Skype vs. Vonage2004-08-05
On Neville Hobson’s recommendation, I tried Skype today. Download and installation were a snap, following which I called Neville. I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area, Neville’s in The Netherlands. I’ve never heard phone call sound so good. You know the expression, “It sounds like you’re in the next room?” The next room has nothing on this. Neville sounded like he was a CD recording.
So I like Skype, a peer-to-peer solution from the folks who brought you Kazaa. However, you have to pay for calls to people who don’t have Skype (it’s free to those who do), and those without Skype can’t call you at all. When your computer’s off, so is Skype.
Then there’s Vonage, which I’ve been trying for a month. The price is right for this Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) solution—under $30 for all the calls I can make in the U.S. and Canada, and ridiculously cheap to Europe and other spots. It works even when the computer’s off. But the packets keep dropping and I can’t hear what the party on the other line is saying. Often, they can’t hear me either. Vonage claims this problem is either on the other end or my connection is too slow. I’ve tested my connection and it ranks among the fastest available. And there’s no problem on the other end when you call companies like Motrola.
I probably won’t keep Vonage. It’s a good idea, but VOIP needs work. I’ll keep Skype, but I don’t know how often I’ll use it, unless most of the people I work with decide to become subscribers.
Why, oh why, can’t these two concepts get together to come up with one great telephony solution?