New Microsoft Patent May Offer Quick Fix for Poor VoIP Quality


A patent recently filed by Microsoft may contain clues about plans for mitigating interference over poor VoIP connections. 

Many issues such as network jitters or packet loss can affect the quality of VoIP communications. One typical solution is for engineers to correct the crackle and pops at the source. But Microsoft, whose Skype subsidiary is a leading VoIP provider,  apparently is thinking in other, new directions.

The patent outlines a device that could detect network issues and convert spoken words into packets of text. Users can then view the text on a visual display separate from audio output on a speaker. And the entire sequence would occur instantaneously.

Despite poor networking conditions, the technology would generate subtitles of a conversation that could be read on screen. But the technology described in the patent might also use the data packets to create speech synthesis, or supplement voice conversation with electronic vocals. A visual notification would tell users on a call when the technology is stepping in to supplement interrupted conversation.

It may also be possible for users to switch to a separate channel when the conventional VoIP call is compromised.

Taken a step further, these advances would potentially also allow Microsoft to generate video content, possibly with an AI application painting in or enhancing digital representation. Video content could also be packaged using similar tech as voice content to ensure that real time video is not interrupted.

Hundreds of technology patents are filed in the United States every day, and Microsoft’s filing does not guarantee that the company would roll out such a solution in the near future. But the technology does present an obvious fix for the network outages that plague VoIP callers, especially those located in remote areas.

Microsoft is devoting more attention to the integration of VoIP into its existing applications. It has offered VoIP as part of the chat facility within Microsoft Teams, although recent updates have seen the more prominent introduction of a dedicated call button as part of the Teams menu.

Microsoft removed the calls app in January because it was seeing clickable PSTN numbers and trying to call them.

Key Takeaways:

  • Microsoft has filed a patent in the US for new technology that would seek to repair the quality of voice- based VoIP – and potentially also video calls – by translating data into packets that would be sent down the network.
  • The technology could potentially convert voice into sub titles and support a separate alternative channel that users could refer to when call quality was poor.
  • The solution does hold out the prospect for a swift resolution to some of the problems that tend to affect VoIP users in more remote areas, where broadband is not as consistent or effective.
  • The solution also holds out the possibility that similar issues surrounding higher capacity video calls could be resolved in a similar way.