use-skype-without-signing-upI haven’t been using Skype to talk with my family in a while because it’s always a pain for me to explain how to download and set up a Skype account over LINE message before we start talking. (Not to mention that my mother never remembers her passwords. faceSo, the nightmare never ends.)

If you are facing the same issue, you will be as excited as I am now! Skype now allows users to start a conversation over Skype without downloading or signing up an account. Is it possible? Yes, it is! Let me tell you how.

 

How to Use Skype Without Signing Up for an Account?

With only 4 simple steps, you will be ready to chat. (It took me less than 5 minutes to set up.)

  1. Go to Skype.com
  2. Tap Start a conversation and add your name
  3. Share the link provided with the contacts you want to chat with via email or social networks
  4. Ask your contacts to click on the link to join your conversation right away!

This new function applies to both individuals and a group. What’s even better is that you can still take advantage of all Skype’s features such as instant messaging, voice/ video calls, and screen/ file sharing. You are able to invite up to 300 people in chat and up to 25 people on a voice or video chat all for free.

Sounds awesome, but be aware that your conversation will only last for 24 hours and you need to use a web browser from a computer to start as a Guest. After 24 hours, you will need to sign up an account to continue.

Are you ready to try it by yourself? Go to Skype.com now and share with us what you think!

SKYPE Whether you are a current Skype user or you are just about to step into the Skype world, you may have already experienced or heard a lot of complaints about not being about to get Skype to function smoothly during the calls.

In the blog: Improve Skype for Business Audio/Video Quality, we discussed the top factors that affect your Skype call quality. Choosing an ideal Skype-optimized phone is the first step to building a satisfactory Skype call experience.

Here we highlight the best Skype ready phones at VoIP Supply that will take your communication to the next level!

 

What are the Best Skype Ready Phones?

grandstream-gxv-3240The Grandstream GXV 3240 is one of the most popular Skype phones that is designed for all size companies and Android smartphone users. It is a 6-line multimedia Gigabit VoIP video phone that comes with a 3-way video conferencing, a tiltable CMOS camera and HD audio/ voice.

Combined the functionality of a multimedia platform with a 6-line video phone for an all-in-one voice, video, data, and mobility solution, the Grandstream GXV 3240 is the most powerful solution for users connecting from different channels.

Popular Features:

  • 6 lines with up to 6 SIP accounts including FREE IPVideoTalk account with video mail
  • Phonebook with up to 1000 contacts and call history with up to 1000 records
  • Up to 6-way audio conference and 3-way video conference
  • Dual switched auto-sensing 10/100/1000 Mbps network ports
  • Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), PoE+, Bluetooth, USB, SD, HDMI, EHS with Plantronics headsets support

 

Snom MeetingPointThe Konftel 300 Conference Phone

If you are looking for a solution that allows you to set up multi-party calls easily and quality, the Konftel 300 Conference Phone will fit in just right. With the Konftel 300, you can easily combine or switch between connections to analog lines, mobile phones, or PCs at the drop of a hat.

Covering an area of up to 323 feet (or 10 people), the Konftel 300 also enables wireless headsets and external loudspeakers/ microphones connection to ensure that you hear and are being heard loud and clear.

Popular Features:

  • A new generation of OmniSound audio technology
  • USB connection for VoIP calls
  • The line mode makes it easy for you to combine and switch between connectivity technologies (analog, USB, GSM)
  • The conference guide makes it easy to set up multiparty calls
  • Record and listen to your meetings with an SD memory card.

 

The Polycom VVX 500 MS Skype for Business Edition is another great choice for people who are searching for a dependable, multi-tasking business media phone that can keep you up with your busy work schedule.

polycom-vvx500The Polycom VVX 500 is a Lync-licensed 12 SIP line IP phone with HD Voice featuring a 3.5 inch TFT color touchscreen, 2 USB 2.0 ports for multiple media uses and storage applications. Users benefit from useful functionalities such as managing exchange calendars and contacts on the phone, meeting reminders and extend PC desktop to include the VVX 500’s phone screen to increase work efficiency.

Popular Features:

  • Gesture-based, multitouch-capable, capacitive touchscreen
  • 3.5-in TFT LCD display at QVGA (320×240 pixel) resolution, 4:3 aspect ratio
  • Streaming media video playback
  • Screensaver and digital picture frame mode
  • On-screen virtual keyboard
  • Voicemail and video mail support
  • Dual USB ports (2.0 compliant) for media and storage applications

See More Skype Phones!

When it comes to Skype for Business, a common question we often hear is – we already have Skype account. Why do we need Skype for Business?

