Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Skype P2P VoIP

Skype 3.8 for Windows

April 29, 2008

Skype 3.8 for Windows was just released with the main improvements in the audio engine. Skype claims the new version significantly reduced background noise, less delay, fewer call drops, and fewer cut-outs, especially when both sides are using Skype 3.8 for Windows. According to a Skype spokeperson, another improvement is if you change your headset, headphones or microphone, "there's no need to mess around with sound settings. Skype 3.8 for Windows takes care of it behind the scenes."

If you've been offended by the profile images that popup that are certainly NSFW (not safe for work), you'll be happy to know the new version no longer displays profile images by default.

AOL Launches Open Voice APIs

April 29, 2008

Today, AOL will launch Open Voice APIs to enable developers to integrate the AIM Call Out Service into softphones and SIP-enabled devices. According to AOL, the APIs will "provide third-party developers and VoIP device manufacturers with open standards protocols that will enable them to easily integrate the AIM Call Out service into softphones, as well as SIP-enabled hardware and cell phones with wi-fi connectivity."

The APIs directly integrate with AIM Call Out, which is AOL's "SkypeOut" PSTN low-cost dialing service. AIM Call Out is built right into AIM, a popular instant messaging client that used to be and perhaps still is the #1 IM client. Skype may or may not have surpassed AOL in total users, but regardless, AOL dropped the ball when they let Skype's voice functionality help erode into AOL's formerly dominant IM market share.

Many users are loathe to run multiple IM clients, so many switched from AIM to Skype because they could get IM, plus voice & video -- all in a single client.

Skype Launches Unlimited Flat-Rate International Calls

April 21, 2008

Today, Skype announced its first-ever, flat-rate international calling subscription. Sure, Skype has had unlimited flat-rate calling to the U.S. and Canada for some time, but today marks the first time Skype has given some non-North American countries (minus Mexico) some unlimited lovin'. As of today, Skype now offers unlimited international calling to 34 countries.

Plantronics SupraPlus HW251N-USB Wideband Headset

April 11, 2008

Rich and I reviewed the Plantronics SupraPlus HW251N-USB Wideband headset, featuring wideband codec support for use in VoIP applications such as Skype and Microsoft Office Communicator. Rich actually got two pre-production models and was kind enough to give me one of the SupraPlus headsets. Actually, he wanted me to be his guinea pig to test the audio quality since I get to hear and review quite a few VoIP products.

We tested the monaural style Plantronics SupraPlus HW251N-USB using both Skype and Microsoft Office Communicator. The audio quality was quite good.

C2Call - New browser-based Java VoIP app

April 3, 2008

C2Call (C2Call) lets you make web-based P2P VoIP phone calls direct from your browser whether you're using Linux, Windows, or an Apple Mac. The software is a Java widget that is loaded temporary from the C2Call web page into your browser each time you use C2Call. Using the C2Call Java widget I spoke with Martin Feuerhahn, Director of Actai Networks Pte Ltd Taiwan Branch. The voice quality was excellent and the latency wasn't too bad either considering I'm in Connecticut and he's in Taiwan!

In Internet Explorer when you first load the widget you'll see that the application has a digital signature that has been validated by a trusted source:

Actai Networks GmbH, the company mentioned in the above screenshot is the parent company of In Firefox the app just ran without showing the digital signature verification message. The client is just 1.1MB in size so it's fairly small.

The beauty of C2Call is that you can send a call invitation to anybody you want to talk to simply by sending an email invite directly from the applet.

Skype and other VoIP Apps on Mobile Phones

April 1, 2008

It seems new software comes out daily that enables you to run a VoIP application, such as Skype, on your mobile phone natively, through a bridged gateway, or using the Skype API. While Skype is certainly the most popular VoIP application, other software solutions exist that use the SIP standard. Still others provide SIP-to-Skype bridging capabilities. I thought it would be useful to have a rundown of the various solutions out there.

Metaaso mermaid IPv6 P2P App

March 31, 2008

Metaaso mermaid is a line of products based on a Peer-To-Peer (P2P) technology, which is completely server-less and allows users to broadcast data/audio/video/text to millions around the world, without the need for heavy infrastructure, and over their very own private, secure peer-to-peer network.

What's interesting about mermaid is that it's the first IPv6 P2P sharing application that I'm aware of that makes extensive use of the new IPv6 address scheme, which helps get around pesky NAT issues and share data/media with your other peers.

Mermaid can also be used for P2P VoIP that doesn't require centralized supernodes like Skype does. In addition to VoIP you can also broadcast your webcam, and your voice live, to millions of people worldwide in real-time over your own private, secure, P2P network, optimized for webcam and voice broadcast.

What else can you you do with mermaid? They claim the following capabilities:

- The ability to broadcast MOVIES in realtime to millions of people worldwide over a private, secure, server-less P2P network.

- The ability to broadcast and receive NEWS, over a server-less, P2P network spanning the globe, where you can get the news, as soon as it gets published.

- The ability to broadcast ANY audio/video source connected to your computer over your own private, secure, P2P network to millions of people around the globe.

- Multiple people connected to each other, sharing their webcams, their desktops, their voice and files (file sharing) over their very own private P2P network, bringing global, and scalable multi-node video conferencing to mainstream.

How does it work?

SippySkype SIP-to-Skype Gateway

March 7, 2008

Last month I wrote about my strong disagreements with a guest blog post on Skype Journal that was titled "A SIP/Skype Gateway Is NOT In The Forecast". I disagreed with the premise that a SIP/Skype gateway isn't in the forecast. Well, Skype Inc. may not care about offering a SIP-to-Skype gateway, but that doesn't mean VoIP enthusiasts are going to sit around and not build their own SIP-to-Skype gateways!

eBay Names CEO to Skype CEO position

February 25, 2008

SimplyExchange Skype PBX Gateway

February 22, 2008

Wisecom Technologies Ltd is now selling a Skype Certified gateway called SimplyExchange, which hooks up to your corporate PBX using four analog FXS ports. This is similar to the Actiontec VoSKY Skype gateway, though SimplyExchange is a much smaller unit than the 1U VoSKY gateway appliances. In any event, you simply connect 4 SimplyExchange analog FXS ports to 4 PBX FXO trunk ports, which will "Skype enable" your PBX. Alternatively you can connect to 4 telephones (or some to trunk ports and some to telephones)

Next, you configure your PBX by setting a hunting group number for the four trunk ports to a specific number, such as 8.

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