SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Codec chips have been around for decades converting analog telephone signals to digital formats for telecom switching systems, but now there's something new in coder-decoder ICs--the first programmable octal voice codec from Integrated Device Technology Inc.
In addition to being the first codec capable of handling eight channels, the new IDT821068 has other "bells and whistles" for new telecom voice-processing applications, such as greater programmability, caller ID support, metering for tracking duration of phone calls, and other functions, said the Santa Clara company.
The new octal codec falls under IDT's ongoing efforts in voice-oriented ICs, and it is the first result of collaboration between the Santa Clara company and Intersil Holding Corp. in telecom chips (see May 22 story). The programmable octal codec has hooks to work with Intersil's HC55185 micro-leadframe ringing subscriber line interface circuit (SLIC). The two companies are also offering engineering solutions and application support for rapid development of products using these two ICs.
"The codec is a basic building block in the network--in terms of line cards and other functions--but it is also needed in new emerging categories, such as voice-over-IP Internet protocol, gateways and integrated access devices," said Mario Montana, director of IDT's telecommunications products division. "In emerging markets, this type of codec requirement still exist, and we are adding functions to address new technologies and applications."
The new features in the 821068 octal codec can be used by system makers to lower the cost while handling analog voice lines and broadband connections to ISDN, DSL, cable and T1/E1 networks. The programmable features can be used by service providers to activate value-added services in the network, Montana said.
The new codec provides a high-level of programmability through an advanced feature set. These features include AC impedance matching, tone generation, transhybrid balance, frequency response correction, gain setting, and selectable microprocessor interface (MPI)/general communications interface (GCI). Most other codecs provide these feature sets with external ASICs or digital serial port, IDT said. Integrating these feature onto the codec reduces system costs, board space, and development time, said the company.
Looking ahead, IDT is considering increasing the number of channels on codecs to 12 or 16, said Montana. Another direction for codec development is to integrate more functionality into the device, including some pieces of SLIC devices or DC loop control. "With finer process geometries, we might add more features, such as voice compression," Montana hinted.
The octal voice codec device is now available for sampling with production quantities set for shipment in August. IDT is also planning to offer quad versions of the programmable voice codec as well with samples set in September. In quantities of 10,000, the octal codec will sell for $10.50 each in a 128-pin package.
--J. Robert Lineback