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Thinking of using Skype - any advice useful


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I've been reading endless posts and threads on here trying to decide if Skype is worth using. Many people seem to have it so I'd like to ask if what I need it for is practical and cost effective please to those who have it or used it.

 

I have an office (converted bedroom) at home where the computer sits, I generally turn it off most nights mainly to save electricity TBH, but it's on most of the day. I once installed BT Voice to run in parallel with my internet, but found the quality of the phone calls poor and as I was using the phone for speaking to business clients I found it frustrating not having a clear 'and not 'tinny' receiption so disconnected it. I have a telephone (BT freestyle 3200) sitting on the desk now unused. I live in Greater London so no problems with normal phone lines via BT.

 

My Internet is BT as and I'm paying £103 per quarter for the internet provision to BT, but it's now coupled with my home phone which costs the usual landline rental + cost of calls. I usually end up with bills of circa £130 a quarter.

 

One person told me they are on Skype for their outgoing calls and just keep one landline from BT for their incoming calls, I want to use the outgoing for telesales and I gather Skype is free to landlines which most of my calls will be as they will be to companies.

 

Now can anyone tell me if this seems a sensible option to use, if anyone has experience of using this? are there any hidden costs? If I did phone mobiles is the price extortionate and what kind of troubles has anyone had with Skype? What about the sound quality too -is it as good as BT?

 

I've been a loyal BT user most of my life both business and at home, but I do find it expensive to keep them all plus 2 mobiles which don't get used a tremendous amount (combined within £50 a month with 02).

 

I'm also not much of a techi, so the least technical applications would be most appropriate and I absolutely loathe having cr*p to deal with when you download software that is a law unto itself on the pc that send me digging into the realms of the underworld within my pc to remove or fix.

 

Anyone?

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Skype is NOT free to landlines. The cost varies from £3.39 a month for unlimited calls to the UK to £7.99 a month for unlimited calls to anywhere in the world. I have occasionally had problems with sound quality but I only ever video call and the video uses a lot of bandwidth. Having said that, Skype claim to have made an improvement to the sound quality in the latest version and, to be fair, I haven't had any problems since. Why don't you download it and try it out - its free?

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Skype is NOT free to landlines. The cost varies from £3.39 a month for unlimited calls to the UK to £7.99 a month for unlimited calls to anywhere in the world. I have occasionally had problems with sound quality but I only ever video call and the video uses a lot of bandwidth. Having said that, Skype claim to have made an improvement to the sound quality in the latest version and, to be fair, I haven't had any problems since. Why don't you download it and try it out - its free?

 

 

That was in true CAG style ' quick ' and I thank you, Yes that sounds a good idea, I will. Even at 3.99 it's very cheap by comparison with BT Thank you.

 

SC

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I pay Skype £18.99pa and get ALL UK calls 'inclusive' (01/02/03 only). The new software codecs are great, and you get a geographically relevant number for people to call YOU back on. If you add a Skype cordless too, you are no longer tied to the PC and take it with you around the house/office.

 

Now, here are the downsides.

 

I use cable, and cannot fault the service rovided because you need a minimum of 300Kb/s upstream to ensure your voice isn;t full of drop-outs. Because BT uses ADSL, if your data stream is variable, this may become a problem - however if you plan to make calls during the day (rather than in the evening where peak demand is high) you should be OK.

 

As noted earlier, it is free to register and download. For your first call, make a calls to Skype's (free) answering service 'Skype123' which wll play back your voice to confirm the quality.

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I use Voipcheap. Free call to most significant destinations. Very cheap calls to mobiles. I use a voip usb adapter so that I can use a cordless handset.

 

I also have a Voipcheap oridnary phone number - although I don't think that they so that anymore.

I've used the system for 3 years and it is excellent.

Because I use a voip adapter I am able to attach a Truecall to it so that the truecall can work with Voip or with ordinary phone.

