Discussion in 'VOIP' started by Juan G. Castaneda, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. Is there any future in Skype as a VoIP solution vs. SIP?
    Juan G. Castaneda, Jul 29, 2004
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  2. Juan G. Castaneda

    Dave Stephen Guest

    Yes I think it has great potential in terms of PC to PC and PC to PSTN
    because of its use of P2P. Regrettably the company behind it seem immature
    coming from the Kazaa stable and have recently started a furore on their
    bulletin board by increasing their gateway to PSTN charges without notice
    but conveniently introducing new Terms and Conditions again without notice
    to their customers.

    Being P2P the PC to PC quality is excellent indeed better then PSTN but give
    it a go and try it for yourself. There are other similar products out there
    on the horizon e.g. Peerio444 and iTalk2U but Skype has stolen a head start
    for the meantime.
    Dave Stephen, Jul 29, 2004
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  3. No, its an propriatary protocoll and they are the only choise of provider!

    Mats Karlsson, Jul 29, 2004
  4. Juan G. Castaneda

    James Body Guest

    Other limitations of Skype are:

    - Skype is only available in 'softphone' format; dedicated interface
    hardware is not available

    - To operate Skype, the host computer needs to be powered up

    - Interfacing/interworking with non-Skype VoIP services is not

    - Single voice codec (iLBC) supported; no high quality (e.g. G.711)

    - PSTN break out only ('Skype Out'); no PSTN break-in ('Skype-In')

    - Proprietary code, no third party development allowed; no 'Open
    Source' Skype applications

    - No support!

    If you have a requirement for any of these, go and find yourself a SIP
    VoIP solution
    James Body, Aug 16, 2004
  5. Actually, they have Skype for Pocket PC and have announced plans to
    sell it into dedicated devices and other handhelds.
    Actually, they clearly have a SIP gateway, it's how they do their
    PSTN termination. They don't let it call SIP addresses because
    they (sadly, but correctly) ask, "How many people can you call with
    a SIP URL?" At most a few tens of thousands, compared to 400,000 on
    Skype and a billion on PSTN. No wonder they put SIP gatewaying low
    on their list.
    You've never used Skype, have you? The one thing people notice about
    it first is how it uses GIPS high-frequency codecs, the voice quality
    blows G711 and other low frequency codecs out of the water. I think
    it only uses iLBC if you have a very poor connection.
    This is what's interesting. This is true, and we feel it's bad, yet
    they are whupping SIP's ass in terms of people knowingly using it.
    Brad Templeton, Aug 17, 2004
  6. Is this codec available as either open source or open specs so that an
    open source compatible version could be written?

    As an aside, anyone know why ogg can't be used for the voip data? Is
    it a delay issue?

    Wolfgang S. Rupprecht, Aug 17, 2004
  7. Juan G. Castaneda

    James Body Guest

    Good - we agree then - Skype have SOFTPHONE ONLY, if you want a VoIP
    solution that interfaces to a 'proper' telephone or some other
    existing telephony hardware, Skype really is not the solution to

    Skype has a SIP gateway? I think not!

    And please check your figures - Free World Dialup is over 250,000 and
    Vonage passed 155,000 on 17 May 2004 - and that is only two of the
    many SIP ITSPs available worldwide!

    I have been using Skype since it was first released. Skype claim over
    19 million downloads of their client - I note that over 20 of these
    downloads have been by me!

    FYI - GIPS (Global IP Sound) produce one implementation of the iLBC
    ( See )

    Please also note that iLBC uses a sampling rate of 8 kHz, resulting in
    an aggregated bit rate after overheads of around 13-16 kbps. Whilst
    iLBC is indeed a fine codec (it is used extensively by the Open Source
    SIP Developers community), it can not be compared with a 'lossless'
    codec such as G.711a/u. Also note that SIP allows even higher quality
    'hi-fi' codecs to be employed if required - with SIP you are not tied
    to one single codec!
    'Whupping' is not a term I would have used here - one thing that Skype
    are VERY good at is HYPE - and I guess that the entire VoIP community
    are grateful to Niklas Zennstrom for raising public awareness on VoIP,
    yet it does not make Skype a better product! And there are limits to
    the size of community that the Skype architecture can support - Skype
    creaks a bit in its current form - what will it be like if it doubles
    or even triples in size?

