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Skype Vs. SIPphone - VoIP Compared 205

JimLynch writes "There are few organizations more loathed than the telephone company. Let's face it - none of us like forking over our hard-earned cash every month just to use the phone. Well, how much would it be worth to you to be able to call your friends and family for free by using the Internet? ExtremeTech have compared the two newest ways to call friends via the Internet: The SIPphone from Lindows' Michael Robertson vs. the Skype service from the developers of Kazaa."
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Skype Vs. SIPphone - VoIP Compared

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  • But... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by YanceyAI ( 192279 ) * <yanceyai@yahoo.com> on Monday October 20, 2003 @02:42PM (#7262783)
    Let's face it - none of us like forking over our hard-earned cash every month just to use the phone. Well, how much would it be worth to you to be able to call your friends and family for free by using the Internet?

    I don't know about you guys, but I pay more for my cable connection than for my my phone service (as I'm sure many of you DSL users do). It aint anywhere near free, but it'd be nice to consolidate services.

    • I don't even have a home phone anymore. I have a cell phone, and cable internet access. It works perfectly fine, and we have not had any problems.

      I get free domestic long distance, 800 minutes for $40/mo and $5/mo extra for data. This is why I don't understand the push for VoIP unless it's international. At which point I go to nobelcom [nobelcom.com] and buy dirt cheap calling cards that work great.

      Then I can call international while driving down the road, drinking my double latte screaming at my kids in the backsea
      • That's the best part of wireless phone service. With the free night and weekend minutes and free domestic long distance, I talk as long as I want. Compared to that, those long distance offers for landlines are laughable.
      • The point of VoIP is to get rid of the phone entirely. I currently pay for a land line, and for cable modem. I would love to get rid of the land line bill. I could go cell phone, but not only do I not want to be reached when Im not home, but that would only shift who I was paying the bill to. With VoIP, I can get phone access and internet access for the cost of my cable modem bill alone.
        • but not only do I not want to be reached when Im not home,

          Because the phone rings does not mean you have to answer it. Or, just leave the phone at home...

          I have no home land line, and I keep it with me in case I need it, but I don't have to answer it.

          • Good for you. Then keep a cell. For me, there has been one time over the past 10 years where i wished I had a cell phone- and I simply used a pay phone. A cell phone would cost me 40*12=480 bucks a year. VoIP is free (since I have broadband anyway, and actually use that). Consider VoIP as being something for people who wouldn't use a cel phone enough to make it worth the money.
    • I pay $60/ month for Comcast cable modem. I have no rights. If I don't like it, I can yell at Comcast, I can complain to the FCC, or I can leave.

      If I'm unhappy with the phone company, I can complain to the public utility commission. The phone company is still regulated. They have a lot more rules. They have to compete, and allow competition.
      The cableTV company signs a charter with the city, but they don't really have to compete. They're granted a local monopoly. If you think someone will listen
      • I'd LOVE to see the cableTV companies compete like the phone companies. I guarantee that prices would come down, services would increase, and the cableTV companies would actually do something to retain you as a customer.

        Case in point: I live in a suburb of St. Louis, Maryland Heights, which has competition. There's the local "Cable America" outlet, and there's Charter. Charter recently tried to buy out Cable America because "it would be good for the local economy" but we voted them down. Anyway, cable
      • Competition is great for prices, and so is a citizen based non profit venture.

        In my small hometown of Spencer Iowa after tolerating years of a tyrannical cable company we chose to make our own municipal system.

        Now we have $5/month basic cable, phone lines through the municipal system are almost half the price of the corporate competition, the whole city now has access to broadband (via a series of private providers), and the system should pay for itself in a matter of years not decades.

        The old cable comp
    • We have some low-end long distance plan from MCI.

      Total billable calls: $7.29
      "Long Distance" portion including fees: $21.34.

      The local dialtone is a lot like that as well, with the actual basic fee for dialtone coming in around $20, and all the taxes, fees, and other regulatory crapola coming in around $12.

      We need to just eliminate all these fees. If the fucking government wants to tax us, be a man about it and tax me directly, don't sneak it in on the phone bill.

      • If the fucking government wants to tax us, be a man about it and tax me directly, don't sneak it in on the phone bill.

