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The quality of service limitation of today's Internet is a major challenge for real-time voice communications. Excessive delay, packet loss, and high delay jitter all impair the communication quality. A new receiver-based playout scheduling scheme is proposed to improve the tradeoff between buffering delay and late loss for real-time voice communication over IP networks. In this scheme the network delay is estimated from past statistics and the playout time of the voice packets is adaptively adjusted. In contrast to previous work, the adjustment is not only performed between talkspurts, but also within talkspurts in a highly dynamic way. Proper reconstruction of continuous playout speech is achieved by scaling individual voice packets using a time-scale modification technique based on the Waveform Similarity Overlap-Add (WSOLA) algorithm. Results of subjective listening tests show that this operation does not impair audio quality, since the adaptation process requires infrequent scaling of the voice packets and low playout jitter is perceptually tolerable. The same time-scale modification technique is also used to conceal packet loss at very low delay, i.e., one packet time. Simulation results based on Internet measurements show that the tradeoff between buffering delay and late loss can be improved significantly. The overall audio quality is investigated based on subjective listening tests, showing typical gains of 1 on a 5-point scale of the Mean Opinion Score.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2003