- Easy access to POTS, excellent sound quality
- Proprietary technology
Despite the lack of interaction with other systems, there are 70 million other Skype users out there
Skype is the big name in peer-to-peer Internet telephony after hitting the headlines with its $2.6b sale to eBay - which seems unbelievable considering their main product is freely downloadable and so are most of their competitors. But what sets Skype apart from most other VoIP clients is a mature, full featured client that offers unsurpassed voice quality.
Skype is an internet telephony (VoIP) network which allows its users to call and speak to other Skype users for free. To do this, you simply search for other Skype users on the network and make calls to their PCs using a microphone attached to your PC. You can also make calls to traditional phone lines, but this service is charged.
Unlike the majority of VoIP client software out there, Skype doesn't use SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) combined with RTP (Real-Time Transport Protocol) for calls but instead uses its own proprietary technology which provides calls of remarkable clarity. However, this is also the principal downfall of Skype in a market where broadband providers are increasingly offering SIP based hardware handsets and services to their customers - Skype users can only make free calls to other Skype users, and the technology lock-in means the SkypeIn and SkypeOut services are the only way to connect to Plain Old Telephone Systems (POTS).
Being a peer-to-peer system, Skype offers more than just the basic call setup/teardown functions of SIP and H.323. Users can advertise their availability like in an IM client - available, offline, busy etc. In fact it includes an IM chat client as well. It also offers a centralized directory for searching and connecting to other Skype users - recent estimates suggest upwards of 70,000,000 Skype clients have been downloaded. A nice feature is the "Skype me" search function which locates anyone with the "Skype me" status set - this means they welcome random conversations with strangers who just want to chat. Skype users can also block users from calling them or seeing their status, or set their mode so the only people who can ring them are the ones they authorize. If only a normal telephone could do that.
The interface is clean and easy to use, and the address book can import contacts from Outlook and automatically search the Skype directory for them. It also supports vCards. As for connectivity to POTS - it couldn't be easier. Just login to the Skype website and buy some credit and SkypeOut can be used to dial regular phone numbers anywhere in the world - Skype's backend servers will route the call out their gateways to deliver low cost long-distance calls just like using a calling card. SkypeIn provides a unique phone number that can be used to dial Skype from normal telephones and there is the subscription-based Skype Voicemail service.. Of course, with their lock-in you can only use Skype's service, which is undoubtedly the reason why Skype doesn't support SIP connectivity. That's a shame because it is about the only thing it's missing.
Join the newsletter!
We have five of these fabulous Logitech® SLIM COMBO keyboard covers to give away to our lucky PC World Readers. T&C's apply http://bit.ly/32MsZgc
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony WF-1000XM3 Australian review: Flair, finesse and form
- 2 Samsung Galaxy A70 Australian review
- 3 Gigabyte Aero 15 (2019) review: Full, Australian review
- 4 LG V50 ThinQ 5G review: Two bad
- 5 Beats PowerBeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones review: A debut worth the wait
Latest News Articles
- Parallels 15 lets you turn an iPad into a Surface tablet
- Bitdefender refreshes consumer cybersecurity offering
- Apple Music is now streaming on Alexa in Australia & New Zealand
- Windows Lite: what it is and when it might be released
- CBA capitulates, will support Apple Pay next year
PCW Evaluation Team
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10 vs Note 10+ vs Note 10+ 5G
- The Samsung Galaxy Book S is coming to Australia
- Everything you need to know before you buy a 5G phone in Australia
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?