As you may know, Skype for Business is the business version of regular Skype that offers more office applications for business usage. In this blog, we will focus on three key benefits to explain why you should choose Skype for Business over regular Skype: Cloud PBX, Expanded Capability, Stricter Security Control. Continue reading

skype

Whether you have decided to deploy Skype for Business as your communication system or you are still evaluating to see if it meets your demands, checking Skype for Business requirements is an important step to help you sort things out and make a wise decision. Let’s take a look at what you need to prepare when deploying Skype for Business.

 

Choose Your Ideal Plan

The first step is to decide which plan you want to deploy. Customers can choose to purchase a standalone plan or as part of Office 365 plans which comes with Office applications, email, file storage and sharing, and more. Skype for Business provides multiple plans for different business levels with a rate ranging from $2 user/month to $12.50 user/ month.

  • Online Plan 1 and 2-Skype for Business online meetings
    office
  • Office 365 Business Essentials- Include online versions of Office and email
  • Office 365 Business Premium- Include Office applications for desktop and email

Learn detailed plans comparison here.

 

Meet The Requirements

Once you have decided on your ideal plan, it’s time to get geared up for it. To maximize the full potential of Skype for Business capability, you would need to meet their requirements. Here is the list of the recommended components:

  • CPU: 64-bit dual processor, hex-core, 2.26 gigahertz (GHz) or higher
  • Memory: 32 gigabytes (GB)
  • Disk: 8 or more 10000 RPM hard disk drives with at least 72 GB free disk space OR Solid state drives able to provide the same free space and similar performance to 8 10000 RPM mechanical disk drives
  • Network: 1 dual-port network adapter, 1  Gbps or higher
  • Communication Equipment: Skype for Business certified Phones, Headsets, Gateways, Session Border Controllers.
  • Operating System: Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter OS, Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard OS, Windows Server 2012 Datacenter OS, or Windows Server 2012 Standard OS with required updates

VoIP Supply offers a wide range of Skype for Business friendly products including Polycom VVX410, Yealink  SIP T48G, Jabra EVOLVE 65 MS Stereo, Sangoma Vega 100 and more.

SANGOMA VVX410JABRA65

Learn How To Utilize It

Now you are ready to start utilizing Skype for Business! After installing and configuring the system, you can follow the video below to learn how to get started and utilize the basic functionalities. For more information about Skype or Skype for Business and other requirement details, please visit Microsoft’s website or VoIP Supply’s website. Good luck on deploying Skype for Business!

When it comes to video chatting, nothing is worse than having poor video and/or audio quality. In fact, most of the users could have a better Skype for Business experience if they put some effort into meeting the fundamental requirements. Let’s learn some Skype for Business video functions and how you can enjoy quality video calls.

Skype For Business Video Capability

In addition to the standard softphone functions such as answering/ending/rejecting calls, replying with instant message or audio only, and do not disturb setting, Skype for Business Video also offers four video layouts (Gallery View/ Speaker View/ Content View/ Compact View) and the ability to mute/unmute, turn off video or photo, set full screen or normal view. To learn detailed video functions, please visit Microsoft’s site.

 

How Can I Improve The Poor Audio/ Video Quality?

There are many possible reasons that can cause poor audio/ video quality. Here we provide four main reasons and solutions to help you ensure a good video chat experience.

Good Network Connection

Internet connection is always the top reason that comes to mind that can cause poor video quality. Make sure you have enough Internet bandwidth and stability to support the video calls. A wired connection usually has better performance than wireless connection.

Certified Hardware and Devices

Be sure to use certified devices and hardware for your calls to ensure the optimization of your call quality. See Skype for Business certified phones, headsets, gateways, SBCs and Skype compatible phones, headsets, video phones, and web cameras.

Right Location

During a video call, we tend to focus on the image from the other end of the call and neglect the lightness on our own side. Detecting the lack of brightness, Skype webcam system will automatically adjust the signal to reduce quality and brighten your image. Therefore, make sure the location you pick has enough light source and no other distractions such as noisiness.

Upgrade System and Equipment

Keeping your system and equipment up to date can minimize malfunction and avoid poor video call quality. Visit Microsoft’s website for the latest version of software and make sure your device and equipment are not outdated.

Once you meet all the requirements above, remember it’s always good to test before you start important video meetings. Utilize the test function in Skype for Business to test both audio and video device. Detailed step by step instruction can be found here.