 

I stopped using Skype a couple of years ago

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Thank you Buzby and Bankfodder ( wow, the man himself! ) This is very useful and I will go search out the necessary websites and try and sort something. It's probably easier than I imagine, but I just loathe new systems which don't work. Had it in my business once, I moved offices and took on a new GEC Panasonic system installed with all their cabeling before we moved in, looked very swish until we tried to use it and clients (big city organisations) said it sounded like we were standing in a tin box - it was dreadful, had engineers there day and night and nothing changed it so got BT back in pronto to put a completely new system in and I cut the line and wires myself off the old system as the BT engineer wouldn't take responsibility. Since then all these newbie systems riding piggy back off the old ones make me nervous..so thanks for the reassurances.

 

SC

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  • 1 month later...

Okay, I think I might be needing some help here from Buzby if that's possible please..I took the plunge and went for Skype, I paid for a years subscription to get my free landline calls etc. and got myself a telephone number for it.

 

Now can I just turn the clock back? - I used to have BT Voice going through my PC (XP) and I had a BT Freestyle 3200 phone I used. As a result of poor quality reception I dumped Voice as I couldn't speak with customers without it sounding tinny. I then got myself back onto internet with BT and that internet runs on my house BT phone line.

 

I have now got myself a BT Swire router and the internet runs fine through that still using the house phone line but I don't want to use the house phone for business calls so I signed up for Skype and was hoping to use this Freestyle 3200 set as a phone for Skype.

 

Problem 1 - I'm no techi.

 

Problem 2 - I cannot find how to connect up the phone to the router apart from attaching to the phone line port. Does it need another one of those filters for example?

 

The ports/lights run left to right: Power, reset, phone line, USB PC, 4 x ports one of which (1st) has yellow ethernet cable to PC port, last - dsl port with line to home phone socket.

 

There's absolutely no way of contacting anyone at Skype to ask, their forum is a disgrace by comparison to CAG and all I see are questions and no answers and people griping about the service which doesn't inspire much confidence, but I'm still trying to get it working.

 

I did not want to use a microphone as such a) as I haven't got one, b) I like using a phone and there does not appear to be any microphone on my pc screen only a port for one on the back of the PC box, so how do I get this telephone to work?

 

I've run through the skype instructions as best I could to ensure the boxes are ticked etc on the control panel Sound & Audio devices area, so can I use this 3200 and how do I get it connected?

 

Any help would be very much appreciated as I have already wasted hours trying to figure this out and contact Skype and BT - who are suggesting I speak to Skype understandably.

 

Thanks

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No - you cannot use the Freestyle handset for Skype. I agree it is a pain, but the technologies are very different, and your handet needs to support the Skype menus so that you scan see whos online, and this requires a PC connection (Ethernet or USB), nit a standard Telephone line socket.

 

The Skype Shop will show you what is available, I use a Linksys Skype DECT Handset which connects a DECT dongle via USB plug to my PC Running Skype - this works well, and means I'm not naled to my PC to accept calls. So in essence, you're almost there - but existing non-Skype handsets will prevent you from achieving this.

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Freestyle 32000 is a DECT phone, deigned for use as a 'normal' landline phone and attaches its base station to the outside world via a normal BT phone socket.

 

What you need for a handset (even cordless) on Skype is a phone that attaches to the computer via USB or directly to your network via wifi or router/switch.

 

Your current Freestyle cannot work directly with Skype.

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You are both most kind - I am a little confused though as I used the 3200 with 'Voice' which effectively allowed me to use the internet as a phone line previously - or more precisely, the telephone ran on the BT internet line in. From what you are saying it appears BT Voice and Skype are totally different types of technology which to numpties like me appear the same.

 

I am indebted to you both - thank you. ( but try not using a DCA's Pleeeease! :D )

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Both use VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), However, the BT version uses their own router which allows any 'normal' phone to be attached directly to the router, using a standard socket. Within the router there will be circuitry to route this via the broadband connection instead of the landline. Any necessary software will be embedded in the BT router.

 

Skype started out using the audio capabilities of a PC and has since evolved to provision of phones that link directly via wifi or ethernet. The necessary Skype software is either loaded onto the PC or embedded in the handset.

 

As your Freestyle does not have embedded Skype software, it cannot be attached via Skype - even if you could obtain a physical adapter to plug it into the network.

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Thanks very much for explaining it all this will save me from playing with wires until I'm blue in the face! Much appreciated, my instinct was to ask here first, but then thought I'd try and familiarise myself with the Skype website -I should have known better....thanks ..;)

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