In Voice over IP (VOiP), voice activation detection (VAD) is a software application that allows a data network carrying voice traffic over the Internet to detect the absence of audio and conserve bandwidth by preventing the transmission of "silent packets" over the network. Most conversations include about 50% silence; VAD (also called "silence suppression") can be enabled to monitor signals for voice activity so that when silence is detected for a specified amount of time, the application informs the Packet Voice Protocol and prevents the encoder output from being transported across the network.
Voice activation detection can also be used to forward idle noise characteristics (sometimes called ambient or comfort noise) to a remote IP telephone or gateway. The universal standard for digitized voice, 64 Kbps, is a constant bit rate whether the speaker is actively speaking, is pausing between thoughts, or is totally silent. Without idle noise giving the illusion of a constant transmission stream during silence suppression, the listener would be likely to think the line had gone dead.