For more information about improving Skype for Business audio and video quality, please visit Skype’s website or contact us at 1-800-398-VoIP or at voipexperts@voipsupply.com

As many of you know, Skype service is free of charge among Skype users. Actually, until today, millions of users rely on Skype service to communicate over the internet with friends, families, and even business partners. You certainly would wonder if you could utilize Skype in your business as well. To answer that question, we first have to take a look at the pros and cons of Skype.

 

Pros

Skype is well known for its less expensive service and easy installation process which are the two main unbeatable advantages in the industry. The fee can be as low as $0.02/ minute for Skype and $2/ month for Skype for Business. Simply download the software, you are ready to talk!

Covering almost all basic VoIP functions that users expect, Skype satisfies VoIP users with fundamental needs. Skype for Business further expands the capabilities such as the number of attendees allowed in the same video conference to better fit for business usage. Here is a list of the unctions you can expect from Skype and Skype for Business:

  • Call waiting and forwarding
  • Voicemail
  • Caller ID
  • Video calling and screen sharing
  • SMS text messaging

You can visit Skype’s page for more detailed features and functions. To learn about the difference between Skype and Skype for Business, please refer to our blog.

 

Cons

It sounds great so far; however, if your business requires more advanced functions such as call return and blocking, you may want to seek for other VoIP service providers. Also, Skype doesn’t provide emergency call (911) service like many other VoIP service providers or landlines offer. Therefore, you will want to have a backup support for emergencies.

In addition, Skype for Business is designed to be used as a softphone that can only generate calls through a computer, cellphone, or tablet apps but not on a regular telephone. To have the best communication quality, certified hardware is required. Visit our store for Skype for Business equipment and Skype equipment.

Back to our question, is Skype good enough for your business? It depends on how much your business needs for VoIP. For small business with a limited budget who only expects basic VoIP functions, Skype could be a great deal. However, for larger-scaled companies and enterprises, the functions and services offered by Skype might not suffice their demands.

If you are looking for a VoIP Cloud Service provider that can meet your unique business needs, please give us a call today at 1-800-398-VoIP or fill out the form below for a free Cloud Service consultation. Our VoIP expert will evaluate your case and find you a perfect match for your business.


skype 4bIt all started a decade ago when Skype blurred the boundary between international and domestic communications. Today, Skype has been used by over 300 million people all over the world, creating unprecedented bonds among people.

Well, that’s not the end of the story. Skype has further reached out to the business market, focusing on business communication tools people use at work. So, how is Skype for Business different from Skype? Let’s look from three main aspects: Capability, Cost and Security.

 

Skype v.s. Skype for Business

 

Capability

Both Skype and Skype for Business allow users to message, share files, and video chat. Simply install the software and prepare the required hardware, you are ready to chat! The difference is the number of people you are allowed to meet up simultaneously. While Skype allows you to have up to 25 people on group calls with 10 people video enabled, Skype for Business has the ability to raise the limit up to 250 people!

 

Cost

skype 4b-2Skype is free among Skype users but calls to and from landlines, VoIP cloud services and mobiles are not free. Although they require Skype credits, many less expensive call plans are available for you to avoid hefty international call charges.

Skype for Business is not free in all cases. There are two basic plans available:

  • $2/ month per user with an annual commitment
  • $5.50/ month per user with an annual commitment

The cost of Skype for Business varies case by case, we encourage you to consult with Microsoft for a proper calculation. Visit our website for more detailed information.

 

Security

Both Skype and Skype for Business offer privacy settings that protect your account from being disturbed by scammers. In most cases, your account is secure and it requires some effort for criminals to invade. However, Skype for Business allow you to have better controls. In addition to the authentication and encryption for producing and archiving private communications, it also allows Skype providers to control their guests’ accounts. They can easily disable or enable certain functions or calls to make the communication more efficient.

Depending on your needs, Skype for Business could be a cost-effective substitute for other VoIP services considering the functions and costs. If you are interested in learning more about Skype and Skype for Business, please visit our website, or Skype’s website or simply give us a call at 1-800-398-VoIP, Our VoIP experts are here to help and will be happy to assist you with any questions you have!

I recently wrote this post, VoIP Q & A: Phoenix Audio Speakerphone and Polycom RealPresence Group 300 Video Conferencing, in which I included some misinformation about the capabilities of the Polycom RealPresence Group 300 video conferencing system.

This question had been submitted to VoIP Supply:

“Is it possible to use the Polycom Realpresence Group 300 with online services such as Skype or Go To Meeting?”

I mistakenly wrote that “yes” you can use Skype and GoToMeeting with the RealPresence Group 300 because it is standards based.

Rookie mistake.

Thankfully Michael Graves of Graves on SOHO Technology called me out on it in his post, A VoIP Supply Q&A Batting .500!.

