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Skype Courts Businesses With "Skype for SIP"

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the squeezing-blood-from-a-turnip dept.

Communications 79

Skype has made a new foray into the business front with their announcement of "Skype for SIP." This allows businesses to migrate to Skype without having to move off of their old PBX systems. "Skype has long had a business unit, but that version of its service required computers and software, which is how most users make their Skype calls. With Skype for SIP the company seeks to lower the pain barrier by requiring no hardware installation whatsoever, and the re-configuration of a SIP-enabled PBX to an established codec that presumably is within the skillset of whoever maintains it already."

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Questions on Supernoding & Security (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301705)

  1. Are they going to give you the option to turn off supernoding (I think this was included in version 3.0 but I don't use Skype) instead of having to work around [ghacks.net] them destroying your bandwidth [slashdot.org] ?
  2. Will it still punch holes in the company's firewall [slashdot.org] ?
  3. Is Skype still reading the machine's BIOS [slashdot.org] ?
  4. And what about the rumors at home and abroad of back doors for bugging [slashdot.org] on Skype? Have those rumors been quashed or does my company risk dissemination of proprietary phone calls?

Sorry guys, my very large employer gives me a big policy denial if I even try to visit Skype.com let alone download anything from them and install it. You have to address the above before you even start to gain the trust of large companies.

Re:Questions on Supernoding & Security (0, Flamebait)

JeffSh (71237) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301983)

are you retarded or just trolling? Your post indicates a very large ignorance about what SIP trunking is.

Re:Questions on Supernoding & Security (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302051)

Can't it be both?

Re:Questions on Supernoding & Security (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302139)

I'm not sure the word "retarded" means what you think it means. (i.e., I'm pretty sure it's possible to have a "very large ignorance about what SIP trunking is" and, yet, not be retarded.)

Re:Questions on Supernoding & Security (1)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302921)

However, ranting about things which you have little/no knowledge of often give that impression.

Re:Questions on Supernoding & Security (3, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302185)

are you retarded or just trolling?

Neither, I hope.

Your post indicates a very large ignorance about what SIP trunking is.

Ignorant as charged. Mind helping me out ... oh, wait, forgot this was Slashdot!

So they aren't installing software anywhere? They have made it "just work" with SIP trunking? What's their angle/revenue from something like this? And I can safely assume this means they won't be doing anything listed in my original post?

I didn't find any details on any of this in the article. You have succeeded at making me feel like an idiot but any answers directly to these questions or the previous ones would still be appreciated. Let's just assume I'm a retard so you no longer have to establish that point, ok?

Re:Questions on Supernoding & Security (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302291)

Don't feel bad. Your questions about Skype are all valid (I am a telephone / networking specialist) and have valid support from past headlines.

I think there's a lot of people here on /. that have a knee-jerk reaction to VoIP (it's 1337!!!!11) and can't stand to see someone ask the important questions behind the 'free' service.

I'm managing a VoIP system now (Asterisk) using a fractional T1, and can attest that there are issues with VoIP, and just running blindly toward it will cause pain. Keep asking those questions.

VoIP can be a fine system, but you must be aware of the issues and the compromises it brings. At this point, it's no better or worse than other phone options, just different. I hope that answers to your questions show up so that people can make an educated choice for their service options.

Re:Questions on Supernoding & Security (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302301)

Let's just assume I'm a retard so you no longer have to establish that point, ok?

With that assumption, he may or may not answer your question, but I think you'll score a bowling date at the White House.

Re:Questions on Supernoding & Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302353)

or a job as vice president. Gird your loins! What's the website number? 3 letters: JOBS. J-O-B-S.

Re:Questions on Supernoding & Security (1)

joe_cot (1011355) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302923)

From everything I've read about this, it looks like they'd be setting it up similar to Gizmo's OpenSky [gizmo5.com] . Skype would handle the bridging from Skype to SIP for you, and you just connect to them through SIP (as a SIP trunk, like you would with any SIP VOIP provider). So, while Skype is a huge pain to deal with in a corporate environment, you wouldn't have to. None of your apprehensions are necessary.

Now, Skype isn't doing this out of the goodness of their heart. They'll charge something for it -- either monthly or per minute. Look at the prices for OpenSky for an idea of what it might cost. Maybe they'll make calls to and from Skype users free. Maybe. If you don't want to be beholden to Skype for this, see my full comment below [slashdot.org] .

Re:Questions on Supernoding & Security (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 5 years ago | (#27305267)

As I'm not entirely sure someone has already pointed out, but should have; no matter the hardware you're using now, you have no assurance that your calls aren't being monitored by the NSA or any other sufficiently advanced or funded agency anywhere in the world, if you use public IP transport. And probably^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hmost likely if you use something you consider 'private' transport.

ANY Agency

NO assurance whatsoever.

