Announcing Improved Voice 2.0 Infrastructure

Since the beginning, we have been investing in our infrastructure because we knew that a quality backbone is key to providing our customers and their customers with a great user experience. And at the core of voice calling is its network; this is why, we are excited to announce:

  1. New Data Center Locations in South America (Brazil) and US-West (Northern California)
  2. Improvements in our Global Network and Voice Routing Algorithm (see our section below for how these improvements impact call quality).

All of this will help drastically improve voice call quality including decreasing audio latency and reducing poor audio clarity including distortion, garbled speech, and intermittent pauses.

Every improvement below has already been enabled for you at no extra charge. There is nothing you need to do, we have already enabled these optimizations for all current and new Plivo customers by default.

New Data center Locations

We analyzed and optimized for data center locations that would positively impact inter- and intra- region connectivity. This is why we’ve added two new data center locations. One in Brazil to handle our growing South America traffic and another in Northern California, USA, to facilitate better connections in North America from the west coast. Our new data center locations enable us to provide optimized in-region connectivity with customers and carrier peering hubs:

  • South America (São Paulo, Brazil) - NEW
  • US-West (Northern California) - NEW

Improvements in Global Network and Voice Routing Algorithms

The technical aspects of transmitting a call is highly complex, but nonetheless it’s done in less than a second. Therefore, to achieve such low latencies, we have made optimizations to help us route calls more efficiently.

To better illustrate how our optimizations have made positive impacts at every step, the following is an example one of many call flows possible on Plivo’s network. Consider a WebRTC call dialing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to a friend in New Jersey, United States. Upon dialing, the WebRTC application connects the caller to the nearest Plivo voice data center in São Paulo and then routes to the Plivo voice data center closest to the destination, which in this case is located in Virginia. After that, the call is connected to a local US carrier in New York and then routed to the receiver in New Jersey.

Voice Infra Flow Diagram

1. Lower Edge Latency from Customer Locations for SIP, WebRTC and Mobile SDK Based Endpoints

We have made significant improvements in the underlying infrastructure that helps your SIP, WebRTC, and Mobile SDK based endpoints connect to our nearest in-region data centers around the world. More specifically, we reduced latency between the customer location and Plivo data centers (i.e., steps A to B) to less than 100ms in most continents. This drastically reduces voice call quality issues.

Below are examples of average ping times between customer locations and our nearest data centers:

ContinentData Center LocationDestinationAverage Ping Time
North AmericaUSA West - Northern CaliforniaLos Angeles30ms
San Francisco3ms
Seattle20ms
USA East - VirginiaNew York10ms
Chicago45ms
Austin32ms
South AmericaBrazil - São PauloBrazil25ms
Argentina60ms
Venezuela95ms
EuropeGermany - FrankfurtGermany25ms
United Kingdom20ms
France20ms
AsiaSingaporeSingapore10ms
India85ms
Philippines45ms
AustraliaAustralia - SydneyAustralia20ms
New Zealand20ms

2. Optimized Global Routing (OGR)

In this approach, calls are routed through the nearest network of strategically-located data centers worldwide, which lowers inter-region latency resulting in significant improvements in audio quality. This decreases latency between originating and destination data centers, which significantly improves steps B to C. By using OGR, we have shed up to 500ms of delay in all regions for certain call scenarios. This means fewer dropped packets, less jitter, and less crosstalk, which is caused by long delays in the time a spoken word needs to travel to the receiver’s ear.

Voice Infra Improvement Example

3. Optimized Intra Region Connectivity

After detailed analysis of our voice traffic, we found that more than 25% of calls on our infrastructure traverse multiple regions. This is why we improved routing between our data center locations to optimize for inter- and intra- region connectivity (i.e., steps B to C). By doing so, we’ve seen the delta in latency reduced significantly which directly impacts jitter (i.e., broken audio) on voice calls. Our new and updated data center locations are as follows:

  • South America (São Paulo, Brazil) - NEW
  • US-West (Northern California) - NEW
  • US-East (Virginia) - Updated
  • Europe (Frankfurt, Germany) - Updated
  • Asia (Singapore) - Updated
  • Australia (Sydney)

4. Faster Connectivity to Carrier Peering Hubs

To guarantee a high quality of service, our network peers with Tier-1 carriers around the world with under 20ms connectivity at major hubs, which reduces the amount of time needed to connect directly to carriers (i.e., steps C to D). In order to lower the latency between our data centers and carrier peering hubs, we’ve developed algorithms to evaluate and connect to the nearest peering hubs based on each call.

ContinentCarrier Peering Hub LocationLatency
North AmericaBig APE, 60 Hudson, New York20ms
South AmericaPTT-SP - PTT Sao Paulo, Brazil20ms
EuropeTelehouse Frankfurt20ms
AustraliaEQIX-SYD - Equinix Exchange Sydney10ms
AsiaEQIX-SIN - Equinix Exchange Singapore10ms

5. Direct Carrier Connectivity & Redundancy

Our carrier team has been working hard to make more local in-country carriers available to our networks. Increasing carrier availability and quality by providing multiple carriers in every country also significantly improves connectivity between the destination carrier and the destination (i.e., steps C to D).

Of course, not all carriers are created equal, which is why every carrier on Plivo’s network has been rigorously tested for low Post Dial Delay (PDD), guaranteed features (i.e., CLI, DTMF), and high Mean Opinion Score (MOS). We also ensure that our networks connect to a minimum of 2 carriers in each country. This redundancy safeguards against single points of failure. In the event of a carrier failure, our infrastructure will automatically load balance and route traffic to more reliable carriers within the same region. Currently, we currently work with over 100 in-county carriers globally to ensure that our network is always optimized and we are constantly adding more carriers to our network.

What does this mean for me and my customers?

At Plivo, we understand that quality is at the core of any great product. High quality of service not only gives you access to clear voice quality, but it also helps your business deliver the same level of quality to your customers. Therefore, our dedicated team will continue to make improvements and optimizations to our network and we look forward to announcing more in the coming months.

How do I access these new optimizations? And how much does it cost?

We believe that all of our customers should have access to great voice quality, that’s why we have already enabled all of our voice infrastructure improvements for current and new customers for free and by default. This means that you don’t need to do anything to enjoy improved voice quality. Everything just works magically.

 

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