Skype to POTS to VOIP = poor sound quality

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My Dad recently discovered Skype and has been calling around using their SkypeOut 2.1 cents/minute rate. When he called my VOIP number I was a little shocked how poor the sound quality was. It was like talking to someone through a tin can and string with 1500ms latency.

Even though I'm on VOIP (via Packet8), I would assume that Skype wouldn't be clever enough to detect my number as a VOIP number and use a VOIP link between us, especially since Skype's protocols are supposedly proprietary. So when my Dad called me Skype was probably using a POTS (plain old telephone system) bridge of some sort. The sound quality problems were probably somewhere in this bridge.

I set out to find if there was a way my Dad could just call my VOIP number directly through Skype, and was a little surprised to see that there wasn't. (OK I'm lying, actually I wasn't surprised at all). Since there wasn't, and my Dad now didn't seem to be adverse to calling people from his computer, I sent him a link to Free World Dialup. FWD is sort of a global VOIP address book, except now they have their own free VOIP software that you can download to use it. (I had previously used X-Lite and was skeptical of their free offering, but it turned out to be a lot more user friendly than X-Lite). My Dad signed up for FWD, configured the software and can now call me from his computer for free.

What's even better is the sound quality is great--no latency or artifacts. Forget Skype, if you want to call somebody on a VOIP number just use FWD! Check out their peering access numbers for more information.

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This page contains a single entry by Robert W. Rose published on February 19, 2007 5:48 PM.

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