Back in the heydey of the mighty experimental Arpanet, when roaming around the US and dropping in on computers coast to coast from London on a packet-switched network was exciting, the Arpanet experimenters tried to find how much they could condense the human voice, squeeze it into packets and still make it intelligible. These days, everyone uses packet nets and they only people who drop in unannounced on distant computers are unwelcome hackers – and packetised speech is now a commercial product. Micom Systems Inc, the Simi Valley, California company under offer from unidentified suitors bidding $250m up, has two new pieces of kit that use its Advanced Packetised Voice technology, which enables speech to be sent over channels as slow as 9,600 bits per second, against the 32,000 or 64,000 bits per second normally needed. Micom says the technique maintains communications-grade speech quality and assures clear user recognition, full emotional content and a consistent level of performance, and the two new products that apply it are a fully integrated voice and data statistical multiplexor, the Stat V, and a speech packetiser, the APV 1, which provides a free voice channel anywhere a clear 9,600-bit-per-second synchronous data channel exists so that talk and data traffic can share a single leased telephone line. The Stat V is claimed to be the first fully integrated voice and data statistical multiplexor to operates over a single leased line operating at 9,600, 14,400, or 19,200 bits per second or on a 56Kbps digital circuit so that digital voice and data packets are mingled during transmission and are multiplexed and demultiplexed using the same techniques as for data only – taking advantage of the silent pauses. It offers four speech channels and numerous data configurations and prices start at under $5,000, for immediate ships. The APV 1 usable with a time division multiplexor or data switch, commadneers excess bandwidth on an existing data circuit to provide a free speech channel taking 9,600bps bandwidth. It is $1,990.
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