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A new standard ensures better voice quality for mobile telephony

Since the appearance of the first mobile phones in the 1990s, the variable and often poor phone quality has repeatedly caused dissatisfaction. After many years of intensive research and development, a trend reversal is now imminent: Twelve leading companies in the mobile communications sector have developed a new technology that will dramatically improve the quality of voice and audio communication via cell phones and smartphones - the communication codec Enhanced Voice Services (EVS). Fraunhofer IIS has made a significant contribution to this development through its work.

The international organization for the development of mobile telecommunications standards, »3GPP«, of which Fraunhofer IIS is a member, recently completed work on the new EVS codec. The source code is now publicly available via 3GPP.

The new codec will take mobile telephony a big step forward: As the first 3GPP voice codec, EVS can transmit the entire audio bandwidth of up to 20 kHz that can be heard by humans. This makes EVS the first full HD voice-capable audio codec for use in mobile telephony. A unique audio and voice experience is achieved for cell phone calls, which is matched by the quality of today's digital media offerings, such as B. streaming music or movies, is comparable.

EVS was specially developed for packet-based services such as VoLTE (Voice over LTE). For this purpose, EVS has extensive functions such as a multi-rate voice and audio codec, a source-based variable bit rate mode, a voice / sound activity detector, a comfort noise generator, an error concealment mechanism, an operating mode for bad network situations and a powerful jitter buffer Management. In this way, EVS is very robust against transmission errors such as jitter or packet loss.

In addition to significantly improved voice quality for cell phone calls, the EVS codec will also enable new applications in the future: for example, thanks to the improved sound quality, radio presenters can broadcast quality broadcasts from any location directly via their smartphone without having to resort to conventional and expensive studio technology have to.

But cell phone users in particular will benefit from the better sound quality in the future: whether music performances, the grandchildren's birthday song or the ringing of Big Ben from downtown London - with EVS all these impressions can be experienced crystal clear via cell phone calls, as if you were there yourself. Thanks to EVS, not only speech can be reproduced in unmatched quality, but music and ambience can also be reproduced in a natural way.

Cover picture: © Fraunhofer IIS / Kurt Fuchs

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