[rtcweb] Qualcomm's Position on Mandatory-to-Implement Audio Codecs for RTCWeb

"Mandyam, Giridhar" <mandyam@quicinc.com> Wed, 15 August 2012 13:48 UTC

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From: "Mandyam, Giridhar" <mandyam@quicinc.com>
To: "rtcweb@ietf.org" <rtcweb@ietf.org>
Thread-Topic: Qualcomm's Position on Mandatory-to-Implement Audio Codecs for RTCWeb
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Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2012 13:48:17 +0000
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Subject: [rtcweb] Qualcomm's Position on Mandatory-to-Implement Audio Codecs for RTCWeb
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Hello All,
Qualcomm is in favor of G.711 being the only mandatory-to-implement codec for RTCWeb.  We do not support having both Opus and G.711 as mandatory-to-implement codecs.  We state the following reasons:

a)      There is no technical need to have an audio codec besides G.711 be designated as mandatory to implement.  Because RTCWeb uses SDP to negotiate the codecs, the only reason to have anything as mandatory is to make sure there is always at least one codec that both sides can use, a lowest common denominator.  This allows the market to decide which codecs to support, rather than edict from a standards body.  Implementations can base their choice of which codec to support based on what they are trying to optimize.  For example, better performance for the environment at the time of the session, such as cell phone or desktop.

b)      G.711 is universal, unencumbered, and widely implemented.    In addition, note that codec implementation and testing is quite costly for chip and device manufacturers, and that cost is ultimately reflected in the cost of the end-user device.  The computational simplicity of G.711 and its long-time availability on a broad range of platforms means that the implementation is available on low/entry-tier devices and testing costs have already been amortized over many years, thereby enabling its use in low cost end-user devices.  If we want to see widespread use of RTCWeb for voice, than we will reach a much broader population if the minimum requirements do not prohibit low-cost devices.

c)       A mandate for Opus will limit initial RTCWeb clients to use software-based  codecs (on general purpose processors) where Opus can be implemented and tested easily until it is available on a variety of DSPs.  Even then, it will likely start on high-cost platforms.  This may in turn mean that RTCWeb clients could consume significantly more battery power than DSP-based codecs used in many traditional (circuit-switched) voice services, further inhibiting the end-user from choosing RTCWeb over those services.

d)      We do not believe Opus is more versatile than other standardized codecs, because any measure of versatility should take into account quality at a given bitrate.  If Opus is not able to deliver superior quality at all supported bitrates when compared to other codecs, then it cannot be deemed as being more versatile simply because it supports more bitrates when compared to other standardized codecs.

In conclusion - the IETF has a strong tradition of starting work with the least amount of complexity and specification possible, gaining operational experience, and then refining things with revisions or extensions.  So, the least amount of complexity would be G.711 as the sole audio codec.