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Baby Get Shaky!
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Topic # 28957 17-Dec-2008 10:49 Send private message

I've had Skype installed and with credit for about 3 years now but have never really used it for more than making prank calls to my flatmates until today. After a billing stuff up with Yahoo Small Business in the US I decided to try my luck phoning a US 800 number via Skype on my Telecom Connection (they never answered my email sent two weeks ago). Over two calls for a total of 25 minutes there was not a single echo, glitch, drop or delay. The quality was better than my POTS line to the US and it was free. I have to say all you people that have been talking up VOIP solutions on these boards may have been on to something, haha Laughing.
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3bit.com
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  Reply # 184781 17-Dec-2008 15:02 Send private message

kingjj: I have to say all you people that have been talking up VOIP solutions on these boards may have been on to something, haha Laughing


Yes, it really is amazing what benefits VoIP technology can bring, Skype is not the best to get into - you should really try out VFX or 2Talk - port your phone number over and get all the features on your home phone.




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  Reply # 184809 17-Dec-2008 16:45 Send private message

nate:
kingjj: I have to say all you people that have been talking up VOIP solutions on these boards may have been on to something, haha Laughing


Yes, it really is amazing what benefits VoIP technology can bring, Skype is not the best to get into - you should really try out VFX or 2Talk - port your phone number over and get all the features on your home phone.


I'm amazed that almost every time someone praises Skype in these forums there are certain people that continuously seem to put it down offering various other solutions instead.  Statements like “Skype is not the best to get into” are not helpful at all.  IMO Skype is excellent - I conference call Australia, NZ and the US via Skype and very rarely have problems.  I also have a Skype local phone number that routes to my cell phone if I'm not online which works great. Also the ability to have an instant messaging service built in is really useful.

Maybe it's a good idea for someone who has good knowledge about these Skype alternatives to post a FAQ or features matrix so the rest of us can learn and understand what these other services offer above and beyond what Skype does?




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  Reply # 184811 17-Dec-2008 16:52 Send private message

Good idea for the FAQ.

I think the main benefit on VoIP offerings is the number portability (get your Telecom, TelstraClear number into a VoIP provider), which is not possible with Skype.

Skype however lowers the bar to entry the voice over IP world - without being compliant or compatible with anytnhing else. SIP-based systems are much more flexible for small to large businesses or for a more sophisticated home. I for example use SIP and have incoming numbers in Australia, and UK, plus the New Zealand number. All those going to a digital PBX (running on a virtual machine) that can route my calls anyway I want - incoming and outgoing. This way we can use the cheapest possible routes for our calls, depending on destination.

Another thing is security - Skype can't be used to call emergency services because it's not location aware, while SIP services such as VFX require you to use your address.

But of course this is just a couple of points. There are lots, lots more...




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  Reply # 184819 17-Dec-2008 17:22 Send private message

Good points there Mauricio.
I use Skype with my small business where we have employees located around NZ and with our vendors in Australia and the US.  The biggest benefit for us is the ease of group communication as we can call or chat with each other from the one interface.  So for me I have no desire to shift my home phone as it's purely business reasons why Skype is a good fit.




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  Reply # 184838 17-Dec-2008 19:00 Send private message

problem I have with skype is there is no easy reliable way to get skype calls into my asterisk machine and therefore into my phone in the house.




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  Reply # 184844 17-Dec-2008 19:26 Send private message

richms: problem I have with skype is there is no easy reliable way to get skype calls into my asterisk machine and therefore into my phone in the house.


Good news is that there will be an official "chanskype" out soon.

Gizmo5 offers virtually the identical functionality to Skype but is SIP based and seems to be a getting a lot of unhappy Skype users moving across because of the ability to use regular SIP hardware and PBX systems.



Baby Get Shaky!
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  Reply # 184861 17-Dec-2008 20:59 Send private message

Nice to see a healthy discussion on this, would love to see a matrix style FAQ about VOIP, especially NZ based solutions. I'm personally not sure if I want to move over all my communications to VOIP yet, my POTS line has never gone down, whereas our VOIP line at old flat was a bit wonky. Skype is excellent for some uses as fretiasm points out and for people like me and the missus its great as an alternative to those expensive international calls (and for calling international freephone numbers). Have considered getting a SkypeIn number in the past, is it better to do this through a SIP solution instead?

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  Reply # 184865 17-Dec-2008 21:19 Send private message

kingjj: Nice to see a healthy discussion on this, would love to see a matrix style FAQ about VOIP, especially NZ based solutions. I'm personally not sure if I want to move over all my communications to VOIP yet, my POTS line has never gone down, whereas our VOIP line at old flat was a bit wonky. Skype is excellent for some uses as fretiasm points out and for people like me and the missus its great as an alternative to those expensive international calls (and for calling international freephone numbers). Have considered getting a SkypeIn number in the past, is it better to do this through a SIP solution instead?


The biggest downside of Skype vs SIP is that you can't just go and buy an off the shelf router with ATA built in that works. You are tied to the a Skype phone or adapter. In NZ the numbers Skype use are also owned by an Australian company which itself has raised some queries from people who don't believe they should be allowed to us them and they are also potentially in breach of the current NAD regulations. There is also no portability in or out whereas the main VoIP providers in NZ (VFX, 2talk and iTalk) are all reputable telco's who all belong to the NAD and offer portability.

The quality of the service isn't necessarily an issue, however other aspects of Skype's business model can be a bit of a sticking point for people. Skype is no longer unique and the reality is that SIP is now the standard for VoIP and even companies like Cisco and Avaya who still do have their own protocols have realised that a single protocol is the way of the future. IMHO Skype remaining with a proprietory protocol with high licencing costs for OEM manufacturers doomed them.

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  Reply # 184880 17-Dec-2008 22:16 Send private message

Skype is popular because it's easy. It really "just works" excactly as advertised and right out of the box. No messing with firewalls, routers, none of that. Even the most technically un-savvy users can get it installed and use it right away without any fuss. That is the single biggest advantage it has over any other solution, I think.

Sure, there might be other, more flexible solutions out there. Solutions with better sound quality or more features. But for pure ease-of-use and incredibly low getting-started hurdle I don't think that there is anything that beats Skype.

What bothers me most about Skype is that it is completely proprietary and closed. You never know what you might get, and some of what you get is quite terrible. The ease of use could be replicated by an open source solution (without nasty surprises). There is no great magic behind Skype. We know how it works.

But Skype has the large user base now. Any competition that requires special software on both ends faces an up-hill battle. And as long as the recommended alternatives require any messing with routers and firewalls they will remain niche products as well (or limited to those who have the technical know-how).

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