We have had a busy couple of weeks at VATSIM with a number of announcements being made both at our convention in London last weekend and here on the forums. This post intends to summarise the position of VATSIM on two of these.
New Voice Codec
Voice quality on VATSIM has long been the subject of much discussion on our network, with the compatibility of older pilot clients being a barrier to upgrading to a new voice codec which would improve voice quality for our pilots and controllers.
At Connexion 2017, Kieran Hardern, who sits on the VATSIM Board of Governors, made an announcement that VATSIM has a team actively working on the implementation of a new voice codec. A number of tests of specific codecs have already been completed and VATSIM is committed to make this happen. As with any voluntary project, we won't be putting an estimated time of release out on this but hope this announcement is of interest to our members who have been eagerly waiting for this upgrade.
The VATSIM community has long toyed with ideas on how we can make our universal text-only UNICOM frequency (122.800) more realistic, and how a new CTAF-type dimension could be added in certain areas.
Joel Richters, a member of the Executive Committee, recently posted a statement of intent on behalf of that committee to explore the implementation of voice elements to UNICOM in certain areas. A working group is currently working through the technical and policy hurdles such a feature would need to overcome. It goes without saying that such a move in the future will require our pilot client developers to be fully onboard, and we welcome their input in this discussion.
This proposal is in its much earlier stages and, again, we will not be providing predicted timeframes on the launch of such a feature.