Now, are they terribly interested? Maybe, probably not. Will they divulge the info to a competitor? Doubtful, but what is not imnpossible must, therefore, be considered possible. Am I worried about my communications? Nope. If they want me, they don't need my phone calls.

But it's still wrong. Just unavoidable right now. We'll have to work on this in The Future.

Re:Questions on Supernoding & Security (4, Informative)

citizenr (871508) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302195)

SIP is usually implemented in hardware, be it a PBX or a phone. "Skype for SIP" means they will offer SIP gateways for Skype = no Skype software on your end.

Re:Questions on Supernoding & Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27304807)

Skype is still owned by eBay. I don't think I would have my business calls routed through that company. If you have to have skype connectivity, then SIP is of course the best way. Let's see if they will keep it free. I doubt it, because there are so many voice enabled SOHO routers that offering SIP to everyone for free would cut a significant number of nodes out of their relay network. (Still leaves the question how you're going to dial "hotgrl18" from your phone.)

lyoffs (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301717)

I'm so sick of watching good people get laid off.

When will this end???

Re:lyoffs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302127)

When you submit to a global currency ran by the IMF with carbon taxes paid directly to private banks!

Re:lyoffs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302237)

You can't build a new building until the wreckage of the collapsed one is carted off.

felonious billionerror execrable back even ytd (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301743)

as for the rest of US? what did we really expect? that's what we got...again. better days ahead.

Skype, see Microsoft (3, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301779)

Skype is like the Microsoft (MSN) of VoIP. It's one of the main players for home and even small business yet it isn't compatible with any of the other players. It also attempts to lock in their customers (as they don't accept or dial out to SIP) so anyone that wants to connect to anyone else needs Skype. Furthermore it's doing some dubious practices behind the doors with three-letter agencies and governments so they can't be trusted. Anyone trying to implement their protocol is either infringing on patents or otherwise will meet a DMCA.

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301825)

We need a poll for the best cross-platform VoIP software.

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (1)

artg (24127) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301989)

I'm looking for cross-platform (or possibly linux-only) audio-conferencing software : I want to move IRC chats to audio. Is there such a thing available ?

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (1)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302131)

SIP can do IRC-like conference calls (see: the ekiga wiki [ekiga.org] for some examples). Obviously, voice doesn't scale near as well as text for more than a few people.

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302187)

Yes. Depends on how much bandwidth and hardware processing you've got versus the size of the conference.

Dunno how many people will jump into that though. Geeks like the safety of a keyboard. NAT issues may do the noble idea in altogether.

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302729)

skype works on linux, and does conferencing.

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27303781)

It does but only as in the form of a much older version that what is available for windows. It looks as if Skype has largely given up on linux so I would be looking for standard SIP software for cross platform VoIP.

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303903)

i guess i will be grabbing a copy of the old windows client then, i like the skype version on my eee PC better than the one i downloaded for my windows box.

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303603)

Asterisk [asterisk.org] with any SIP software works like a charm. The asterisk server backend will be linux or BSD but there are many cross platform clients for the end users.

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (1)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302449)

Skype is like the Microsoft (MSN) of VoIP

Then I feel like the typical Microsoft user: I'm unaware of any alternatives. What other VoIP clients do you recommend?

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302813)

There are many SIP clients out there Quetcom or Twinkle are two interesting examples. Problem is the lock-in: If all your friends use Skype, you have to use fucking Skype. Or you ditch your friends.

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (1)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303171)

I guess my question is really what do VoIP applications like Quetcom or Twinkle have that Skype does not? Give me a good OS-X-vs-Windows-Vista reason why they are superior. I'm genuinely curious and would switch if there's a good reason to do so.

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (4, Informative)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303743)

I guess my question is really what do VoIP applications like Quetcom or Twinkle have that Skype does not? Give me a good OS-X-vs-Windows-Vista reason why they are superior. I'm genuinely curious and would switch if there's a good reason to do so.

I've been using SIP-based VoIP for about 8 years, including leading some decent-sized deployments around the world, and I have never heard of Quetcom or Twinkle. So this tells you one thing already: there's a tremendous diversity of software out there in the standards-based VoIP world (an alternative theory is that it's just telling you that I'm somewhat ignorant). Diversity means you have a better chance of finding something that more closely meets your needs.

But let me tell you some of the reasons I think SIP-based VoIP would appeal to a home user who's at least a tiny bit technically inclined:

1. Vastly superior hardware. Even halfway-decent SIP phones make the best Skype-compatible hardware look like absolute garbage. A mid-range Polycom will give you a full-duplex speakerphone that will rock your world. I'm using one from here in Malaysia to connect with co-workers in Europe and the USA, and the sound is perfect. 100%-effective echo cancellation, even with my 250ms other-side-of-the-planet latency. With Skype, echo always seems to become a problem at long distances (I'm not talking about feedback you get when using your PC speakers).

