Business VoIP Featured Article

Nation's Phone Infrastructure Will Soon Support VoIP

October 22, 2014

By Clayton Hamshar, Contributing Writer

Amidst a steady stream of technological advancements and constantly shifting infrastructure over the past century, the U.S.’s phone network has remained virtually unchanged (ignoring, for the purposes of this article, the new technologies that replace it or provide an alternative). In fact, phone calls still travel over copper wiring in most places, the same material Alexander Graham Bell relied on when he invented the telephone.

But that is all about to change within the next few years as engineers work hard to convert the nation’s phone infrastructure to modern fiber optic cables – capable of transmitting enormous amounts of data – and provide HD phone service to the public. The process is greatly simplified as telecom operators are already expanding the fiber optic network for ultra-high-speed Internet and data transmission; HD voice will just be another type of data travelling on the cables.

Daniel Berninger, one of the chief pioneers of Voice-over-IP (VoIP) in the 1990s, is leading this project with a pilot program involving all of the country’s major carriers. Between 400,000 and 500,000 volunteers are involved in the program as test subjects, and Berninger expects that number to rise to 4 million by the end of next year and 40 million the year after that.

The traditional phone network transmits calls with a frequency range of 300 Hz to 3.4 kHz. The HD phone network (HDN) will support a much larger frequency range reaching as high as 7 kHz. In addition the HDN will support a much larger quantity of traffic, speeding up calls for parties on both ends. But one of the most tangible benefits is a giant leap in overall quality; calls that travel solely on a fiber optic cable instead of constantly being switched back and forth between materials will not suffer from the resultant echo effect and noise that telecom operators have fought to restrain for a long time.

Besides laying the infrastructure, essentially the only other necessary step is for the government to impose the necessary regulations i.e. cooperation with law enforcement and disability access. Otherwise the transition process will remain virtually invisible to the public, at least until these remarkable improvements in quality are noticed.

Edited by Alisen Downey



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