        I'm with you, man. I blame those fees for bringing phones, and therefore soccer moms, to the suburbs.
      • Try a small long distance provider, like Pioneer Telephone [pioneertelephone.com]. (No I don't work for them, I am just a happy costumer.)

        Pioneer doesn't require a monthly fee to get a plan, like Sprint was trying to force me into before I dropped them. Plus, the rates are a much bette deal than the major Telephone Companies. I have never had to contact them for service, so I can't comment on that, but the line quality seems the same as Sprint.

        There are some taxes on the bill, but not that bad. My last bill had about $1.75

    • I don't know about you guys, but I pay more for my cable connection than for my my phone service (as I'm sure many of you DSL users do). It aint anywhere near free, but it'd be nice to consolidate services.

      But are you including long distance charges in the price of your phone service? Remember that with VoIP, there are no extra costs to calling long distance.
    • I don't know about you guys, but I pay more for my cable connection than for my my phone service (as I'm sure many of you DSL users do). It aint anywhere near free, but it'd be nice to consolidate services.

      Maybe you practice a different version of English than I do, but when a new feature is added to something that I'm already paying for with no extra cost added on, the word for that feature is "free".
  • My now-wife and I were talking using VoIP almost 3 years ago, between our two computers. While not as slick as these new systems, it is good to remind ourselves that only through the pioneering efforts of such products as SpeakFreely would this technology be where it is today.
  • Correction (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Monday October 20, 2003 @02:43PM (#7262800)
    There are few organizations more loathed than the telephone company.

    MPAA, RIAA, Telemarketers, car mechanics, McDonald's, DigitalConvergence, SCO, Microsoft, ???
  • by Nijika ( 525558 ) on Monday October 20, 2003 @02:44PM (#7262807) Homepage Journal
    Just a quick question, since I know KaZaA is rife with it. I'd like to try it out but I don't want to end up with Bonzai Buddy on my desktop eternally or something.
    • by Inexile2002 ( 540368 ) on Monday October 20, 2003 @02:50PM (#7262858) Homepage Journal
      Skype - Actually not bad. They've got a nice "NO SPYWARE" logo on their download screen which actually set off alarm bells initially. But we started using it a couple of days ago to teleconference with a friend in Korea (or is that Corea now?) and I haven't noticed any new spyware on my system (and I went looking).

      Ad Aware doesn't seem to find anything either. Don't count on that being there forever, but my suspicion is that they won't bother with the spyware while the product is still in Beta. They need nerds like us to test the stuff and the last thing they need is SkypeLite coming out while Skype is still a Beta product.
  • Ahh, the truth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gerardrj ( 207690 ) * on Monday October 20, 2003 @02:45PM (#7262811) Journal
    The problem I have with stories like this is that the calls aren't really free. You do have to have a rather high-speed internet connection to make these calls with any reasonable quality and reliability, and you have to pay that fee on top of your existing phone charges.

    A major limitation is that you can only call your fiends who use the same "service". And they are for the most part defining "service" rather loosely, they're more like applications in software and hardware than a service. I know it's only on Mac now, but I'm curious why iChatAV from Apple is excluded from these types of comparisons. It does the same things, plus video and uses the AOL screen name
    and buddy list infrastructure.

    There's a reliability issue with VoIP, I for one will not cut my dial tone off until I have nearly 100% uptime on my net connection. In all my life I think there was one time (after a hurricane) that I picked up my telephone and did not hear a dial tone. I can't count how many minutes per month/year my net connection is down for one reason or another.

    I also take issue with the statement "...They do illustrate, however, just how far VOIP has come - it's actually good enough to offer a viable alternative to existing phones.". I don't think it's the VoIP technology that's improved, I think it's the Internet's infrastructure that's improved. There's finally enough bandwidth that you don't need a lot of buffering to ensure packet delivery order to the audio decoders.
    It's still possible and routine to get out-of-order delivery, but no-where as severe as it was even just two years ago.
    • > There's a reliability issue with VoIP, I for one will not cut my dial tone off until I have nearly 100% uptime on my net connection. In all my life I think there was one time (after a hurricane) that I picked up my telephone and did not hear a dial tone. I can't count how many minutes per month/year my net connection is down for one reason or another.

      There's only one number I really want to be able to dial for an outbound voice call. 911.

