Nokia VMR-WB Codec wins 3GPP2 Approval

Finnish mobile technology giant Nokia on Thursday announced
that its VMR-WB (Variable-Rate Multi-Mode Wideband) codec has won approval from the 3GPP2 forum to form the underbelly of moves to standardize a CDMA2000 speech codec.

CDMA2000 is another term for single carrier (1x) radio transmission technology, a 3G technology based on the CDMA standard that can transmit data at speeds of up to 144 Kbps.

The Third Generation Partnership
Project
(3GPP2), a collaborative forum overseeing GSM development in the
U.S. and Asia, picked Nokia’s codec from a field of five competing
proposals.

Nokia’s VMR-WB is comparable to current narrowband speech codecs and is seen as a crucial piece of technology to help push widespread adoption of GSM/WCDMA networks. The standard is also seen as a way to help address bandwidth issues, as data demands rise on wireless networks, by using variable bit-rate codecs rather than traditional fixed bit-rate codecs.

With next-generation networks promising high-speed wireless data
processing, the adoption of the VMR-WB codec could potentially be used to
create applications for mobile-to-mobile wideband voice calls, voice over IP
(VoIP) and mobile or fixed network audio conferencing.

Nokia said other uses could come in the areas of point-to-point and
multi-point business applications, multimedia streaming and even
videoconferencing on mobile devices.

For Nokia, one of 73 member companies in the 3GPP2 forum, the approval
adds legitimacy to its heavy spending on R&D for 3G next-generation technology.
The company said the use of its codec allows call quality that “represents a
quantum leap over the quality of both today’s wireless and wireline
networks.”

In addition to being fully compliant with the CDMA2000 rate-set II, Nokia
said the VMR-WB standard was interoperable with the AMR-WB standard selected
by the 3GPP for use in GSM/WCDMA networks. 3GPP is the European equivalent
of the 3GPP2 project.

“The interoperability between CDMA2000 and WCDMA networks that is enabled
by the VMR-WB technology allows high-value voice services to be used between
mobile customers across the globe, regardless of the network standard that
each customer is using,” Nokia said in a statement.

The VMR-WB codec is built to ensure improved call performance under
severe channel error and background noise conditions.

The 3GPP2 forum was born out of the International Telecommunication
Union’s (ITU) International Mobile Telecommunications “IMT-2000” initiative,
covering high speed, broadband, and Internet Protocol (IP)-based mobile
systems. In addition to Nokia, member companies include Cisco Systems
, DoCoMo , Ericsson Wireless, Hitachi,
Ltd., Kyocera Corp., Nextel and Lucent.

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