Audio for VATSIM Launch Date Announced

VATSIM have announced the launch date for the long-awaited Audio for VATSIM system.

The new system is a significant upgrade in both audio quality and aviation realism, replacing the existing voice room-based system with accurate modelling of radio transmission allowing users to broadcast on voice on any frequency at any time without requiring a controller to staff the position first. As in the real world, anybody tuned to that frequency and within range will receive what the user is transmitting.
Switching over to the new system will begin on October 14 at 9am NZDT. The VATSIM network will be offline for up to 24 hours as the servers are updated and the new voice infrastructure is brought online.
Once the network is back online, users will only be able to connect using updated versions of the ATC and Pilot software, and using the new standalone Voice Client. These will be made available for download in the days leading up to the launch.
Note: several old and no-longer-maintained clients will no longer be able to useable on the VATSIM network after the launch.
More details will be made available in the lead-up to the launch. In the meantime, all users should check out the Audio for VATSIM website which is the primary source for all information surrounding the new system.
The Official Announcement from VATSIM follows below. Note: the times listed in the announcement are in UTC - NZDT is 13 hours ahead.

Dear VATSIM member,


We’re delighted to announce that Audio for VATSIM, our brand new voice technology, will launch on Monday 14th October 2019. Whether you are a regular VATSIM user or haven’t connected in many years, we warmly invite you to join us in this amazing next level of immersion.This is the dawn of the next generation of online flight simulation.


What is Audio for VATSIM?


Audio for VATSIM is an innovative new technology for our voice communication which features:


  • State of the art voice quality - a brand new Opus-based voice codec with realistic distortion, white noise, VHF and HF simulation
  • Reduced delay - up to 80% reduction in latency, making busy frequencies more realistic and manageable
  • Range simulation - transceivers set up as per real ATC positions, with signal strength dependent on distance and altitude
  • Customisable technology - this upgrade paves the way for future amazing development by the community.


This is the biggest technical change for the VATSIM community in many years, and is being rolled out across all pilot and ATC clients. In order to implement this change, we must do two things that have never been done before on the network. First, we must take the entire network offline for maintenance for a short period. Secondly, after the downtime, all VATSIM members will need to have updated their ATC and pilot clients to be compatible with the new infrastructure. We'll be providing specific instructions on how you do this in the days before the switch.


How will the launch work?


At 2000z on Sunday 13th October 2019, all VATSIM servers will be taken offline to begin the migration to our new infrastructure. VATSIM users should ensure that their flights and ATC sessions have concluded by this time. During this period, all other VATSIM services may also be subject to some downtime.


The network will remain offline for a period of 24 hours, although a limited number of connections are likely to be allowed before this time whilst we embed the new servers. To be safe, our members should not plan any flights or ATC sessions prior to 2000z on Monday 14th October. If the downtime needs to be extended beyond this time for any reason, we will announce this as quickly as possible.


How do I prepare for the launch?


Every VATSIM member will need to update their pilot and ATC clients and, in some cases, will need to download a small standalone app to run alongside the client whilst our developers work to integrate Audio for VATSIM natively into their software. We have created a website to guide you through the steps you need to take, whichever client you are currently using. We’ll be updating this with specific instructions in the days leading up to the switch, so you don’t need to take any action right now.


I need help preparing my client for this upgrade


We’ll shortly be launching a support forum and Discord server as the official places to get support. You can also post on our Facebook group or local facility forums to ask for help from fellow members of the community.


If I’m using FSInn or Squawkbox, do I need to upgrade to a new client to use Audio for VATSIM?


Following feedback from the community, the team have made arrangements for Audio for VATSIM to be compatible with these clients, although you’ll still need to follow the instructions posted shortly to install a standalone client before the switchover. That said, FSInn and Squawkbox will cease to be supported in the coming months as we make other enhancements (increasing the refresh rate) to VATSIM, so you are strongly recommended to use this opportunity to upgrade to a more modern client.


I haven’t connected to VATSIM in a long time but want to come back to check this out - what do I do?


You can retrieve your account details and reactivate your account here at the click of a button. Welcome back!


How do I find out more about the technical details?


The Audio for VATSIM website contains a knowledge base which includes a full manual of the principles of operation for Audio for VATSIM, as well as other documentation which you may find useful.