I was confusing the Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite with “standards based.”

Click here for my original, and now updated, post and click here to read Graves’ full explanation of the differences between desktop and room-based video conferencing solutions.

Thanks again to Graves for pointing me in the right direction and helping us all get the right information!

Note:  This post was updated with new information on August 6, 2014 pertaining to the Polycom video conferencing system mentioned below.

Questions about VoIP devices and services are regularly submitted to VoIPSupply.com through a technical support ticket or via the “Ask The Expert” tab on our product pages.

We respond to these requests directly but more often than not, this Q & A would be helpful for lots of other folks.

Below are your VoIP questions answered – Real questions from real people  just like you.

Phoenix Audio Quattro3 USB
Phoenix Audio Quattro3 USB Conference Phone

Q:  Can I connect this [Phoenix Audio Quattro3 USB] to my PC and use it for a Skype call?

Your question perfectly describes the purpose of the Phoenix Audio Quattro3 USB .

From the Quattro3 datasheet:

The USB outlet allows you to connect to the computer for any VoIP sessions such as Skype, Vidyo, etc.

So, the Quattro3 will work with any computer that has a USB port. Its small size makes this speakerphone extremely portable but with its multiple microphones, echo cancellation, noise suppression, and powerful speaker you can easily use the Quattro3 in larger conference rooms.

Polycom RealPresence Group 300
Polycom RealPresence Group 300 EagleEye Acoustic Video Conferencing System for Small Meeting Rooms and Offices

 

Q: Is it possible to use the Polycom Realpresence Group 300 with online services such as Skype or Go To Meeting?

A:  The Polycom RealPresence Group 300 EagleEye Acoustic is a video conferencing system that’s perfect for your office or small meeting rooms.

The beauty of the RealPresence Group 300 is that it is fully standards-based meaning, you can connect to “millions of other standards-based video systems in use today,” says Polycom.

It also works with leading Unified Communications (UC) platforms (like Microsoft Lync) so you don’t have to add any additional hardware, like expensive gateways.

UPDATE: In reference to the crossed out text about – I was wrong about the Polycom RealPresence capabilities and Michael Graves was right.

Graves correctly called me out in his post, A VoIP Supply Q&A Batting .500!:

When Polycom uses the term “standards based” they mean their product relies upon H.323 and SIP, the two most common standard protocols for VoIP and video conferencing equipment. I don’t believe that such a device can be used to join a Skype or GotoMeeting call. Neither of those services support interop with hardware end-points like the Group 300.

Read his post for a full explanation of the often confusing world of video conferencing interoperability.

I confused “standards based” with the Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite which, according to a Polycom Executive News Flash a year ago in Q1 2013, would allow RealPresence users to “invite anyone, anywhere with a browser to join reliable and secure video calls” and would be able to support “Skype, Facebook, and Google Talk for simple click-to-connect convenience…beyond the firewall for B2B and B2C connectivity.”

But, as it turns out, in addition to my misleading information, the Skype component of CloudAXIS no longer functions.

If you read the Frequently Asked Questions guide for Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS:

Important Information Regarding Skype Integration
Microsoft announced the discontinuation of the Desktop Skype API as of January 1, 2014. This function is
critical for Skype integration with the RealPresence CloudAXIS social directory. Microsoft’s decision not only
affects Polycom but many other vendors using the API. Polycom is actively seeking an alternative way to
implement this feature but until it is determined we will have a gap in Skype support.

The CloudAXIS FAQ does mention a Skype workaround for the time being which can also be used for “virtually any messaging application”:

Is there a workaround for bringing Skype contacts into a RealPresence CloudAXIS meeting?
Yes. Although Skype contacts cannot be imported into the CloudAXIS global directory, users can still invite
Skype contacts into a CloudAXIS meeting by simply opening the Skype application on the desktop, checking
on the presence status of contacts within Skype, then copying and pasting the CloudAXIS meeting URL in the
Skype IM window with a message asking the contact to join the meeting. When the invitee receives the
message and clicks the CloudAXIS meeting link, their browser will launch and allow them to join the call. Note
that this same process can be used with virtually any messaging application.

Thank you to Michael Graves for pointing me in the right direction.

For more information and background about video conferencing options ranging from webcams to desktops to room systems, I encourage you to check out Graves’ post and these other articles:

grandstream-gxv-webinar-reminder-voip-supply
Last chance to register for the next webinar in our Grandstream Learning Series.

Thursday’s webinar, June 26, 2014 at 2 PM EST, will give you an opportunity to learn and ask questions about the many multimedia features of the: