate codecs equally when noise is not present. However, looking at the eight different voice quality problems identified in Table 1, note that handset noise reduction only addresses one of these cases (see Table 2).

Table 2 : : Impairments Solved in Handsets

Impairment
Near-end noise Far-end noise Acoustic echo Level mismatch

Wireless Caller with NR Handset


No protection No protection No protection No protection

Called Party
Protected No protection No protection No protection

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

THE NETWORK-BASED APPROACH


As shown in Table 3, a network-based voice quality solution can address all eight different voice quality impairments for all call types.

Table 3 : : Impairments Solved by Network-Based Solution

Impairment
Near-end noise Far-end noise Acoustic echo Level mismatch

Wireless Caller with NR Handset


Protected Protected Protected Protected

Called Party
Protected Protected Protected Protected

Network-based voice enhancements are a preferred solution for most impairments. Cost effective networkbased echo cancellers are in use in both wireline and wireless networks. For advanced speech processing, network-based solutions provide four important benefits:
1. Advanced processing:

Network-based solutions are not constrained by handset battery life or device size; therefore, can implement advanced algorithms for voice processing.
2. Rapid, lower cost deployment:

Network-based solutions can be deployed rapidly, without the need to provide costly incentives to a large subscriber population to upgrade their handsets.
3. Easy upgrades for lower total cost of ownership:

Network-based solutions provide modularity to incorporate advancements in speech processing by simply downloading new software into the network-based devices.
4. Complete call path coverage regardless of handset types or destinations:

Network-based solutions ensure that all calls are covered for voice quality enhancement. Ditech Networks Voice Quality Assurance (VQA) solutions improve the quality of communications networks for wireless service providers. Our full line of voice quality enhancement and echo cancellation solutions leverages our technical expertise with industry-leading service and support to enable operators to improve voice quality, reduce costs, and realize greater profits through increased customer satisfaction and improved spectrum utilization. VQA provides wireless carriers the capability to optimize and measure voice quality in real-time on all networks, including CDMA, GSM, and 3G/4G.

Copyright 2012 Ditech Networks

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

Wireless Networks
CDMA Networks
Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) has opened the door to new a generation of wireless communications products and services. Using digital encoding spread spectrum Radio Frequency (RF) techniques, CDMA breaks up speech into small, digitized segments and then encodes them to identify individual calls. CDMA allows wireless service providers to pack more digital signals into a particular slice of the radio network, enabling a large number of users to share the same band of spectrum, which greatly increases system capacity. At the same time, CDMA networks face a number of impairments that require voice quality improvement. For example, connectivity to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and the use of inexpensive handsets makes hybrid and acoustic echoes prevalent, causing degraded service quality. In addition, CDMA networks are subject to the ambient noise present in wireless environments. Amplification from a users handset microphone can intensify background noise, exacerbating the noise problem on a call and further degrading the voice quality for the talker and the listener. Another voice quality problem faced by CDMA and other wireless networks is the transfer that occurs when signals travel between different networks, making voice levels too high or too low for optimal listening comfort. Ditechs VQA technology solves CDMA networks unique challenges and improves voice quality by cancelling echo, reducing high background noise, and adjusting level controls.

GSM Networks
Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) is a major digital mobile telephone system covering nearly every nation in the world. As GSM networks evolve, many carriers are faced with the challenge of providing additional network capacity to accommodate subscriber growth and demands for new services. In addition, capacity issues worsen during peak hours, especially in densely populated metropolitan centers. One method of cost-effectively increasing capacity on GSM networks is the utilization of Half-Rate (HR). HR vocoders provide an economical channel capacity solution but they have not been widely deployed because they are associated with degraded voice quality. HR creates additional voice channels but is more susceptible to noise impairments, degrading the quality of voice services. Signal strength, ambient noise, and the effects of tandem speech transcoding also reduce the sound quality of voice calls.

Full-Rate Voice Quality for GSM Half-Rate


Ditech Networks voice quality products address these impairments and assure optimal voice quality performance in GSM networks. Ditechs GSM solutions are designed to enable the deployment of Half-Rate vocoders in GSM networks while improving voice quality of all codecs. In live network subscriber tests, VQA technology has shown significant improvement in voice quality scores for wireless networks, especially in the HR mode, which is more susceptible to ambient degradations.