      If VoIP can promise me that with an uptime compa

      • Don't give them TOO much credit.

        They are required to give things that 911 uptime by law, if memory serves. Legal penalties are considerable. It's not a matter of customer service or goodness of their own hearts. If it were, there would be no such thing as cable modem or DSL downtime, either.
        • Re:VoIP and 911? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by freebase ( 83667 )
          They are required to give things that 911 uptime by law, if memory serves.

          Actually, this is a good thing. As long as cable, or the Internet in general has no such legal requirements, wireline voice will always have a place. In some places, wireline voice is already called lifeline voice.

          A lot of people get upset when they see the charges for 911 service on their monthly bills. I doubt many realize the effort required to keep 911 working and current, both on the telcos' and local government's parts.
          • To get a little off topic, 911 should be paid for by those who use it, not through my telephone bills.

            On a deeper level, we as a society need to get off this "everyone needs to be rescuable at any moment at any cost" bandwagon. If we don't let the law of natural selection have any bearing on our evolution as a species, I fear we are doomed.
      • There's only one number I really want to be able to dial for an outbound voice call. 911.

        All you need is to keep around a deactivated cell-phone, and you are set. No chance your line can be cut, and disable your service...

        I don't think you really have to worry about a faraday cage suddenly sprining up around your house when you need to call 911.
    • I think you missed the point on VoIP. I'm using Skype to make calls from New Zealand to England. Just imagine the phone bill! And you don't need a really high-speed internet connection for it to work reasonably well. I'm on 128kbps only. I've also tested it with Kazaa running concurrently, and though the sound quality drops, it's still acceptable.

      As for 100% uptime. This is not to replace normal phone, but for people who need to make lots of long distance calls to a few people. I don't care if it's 100% re
    • The problem I have with stories like this is that the calls aren't really free. You do have to have a rather high-speed internet connection to make these calls with any reasonable quality and reliability, and you have to pay that fee on top of your existing phone charges.

      If I could use VoIP for all of my calls it would be better than free, it would save me having to pay $35 a month for a phone line. Why does everybody forget a lot of us have existing broadband that could be used to do VoIP for no extra
      • ARRRGGGG. I hate mis-typing the closing I tag. The first paragraph is a quote, the last two are mine. It should read like:

        The problem I have with stories like this is that the calls aren't really free. You do have to have a rather high-speed internet connection to make these calls with any reasonable quality and reliability, and you have to pay that fee on top of your existing phone charges.

        If I could use VoIP for all of my calls it would be better than free, it would save me having to pay $35 a mont
      • This type of VoIP does not replace your standard telephone service. You can't call a telephone number with it, you can only "call" other people that use the same software that you are using to originate the call.

        For instance... you can't use either service to call up the local take away shop to place an order, nor can you call you non-computer using grandmother.

        You still need the landline to call other landline (or mobile) phones. You still need the landline for reliability.
    • Re:Ahh, the truth (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kadagan AU ( 638260 )
      I agree.... I've been looking at a service that my cable company provides though, called Zoom Phone [zoom-phone.com] that looks like it lets me plug an adapter into my router and hook my phones to it, then I can call over my cable modem, for a set monthly fee, to anyone with a real phone... Plus they let you have local numbers in nearly every state, and unlimited long distance for less than my family currently pays with our telephone service.... I'm not sure about all the specifics, but this looks like a much better way to
      • Re:Ahh, the truth (Score:3, Insightful)

        by alkali ( 28338 )
        Vonage [vonage.com] and Packet 8 [packet8.net] provide similar services. There is a lot of commentary in the comp.dcom.voice-over-ip [comp.dcom.voice-over-ip] Usenet group about it. I personally have Vonage, which I liked because in my cases they could transfer my existing phone number from the local telco, but perhaps other companies have similar capability. The connection is very good and I've only had a few startup problems. (Most important: work with the VoIP provider to make sure your router is configured optimally.)
  • or can I use the SIP phone on dialup? ;-)
  • It really doesn't matter which provider/hardware/software/protocol you use to call over the Net. All of them evolved to provide an adequate performance. The weakest link is the link itself (pardon the pun). Delays and dropped packets are the biggest problems of VoIP. Voice codecs also introduce unavoidable delays.
  • For my mobile phone, I've got a 1000 weekday minutes, free weekends, (free nights too, I think), and no long distance charges. All for $40/month. Add $2.99 for text messaging, and I've got everything I need.