    In the interests of maintaining a balanced debate here, may I direct
    readers to a well written (and unbiased) article at The Register

    Ultimately I see voice telephony going the same way as e-mail; with
    services becoming so cheap that they are virtually free. Whilst
    today, it is easy to sign up for a 'free' Hotmail account, who is
    business would want to run a respectable business through such an
    account? Similarly, whilst there will be a range of 'free' VoIP
    services (both SIP (e.g. FWD) and Skype), I guess that most users will
    prefer to pay a little more for a supported service with more
    James Body, Aug 17, 2004
  8. The GIPS codecs are proprietary. The ILBC codec is an open standard
    and GIPS sells a royalty free version of it, I don't know if there is
    a totally free one.
    Ogg is not a voice compression algorithm, it's a data file format.
    You probably mean Vorbis or Speex. Speex is designed for the compression
    of voice, and indeed there are Speex based codecs but it's still not
    very far along. At least not so far enough along that the Skype guys
    must have felt they had reasons to pay GIPS for their codecs rather
    than use the free Speex ones.

    I've been encouraging people to try the Speex ones.

    There are some open standards high frequence codecs (G.722) and the
    Grandstream firmware now supports them but I have yet to have a call
    using them yet.

    I believe that GIPS high frequency codecs also include various
    tricks for dealing with lost packets and congestion. One would need
    to design a good Speex based codec to do that.

    Have at it!
    Brad Templeton, Aug 18, 2004
  9. I am not sure what a "proper telephone" is and why a handheld
    device would not be usuable as one.

    But actually, this is where a lot of SIP folks have it dead wrong.
    They think, "Let's make VoIP as much like the regular phone as
    we can! Let's demand it work on a 'proper' telephone."

    I understand perfectly why they say this. It is the classic
    mistake in dealing with a potentially disruptive technology, try
    to make it evolutionary instead of revolutionary.

    "Almost as good as a regular phone but at least it's harder to
    configure" is a failure-destined strategy for VoIP.
    Yup, or an H.323 one. It's just not available directly. In order
    to use iBasis to terminate in the PSTN, which is what I hear they
    are using, you would need to use SIP or H.323. So when you use
    SkypeOut, at some point the call is being converted to SIP or 323.
    I have checked my figures. FWD has that many registered users, but
    only a few thousand are on at any given time. Vonage has reached
    many customers, but you can't dial them with an open SIP URL.
    (FWD has a gateway into Vonage to make SIP calls, so one hopes at some
    point things will oepn up a bit more.)

    Skype has many millions of downloaders, and seems to have 400,000
    actively on at any given time. It's orders of magnitude bigger
    than all the pure SIP internetworks, and it go there in under a year,
    compared to years for the SIP groups.
    Ok, so why do you think Skype has poor quality voice codecs? Have
    you only used it over a dialup link? Tried g.711 over dialup?
    Again, you seem to have not really explored Skype in spite of the
    times you have downloaded it.. All the Skype calls
    I have done have not used ILBC, they use the GIPS high-frequency
    codecs, which 16khz of frequency, and thus near-FM quality.
    My understanding from talking to their folks is the reverse, that it
    should keep scaling fine.

    I have done a lot of SIP development, I made big bets on SIP, and
    I am a big fan of it. But I know when somebody comes in and does it
    better, and I admit it.

    Skype is not hype. It is better, a lot better. It's a wakeup call
    for the SIP and H.323 communities. Somebody doing it entirely
    proprietary can do it better than you and pass you while you are

    This is not just me. The people who designed a lot of the SIP
    protocols, whom I have spoken to most of personaly, will privately
    admit that the SIP world has dropped balls here. That all these things
    are in the SIP protocol but so rarely correctly implemented that you
    can't use them. Seamless NAT traversal, encryption, high frequency
    codecs, presence, easy configuration. It's all there, but it never gets used.
    Just boring G.711 calls to a small number of people. That's the
    reality of SIP deployment after years of effort.

    Skype wakes you up because it delivers easy install, encryption every
    time, high quality codecs, near-flawless NAT traversal, presence, chat.
    All the time (except on dial-up where good luck doing a SIP call) and
    with no effort. To a much larger body of people.

