The PhoneBoy Blog

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PhoneGnome talks to Skype. Oh really?

I too received the press release that PhoneGnome is linking to Skype so you can make and receive Skype calls over your PhoneGnome. While I give David Beckemeyer and crew points for extreme cleverness, it is somewhat of a non-starter. The main issue being that you must run Skype along with this software application on a Windows PC–no Mac version yet. The software package, which is a piece of software I discovered a week or two ago called Uplink Skype to SIP Adapter Software, does the dirty work of turning your Skype call into SIP.

While I can live with Skype and something else running on a PC–after all EQO and Soonr are quite useful little apps–the real showstopper for me is the amount of bandwidth that is wasted. Let’s break down the path a call takes as it comes in via Skype and makes it to PhoneGnome. For a test call, I called myself using my mobile phone to my SkypeIn number. That portion of the call takes the following path:

Skype User <--> Your Internet Connection <--> Your PC

Now the client software on the PC turns the call into SIP, sending it off to PhoneGnome’s servers:

Your PC <--> Your Internet Connection <--> PhoneGnome Proxy

The call then of course must go to your PhoneGnome adapter which is registered to PhoneGnome’s proxy:

PhoneGnome Proxy <--> Your Internet Connection <--> PhoneGnome adapater

For the simple act of taking a Skype call and forwarding it to your PhoneGnome adapter, the call path must traverse your Internet connection three times: once via Skype, once between your PC and PhoneGnome proxy, and once between your PhoneGnome and PhoneGnome proxy. That basically triples the bandwidth requirements for these calls, unless of course your PhoneGnome and Skype PC are located in different places.

Despite all this, it works okay. However, I have a lot of headroom on my Internet connection most of the time. It does seem like a lot of unnecessary bandwidth, particularly when my PC and my PhoneGnome were on the same subnet.

Now what would be cool is if you could somehow link this in a way that would allow you to make a SkypeOut call from your PhoneGnome, which for the US and Canada is free now. It looks like it might be possible by simply adding some entries in your PhoneGnome phone book. Of course that begs the question as to why when you can just use Skype directly to make the calls.

Edit: You can make SkypeOut calls with this solution. Check the comments. Also, the “design” of this “solution” is the way it is mostly because of the way one must interact with Skype.

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