    T-Mobile rocks!

    • How do you get DSL without a land line?
    • The blackout in the northeast US in August showed some that land-lines and non-cordless phones still have uses. The lack of power rendered cordless phones useless and the cell phone network was packed beyond capacity. But old fashioned wired phones worked fine.
  • While Skype sounds nice, it is another lock-in. That is its main problem.
  • He should have included Vonage - more possibilities (POTS access, can call from anywhere in the world with net access or be calleded from POTS, etc - so you can avoid tariffs like nobody business)

    Sure, the charge, but imagine having a local, US phone number, in say Europe for calls to the US.
    • Re:Vonage? (Score:3, Informative)

      I signed up for Vonage and ended up cancelling it after about two weeks. The sound quality was fine, the features were excellent and the price was great. Unfortunately, the latency sucked. Small pauses between sentences made talking on the service very uncomfortable.

      I used it through my Comcast cable modem. I may try the service again next year after I move.
  • I don't loath the phone company, because I have to pay them every month. I loath the poor service I get from them sometimes, but the reality is that it is better than what I get from my ISP.

    the reality is that I will be paying someone for access and bandwidth. The question is, who?

    If you compare what VOIP gives me vs. POTS, POTs wins hands-down in relieabiilty, quality, and availability.

    Now, I do like what VOIP an POTS competition are doing to POTS pricing. What I want is a plan that offers me a flat-rate pricing plan with a big number of minutes to whereever I call. Charge me $50.00 a month for 1,000 anytime, anywhere minutes and you will have my business.

    Yours,

    Jordan Dea-Mattson
    • Charge me $50.00 a month for 1,000 anytime, anywhere minutes and you will have my business.
      I'm with Cingular wireless... I get excellent reception at home, and I pay $40/mo for 750 anytime, anywhere minutes.

      I think I could go up to 900 for an extra ten bucks.

      And I get nights and weekends free, plus no roaming fees in the south-eastern united states.

      May I assume you'll be moving to cingular now?
      • I have Cingular. The reception at home is crap. And the reality is that wireless doesn't have the reliabity and robustness of the landline setup we have built in this country.

        As I noted in another posting in this discussion, after the 1989 earthquake, the first service that came back for me was my phone. I didn't have power, but I had a phone.

        I want the reliability of the landline phone infrastructure in the US, but I want a better pricing plan and more respectful customer service.

        Yours,

        Jordan Dea-Matts
        • I agree with you w.r.t. the reliability, robustness, and quality concerns you have.

          And this is truly a YMMV kind of situation. I replaced my landline with a cell-phone 3 years ago and have no complaints; but then again I don't really like talking to people so when my phone is out or for some reason people call me and go straight to voicemail despite the fact that the phone is connected to the network, this doesn't really bother me...
          • It also depends on your life situation and priorities.

            I have a wife and three children. If we need to call 911, I want to know that 1) the call will go through, 2) it will be answered in seconds not minutes (in California all 911 calls go to the California Highway Patrol which can take as much as 15 minutes to answer), and 3) they will know where to find me at once.

            Cell phones, VOIP, etc., don't cut it. When your life is on the line give me POTS on the PSTN.

            Yours,

            Jordan Dea-Mattson
    • What I want is a plan that offers me a flat-rate pricing plan with a big number of minutes to whereever I call. Charge me $50.00 a month for 1,000 anytime, anywhere minutes and you will have my business.

      Right.
      1. Cancel whatever long distance service you have. Totally. All you need is local service on your line. ~$25/month
      2. Go to BigZoo [bigzoo.com] and sign up. $0.029 per minute, purchaseable upfront in whatever size block you want. 1000 mins is $29, so you're right near your $50 point.

      Easy to use, cheap, and y
    • If you still want this on a POTS line, you can use MCI's <a href="http://www.theneighborhood.com/res_local_ser vice/jsps/default.jsp">Neighborhood</a>. Unlimited local and long distance for $50/month.
  • I am an engineer and supervisor at a rural independent phone company. It really pisses me off when people bitch about 'the phone company'. It may be that the RBOC's have poor customer relations etc, but our company is well respected in the communities we serve. We provide excellent service for what we charge. I regularly have to call my employees out at 3 in the morning to go fix things .. drive many miles, work in all kinds of weather. The reliability of the dial tone we serve is better than five 9's..

    Oka
    • Hey KD7JZ -

      You and your comrades have my thanks. People don't realize what a marvel and gift we have in the telecommunications grid. It is fantastic!

      Yes, you deliver much better than 5 9's reliabiilty throughout all kinds of problems. The first thing which came back after the Loma Preita earthquake in 1989 was my local phone service. I couldn't see (my power was out), but I could call and talk to friends within hours of the earthquake.

      The local phone guys - and the people that designed this system - are
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'd like to see how they compare to established services like NikoTel [nikotel.com] which is fully SIP compliant, works with a free computer app which runs on Windows and MacOS X, works with any SIP phone, and not only has a free online directory, but also has a subscription service for extremely cheap SIP-to-POTS and/or POTS-to-SIP. I'm in no way affiliated with them, other than as a happy customer of their free service.
  • by SteWhite ( 212909 ) on Monday October 20, 2003 @02:57PM (#7262927)
    They claim Skype has no feedback/echo cancellation and that you need to use either a headset or at least headphones - this is simply not true.

    I have used Skype a lot with a 4 speaker setup around me and a free standing desk mic, and I get absolutely *no* feedback or echo, nor does the person I am chatting with. I'd consider it one of Skype's best features in fact. I can sit here and chat totally hands free, and it sounds nicer than your average speakerphone too.
  • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) *
    Now if only I didn't have to have to pay for a landline to have DSL. I *never* use it. It's basically a $20 adder on my internet bill. Damn you Verizon!
  • ...Well, how much would it be worth to you to be able to call your friends and family for free...

    Which variety of Free are we talking about? Free as in unlegislated, or free as in no cost whatsoever. All the various VoIP solutions out there, from Vonage through Skype rely upon you paying an aditional cost to a broadband provider to make use of them. I don't think that there is anything wrong with that, but it is a non-free requirement.

    Likewise you are in all likelyhood someone, possibly even you, are goi
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 20, 2003 @03:01PM (#7262956)
    Too bad the article doesn't mention how you can reconfigure the sip phone to use Free World Dialup.

    Further discussion about the sipphone is available at

    http://www.broadbandreports.com/forum/voip
    http ://www.pulver.com/fwd/index.html

    disclaimer: I use a Cisco ATA-186 with FWD and highly recommend it (FWD uses lines 2 and 3 on all phones in my house :-). Did I mention that it really is FREE and also has an excellent user aand developer mailing list.

    And if you enjoy paying money and/or want a real PSTN number, check out Vonage, Packet 8, VoicePulse, or any of the other commercial SIP-based VoIP providers. Or install Asterisk or VOCAL yourself (open source) and become your own VoIP company (also note that http://wholesale.voicepulse.com even allows you to connect your Asterisk PBX to the PSTN)

    Finally, the article glosses over the whole SIP protocol which needs special help if you use NAT or a firewall for incoming calls (and also for registering or INVITE commands).

    I'd write the above there but I'm too lazy to register here or at extremetech.
    • See FAQ:

      "Can I connect to a SIP server with Skype?
      No you can't. We have crafted Skype with a proprietary technology that
      is not compatible with SIP. SIP was simply not good enough for us."
  • This was one of the most purebred geeky things I ever did, but we've been role playing lately (V:tM and Warhammer Fantasy) and were short a player or two. A friend of ours in Korea (or is it actually Corea now?) heard about our dillemna and begged us to let him join the session over Skype.

    We already had broadband on both ends, so we decided to try it out. (Normally I'm resistant to combine my geekdom tendencies - mixing computers and role playing was dodgy.)

    Anyway, we tried it and the biggest problem we
  • by stirfry714 ( 410701 ) on Monday October 20, 2003 @03:02PM (#7262968)
    Let's face it - none of us like forking over our hard-earned cash every month just to use the phone

    Hahahaha. What an entitlement complex? You expect someone to hand you phone service for free? Along with your free cable, free rent, and free groceries?

