Skype allows users to make telephone calls from their computer to other Skype users free of charge, or to landlines and cell phones for a fee.
Unlike most other VOIP (Voice-over-Internet) software, Skype uses a peer-to-peer model, which is the most efficient way for transferring large amounts of data over the Internet, in a distributed method. An d so when a Skype user calls another for a voice call or video conference there no extra costs. Additional features include instant messaging, file transfer, SMS, video conferencing and its ability to circumvent firewalls.
It’s easy because the user interface is intuitive i.e. easy to navigate and operates like a normal phone just on a computer screen.Skype is free to download and use from www.skype.com – you only pay if you want to call landlines and cellphones. You have to purchase Skype credits to make calls to landlines and cellphones. View this detailed comparison on Hellkom.
Some similar software include Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, which are both instant messaging clients with a voice calling options. But there are many, many others. Skype is superior because it uses the most efficient protocols on the Internet.
The fast your Internet connection, the better Skype words. Skype works exactly like a normal phone call from a landline and there almost no delays except when you are downloading large amounts of data from the Internet at the same time.
Basic Requirements for using Skype:
- All PCs, Macs will work using Windows or Linux
- Broadband Internet – ADSL, 3G, iBurst or MyWireless (Sentech).
- Mic and Speakers or Headset, laptops have them built in
5 Simple Steps to get going with Skype:
- Buy a Computer/Laptop + Headset/Mic (laptops have built in mic/speakers)
- Get ADSL/broadband
- Download and install Skype
- Make a test call on Skype to ensure your mic/headset/speakers work
- Search for people, add them to your Contact, start calling!
Over 140 million users worldwide and ±9 million users online at the any given time.There is no actual number available from Skype. My friend Rudolph Muller from MyADSL estimates about 100,000 people or more.
There are some complaints about the technical side of Skype as part of the peer-to-peer technology certain users can become supernodes. And this will consumer more bandwidth, unknowingly to the user. Another complaint is the customer service is bad because there is no direct way to call them. You have to use the websites for all problems.
Skype is extremely safe and secure. Patches are released on a regular basis whenever there is a security problem. Since calls are free to other Skype users there is very little incentive to “hack” Skype accounts.
Any more questions about Skype? I’m happy to answer them…