Copyright 2012 Ditech Networks

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

3G/4G Networks
The evolution of 3G/4G technology introduced a new era in wireless communications, signaling a shift in focus from voice-only communications services to the delivery of a wide range of multimedia, content-rich information applications. 3G/4G wireless capabilities increased efficiency and improved the performance of wireless networks by enabling service subscribers to make a phone call, shop on the Internet, or watch a video clip, all at the same time, from one portable multimedia device. Similar to any wireless network, 3G/4G network users encounter echo, noise, and voice intelligibility impairments that affect the perceived quality of the call. 3G/4G networks are plagued with acoustic or non-linear echo paths. Because the echo return paths are non-stationary, it is more difficult to locate and fix the problem. The high levels of background noise common in all wireless calls are also a problem in 3G/4G networks, as they significantly reduce the sound quality of calls for the end-users.

Maximize the Wireless Call Experience


Wireless service providers in mature markets seek to differentiate their services through quality and competitive pricing. Carriers in early-stage markets must support subscriber growth by increasing network capacity. Each of these goals must be accomplished without compromising voice quality. In both cases, wireless service providers have been planning and transitioning to 3G/4G technologies and services. We work with our customers to achieve these objectives while maintaining or improving the call experience. Business conditions, technologies, and costs may change, but the requirement for consistent, high-quality voice service never goes away. It is our business to help our customers dynamically tune voice and measure voice service for these multiple requirements. Equally, important, optimizing voice requires a full understanding of what the subscribers are experiencing, and quantifying the impact on voice quality of all the variables in the network and in the subscribers environment. We deliver this knowledge to our customers and, coupled with mitigating these impairments in real time, the opportunity we provide to the wireless industry is compelling.

Copyright 2012 Ditech Networks

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

Increasing Network Capacity with AMR-HR


The AMR codec provides operators with a means to optimize the balance between voice quality and spectral efficiency by continuously selecting the optimal speech codec rate for the current radio and traffic conditions. The AMR codec provides excellent radio link adaptation in difficult RF environments and can deliver both better coverage and optimal capacity in the GSM EDGE Radio Access Network (GERAN). AMR relies on a combination of low bit-rate speech codecs and powerful error-correction coding to achieve these benefits. In Theory: AMR adapts to radio and traffic conditions by selecting an optimal combination of speech and errorcorrecting channel coding Lowest codec rates with AMR-FR provide the most robust connections for highest spectrum utilization and best coverage AMR-HR improves TRX hardware utilization (in relatively good C/I conditions) Voice quality is improved because of the dynamic nature of AMR codec In Practice: Lowest AMR codec rates perform poorly in background noise common in wireless calls Many AMR networks showed very little use of the lowest rates (4.75, 5.15, and 5.90 kbps), with dominant codec rates instead being AMR-FR 12.2 and AMR-HR 7.4. Indoor coverage remains almost the same with AMR as it was with GSM EFR Voice quality of AMR network remains similar to that of GSM EFR network Deploying AMR Half Rate (HR) is an efficient method to help relieve congestion and add more capacity to a network. When radio resources are scare, increased use of HR, combined with a judicious selection of adaptation thresholds, can positively affect Call Success Rate and Handover Success Rate KPIs. However, when HR is used to increase network capacity, carriers are concerned about the impact on Dropped Call Rate (DCR) and Voice Quality. Figure 1 shows the full set of AMR speech codec rates, spanning from 4.75 kbps to 12.2 kbps. AMR will generally select the highest available speech codec rate in good radio conditions to maximize speech quality. In poor radio conditions, on the other hand, additional Forward Error Correction (FEC) coding is required to improve robustness and prevent excessive Frame Erasure Rates (FER). Since the total bandwidth available for speech and channel coding is constant, AMR will select a lower speech codec rate to accommodate the increased channel coding required in poorer conditions. This tradeoff between speech coding rate and channel coding rate is illustrated in the following diagram.