    I personally *like* handing over my hard-earned cash for phone service, along with everything else. I choose what I want, I pay for it - it's called capitalism.

    If I didn't want it, I wouldn't pay for it.
    • You already did pay for it, with your tax dollars. Now the phone companies have regional monopolies on equipment and infrastructure paid for largely by max tax dollars. Now your stuck paying overinflated prices, because even the resellers have to lease their lines from one of the baby bells, and they get to decide how much the service is worth. It is then justified by reporting that they implemented a $50,000 telecommunications switch that can be bought new from the manufacturer for under 10K. This is not

      • If I didn't want it, I wouldn't pay for it.


      So come to the USA, where you get to pay for things you don't want/use just to get the things you do want.
    • If I didn't want it, I wouldn't pay for it.

      I don't want it, I still pay for it.

      Why? Simply because everyone expects everyone else to have a telephone, where they can be contacted. Even many situations where a phone number is not really useful, giving out one is required.
    • I have a few friends living in apartments that did not get a phone.

      When I visited, I had to walk to a phone booth two streets down to make a phone call (cell phone dead). My friends all use cell phones and their entire apartment is connected via wireless connections. They also have a computer in the living room that is used specifically for entertainment.

      I can see how VoIP is a perfect match for people like that. Given cell phones are almost a must, VoIP is definitely a good choice, if not, alternative
  • Well, how much would it be worth to you to be able to call your friends and family for free by using the Internet?

    Let's see. To connect to the internet, you must be have a phone line, DSL (which also requires a phone line), cable (which cost more than a phone line), or something even more expensive like T-1.

    Yeah, that'll save me money.
    • Try talking to someone in Europe for hours at a time and tell me it will not save you money (when you get your bill). If you have a broadband connection anyhow you are loosing nothing.
      • Wrong! My calls to Switzerland and Germany cost me 4.5 cts/min, 5.3 cts/min if all fees are factored in. That's cheaper than instate long distance, and equal to what I pay for national long distance.

        In fact, it's so cheap that my wife and I have entirely stopped watching the clock while we phone overseas. Our free time is much more of a limiting factor.

        - Christoph
    • Unless you are running a small- to medium-sized business and your long distance phone bill runs in the thousands of dollars a month.

      Since high-speed internet is a requirement at many places of business, you can piggyback the phone service onto your internet service. The increase in usage of the Internet is not $$ equivalent to the phone costs, so it is NOT cost shifting. Well, a little, but not equivalent cost shifting.

      Offices in my area can get SDSL 1 Mb/1 Mb for $199 / month. That does wonders with S
  • I use Teamspeak for gaming, and it does a rather good job. Granted, it's designed for gaming, but use the Speex 25.9 codec, and it's pretty much the same quality as the phone. Isn't a phone's bandwidth equal to 16kbps?
    • Re:Other VOIPs? (Score:3, Informative)

      by merlin_jim ( 302773 )
      Isn't a phone's bandwidth equal to 16kbps?

      That's a question that doesn't have a concrete answer. Basically a phone has a high-pass filter at 3000Hz, cutting off the high range above that... in order to accurately represent a 3000Hz frequency, one must sample at at least 6000Hz (for more information google on nyquist frequency)... bitwise representation though is kind of hard to determine. Theoretically, it requires 16 bits... which of course is a bit higher than 16 kbps... however, to get adequate voice
    • Isn't a phone's bandwidth equal to 16kbps?

      A phone lines bandwidth is roughly 64kbps. If it was only 16kbps then your 56kbps modem wouldn't work.

      The details are more interesting. Your PSTN line is analogue and the maximum bandwidth can range from from 28.8kbps (pair-gained copper) to 2Mbps (ASDL). The actual maximum depends on line characteristics like signal-to-noise (Shannon's Theorem comes into play).

      But once your voicecall hits the exchange you are digitized at 8000 samples per second, 8-bits p

  • When I was still using the Windows platform, I used a program called PGPphone [slashdot.org] to communicate with friends via my computer. A very big plus of PGPPhone is that it uses Pretty Good Privacy to secure the communication, giving the government or any other third party an hard time decyphering. The bad side of this is of course the extra overhead of the data transmit. But still the quality was good enough to have normal conversations, I believe even at slower (dial-up) connections worked pretty well. You can alway
  • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Monday October 20, 2003 @03:06PM (#7263008)
    Myself and many of my friends use Free World Dialup and Cisco ATA's. You can use any phone you want with the cisco and it is very nicely priced. Now when we want to talk we just punch the phone hands free and talk for hours at a time. The clarity is as good if not better than a regular connection.