2. Vastly cheaper calls. The SIP ecosystem has a huge number of competitive suppliers, many of them with rates that leave Skype in the dust. My per-minute cost for most calls is 1/3 to 1/2 of what Skype charges (and I get comparable or superior audio quality).

3. Far more customisability. With a bit of tinkering, you can set up call handling/routing to do anything you can dream of. Calls from my parents ring on my mobile at any time no matter where I'm traveling, while calls from clients are handled differently depending on where I am and what time it is. Despite traveling to 20+ countries a year, I never pay roaming fees because I can route my calls to a new prepaid SIM card minutes after buying it, just by sending my server an SMS. With Skype you can only do what Skype, and a handful of bolt-on plug-in vendors that require your PC to be on all the time, think will make them money.

4. Interoperability. I'm a freelancer, and the SIP phone on my desk integrates directly with the PBXes of three of my main clients. I'm just a 3- or 4-digit extension in their phone system, with full abilities to do whatever people sitting in the office can do on their phones. My 4th line button connects to my own Asterisk server, which in turn bridges to a bunch of other systems.

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27309399)

Re. 4. Tell me more :D

I use Asterisk for forwarding business calls to my mobile as well but I have to SSH in to change it when I'm abroad. That's not a huge problem as I have SSH+keyboard on my phone, but I'd love to be able to have control via SMS. Could you give me a rough outline of how you do it and which services you use?

Thanks :)

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (1)

gpuk (712102) | more than 5 years ago | (#27309507)

No idea if this is how he does it but i'd guess one way you could go about it would be to install Kannel (http://www.kannel.org/) on your asterisk box and plug in a cheap mobile via serial or usb (older Nokia phones apparently work well).

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311987)

I use Asterisk for forwarding business calls to my mobile as well but I have to SSH in to change it when I'm abroad. That's not a huge problem as I have SSH+keyboard on my phone, but I'd love to be able to have control via SMS. Could you give me a rough outline of how you do it and which services you use?

I cheat! One of my clients has a clickatell.com inbound SMS number in the UK. It costs 25 euro a month which is more than I'd want to spend just to use once every few weeks. I wrote the software that processes the inbound SMSes, and with their permission I have it set up so that messages that start with a certain sequence of characters get relayed to my server.

I wonder if it would be worth setting up some sort of cooperative or even a business that allows people to share an inbound SMS number. Messages that start with "AAA" could be sent to one person's server, those that start with "AAB" could be sent to someone else's, and so on. Each user would be responsible for securing their own application so that it only accepted properly authenticated messages. Share a number across 100 people and the cost becomes minuscule.

Before I had the SMS working, I had to either scratch around for a wifi hotspot (not always easy) or pay sometimes-exorbitant data rates. In some countries (e.g. Syria) neither one is much of an option, or at least I never figured out how to get GPRS working with my Syrian SIM card. The SMS approach has proven to be a lot quicker. I send the SMS, which takes no time at all, and receive a confirmation callback within a few seconds if it worked (which it almost always does).

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (1)

costas (38724) | more than 5 years ago | (#27309517)

Your setup sounds very interesting and close to what I've been looking for for ages. Is that something you setup yourself? are there services out there that will set something like that up for a small business? links or pointers?

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311763)

Originally I set up Asterisk from source code and did everything the hard way, but about a year ago I switched to FreePBX [freepbx.org] which has simplified my life considerably. I have a few hand-coded scripts (for the SMS stuff) but otherwise it's all managed through the web interface now.

Interfacing with my clients' phone systems was a matter of getting configuration info from the phone systems' managers, then editing the XML file that tells my phone where to connect to.

Definitely none of it is a smooth and easy as getting Skype up and running. But in the long run, the extra effort has paid for itself countless times over.

Re:Skype, see Microsoft (1)

muuh-gnu (894733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27309007)

> There are many SIP clients out there Quetcom or Twinkle are two interesting examples.

Without checking, I suppose they have no webcam support, haven't they? Skype is no way as prevalent as it is just for its Voip capablities.

> Problem is the lock-in: If all your friends use Skype, you have to use fucking Skype. Or
> you ditch your friends.

No, the problem is that every other competing system (especially the free software ones) lacks one or more of the features I use daily with skype and therefore am one of those "friends" you would have to ditch in order to get me to switch to some suboptimal solution just because its free or something.

In order to make it short, just name a (preferably Free Software) client (not just a meaningless protocol name) that enables me and my computer illiterate friends and relatives to do three simple things we do every day with Skype:

1. Use Webcams easily.
2. Deal with NATs easily, which means not having to deal with them at all.
3. Use the client across all major platforms (Linux, Windows, Mac) or have interoperable clients across those platforms.

As of my knowledge, there are just no other clients (whatever protocol) supporting those few really really basic and indispensable features at this time.