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

Figure 1 : : AMR employs 8 speech codec rates (light blue) in AMR-FR mode and 6 speech codec rates in AMR-HR mode. Remaining bandwidth is used by error-correcting channel coding (dark blue)

AMR-FR uses a full rate (22.8 kbps) channel and offers the best possible AMR voice quality when using the 12.2 kbps rate in good link conditions. AMR-FR is also the most robust channel mode since it has the highest amount of channel coding available when the lowest codec rates, such as the 4.75 kbps rate, are employed. AMR-HR uses a half rate (11.4 kbps) channel, which theoretically allows carriers to support two calls for every AMR-FR channel, thus doubling the available capacity on the GERAN. Use of AMR-HR can be particularly useful to address capacity demand peaks, allowing the operator to realize additional traffic channels and avoid congestion. AMR adjusts speech codec rate (light blue) and error-correcting channel coding (dark blue) according to radio conditions for optimized voice quality. In good C/I conditions, where little error-correcting coding is needed, AMR selects a higher speech codec rate for optimal speech quality (up to 12.2 kbps). In poor C/I conditions, more error-correcting coding is needed and AMR therefore selects a lower speech rate (down to 4.75 kbps) to free up bandwidth for the error-correcting coding. Poor C/I conditions often occur when the network is heavily loaded (a lot of interference from simultaneous users) or when the signal strength is low due to limited coverage, e.g., indoors or in rural areas The AMR-HR mode saves BTS hardware and improves equipment utilization by allowing more traffic channels per TRX. However, the AMR-HR mode can only be used in relatively good C/I conditions since only half the bandwidth is available for speech and error-correcting coding.

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

AMR, Voice Quality and Dropped Call Rate


AMR networks have the ability to select the codec rate as a function of the prevailing C/I conditions. The codec rate is selected via a set of C/I thresholds that can be made either conservative or aggressive based on network operator preference. Ditechs Voice Quality Assurance (VQA) can be used to maintain Voice Quality when increasing HR usage while maintaining DCR and FER. With conservative C/I thresholds in place, low bit rate codecs are chosen even under relatively high C/I conditions. Since this approach allows more bits to be devoted to channel encoding, the conservative approach achieves a lower FER and lowers DCR, as shown in Figure 2. However, this comes at a price of reduced speech quality.

7.4kbps

FER/DCR

Greater Use of Robust Codecs


Figure 2 : : More aggressive use of lower bit rate codecs results in a lower DCR

With Aggressive C/I thresholds in place, low bit rate codecs are only used under low C/I conditions; this allows more bandwidth to be allocated to speech encoding in higher C/I conditions, for improved voice quality performance. However, this comes at a price of increased FER/DCR. Optimum speech quality MOS can be impacted by changes to the configured C/I thresholds, as expressed by the resultant FER. The optimum MOS is obtained for a set of C/I thresholds where the best performing codec is always used. The Operational network DCR and Optimum MOS, determines the desired operating region. If a lower DCR is desired, this will come at the cost of sub-optimal MOS. When deploying an increased use of HR, maintaining the optimum MOS and Operational Network DCR is the ultimate goal. Carriers can increase AMR-HR usage and network capacity while maintaining network quality, FER, and DCR within desired levels by changing link adaptation thresholds to use more channel encoding in both AMR-HR and AMR-FR modes and by deploying VQA to compensate for resulting degradation arising from more aggressive use of low bit rate codecs.

Copyright 2012 Ditech Networks

12.2kbps

4.75kbps

5.9kbps

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

This intelligent design allows carriers to increase capacity without further investment in radio resources.

