"Hi David! I am the only get really confused by all free/cheap calls Internet Options? You wouldn't mind clearing the waters constantly occluding Skype, Google Voice, Line2, FreePhone2Phone and so on? Your fan, Caroline c. "
I loved this e-mail message for two reasons. First, I knew the answer could make a great column.
Secondly, you rarely encounter the word "occluding."
All rights, Caroline, here is the story.
The world of phone calls is changing fast. Whenever some service is essential and expensive — as phone service — you can bet that somebody will invent less costly alternatives.
As faster Internet connections are caught, it didn't take long for programmers intelligent to realize that the Internet could transmit entries.
The world was suddenly full of programs (Skype, iChat, Google Talk, various programs Messenger) that allow free phone calls "" anywhere, as long as you and your called were both sitting at the computer.
Then came the era of mobile phones that can connect to the Internet. What a mind-boggler! Does not mean that mobile app (like iPhone and Android phones) could, in theory, "" free phone calls over the Internet, bypassing the voice networks? Internet calls up to not ever use any of your minutes. You could save all kinds of money. She has had the rock foundation of the world of telecommunications.
Well, we are getting there. There's still no app that offers all three elements: free calls to regular phone numbers from your mobile phone. That, of course, would be the maximum. For now, you can only choose two out of three. For example, you can make free calls to any phone number — but only by the computer (Google Voice). Or you can make free calls from your phone to other owners of an app (Fring, Skype, TruPhone) — but not to real phone numbers.
To prepare this report on the State of the call of the Internet, I made a lot of calls in all types of configurations: a phone, a landline, via WiFi, on mobile phones and so on. Over time, it became clear that Internet calling apps represent a great exercise in expectation-lowering.
For example, than in a normal phone call, Internet calls usually require more time to connect. The sound quality is almost always less; you would describe it as muffled, weak or distant.
Finally, the delay of heading is measured worst on Internet calls. During each test, I conducted a little experiment: I told my partner caller who was going to count to three and asked to say "three" simultaneously with me. Even on a typical phone call, I hear her "three" distinctly late — a half-second or so. But Internet calls, the delay is usually a full second or more. Don't try to practice your calendar comics on a call via the Internet.
Typically, call apps connect to the Internet when you're in a Wi-Fi hot spots. When you're not, these applications can connect to the Internet via the company's data network for your mobile phone. In this approach, however, the results are disappointing; sound is muffled delayed and, if you're driving, calls drop frequently. Internet call apps are generally worth use only when you're on Wi-Fi.
Exaggerating the ability of these applications is par for the course. Skype and Fring, say, for example, allow the phone to phone, video chat, even when not using Wi-Fi. In practice, the quality and the delays are so terrible that the feature is unusable.
Despite all these drawbacks, however, these applications offer two advantages unassailable. First, of course, you can save a lot of money. If most calls over Wi-Fi, you can install a cellular caller plan cheaper, because you are using fewer minutes. (If you have Line2, Pinger or Google Voice, you can also cancel your SMS plan because they offer unlimited free texting.)
And secondly, these apps Wi-Fi allow internal calls solids — just where cellular coverage is weaker.