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    Tuesday, December 07, 2004

    The Skype's the limit

    Ever since I saw a neighbor's license plate that read "VOIP" when I was living in Somerville I've been intrigued with Voice Over Internet Protocol. The concept is not new, but it's a technology that's just getting off the ground with services like Vonage, Lingo, and Net2Phone from the big telephone carriers.

    Cheap and/or free phone calls? Sign me up! For some reason, though, I haven't made the plunge yet. Basil, how's it working out for you?

    What I am trying, however, is Skype. Although not technically a VoIP solution, Skype uses peer-to-peer (P2P) technology to connect users. With P2P, they say firewalls and configuration aren't problems, which can be the case with VoIP.

    Skype is a free download and free to use -- no spyware or adware bundled with it despite the fact that it was created by the Kazaa folks. All messages are secure and encrypted with 256bit AES (the best published cipher that the world currently has), and it naturally works across all platforms. In addition Skype has built-in IM and file transfer features. If you've used Instant Messaging software, Skype's interface will be very familiar.

    Gee...I can think of at least one international company that could benefit big time from using Skype. PC-to-PC calls are obviously free, but calls to regular phones are also possible at competitive rates, depending solely on the destination country, by buying SkypeOut credit. This is very convenient for outgoing calls, however, unlike other VoIP products, there's no way to receive calls from regular phones.

    Everything I've read about Skype says that the sound quality and absence of delay is unparalleled when matched up with other VoIP services and IM clients. If you'd like to try, you can download Skype and give me a call:

    Add me (seanmcg) and give me a ring. If I'm not around, my answering machine SAM should pick right up. Chat with you soon...