    We have been doing this for nearly a year now, we all laugh about the amount of money we would be spending (but are not) on a pots connection.
  • Calls are encrypted end-to-end using 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption, which is nearly impossible to hack

    Nonsense, I've been cracking Skype encryption codes for years. Simply tie a string around a telephone pole, hook it up to a soup can, hold the can to your ear, listen away.
  • Speaking about Skype they said:
    Unlike other VoIP systems we've tested, including the IM-based voice chat, there was no perceptible lag time - which is an impressive feat.

    Well I used Skype and just to test lag time I also called my friend on the phone. I noticed a lag between when the phone delivered his voice and when my pc speakers did. (about 1/2 a second)The authors of this article should have used something other than VOIP to test VOIP.
  • Stupid Submitter (Score:3, Insightful)

    by El_Smack ( 267329 ) on Monday October 20, 2003 @03:15PM (#7263068)
    "Let's face it - none of us like forking over our hard-earned cash every month just to use the phone."

    What? Is phone service now a (Insert Deity of Choice) given right? I don't mind paying for a service I use. My basic phone bill is about $20. It's the cheapest bill I pay all month, and I get unlimited local calls. I call that a bargain, although not the best I ever had. Still a good one though.
  • As the author of Speex, I'm really curious about whether these phones use Speex (they don't mention the codec used). I'm not going to install Skype (don't use Windows anyway), but if someone is interested in checking for me, e-mail me and I'll send you a piece of code which should be able to tell if Speex is there by inspecting an executable or dll.
    • I read (maybe in Pulver's blog) that Skype is using iLBC.
    • The parent poster is the creater of Speex, which is a kick-ass audio compression format designed for speech. See here: Speex [speex.org]
    • Skype says they've got really cool proprietary codecs because they didn't like what else was out there. Whether it really is cool or not, or whether it really is genuinely new (as opposed to some appropriate set of options for standard codec algorithms, probably at more than 8000 samples/second) is less important to me than the fact that since it's proprietary I can't build or buy anything compatible with it. That's pretty lame.

      Their signalling and call setup algorithms are also proprietary and undocumen

  • POTS Via FXS (Score:2, Informative)

    by bagboy ( 630125 )
    There are very affordable SIP-based FXS boxes out there that would allow the SIP-Phone to access the PSTN. Additionally, many cisco routers in use are capable of FXS ports (WIC cards). Cisco IOS allows the creation of SIP-based dial-peers and dial-plans. These guys obviously didn't look too hard for PSTN access solutions for the SIPPhone.
  • I don't know about SIPphone, but I tried Skype and I must say you'll soon find yourself living in the best house on Easystreet if you want to try to pick up strangers from your lazy chair.

    Just go to the 'Find a Friend' option, find the advanced button and search for the sex and or age of your choice in the city/country of your choice.

    Et voila, the world is on your feet: there's a nice list of many nice people waiting for your chat (some even hint they like to that in their 'About' box, others hint they do
  • Yeah, all your phone calls brought to you by the number one most untrusted, bandwidth-hogging, spyware installing company, KaZaa! Thats right, download our software free today! It may not have our spyware package in it yet, but just wait until everyone is using it! Our new 'enchanced' version 2.0 will come complete with our enchanced features such as:

    SaveNow! This tells you how to save money, even though you weren't going to spend it anyways!

    NewDotNet! Yes that's right, you too can be mislead into believi
  • Now if only I could get DSL without having to pay Verizon for a full featured phone line :P
  • ...thus it is bad

    does it interoperate with gnomemeeting or run under wine?
  • Skype appears to have done some interesting things. Unfortunately, they're not using open standards or even documented protocols, so there's no way to build or buy anything that interfaces with it except from them, as opposed to the SIP phones, which are components in a large and rapidly developing market of rich features.

    It's not just that their source code isn't Free as in Beer or Free(tm) as in politically correct RMS-style speech, it's not even semi-Open as in "Source Available so you can read it and

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