Issues Impacting Voice Quality in Wireless Networks


Wireless service providers should address the specific concerns presented in mobile environments, to insure the highest customer satisfaction and as a key differentiator from other Wireless service providers. As the wireless networks embrace VoIP in core network as well as in access networks, more and more voice quality issues will be encountered. VoIP as compared to TDM networks have longer delays, packet loss, and jitter issues. Together with VoIP induced impairments, the external impairments like background noise, acoustic echo, and speech level mismatch will continue to affect the voice quality. IP transport has resulted in longer delays in networks. Long delays result in very severe echo issues in these networks. VoIP is a complex and performance-sensitive service Users have high expectations regarding the voice quality they will receive Traditional monitoring tools and vendor-oriented offerings are inadequate The following list of impairments, are commonly present in wireless networks, exhibiting several common and annoying symptoms. Echo & Delay Longer delays associated with packet transport technologies have a direct impact on the user perception of any echo, on both ends of the call. Echo is increasingly more prevalent with smaller handset designs, not so perfect design on microphone and speakers due to inadequate acoustic isolation, and the use of hands-free kits. Noise An increasing number of calls occur in noisy urban environments. Background and ambient noise causes degradation in speech quality, and impair the listeners ability to understand the speaker. Level Control When voice calls are connected between two mobile devices, the volume levels are often unbalanced with one side of the call too high or low for comfortable listening. Codec Impairments Degradation in voice quality from greater use of low bit rate codecs. Packet Loss Packet loss due to high congestion on the voice channel causes noticeable artifacts in the speech such as missed words in a sentence.

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

The impairments that cause these and other problems include acoustic echo, low signal-to-noise ratios, a lack of comfort noise, signal levels that are not normalized for consistent volume, use of low bitrate codecs or flawed transcoding between codec types, and poor intelligibility resulting from inevitable packet loss. Individually, these impairments erode customer satisfaction. Collectively, they cause customer churn and make it difficult to attract new, loyal customers.

Voice Quality Metrics


The Need for Voice Quality Metrics
How can a service provider ensure the delivery of consistently good voice quality? One way is to gather information from customer trouble calls and look for trends based on that data. For example, if enough users call in to complain about the quality to a given location, then the problem may be able to be identified and corrected. This approach has some drawbacks however: Only a small subset of users will actually take the effort to call in a complaint thus, many problem areas may remain hidden. Problems in VoIP networks are often transient and difficult to pinpoint and diagnose, even in the face of a large number of complaints If churn is relatively easy, users will simply switch providers instead of complaining. Thus, it is necessary for providers to take proactive, instead of reactive, approaches to measuring voice quality. Some providers have begun using an intrusive approach where test packets are sent across the network and various aspects of the network performance are measured (delay, jitter, loss). Other providers place standardized test calls across the network and measure the performance of the call on MOS or PESQ scales using specialized equipment. While both of these measures help provide an approximation of network performance, neither actually measures real calls as customers experience them on an ongoing basis. The best approach would be to have active monitoring of all calls within the network, providing detailed measurements of the various impairment types, and tie the measurements to threshold alarms that alert network operators to issues as soon as they arise. Ideally, the monitoring system can be specific about the issues in a call is it echo, is it noise? Does it come from my network or someone elses? Only this latter non-intrusive approach provides a means to monitor call quality as it is experienced by subscribers and helps network operators identify issues as they occur, including the presence of any impairments coming from another network.

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

Approaches to Measuring Speech Quality


There are essentially two approaches for assessing voice quality: subjective and objective methods. Subjective methods employ human listeners to evaluate voice quality. The ITU has developed a number of recommendations for subjective testing including the ITU-T P.800, which defines the Mean Opinion Score (MOS) as one important metric for subjective determination of transmission quality. The test subjects are asked to evaluate prepared speech files and then determine the quality of the speech according to the following scale:
Excellent Good Fair Poor Bad 5 4 3 2 1

Objective speech quality is measured by analyzing the characteristics of the speech signal or media stream and applying a perceptual model to estimate a subjective quality score. Subjective testing is expensive and cannot be used for continuously monitoring service quality. Objective testing approaches, such as PESQ (P.862), are applicable for active testing or lab testing of equipment; however, for in-service monitoring of carrier networks, it is essential to use an efficient non-intrusive approach such as the ITU-T G.107 E-Model.

What is Voice Quality?


