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Skype - Internet telephony app with free LD calls
Authored by: tinker on May 23, '06 12:28:43PM
I actually use Skype regularly for a four-person teleconference / podcast, and I'm only slightly annoyed with it. We do get latency, which is a pain, but not much latency, and we also get distortion, much of which can be traced back to someone's CPU getting overloaded. Menu Meters , aside from being a great little program, is a very nice way to monitor your system while Skyping so that you can detect CPU levels, throughput, etc., at a glance.

The first time I tried Skype was over a year ago, with my brother, computer-to-computer, and it sounded not just good but great. I tried SkypeOut across country yesterday night, and it sounded a lot better than a cell phone would have, and maybe just a little worse than a land line... but no latency that I could detect. I've also had one conversation on Vonage equipment, and I'd say that the two were roughly equivalent in terms of quality -- though beware the small numbers, of course.

One thing that I dearly wish that Skype would do is add more user-accessible quality settings!!! Apparently Vonage allows the user to determine, e.g., how much bandwidth to use; if using more bandwidth would increase the quality of the sound (not an unreasonable conjecture?), I'd happily make the trade. I get frustrated on these conference calls when people report some distortion and only a small fraction of my bandwidth is being used.

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