Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Switching to WENGO!

Everyone knows Skype. However, not many people know Wengo. I've just installed Wengo today to try out. I have a small €0.15 opening balance in the account. It's just like Skype in many ways, only better. The main problem that I have with Skype is with security. Due to recent developments, I have decided to stop using Skype after my current balance runs down. I'm advising anyone else who values their personal security and freedom, to stay away from Skype as well.

Proprietary Software and Protocol
Unlike many of it's competitors, Skype decided to use it's own proprietary system and protocol. Personally, I have nothing against proprietary software, if it works properly. More often than not, it doesn't work correctly. Skype recently experienced a massive foul-up of it's network for several days last week. Over 220 million users were unable to make/receive calls. After some investigation, Skype finally laid the blame on Windows (another proprietary system), as a recent Patch Tuesday caused massive reboots around the world, which screwed up it's routing system. As a result, Skype is giving out free credit to subscribers of it's premium services.

Clandestine Behaviour
Skype had always acted strangely. The software is not only proprietary, but purposefully made difficult to understand, by self encrypting itself. So, nobody knows what it really does. On top of that, recent investigations have revealed that Skype accesses files and profiles on the user's hard disk that it shouldn't. Nobody really knows why Skype accesses information it doesn't need and what information is being sent to it's home base. There are also conspiracy theories that find it strange that the recent Skype outage coincided with the passing of a massive wire-tapping bill in the US, just 10 days before.

Call Quality
After installing Wengo and testing it, I find that the call quality is audibly better than Skype's. But, this is purely subjective. As Skype is routed through a P2P system, it's call quality greatly depends on the connection of it's peers. So, it's quality isn't always consistent. I'll only be able to get a definitive conclusion on this after making more real-world calls with Wengo.

Skype doesn't inter-operate with any other network or device. Wengo uses the industry standard SIP protocol for VoIP communications. So, it can easily integrate with other systems and devices. For example, it can integrate easily with Asterisk, which is increasingly becoming the dominant choice for a telephony system.

Software Support
Skype has all but removed support for the Linux platform ever since it got bought out by Ebay. Before that, it's Linux version kept up with it's other platforms. But now, it's Linux version is still languishing in the 1.x generation while the Windows one has already moved onto 3.x generation. I have nothing against proprietary systems, but I have something against vendors who do not support me.

1 comment:

dhomi said...

Thanks for that article. Personally, I used Wengo for a while, but only to landline phones (because they offer better rates to countries I ring). I guess Wengo to Wengo calls should be great quality.
Ringing landlines in France and elsewhere, I found the quality very good.
I never used Skype to ring landlines and I was wondering would the quality be better. The 3rd "generation" of skype brought many useless features, sometimes you're better off staying with a former version, especially when the newer ones don't bring better quality or stability.