Fri, 03 Feb 2006
From time to time I try to play with the IP telephony (I have mentioned it before). Now I have figured out that the GnomeMeeting team have made a big progress since then, they renamed the project to Ekiga, and they are heading to the 2.0 release.
I have installed Ekiga on my computers, and made a pair of accounts in their SIP directory at ekiga.net. Yes, Ekiga now supports also SIP in addition to H.323, which makes it an ultimate client for heterogenous environments. The ekiga.net has even some test numbers for testing things like echo, remote latency, and so on.
From my first tests it seems that Ekiga has at least as good sound level detection as Skype. The client also supports the silence detection and echo cancellation. However, the later was too weak for the environment with a huge echo, such as my laptop, which has the speakers located within few centimeters distance from the microphone. With the headphones, the calls were much more pleasant.
I have also tried the calls from behind the 1:N NAT (the laptop in my home network), with partial success. I have used the STUN server at ekiga.net, and surprisingly enough, I was able to call the internal softphone from the outside network. The other direction, however, had problems: the voice from the internal host to the outside network had too big jitter and packet loss, and the other direction did not work at all. I have to do more tests, maybe I have something set up incorrectly.
So it seems the IP telephony is getting to be pretty usable. Now I have to obtain a public phone number (either a fully public one from Netbox - my home ISP, or a "partly-public" one from CESNET, which would be suitable at least for calls to/from the University and other academic institutions).