Thursday, June 01, 2006


Today I made a couple of telephone calls from my iBook with SkypeOut. You may be aware that SkypeOut calls are free for American and Canadian residents to American and Canadian phones, through the end of 2006. I've had a Skype account for awhile but this was the first time I've used it.

Anyway, the first call was to my boss on his cell phone to check in with a daily update. My Internet connection was through a VOD/HSIA system, accessed via WiFi. The second call was to Judith on out Vonage line at home. In this case it was the wired Internet connection in my hotel, which I believe is fed via a T-1. In both cases it just worked. The sound quality was excellent, without any echoing or perceptable lag, and it worked full-duplex. I was quite impressed, especially for the first call, which in effect was like this:

Laptop <--> WiFi <--> NAT<--> Internet <--> PSTN <--> Cellular Network

Latency is bad for voice connections but any negative effects didn't seem to manifest themselves. The single biggest factor limiting sound quality on my end were the crummy speakers on my iBook, which just need to be a bit louder. If I'd had external speakers or better yet a headset, the calls would've sounded as good as a POTS call.

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