15 years have past since my late friend elad has showed me the first VoIP solution he invented, at his house in Raanana. He used it to make a call to united states.
Today, Voice over IP is a fact of life and a billion dollars industry, but it is not always working as published. I spent the last week in California, and experienced multiple variations on the subject.
Skype – Skype to Skype calls in Israel are excellent. Three way calls are very nice and we are using SkypeOut on constant base to hook people with land lines or cell phone. at 0.13$ a minute for an Israeli mobile number it provides a reasonable option.
We often use it for USA to Israel calls, and that’s more of a problem. Sometimes the quality is great ans sometimes the quality is quite bad. It is rather hard to know in advance. Really problematic with customers.
By default we try SkypeOut from Israel to landlines America and switch to normal SS7 if quality is low.
It does have its great days. One morning two weeks ago I was speaking with Sister in Kusco, Peru over skype. She wanted ( as if she had a choice :) ) to speak with my mom, who was helping my brother moving to a new apartment in Tel Aviv. I used SkypeOut to connect a 3-way call with her mobile number
WebEx\Dimdim – They both have built in VOIP support , but seems everyone is using the phone numbers
( services like free teleconferencing.com etc ).
The funny thing is a lot of times we use the phone number, and dial into them with Skype.
Asterix VOIP PBX ( SIP ) – In order to save money on a costly PBX we hired consultants to install the open source VOIP PBX. It turned out to cost more. We invested tons of hours to get the darn thing working. It has quality issues, calls were disconnected, the user interface is clumsy and many features are missing. We got it to almost work and it does provide the cheapest calling to Israel using our VPN.
Cable Company – our “regular” office lines our actually voice over broadband form the cable company. Although they usually works, they don’t have the same quality and reliability you get from the good old PSTN ( Public Switched Telephone Network).
Once, we lost our phones system for an hour, because of a downtime in Barak. They didn’t even bother to explain what happened, not alone to compensate us. Some other minimal features (e.g. leading number) are surprisingly missing,
To summarize,when it works, it can be great and cheap. When it fails it can be quite annoying.The main problem , IMO, is the huge variance of quality that still exists. Maybe it is time for a FloodGate-1 comeback.