They mad it big news a few weeks ago when Empathy finally hacked some kind of really basic webcam support together, but its neither near usable for the masses, nor has hope to get any kind of cross platform support soon in order to be relevant in a heterogeneous world.

I'd really like to use free software for my daily communication, but, sadly, IT JUST ISNT THERE YET. Even RMS and the FSF acknowledge this, and have put the development of a free Skype replacement high up their priority list. If you know better, this is your moment to tell me, since I would be switching overnight.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301821)

People actually use Skype? Huh. Interesting.

SIP trunks are already widespread and cheap (3, Interesting)

sampas (256178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301841)

Verizon [verizon.com] and ATT offer SIP trunks already, but they don't push them because they're cheaper than TDM ports. Plenty of other VOIP providers like Aretta and Vitelity also offer them. With G729 over IAX2 [digium.com] , though, you can get even more calls down a single T1. Is this news just because Skype is doing it?

Re:SIP trunks are already widespread and cheap (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301969)

I don't really see who would use this. If you already have SIP infrastructure there are loads of companies competing for your business in SIP to POTS bridging, and you can easily use different ones for calls to different companies, and for providing phone numbers in different countries. Skype doesn't offer particularly good value for money, its one advantage over SIP providers is that it is trivial to use from behind a NAT or a firewall, something that doesn't apply to a company that already has SIP deployed internally.

Re:SIP trunks are already widespread and cheap (4, Interesting)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302363)

If you already have SIP infrastructure there are loads of companies competing for your business in SIP to POTS bridging

That's assuming the point of this is to bridge to the PSTN. Allowing SIP users to call Skype users (without going via the PSTN) would be beneficial for their customers. They don't make money from calls they aren't bridging to the PSTN, but retaining their customers means more people who might make use of the bridge.

Skype doesn't offer particularly good value for money

Nor do many very successful businesses - Skype have a big name for themselves, and this makes them the first choice for a lot of people who are too lazy to shop around for a good deal.

I often hear it commented that Skype is "easier" than SIP - this has very little to do with the protocol, and everything to do with the fact that the user doesn't have to exercise their brain and make a choice about which service provider to use. The sad thing is that when Skype give them a really sucky service (because they try to work around broken networks, with varying success, rather than forcing the user to fix it) the users conclude that "VoIP sucks", rather than "Skype sucks", and don't even bother looking at the alternatives.

its one advantage over SIP providers is that it is trivial to use from behind a NAT or a firewall, something that doesn't apply to a company that already has SIP deployed internally.

SIP is actually quite trivial to deploy through a stateful firewall and most NATs so long as *all* your calls are going through the NAT. STUN does, for the most part, tend to work reasonably. It isn't 100% reliable (as the STUN RFC admits), but it's pretty good and if it works for you once, it'll probably work for you every time. On the other hand, in cases where SIP won't work, Skype will do crazy stuff like silently tunnelling your voice over HTTP instead of making you fix your terminally broken network - this frequently leads to a crappy service with no real indication to the user that they could fix their network to make it better.

Re:SIP trunks are already widespread and cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27309561)

> I often hear it commented that Skype is "easier" than SIP - this has very little to do with the protocol

Oh come on that's rubbish, SIP is much more difficult to configure than Skype. I understand the principles of SIP but I've still had many mysterious issues. Often these turn out to be funky config requirements of a trunk provider, other times a particular router isn't playing nice.

The fact remains there are many implementation differences and the config is relatively complex.

IAX on the other hand is just lovely.

Re:SIP trunks are already widespread and cheap (2, Interesting)

joe_cot (1011355) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302997)

I don't really see who would use this. If you already have SIP infrastructure there are loads of companies competing for your business in SIP to POTS bridging, and you can easily use different ones for calls to different companies, and for providing phone numbers in different countries.

Skype provides better rates to some places. That's not what I'd use it for.

I'd use it to talk to people that use Skype! If my mom uses skype, and I have Skype connected to my Asterisk system, she can call me and I can talk on my normal phone. If I have a call center using Asterisk, I can start offering support over Skype without changing our system at all. We have clients in third world countries who pay for great internet connections, but have terrible phone lines. They use skype for everything, so it would be much better to use skype to talk to them.

Re:SIP trunks are already widespread and cheap (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27304763)

I don't really see who would use this. If you already have SIP infrastructure there are loads of companies competing for your business in SIP to POTS bridging

Here's your answer. While you are correct, there is no desktop client like skype, that does audio, video, instant messaging & calling and does it VERY WELL.

Having tested many sip softphones and IM clients for corporate use, having one simple "presence" client that just works in all network situations and does everything is very handy. Having to deal with stun, ice and other crap with SIP can give you a big headache. (Ekiga comes close, but it won't work behind the most restrictive type of NAT which is still pretty common).

