Skype to POTS to VOIP = poor sound quality

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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