Like many cruisers, I use VOIP just about every single
day I'm not offshore
. I use it to make normal voice calls either Skype to Skype or Skype to telephone, and I use it to have conference calls.
Skype has such good audio that with an even half decent data connection, you can hear nuances of people's voices that you never heard on telephones. Nowadays on the boat, I have the best conference calls I've ever had, far better than what I used to have on office conference systems costing tens of thousands.
But Skype is fundamentally malware which uses your data traffic for different purposes without your permission, and you can't even close the program to stop this without going into task manager and killing it. And the latest software
version will update automatically without any way in the world for you to turn it off. On a boat with metered connections, this is becoming unacceptable, and in any case I fundamentally don't like software
which controls me rather than the other way around.
So are there any reasonable alternatives? I have a SIP account from FreelyCall which I use for some calling to telephones because it is much cheaper than the quite expensive Skype Out service
, but the quality is poor. I use Zoiper with this, and I like that it is highly controllable, but it is buggy and the audio quality, no matter how much I experiment
with different CODECs, is a far cry from Skype. And to have conference ability you have to use the paid version, and good luck getting the dozens of people I conference call with to all buy a copy.
What to do? Skype is like the European Union -- seduces and bribes you with incredible audio quality and universality (free trade
and open borders), then screws you with everything else.