Of course, I don't trust skype at all, so it's banned from the office computers. If there was a private skype client, that would only connect to my company's skype servers, I would love a product like that, and I'd pay for it.

Re:SIP trunks are already widespread and cheap (2, Informative)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302019)

I'll give a shout-out to Vitelity. I've run my Asterisk box at home through them for about three years now, and the reliability has been such that I hardly ever give them a thought. I don't think you can ask much more of a comms provider, and I definitely like being able to pick and choose services ala carte.

Skype has yet to offer anything interesting to me.

Re:SIP trunks are already widespread and cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27304401)

I work for a telco, but I use Teliax as my SIP trunk provider off my UC500 at home. Love their control panel and fast response, and everything "just works."

Re:SIP trunks are already widespread and cheap (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302591)

I'm mystified as to how to set up a dial plan for this. Maybe the answer is not to, just ignore it?

I have a perfectly good asterisk PBX at home with voicepulse as a IAX err... SIP provider, which used the much more modern and firewall friendly IAX protocol but dumped it for the PITA ancient pre-NAT pre-firewall era SIP protocol last month. Other than that major headache, they are great and only cost me 1/2 of a cent per minute outgoing.

Now skype will do free on-skype-net calls but offnet is 2 cents per minute per the article, which is a mere four times my current providers cost and they don't even offer off-net incoming like voicepulse. So I need two providers minimum.

So, whats in it for me? How do I only route skype user calls out the skype hole? I guess if I know in advance I can make custom plan for individual numbers.

Also saving a whopping half cent per minute only to skype users, what is the payback time for a business that pays a consultant $100 per hour to set this thing up?

And whats in it for skype? Lots of talk about "billions of dollars" in the article, which at 2 cents billable per minute, would only take something like 95000 call-years to gross a single billion.

Re:SIP trunks are already widespread and cheap (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 5 years ago | (#27309851)

And whats in it for skype? Lots of talk about "billions of dollars" in the article, which at 2 cents billable per minute, would only take something like 95000 call-years to gross a single billion.

Assuming all calls are to the US or a landline. Have you tried calling an EU mobile phone? A quarter a minute.

http://www.skype.com/prices/callrates/#allRatesTab [skype.com]
United Kingdom - Mobile - Vodafone $ 0.253
Germany - Mobile Tmobil $ 0.246

Let's do some math!

Estimate of about 14 million concurrent users on Skype: http://glimfeather.com/borderless/OnlineNow.htm [glimfeather.com]

If 1% of those active people are talking to an EU mobile phone, that's 14 million x $0.25 x 1440 minutes/day x 1% = $50.4 million per day. So in other words, $1.5 billion a month.

Alternatively, if 10% are talking to a US phone (at $0.02/minute), that's 14 million x $0.02 x 1440 minutes/day x 10% = $40.3 million per day, or $1.2 billion a month.

Go ahead and divide my estimates by 10 (so 0.1% calling an EU mobile phone, OR 1% calling a US phone) and that's still $1.2 - $1.5 billion every 10 months. Alternatively - 0.05% calling an EU mobile phone AND 0.5% calling a US phone phone also gives you $1.2 - $1.5 billion every 10 months.

This doesn't count calls to weird expensive places (Solomon Islands $ 1.153), SkypeIn ($60/year plus per-minute fees from the calling telco), SMSes, or any other wacky stuff they can dream up.

So yeah, billions. Ebay bought Skype for $2.6 billion or so FYI. They're not stupid.

I don't know about Skype's quality of service (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301843)

Just browse through their forums. Their support system is almost nonexistent. The Skype software also seems relatively buggy in my experience.

I have been trying to use both SkypeOut and SkypeIn as my primary phone for almost a year now. SkypeOut is pretty decent, it's really cheap on the subscription plans and it works well. SkypeIn has been a whole different story. It has been very unreliable. Often I miss calls as Skype sends them straight to voice mail (like I'm not logged in even though I am). When this happens there is no trace of anyone calling unless they leave a voice mail. I have to log out then log back in to get the SkypeIn number to start working again. Then just stops working again after a while. It is unusable in my opinion.

I still use SkypeOut but I use a regular SIP provider for incoming calls. I probably won't be using SkypeOut much longer though because there does not appear to be any way to set your caller ID number to anything other than a SkypeIn or cellphone and I want to set it to my SIP incoming number.

Re:I don't know about Skype's quality of service (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302037)

I use Skype from a dedicated phone I bought for it, rather than through the computer. (I think it was a DLink.) My experience has been very good. It wasn't the easiest thing in the world to set up (had to manually enter quite a few settings) but it's been pretty nice since then. I've had to reboot the base twice in like a year and a half or so.

My biggest complaint so far is that there's no way to turn off voicemail unless you've got a client (or phone) logged in. If you don't, it'll go to voicemail whether you want it to or not.

