Texas Instruments claims to have improved VoIP and IP-video connections with new self-adapting technology.

The Piqua quality management scheme will be added to Texas' digital signal processor chips and firmware used in devices such as home VoIP routers and Cisco IP phones.

Piqua-enabled devices will provide diagnostic information on call quality and early warning of problems, plus take action to temporarily fix things too, said strategy director Debbie Greenstreet.

"A lot of the time, the service provider can't identify the problem without sending a truck to visit the customer," she said. "We are embedding functions to offer quality management, working in conjunction with the network management system."

A Piqua device will report what's actually happening at its end of the connection - information that could be had from a software agent on a PC, say, but is harder to get if all that's there is a VoIP handset. It can proactively switch audio coding schemes, or add jitter buffering, which improves sound quality at the expense of adding a delay.

Greenstreet said this is analogous to how modems negotiate when setting up a call to decide the maximum data speed, which compression algorithm to use and so on, except that Piqua can do it in the middle of a call too. Then it reports the problem back to the network management system for a proper long-term fix.

"Adapting within the end-point mitigates the impairment but it doesn't get rid of it - the operator has to do that," Greenstreet noted. As well as going into new TI-based IP audio and video products, most existing equipment should be able to support Piqua via a firmware upgrade, she said.

Piqua adheres to standards including RFC 3611 for QoS monitoring.