Web Site Updates

I am about to head to Dayton for the Hamvention, so took the opportunity to bring my web site up to date. The Codec 2 page includes our latest plans on building a Linux/Windows GUI Application for HF Digital Voice, has updates on recent algorithm developments, links to conference videos, and lots of figures explaining how Codec 2 works. I have added a FDMDV modem page, and updated my About Page to reflect my current projects and motivation. The Media page includes updates on recent conferences and radio interviews, and has a section on how this post on busting my daughters party with a Fluksometer went viral around the world, ending up back at my local newspaper!

ISIF award for Dili Village Telco

This is somewhat old news but last September Fongtil and I won an award for our work on the Dili Village Telco. Here is the ISIF press release. We were selected from a group of about 50 ISIF funded projects for the award. Here is a photo of Lemi (2nd from right) accepting the award in Nairobi, Kenya:

Although this project was my first developing world deployment and I worked hard to make sure we did a good job, soaking up experience and knowledge from others where I could.

I think we got it about 70% right. Many things (ease of use, training, enthusiasm for local assembly and installation) worked really well. However being an Engineer there are still some remaining “bugs” I feel compelled to work on, for example there are still lingering issues with Wifi link quality, and a sustainable business model. Importantly, I haven’t seen viral growth, either in Timor or other Village Telco deployments. This is important for me – my goal for the Village Telco was to help a lot of people in the developing world get telephony. This can only happen if the local people embrace the technology and grow the networks themselves without reliance on grants or 1st world technical input. I do think many of the pieces for this are in place. “The Engineer” in me would love to have a go at really fixing those remaining issues! Still, this award confirms we did pretty well over all.

Although the funded part of the project officially ended in 2011, Fongtil are continuing to work on the project using internal resources and have also secured a further ISOC grant. They continue to train people, install nodes, evangelise with government (e.g. installing Mesh Potatoes in the National Parliament building), and have plans to fix the Wifi link issues in Dili:

I have moved my time and attention to other projects for now, but would love to get back to Timor some time to help out if I can. In the mean time Village Telco development and deployment work continues in Timor Leste and around the world.

FDMDV Modem Page

I have added a FDMDV modem page to this web site, plus typed up a README_fdmdv.txt that explains all the files related to the modem and how to use them.

This modem was “lost” a few years ago as the initial implementation was closed source. So I felt compelled to put a fair bit of effort into documenting the open source implementation I have been working on. Building this modem was fun, just hard enough to be challenging but no real show stopper bugs and didn’t hurt my head like Codec 2 algorithm development.

Next step is to tweak Codec 2 to make it interface cleanly to the modem for some initial on-air tests.

IP0X Price Drop and Atcom IP Phones

Due to the consistently high Australian dollar we have lowered the prices of our IP0X range for Australian customers, for example the popular IP04 has been reduced from AUD$399 to AUD$349. We have also started distributing Atcom IP phones in Australia. These phones are very popular in other countries and we are looking for Australian resellers. Please Contact us for reseller pricing.

Codec 2 Over the Air

Some exciting developments this week with Codec 2 being used over the air for the first time!

Bruce, VE9QRP has written a script that allows Codec 2 calls over any IP network. He has tested it over the air using Laptop Wifi and is looking for people to contact him over the Internet.

Ben, VK6IC has tested Codec 2 on 145MHz using a home brew modem, all running on Windows (Ben’s work includes porting Codec 2 to Windows/MSVC). Ben had a contact with VK6UFO between Armadale and Ballajura (Western Australia), a distance of about 40 km. Ben has some off the air samples (including Speex at 8 kbit/s over the same channel) on his web site.

Sorin Cocorada has modified a Speex client to use Codec 2 and has been experimenting with simulated packet loss of up to 30%.

Fantastic work guys. It’s inspiring for me to see this level of interest in Codec 2. More discussion over on the Codec 2 Mailing list.

Codec2 V0.1 Alpha Released

I have just released V0.1 of the Codec2 low bit rate open source speech codec. Almost 1 year to the day since the project started with this post. Speech samples and lots of other new information on the Codec2 page.

I was convinced by many to release early with the current algorithm. After listening to some early MELP 2400 bit/s samples I realised we were already in the ball bark with speech quality. A V0.1 release gives people a chance to try out Codec2 while I work on the algorithm quality and bit rate in parallel.

Codec2 currently runs at 2550 bit/s and delivers fair speech quality. It runs 10 times faster than real time on a modest Linux laptop and is usable today for digital radio or VOIP experimentation.