Re:I don't know about Skype's quality of service (3, Informative)

nicklott (533496) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302831)

Skype for business is truly awful. There is no support , their software locks users out of their accounts randomly along with their credit, it also blocks them from the business account randomly, oh and did I mention there is no way to contact skype?

I can deal with the lack of support and dropped calls in their free version, but as soon as I start paying them money I expect to at least have some level of contact with the company and people who are paying a considerable amount (and there are people spending thousands complaining in their forum) will expect personal contact. If they ever want to turn a profit I suggest they get this part of their business sorted or they are boned.

Re:I don't know about Skype's quality of service (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303163)

I've been doing the same, with similar results for Skype In. I have a Nokia e71, with SIP stack built right in to my contacts, so I don't imagine staying with Skype In/Out much longer. When I tried to add skype credit the other day, they charged me $3 for a monthly subscription, which I promptly canceled. I'll probably end up going someone like Gizmo5 in the near future, where I can put in $10 and use the credit till it runs out, without having to worry about subscription fees. I'll have to change phone numbers yet again, but oh well.

Re:I don't know about Skype's quality of service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27303867)

Be aware that Gizmo may not be much better. I'm actually using them as my incoming SIP number because it costs about the same as SkypeIn but they also have a lot of complaints in their forums. A saw a lot of complaints about their payment system not working correctly. Though so far it has worked for me and has been very reliable for the incoming number. Then again I haven't had it very long, we will see.

Presently I'm looking into other SIP providers for the future but it looks like pretty much any of them is going to cost more than what I pay now (which is SkypeOut ~$30/yr for unlimited US outgoing plus Gizmo IN $35/yr for unlimited incoming DID).

Re:I don't know about Skype's quality of service (1)

jp10558 (748604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27311577)

Oddly enough, I actually prefer MagicJack more than Skype. Similar shady company, but so far it a) costs a lot less than Skype (about half compared to subscription plans when I last checked) b) uses SIP underneath, so if you don't worry too much about TOS (I do like to keep to TOS, but hey) you can use with Linux softphones or whatever you like. There's also lots of people who have gotten it working on a ATA.

Of course, MagicJack is definately a best effort service, so I don't think I'd replace my only phone with it (it makes a good Cell backup for me, and a decent calling card replacement for LD).

A bit late (1)

whosaidanythingabout (1144725) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301917)

We have been doing SIP from our hardware and software phones forever. I do not wee what value Skype brings to the scene. I never saw the value of the Skype technology to begin with and SIP is just a *me too* feature at this point. When I read from TFA that eBay is now the owner, that sealed the deal for me to never use it. I canceled my eBay and PayPal accounts months ago.

Skype for Asterisk (2, Informative)

Ransak (548582) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301925)

Last year at AstriCon a Skype to Asterisk [skype.com] channel driver was unveiled so I don't think it's a jaw dropping announcement that Skype is implementing SIP in a more general fashion. Based on that pricing however their going to be competing with Vitelity, Gafachi, and a few other wholesale VoIP termination/origination providers. Could get interesting.

Product name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302015)

So.. will they be calling it SkIP?

If it runs on SIP... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302069)

then why do we need the "Skype" part?

Wading into Telco Waters (2, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302107)

that are filled with Verizon/SBC/etc patents.

Note to all, the telco monopoly litigate with vengeance when an organization tries to cut into their hostage base. See Vonage case for the ultimate, totally unjustified, vigorish.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070417/005814.shtml [techdirt.com]

Ten Reasons to Boycott Skype (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302203)

Most of the Ten Reasons Why You Should Boycott Skype [freedom-blog.net] apply also to businesses. So think twice before you fall into the trap.

To fill in the missing info for the confused .... (4, Insightful)

joe_cot (1011355) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302303)

SIP [wikipedia.org] is the underlying protocol that makes most VOIP work. If you're using Vonage, or Asterisk, or most other VOIP systems/providers, your phone calls are getting coordinated over SIP, with the audio sent back and forth on the side. Using SIP, Cisco systems can communicate with Asterisk systems, which can communicate with Microsoft SoundPoint systems, etc. Any of those systems can connect to a "SIP Provider" to get phone service.

Skype is off in its own little walled garden, with a special protocol and codec. There have been many attempts to link Skype and SIP, and they're usually pretty painful (and proprietary).

SipToSis [mhspot.com] is a program that will allow you to have a skype "server" that will connect sip calls to skype users and vice versa. It's a bit of a pain to set up, but it walks. He also offers a set of scripts to have multiple skype clients set up, load and unload them as necessary, redirect calls, etc. It's a huge, huge hack, but it works, and is much cheaper than previous solutions of this type.

