Has anyone ever asked you if you’re on Skype? Whether for work or for entertainment, Skype is now one of the top forms of communication online, rivaling texting, instant messaging, email and even telephone conversations. Interestingly, telephony has actually been around for decades, even though mainstream consumers have only recently begun to appreciate its benefits. What truly made VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology workable was major improvements in high speed Internet accessibility, sophisticated web cam software, and globalization.
Skype is P2P VoIP
Skype is the world’s most popular video or audio call service, and it is entirely based on VoIP technology. Skype also lets you and others teleconference, instant message each other, or even share files together. One reason why Skype is so popular is because it allows users to speak together without having to pay exorbitant costs because of long distance connections. Skype is not simply VoIP, but peer to peer technology, meaning the system distributes the workload all across its own connected computers; it does not use a server like most VoIP websites do.
The good news is that you don’t have to invest in a lot of podcasting software just to make a call. In fact, you hardly need any special equipment. Here’s all you need. Make sure the person who you want to call has the Skype software and an account. Believe it or not, you can actually connect with people who have a traditional landline phone or a cell phone, though these services usually come with a fee. You must be running a mainstream OS, meaning Windows, Mac OS, or Linux. (If you have an iPhone or an iPad you can run the Skype app called Skype Mobile)
Making a Phone Call
If you just want to make a VoIP phone call then you’re ready to go. If you want to make a video call then you must make sure your computer or smartphone has a built-in web camera. The quality of your transmission will partly depend on the quality of camera or system you buy. Most of the new web cameras have audio built in. You must also have a consistent Internet connection (if you do not plan on paying extra to use Skype as a landline user or mobile user).
After downloading the software and creating your profile information, write down your selected name because this is your new “number”, where anyone can reach you. You can also determine if you want to make your name private or partly visible or public. You may also want to take the echo/sound test to make sure your hardware is working. You will need a microphone and speakers (preferably a headset) if you don’t have a webcam. Also, some of the newest landline phones can connect to a local phone service or to the Internet.
Once you set the preliminaries up, you can also decide if you want to take Skype calls from people on your PC only, or perhaps on your cell phone. The call-forwarding service is useful to people who screen their calls or are unavailable for certain hours of the day.
Lastly, consider the exciting possibility of doing group video calls. No, you can’t really do this on a mobile phone yet (although mobile users can show up as a voice) but PC users can arrange for a group video feature on Skype Premium, available via subscription. Up to 10 movers and shakers can take part in a group video chat, though quality does slightly decrease the more people you add.
Did you know there are actually video phones now that you can buy for use with Skype? It’s easy to see that the features of Skype have brought it to the forefront of technology; however, it was also one of the first companies to realize the tremendous potential a globalized Internet had to increase visual, audio and text communication. The company, founded back in 2003, took a gamble and won big!
Know about the Author:
Veronica Clyde is writer at VPNServices.net – a website where you can read reviews about the best VPN providers. You can read more about VPN services by visiting her website.