    One would think, but then why has Skype got more people in under a
    year using it than SIP or H.323. (I mean knowingly using it. There
    are large numbers of people using SIP or 323 based VOIP without
    knowing it, using it as PSTNoIP.) If SIP is to be more than PoIP,
    it's already lost to Skype, and the ball is in SIP's court.
    Brad Templeton, Aug 18, 2004
  10. Juan G. Castaneda

    charlie3 Guest

    I've been using PC to PC voice services for years. My favorite was
    firetalk, never equaled since. These days i use one called . It works fine and has millions of users.

    When PC to PC voice first came along i had high hopes of persuading
    friends and family to adopt it with no success. I use the service to
    join group discussions of various topics.

    The VOIP services are a completely different animal. They connect to
    the traditional phone system and they work on standalone boxes that
    connect to traditional phone equipment like cordless phones. The PC
    to PC services do none of this. Skype is a chat service, not a phone
    charlie3, Aug 25, 2004
  11. Juan G. Castaneda

    John Guest

    Take a look

    They have hardware design for Skype.

    Skype's gateway
    Skype's phone
    John, Sep 2, 2004
  12. They don't. They have an interface hardware for your PC - and I guess, that
    you need to run the skype-software on it to use this hardware...

    Tobias Erichsen, Sep 2, 2004
  13. Juan G. Castaneda

    -=-peas-=- Guest

    Not true, i have seen articles from at least one hardware vendor that is
    including it.
    Thats their business model today, it doesn;t mean that they won't change
    that in future.
    G.711 is not "high quality" at all, its a narrow band, uncompressed and a
    basic codec. All implementations i have come across use this to provide 'low
    quality' audio i.e. 3.4 KHz which is the same as you'll find in mobile
    phones. Skype, SIP and H.323 are all capable of and do use better codecs.
    G.711 will go the way of the dianosors, even professional VoIP systems (such
    as Cisco) that use this quality use compressed versions such as G.729. Alot
    of H.323 systems in the video sphere use G.722 as a minimum and more over
    G.722.1 or better.
    In fact the most sucessful VoIP system in use today is based on H.323 and is
    used by carriers to route millions of billed minutes of voice traffic across
    international links for reasons of efficiency. [1] [2]

    The voice over ip market is anything but settled at present, in the medium
    term i believe that sucessful solutions will be those that interoperate with
    all major protocols. I think the same thing is going to happen with IM too.
    Skype (imho) will be sucessful in the short to medium term because it is
    'free' in terms of setup and basic use, just like email and IM.


    GIANT Service Providers
    Carried over 1 Billion H.323 minutes to date.

    a.. China Netcom Corporation (CNC)
    b.. China Unicom
    c.. Genuity
    d.. iBasis
    e.. IDT
    f.. ITXC
    g.. JiTong Communications
    h.. Ntera
    i.. PhoneOpia
    j.. Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT)
    -=-peas-=-, Nov 19, 2004
  14. Juan G. Castaneda

    Kyler Laird Guest

    This one?
    And it doesn't mean they won't change it again later. Your balls are in
    their hands.
    There are other free solutions. I think Skype distinguishes itself by
    providing easily-used (initially, at least) software and outstanding
    marketing. It is the Microsoft of VoIP.

    Kyler Laird, Nov 19, 2004
  15. Juan G. Castaneda

    Noses Guest

    Working great (although I only use it in the other direction, controlling my
    DECT bases from my desktop without running 20m of USB cabling across the
    So what? It's not like leasing a Siemens System with outomatic contrat
    extension by 5 years (or German Telecom with their 10-years-are-sooo-cheap
    contracts you can only get out by bancruptcy) as soon as you need another
    phone on someones desktop. You're free to leave if you don't like it.
    Not their marketing - it's really awful. But it was the first solution I
    could run out of the box which was working even without doing anything to
    our layered firewall (of course - this means the firewall isn't really good
    enough to keep something dangerous contained inside either... *grmbl*!) to
    someone with a similar firewall. It survives asymmetric routing across three
    links with dynamic IP addresses, moving through a load balancing HTTPS proxy
    and a number of further indignities. Whatever you might think of the rest of
    their technology, its mechanisms for setting up and keeping connections is
    the most advanced stuff on the market today.

    Noses, Nov 20, 2004
  16. Juan G. Castaneda

    Kyler Laird Guest

    Have you encountered any system that chokes because of HTTP(S) proxies?
    Are you saying that it's something other than basic NAT hole-punching?

    Kyler Laird, Nov 20, 2004
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