There was apparently a beta test for an Skype channel driver for asterisk. This would allow someone to setup skype as just another input type (like a Zaptel analog phone connection, or a SIP trunk), and seemed to be the ideal solution. Either it never went anywhere, or they decided they didn't want me in the beta :(

Gizmo also offers a Skype trunking solution, similar to what Skype seems to be offering. They call it OpenSky [gizmo5.com] . It looks like it would work pretty well for home users, but it would get pretty steep for businesses -- and how many home users would set up friggin asterisk, besides me?

So if you're a business, OpenSky or Skype's current beta is probably what you're looking for. If you're a home user or an admin who either can't wait or has too much time on your hands, give SipToSis a try. It's a bit of a pain to set up, but it costs $2-$14 dollars one time, as opposed to everyone else, who will charge monthly or per minute.

Re:To fill in the missing info for the confused .. (1)

joe_cot (1011355) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302809)

Now that I think about it more, I see one reason why Skype's SIP trunking might be better: the codec.

The codec for SIP/Skype calls is the same idea as codecs for music files: mp3, ogg, wma, etc. You take a drop in quality in exchange for less data. And if you convert from one to another, you take another drop in quality, because each codec strips out different things.

Any of the current solutions (SipToSis, OpenSky, etc) work by taking the output from Skype, converting it to PCM, and converting it to the codec of your choice. This works, but involves a drop in quality. Unlike music, you don't really care if you lose the sound quality of the lead guitarist, because it's a phone call. But if you're a stickler, the drop in quality may bother you.

When you sign up for Skype's beta, they specifically require you to be able to handle the G.729 codec (a common SIP codec). This means one of two things: either Skype is extremely lazy (I haven't ruled that out), or they have some efficient method of converting to and from G.729 and their own proprietary codec -- without converting to PCM, and without a large quality drop. It's possible, because they hold the keys. If that's the case, Skype for SIP or their (eventual) Asterisk channel driver may be worth it for you, if sound quality is a concern. I'd still say give SipToSis a try though.

Re:To fill in the missing info for the confused .. (2, Interesting)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302953)

If you're using Vonage, or Asterisk, or most other VOIP systems/providers, your phone calls are getting coordinated over SIP

There are an awful lot of us Asterisk folks that use IAX/IAX2 instead. *Far* better choice than SIP if it's offered by your provider.

Re:To fill in the missing info for the confused .. (2, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#27307439)

Voicepulse just discontinued their support of the IAX protocol because supposedly it didn't handle redundancy properly. Too bad they couldn't have just done a bit of work on the protocol.

Re:To fill in the missing info for the confused .. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27327517)

Voicepulse just discontinued their support of the IAX protocol because supposedly it didn't handle redundancy properly.

I also have no first hand knowledge, other than suffering thru the IAX to SIP conversion as a customer, but I heard the problem was IAX is too easy to get to work... It Just Works Every Time. So, their support folks were flooded with people whom were "skilled" enough to get IAX to work but had no idea how to run "vi" to configure their asterisk or how to configure their phones or just the most basic trivial stuff that comes with running a PBX.

On the other hand, SIP is such an unholy PITA to securely run thru firewalls and NAT that anyone whom can get it to work is probably either smart enough or lucky enough or rich enough (hire consultants) or doesn't care at all about security, so they will not call support and ask stupid questions.

Again, just making it clear I have no secret internal info from voicepulse, but the story I heard does make a certain kind of sense.

Why (2, Informative)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302415)

It might be nice to let Skype callers reach you via SIP or vice versa but otherwise there software is pretty questionable and there tech is subpar. I'll take SIP with a HD codec anytime. This is good news as it seems they want to play in the phone 2.0 world with everybody else, for better or worse that world is SIP based.

For those that dislike SIP please note that without NAT SIP works very well and NAT == Evil things should get better in IPv6 since NAT should never be needed again.

Re:Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27304419)

well i'm very interested in skype for sip last summer I installed a pabx gateway in our guest house (http://www.phelansguesthouse.com) in ireland and currently we are using it with a single line.

Theres a dsl modem router right next to it and It's easy to add a VTR and plug it into the pabx and the router.

The implications are 405 million skype users could call from anywhere in the world for free and it would be calling us on (free) line2.

A skype unlimited landlines europe package would cost about â5 a month and we could allow guests direct dialout access via the skype line for free and no worries about having huge call charges being raised.

We could opt to use line2 for outgoing calls and reduce the regular eirecom bill and of course we wouldn't be missing incoming calls on the eirecom number.

although sip is almost certainly better than skype, the reach and low cost of skype means that its certainly worth giving it a trial and possibly keeping it.

once things are set up it's transparent to users and we would pay no more and probably less than we do already.

I'm certainly going to add it to the list of things to do :)

Re:Why (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#27306629)

They have the backroom nerds via free for home mac, windows and linux solutions on their basment desktops.
Accounts will like it
The 'boss' will just look down at his or her best and brightest and ask if skype is 'a good solution' at this time
Skype has done a google or classic MS, infected the geeks and positioned its self as inside a company before going for larger accounts.
The problem is nobody knows anything about skype.
They could be the "MS' of the voip world, all gui and marketing.
Security sold as a future value added marketing prop.