When it comes to scores for voice quality, there are three generally recognized categories: 1. Listening Quality (LQ) is how well a user can hear during a call 2. Conversational Quality (CQ) is a bidirectional quality metric both listening and talking 3. Transmission Quality measures the complete quality attributes of the underlying transport and CODEC. PESQ only estimates one-way listening quality. It can therefore not take into account impairments that only affect conversational quality. These include transmission delay and acoustic echo, which often occur when using low-end handsets with insufficient isolation between the speaker and the microphone, or when using Bluetooth headsets or speaker phones mandated by many countries while driving. Nor does PESQ capture the impact of background noise at the listening side that often significantly degrades the quality of mobile calls. Applications where PESQ is useful in wireless networks, keeping the above limitations in mind, include automatic quality assurance related to detecting network issues caused by poor coverage or excessive interference, for example.

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

The Absolute Category Rating (ACR) method is a subjective listening method where users rate an experience from 1 to 5 (1 is Bad, 2 is Poor, 3 is Fair, 4 is Good, and 5 is Excellent). The average of a large sample of such ratings is called the Mean Opinion Score (MOS), and is, perhaps, the best-known audio quality score. When tests are carried out, it is important to qualify if it was a listening (MOS-LQ) or conversational (MOS-CQ) test. The E-Model, developed within the ETSI and ITU, derives a value called the R-Factor, which includes variables addressing conversational and transmission quality. There are several mappings between R-Factors and MOS scores these mappings are approximations.

Table 4 : : R-Factor to MOS Mappings

User Opinion
Maximum Obtainable For G.711 Very Satisfied Satisfied Some Users Satisfied Many Users Dissatisfied Nearly All Users Dissatisfied Not Recommended

R-Factor
93 90 100 80 90 70 80 60 70 50 60 0 50

MOS (ITU scale)


4.4 4.3 5.0 4.0 4.3 3.6 4.0 3.1 3.6 2.6 3.1 1.0 2.6

MOS (ACR scale)


4.1 4.1 5.0 3.7 4.1 3.4 3.7 2.9 3.4 2.4 2.9 1.0 2.4

Generally, an R-Factor of 80 or above represents a good objective. Since R-Factors are conversational metrics, the statement that R-Factors should be 80 or more implies both a good listening quality and low delay. A MOS of 4.0 is typically regarded as toll quality, and a good target level is typically 3.7 or above. MOS values are typically quoted as listening quality scores; i.e.: MOS-LQ. The typical manufacturer-quoted MOS values for G.711 and G.729A are 4.1 and 3.9, respectively, implying that G.729A could not meet the ITU scaled MOS for Satisfied. This problem is due to the scaling of MOS and not the CODECs. Typical ACR scores for CODECs should be compared to an ACR scaled range; i.e., Satisfied would be range 3.7 to 4.1.

What is good enough?


It is generally recognized that a MOS score of 4.0 or above, or an R-Factor of 80 or above, represent good quality speech. Nevertheless, of course, it gets more complicated. The values of both MOS and R-Factor can be highly dependent on narrowband (8 KHz) versus wideband (16 KHz) audio. Because wide band audio has higher fidelity, perception of quality changes thus, wideband ACR scores may be lower than equivalent narrowband ones. Ultimately, good enough becomes a measure that an operator should own; in the business sense, good enough is the value of quality that reduces quality-related churn to acceptable levels for a given business. Quality is a measure that must be owned by the service provider they must understand it, measure it, and control it. Only in this way can they ensure that it has a net positive effect on their business.

