Call me on Skype... Announcing Skype IN
by Ted Wallingford
Tom Keating's got the right idea when he raises the question-- Where is Skype's support for hardphones? The new SkypeIN feature, which allows you to have Skype be your carrier for inbound phone calls, would be so much more appealing if you could use it with an actual telephone.
I don't think Skype believes it can be a total phone replacement without being compatible with regular phones. SIP providers like Vonage and Broadvox give you an Analog Telephone Adapter, but Skype's solution is to have you plug a USB handset into the PC running skype? OUCH. Echos of that dismal, gimmicky mid-90's software, 'Internet Phone'.
Something tells me Skype's got a much bigger plan indeed.
Here's hoping that, at the '05 Internet Telephony expo, Skype is talking about things that can really help it displace the Baby Bells: Some kind SIP compatibility or gateway, universal analog phone compatibility via an ATA or on-premise VoIP gateway, and a less dimissive attitude towards Quality of Service. I.e., a real enterprise posture.
I'm pulling for you, Skype, but you've got a long way to go.
Can you imagine not "reaching for the phone" when it rings?
1. You don't need a real USB phone. I bought a small gadget via "IP Phone Center" which connects USB to an RJ-11 telephone socket. So when the computer rings, I just pick up the phone.
Dial out also works: it just needs the country code first, and a double ## to enter and activate the number.
2. The next stage will be to connect that box to my tiny 2 CO/5 phone PABX - line 2, and I expect that I shall then pick up any phone. I'll know it is a Skype call on account of the way it will ring. Dial out will require a prefix from me, 82, as for my second POTS line right now.
3. Of course, a small Ethernet to RJ11 adaptor wold be nice to have, to save relying on a PC running all the time, but that would be a luxury.
4. But Skype IN sounds a fine idea: I need a real-looking phone number for incoming FAX to E-mail conversion, and www.efax.com is almost as expensive as a regular phone line here in France.
Lots of options available for Skype..
At http://www.summitcircle.com/ I have been collecting links to tons of Skype phones, USB to RJ11 adapters, and of course Phone Line/PBX Gateways.... which should allow you to do what you want.
I have a 6CO/ 16 phone pbx, how did you say you connected your skypeline and telephones? Could you be more specific.