Re:Why (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 5 years ago | (#27310101)

For those that dislike SIP please note that without NAT SIP works very well

The majority of users today are behind NAT (or in private address space with application proxies to talk to the world), so this isn't a terribly compelling argument.

and NAT == Evil things should get better in IPv6 since NAT should never be needed again.

IPv6 is awesome, but it isn't eliminating IPv4 any time soon (read: next 10 years). So dealing with NAT will remain a problem.

That said, since this is a business product meant to integrate with PBXes, the PBX maintainer should be able to deal with obtaining a separate IP or doing port forwarding.

Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27303283)

Why would any company want to do this? It's pretty much the inverse of putting lipstick on a pig.

Re:Why (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304035)

It's pretty much the inverse of putting lipstick on a pig.

What, it's putting a pig on lipstick?

Seems like a great idea to me. Just substitute chapstick for lipstick. And then substitute tallow for wax. And then substitute rendered pig fat for tallow.

Oh, and substitute bacon for pig.

What do you have? Bacon on lard.

Sounds ideal to me.

Also news about the new skype codec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27303761)

http://voiceontheweb.biz/2009/03/global-ip-solutions-positioning-codecs-including-silk/

Skype and SIP already possible in FreeSWITCH (1)

mercutioviz (1350573) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304279)

Skype via SIP is a nice idea, but it isn't exactly earth-shattering. The Skype guys were both smart and lucky. Having millions of users worldwide with the double-whammy of proprietary protocol and codec is not at all a bad place to be. The proprietary lock-in was good for hoarding the users, but now they are opening things up a bit to leverage that advantage.

FWIW, FreeSWITCH has had two different Skype interfaces for the past few months. When the new SILK codec specs come out tomorrow they will no doubt be implemented into FreeSWITCH immediately. In any case, you can do Skype + SIP right now if you have a Skype account and a FreeSWITCH server.

-MC

I want end-to-end VoIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27305059)

I want to be able to call your IP phone. I don't want a phone company server in between.

Oh, yeah, your IP phone doesn't have a static IP address.

And now we see why there's no rush to implement IPv6.

SIP vs skype on the desktop (1)

kiss7 (1501315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27305203)

The main problem is, that there is no much SIP based competition for skype on the desktop market, so they can acquire a big market share quickly with this movement. Most of the SIP based softphone looks like from the past century. There are a few good softphone that could be a viable solution near skype, for example Mizu softphone http://www.mizu-softphone.com/ [mizu-softphone.com] but unfortunately near skype/msn/yahoo marketing there is no much chance to become popular for small companies.

Re:SIP vs skype on the desktop (1)

muuh-gnu (894733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27309111)

>there is no much chance to become popular for small companies.

There is no much chance because....

1. they bring absolutely nothing new to the table.
2. No webcam support.
3. Windows only.
4. Proprietary.
5. Costs money.

> but unfortunately near skype/msn/yahoo marketing

Oh, no, probably its solely the fact that it costs more and provides less than any of the freeware alternatives you named. (And that the GUI is kinda ugly.)

Re:SIP vs skype on the desktop (1)

kiss7 (1501315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27478811)

> they bring absolutely nothing new to the table. they are using the open SIP protocol. this can be a big advantage > No webcam support you are wrong. HD quality video is there > Windows only yes in case of mizuphone. there are other alternatives for other platform (and all sip client can communicate with each other with no problem. can you make call from yahoo to skype?) > Proprietary. there are also opensource sip applications skype is also proprietary >Costs money Yes, if you buy from mizutech. but from voip service providers you can download it for free >the GUI is kinda ugly work in progress

Openness (1)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27305975)

I get a kick out of this line: "In a continuing sprit [sic] of openness,"

Aside from the typo, hasn't trying to crack Skype's closed down, locked, encrypted protocol been one of the ongoing challenges in the VOIP world?

I'm glad they're opening it up, but I suspect it's more out of fear, competition, or general business troubles that they're grasping into a slightly different market.

Safe Skype (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#27306535)

Remember skype is the friend of law enforcement around the world.
They my not listen like an Eastern European government in the 1980's in but are very open to any interested party.
The deeper they spread their codes and 'free' software the more end user should take care.
If on skype always consider using a product like zfone, the opensource encryption solution.
http://zfoneproject.com/ [zfoneproject.com]

Software as a Service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27310403)

Seems to me that Skype is just Software As a Service that everyone seems to love today.
Or you can call it "Cloud Computing" and then the CEO will LOVE IT!

Damn the security issues. That doesn't matte - its "cloud computing!" That makes everything ok.

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