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Practical Internet Telephony Available? 9

Rude Turnip asks: "I've become involved in a long distance relationship (northeast-midwest). My girlfriend and I like to chat on ICQ via text for a while and then head on over to the telephone for sometimes about two hours....This is on literally a daily basis. Needless to say, the long distance charges (even at a dime-a-minute) tend to run high. I'm considering buying blocks of prepaid LD time from www.bigzoo.com which would only cost me 3.9 cents/minute and going for Sprint's 1000 weekend minutes plan for $25/month. However, I'd like to try talking for free over the net. My experience with voice-over-IP (voip) software like Webphone and Netmeeting has been less than pleasant. I'd like to be able to use a device (like the AplioPhone) that lets me and my girlfriend talk over the internet without too much lag and without too much loss in sound quality. Anybody care to share their experiences with voice-over-IP devices?"
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Practical Internet Telephony Available?

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  • by DarkNova ( 4131 ) on Sunday September 12, 1999 @01:36AM (#1687693)
    Check out Speakfreely at http://www.speakfreely.org [speakfreely.org]. It's Open Source, has versions for both Windows and Linux, and the versions for both OSs can talk to each other. It may be a lot more complicated than programs like NetMeeting, but with all the options, you can tweak it to get the ideal sound quality for your internet connection. Plus it has built-in encryption. I've used it via 56k modems and while its not quite as good as a normal telephone, it still works great (esp. for the price!). With a faster connection, I'd imagine that you could get better quality than a phone. For new users of this program who are frustrated with lag, I'd suggest changing the Jitter Compensation setting to None so your voice isn't buffered.
  • Have you tried MediaRing [mediaring.com]? It's free but runs only on Windows IIRC and is not open-source either. I've used it for international calls (MidWest to India) and so the lag I experienced was understandable (happens on normal phone calls too). Dunno how good it is for long-distance calls within the US. Give it a try.
  • The Internet PhoneJACK and LineJACK from Quicknet Technologies are full-duplex audio cards designed specifically to carry voice over the Internet. They can improve the voice quality of your Internet call and works with your existing analog telephone. They feature Plug and Play installation and zero IRQ operation make it easy to begin making high quality, low cost calls over the Internet.

    They're relatively inexpensive, integrate with all the popular software like ICQ, Net2Phone, Netmeeting, Internet Phone etc. and they have an alpha-release of linux drivers as well.

    Check them out at www.quicknet.net. You can jump straight to the reviews at: http://www.quicknet.net/news_events/news_articles. htm

  • The PGP site has a section for PGPfone.

    I'm not going to bother using *any* internet phone proggie until I get my adsl line in (sorry, I simply do NOT buy that decent voice will go over POTS analog connections) but good encryption combined with a net phone sounds like a lot of fun.

    Anonymous Coward, get it? :)
  • Well, actually, it's not as bad as you think, Any.

    If you take a look at the docos for SpeakFreely, you'll see that the current state of the art in toll-quality vocoders, or at least communications quality, can stuff voice down into 2Kbps.

    That will fit down your phone line, believe me.


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