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What are HD voice calls?

HD voice is an enhanced calling experience using a combination of wideband audio codecs and handsets optimized to reduce background noise. HD voice is only available on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems.

With high-definition phone calls, you have more productive conversations due to the improved audio quality that VoIP provides.

Traditional phones don't support HD voice because calls travel over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) using narrowband codecs.

Benefits of HD voice calling

High-Definition Voice (HD voice) helps people hear each other better over the phone.

Popular benefits of HD voice include:

  • Crystal-clear sound — Look forward to calling your next lead or customer by hearing them in a full range of their voice. With a headset, background noise is eliminated entirely.

  • Less repetition — Repeating yourself on business calls is expensive. Call quality influences customer satisfaction and a poor audio experience can cost you sales.

  • No additional setup — HD voice works perfectly without any extra setup. Calls work just as they usually would. Enjoy HD voice calls on many VoIP phones and apps.

  • Optimal bandwidth usage — HD voice uses a variety of codecs to upgrade the call to a higher quality automatically. Nextiva adapts to your network to provide HD audio for all your phones and mobile devices.

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Pros and cons of HD voice calls


No setup is required to enjoy using HD voice. It’s a technology built into your VoIP phones and devices. It’s managed centrally within your cloud phone system.

The range of frequencies and bitrate is higher, meaning your calls sound clear and crisp without any echoes or problems.

If you’ve ever been on a conference call, you’ll appreciate the vast improvement in the audio quality and clarity for participants.


To use VoIP, you must have a high-speed internet connection. HD voice may marginally increase the data usage above standard quality phone calls.

For phone calls that come in through the cellular or traditional phone system, they may not be in HD voice quality— if it’s available, the call will be upgraded.

The technology behind HD voice calls

HD voice calls use finely tuned audio codecs and improved handset acoustics.

HD voice codecs

HD voice is possible because the caller’s voice is sent over the internet from your VoIP phone. The audio is compressed (and later decompressed) using a codec, which encodes and decodes audio for rapid transmission. Different codecs have a higher sampling rate with a modest bitrate.

There are many high-definition codecs available, but here are the most common wideband ones:

  • G.711

  • G.722.1C

  • G.722

  • G.729

  • G.722.1

  • SILK

Unlike traditional landlines, call quality adapts automatically to changing network conditions such as Wi-Fi.

HD voice handset acoustics

Advancements in voice quality offer improved sound quality by capturing only the desired caller’s voice without background noise. Active noise-canceling technology is found in premium headphones, luxury sports cars, and newer VoIP headsets.

When used with HD voice codecs, the improved call quality offers participants a superior experience as if they were speaking in the same room.

VoIP phones today support HD voice phone calls, including Poly, Cisco, Panasonic, Samsung, and countless other SIP-compatible phones.

HD voice technology uses the same secure protocols that power the internet.

Business Phone Service Benefits

Why businesses choose Nextiva

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Nextiva is HIPAA and SOC-2 compliant, with a multi-million-dollar security budget.

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Call Quality

High-performance data centers and HD Voice technology ensure superior voice quality.

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Anyone can set up and use Nextiva’s cloud PBX system, not just technical staff.

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HD voice calling FAQs

HD voice refers to phone calls that offer higher audio quality using wideband audio codecs. HD voice is available on both VoIP and select smartphones. HD voice provides a better-quality sound as compared to landlines or calls that connect over the plain old telephone system (POTS).

HD voice is a technology from Polycom and is included with its devices including desk phones, conference phones, and wireless phones. More generically, HD audio is achieved when both parties on the phone are using a G.722 or higher wideband audio codec.

All that’s needed to experience HD voice is a compatible VoIP phone connected to a high-speed broadband connection. VoIP phones automatically adapt to the available bandwidth to provide callers the best experience.

Requirements for HD voice calls include:

  • A cloud phone system that supports HD voice
  • Compatible VoIP phones or business phone apps
  • Sufficient network bandwidth (120kbps) for HD voice calls
  • Calls to not traverse the traditional phone system (PSTN)

Note that devices connected to Wi-Fi support wideband voice, but wired connections are best.

For most users, you don’t have to do anything to experience HD voice. Contact your phone provider to ensure that HD voice calling is enabled for your account. Not all handsets and telephone networks support HD voice, and may not always result in higher quality phone calls.

Not all VoIP service providers offer HD calling, but Nextiva supports HD voice with its business phone service.

There are a few scenarios where HD voice may not be available.

  • POTS/PSTN Calls: Calls connected over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) do not support HD voice due to their narrowband codecs.
  • Low Bandwidth: Network connections with high latency can cause VoIP services to gracefully degrade the call quality in favor of achieving a more reliable connection.
  • Cellular networks: Not all cell networks support HD voice. Top carriers have only recently expanded support for HD voice calls happening outside of their network.

We recommend installing the latest iPhone (iOS) and Android carrier updates to achieve the best possible calling experience.

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