Turn your PC into a Skype gateway

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Turn your PC into a Skype gateway

SkypeTelevoce's PontiVoce (PonTEE VO-che) Server is an interesting piece of software that lets you create a 100% software-based Skype gateway that leverages the Skype API to turn your PC into a Skype gateway for relaying calls. It's worth pointing out that Skype has offered free phone calls within the U.S. and Canada to help acquire more Skype users. Using TeleVoce solution, you can extend this "free offer" to friends and family outside this free calling zone. All you do is find a friend in this free calling zone who has Skype running on his or her PC -- along with the PontiVoce server piece installed. The PontiVoce server can serve any number of users, but only one at a time. When the server PC is used to relay a call, the PC cannot be used for other Skype calls and the PC audio is dedicated to the call.

TelevoceThe PontiVoce Server consists of two Microsoft Windows software applications. The “client” software is for any PC wishing to place a call to the U.S. or Canada. The server software (gateway or relay PC) must be installed on a PC within the free calling zone of the US and Canada.

TeleVoce offers the PontiVoce Client software at no cost. The PontiVoce Server software is enabled by a software key that can be purchased at with a one-time fee of $5.95. The server software license is for a single Skype user name. Essentially, the PontiVoce Server software converts the server PC (in U.S. or Canada) into a telephone gateway, enabling the user outside the free calling zone to call any phone within the free U.S. and Canadian zone.

According to TeleVoce, unfortunately, the server PC must be in the US or Canada. I'm not sure why a user can't install this service piece in say South Africa and then this would allow users to make SkypeOut calls to local South African phone numbers and then deducting SkypeOut credits from server PC. Of course, you don't really save any money by relaying through a 2nd PC, since Skype will still deduct the same amount of SkypeOut credits. Except in this case, you're deducting from somebody else's SkypeOut credits instead of your own.

Thus, unless Skype starts offering local calling or free calls to other countries it wouldn't make much sense to go through a PC relay gateway located outside a "free zone". Of course, perhaps one day Skype will discount the per-minute rate depending on your IP address. That is to say, perhaps one day Skype will use geolocation technology (using your IP address to figure out your location) to offer a different calling rate. Using both origin and destination to figure out the charges will be just like the PSTN all over again. The nice thing about VoIP is that it's location agnostic. At any rate (pun intended), if this does happen (different rates depending on your IP address), then having a Skype software gateway that works in other countries might make sense.

Summary on how it works:
- Similar to international call-back in the old days
- App-2-App Skype API
- Sets up a conference call at the server and mutes the audio
- Note, that this is NOT call forwarding - it's all done in software

Really this software is only going to be useful for international users who make a high call volume to the U.S. and/or Canada. However, who wants to depend on someone leaving their PC on all the time and also not currently using Skype in order to make a free call? Nevertheless, I'm sure this software will have some "niche" users that will find it useful. For more details go here:

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