Soft Phone

VoIP Using Softphone

A softphone would not normally be regarded as a professional solution for SOHO use, but it may have its place for people who just want to take their phones with them and go mobile.

Cellphones are expensive, and may not offer all the flexibility you can get from a VoIP phone, but you can take them most places. Then again, just roaming around Godzone can lead to poor coverage, and operating around the world is problematic if not extremely expensive.

Because a VoIP phone communicates over the Internet, it actually doesn’t matter where you are in the world – if you have an Internet broadband connection you can use a PC to connect to your VoIP account and make calls just as though you were sat at your desk in downtown Wellington.

There are many free softphones, and some with more features may cost a few dollars. Here are links to some of them:

  •  Gizmo5, possibly the best known free softphone – now owned by Google !
  •  Ekiga, formerly known as GnomeMeeting, GPL
  •  Empathy, using GTK+ libraries and Telepathy framework, GPL
  •  KPhone, using Qt libraries, GPL
  •  Linphone, with a core/UI separation, the GUI is using GTK+ libraries
  •  Minisip, with a core/UI separation and encryption, alpha version for Nokia 770
  •  PhoneGaim, based on Pidgin.
  •  QuteCom, formerly known as OpenWengo, using Qt libraries, GPL
  •  SFLphone, with GTK+ GUI, GPL, also supports IAX2 protocol
  •  SIP Communicator, the Java VoIP and Instant Messaging client, runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, LGPL
  •  Telephone, Mac OS X softphone written in Cocoa/Objective-C
  •  Twinkle, using Qt libraries, GPL

Most softphones include video as well as voice capabilities – but that doesn’t prevent you using them for voice only conversations.