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

Ditech Networks Overview


Ditech Networks provides Voice Quality Enhancement (VQA) solutions to carriers worldwide. As more and more operators are focusing on improving the voice quality of their networks to differentiate themselves from competition, they want to make sure that any new network architecture offers yet better voice quality. Ditech has maintained the leadership in the voice quality enhancement market and has continued to provide solutions for wireline, wireless, and VoIP Networks. Ditechs VQA technology enables wireless carriers to significantly improve the total end-to-end voice quality of wireless networks. VQA features improve overall voice call quality and clarity on every call by providing noise reduction, enhanced voice intelligibility, voice level control, and acoustic echo control. We are widely recognized for our unparalleled expertise and innovation in voice communications and our dedication to customer satisfaction. Ditech helps service providers achieve both better service quality and increased profitability. Better service quality and broader service offerings mean greater customer satisfaction, which translates into greater market share and increased revenue opportunities. The Ditech solutions provide a distinct competitive advantage that help customers introduce new services, improve network performance, and build customer loyalty. Increased Revenue Callers who experience superior voice quality make more calls and talk longer, increasing the average usage rate per subscriber and extending revenue opportunities for service providers. Improved Customer Satisfaction Improved voice quality and greater service offerings build customer loyalty and reduce churn rates. As callers become accustomed to a superior voice experience, they will not be willing to give it up for claims of free calls or minutes. Growing Market Share Satisfied customers tell others about their service, attracting new customers and increasing revenue opportunities for service providers. Return on Investment (ROI) Investing in Ditechs innovative solutions is a cost-effective way to improve network performance and increase customer satisfaction. Lower CAPEX /OPEX We combine our technical advantage with industry-leading service, support to design, and develop products with the highest capacity, highest density, and lowest power usage possible. Time to Market Advantage Ditech Networks leverages the technological advances in the commercial IC and DSP industries. We bring high-performance products to market faster, requiring smaller investments in capital equipment than alternative solutions.

Copyright 2012 Ditech Networks

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

Voice Quality Assurance


Ditechs VQA solution is a comprehensive set of industry-leading voice processing algorithms that, together, mitigate the problems associated with environmental impairments (echo, noise, and mismatched levels) as well as problems associated with the use of low bit rate codecs in wireless networks. This set of features mitigates network-induced impairments, impairments from the callers environment, and impairments from the callers devices, in real-time, on both ends of the call simultaneously. Quality communications lead to greater customer satisfaction, increased usage, and higher retention rates.

VQA features include the following:


Adaptive Noise Cancellation (ANC) ANC is an advanced processing technique that removes background/environmental noise components by up to 21dB during both speech and pauses, resulting in greatly enhanced call clarity. Includes GSM/RF/Blackberry Noise Cancellation, designed to remove unwanted interferences caused by GSM phones during network synchronization.
Benefits to Wireless Network Operators/ Subscribers

ANC reduces the background noise coming from the wireless talkers side and makes his/her conversation more intelligible resulting in the subscriber feeling satisfied with the network quality.

Automatic Level Control (ALC) ALC technology dynamically detects level imbalances and automatically adds or attenuates by up to 15dB, as needed to bring both sides of the call to a specified volume level.
Benefits to Wireless Network Operators/ Subscribers

When wireless calls are connected, the volume levels are often unbalanced with one side of the call too high or low for comfortable listening. Subscribers will communicate more comfortably.

Adaptive Listener Enhancement (ALE) ALE automatically raises the voice volume in one direction in response to noise measured in the other direction. This feature is useful when calls are placed in noisy environments.
Benefits to Wireless Network Operators/ Subscribers

ALE automatically increases the intelligibility of the phone call. The wireless talker is not required to turn up the volume on his handset because of high background noise.

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

Acoustic Echo Control (AEC) AEC adaptively converges on non-linear echoes created by handsets and hands-free phones, making calls sound clear and natural. AEC attenuates echo up to 640ms and 0dB WAEPL
Benefits to Wireless Network Operators/ Subscribers

Acoustic echo becomes more problematic with VoIP induced packet delay, making the echo more noticeable. By effectively eliminating the acoustic echo from the wireless subscriber side, the user will experience a significantly improved voice quality experience.

Enhanced Voice Intelligibility (EVI) EVI rebalances the spectral characteristics of speech components to enable the listener to more easily distinguish and understand voice in loud environments.
Benefits to Wireless Network Operators/ Subscribers

EVI automatically increases the intelligibility of the wireless call, without distorting or amplifying the signal.

Low-Bitrate Codec Voice Improvement Ditechs voice quality solutions improve the quality of service delivered using low-bitrate vocoders.
Benefits to Wireless Network Operators/ Subscribers

This allows wireless carriers to increase network capacity with minimal capital investment and without compromising voice quality.

Intelligent Packet Restoration (IPR) IPR uses a predictive speech model to reconstruct missing packets in a VoIP packet stream. It provides better subjective and objective performance than the traditional packet-loss compensation methods.
Benefits to Wireless Network Operators/ Subscribers

IPR restores high-quality voice in congested IP networks that have substantial packet loss.

Compressed Speech Processing In legacy networks as well as in some of the current networks, speech path within the core network has always been in uncompressed linear domain (G.711). Because of its uncompressed linear nature, it is relatively easy to process speech signal. In Wireless Networks where speech is transmitted in a compressed format like AMR, any voice quality treatment, such as echo suppression or noise filtration, becomes a challenge when speech remains encoded in a compressed format. Most vendors first convert the compressed speech in a linear format (PCM) for voice quality treatment and then encode it again in compressed format (AMR). This process is easy to implement but the voice quality is severely affected and delay is introduced.

Copyright 2012 Ditech Networks

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

Ditech Networks maintains leadership in media processing technology by enabling voice quality enhancement within compressed speech format without conversion to a linear format, therefore avoiding tandem encoding and associated delay/degradation.

Figure 3 : : VQA enhances compressed speech without converting to linear format

Compressed-Domain Processing Benefits

Leverages existing, proven voice improvement algorithms Equivalent performance to PCM-based solutions No transcoding artifacts Minimal processing delay

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

Experience Intelligence
In addition to the voice quality improvement, Ditechs Experience Intelligence (EXi) solution provides operators unprecedented insight into the voice quality that subscribers are experiencing. By continuously and non-intrusively monitoring all calls in both directions and reporting a broad set of voice quality statistics, voice quality can be closely monitored. Noise and Speech Levels EXi measures per-call speech level, noise level, and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Echo and Delay EXi measures acoustic echo and provides statistics about echo delay and return loss. Transmission Rating Factors and Mean Opinion Scores Per-call listening and conversational R-Factor and MOS values are computed continuously and nonintrusively based on the sum of measured voice quality impairments (speech, noise, and echo) as well as codec type, frame loss, and jitter. EXis objective scores follow the ITU-T G.107 E-Model standard and use a unique DSP-based approach to analyze live voice signal. Packet Measurements EXi non-intrusively collects packet statistics on an ongoing, per-call basis, and quickly identifies the source of the IP issues that are affecting voice quality

Conclusion
By thorough analysis and characterization of live networks, Ditech has developed a high-performance, easyto-deploy, and cost-effective voice quality solutions for wireless providers. VQA dynamically adapts to noise, echo, and delay characteristics on both ends of every call to ensure a consistent and clear communications experience for both the calling and called party, for all call types (wireless VoIP, wireline VoIP/PSTN, etc.). Ditechs VQA technology brings the wireless marketplace one step closer to providing a toll quality service. As Wireless Service Providers continue to introduce new services, they must also focus on service quality assurance to differentiate themselves from the competition. The strategy of using price to attract new subscribers is only part of the solution, as markets mature and customers have higher expectations of service quality. This is why service quality should matter to Wireless Service Providers. Ditechs VQA will enable the Wireless Service Providers to be more competitive in the wireless market by helping to retain existing subscribers through user satisfaction and service usage. Consumer satisfaction will result in revenue increase for network operators.

Copyright 2012 Ditech Networks

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Voice Quality Solutions for Wireless Networks

About Ditech Networks Ditech Networks (NASDAQ: DITC) is revolutionizing modern communications with advanced voice processing solutions and voice applications that offer network and speech quality enhancement, voice-to-text services, and more. Ditech believes in the power and simplicity of human speech. Leveraging over 20 years of deployments with communications providers around the world, Ditech offers unique, effective products and services that put the subscribers experience first. Ditechs customers include Verizon, AT&T, Sprint/Nextel, Orascom Telecom, China Unicom, Global Crossing, and West Corporation.

Ditech Networks 3099 North First Street San Jose, CA 95134 USA

800 234 0884 toll free 800 770 0117 support 408 883 3611 direct 408 894 9448 fax

sales@ditechnetworks.com www.ditechnetworks.com

Copyright 2012 Ditech Networks. All rights reserved. PhoneTag, Read Your Voicemail!, Packet Voice Processor, VQA, and Experience Intelligence are trademarks of Ditech Networks. All other brands are the property of their respective owners. Specifications may change without notice. This document was last revised March, 2012.

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