Skype Q: Connecting Skype to Legacy Phones

I have been working on a project for a while to go about connecting Skype to our existing phones in the house. I know they make Skype-specific phones, but we have several phones we wish to continue to use (waterproof for the pool, speakerphone and wired-in speakerphones in the rooms as part of our security system). I also was trying to make it simple enough for visitors to use without having to jump through a lot of hoops to dial.

I have a laptop I have dedicated to the project as an always-on server. I also have tried two different - and to my knowledge the only 2 on the market - Skype-to-RJ11 USB based adapters: This one from Yealink and the Zoom model. The software for these seems to be kludgy at best, either with a very confusing dialing system in the case of the Zoom adapter, or abjectly HORRIBLE, buggy and unstable software in the case of the Yealink one. After a LOT of effort to work with these products to get them working, I’m pretty stumped on if this is even doable in a reliable manner.

I’m really surprised that there aren’t more of the products out there, given the install base of POTS and the overall poor quality of what is currently available.

What I am wondering is, if any other dopers have successfully bridged their existing phones with Skype, and how you went about it. One vector I wonder about is whether there are any software tools to use the Modem as an interface to the phone system in the house. Seems like this would be doable, but I’m not certain about the sound quality. Any other ideas would be appreciated.

One bump? Anyone?

I was just wondering about this very same question.

There are certainly more than two; however, you’ll find that your options are very limited with respect to what OS and Skype versions you can run. Are you doing Windows? Vista? Skype 3?

Seems like a solution would fit into a vanilla type install - Windows XP (could run about anything - flexible on this) and I’ll run any version of skype necessary to do the job.

Basically, I’m not picky as to the software, just looking for a reliable solution. Doesn’t even need to be easy. :smiley:

Can you provide some detail on what you think might work?

Well, what I’ve seen is that most of these boxes have trouble running on Windows 7 and Vista, and won’t work with any Skype later than 2.5 (or maybe that’s just Linux – I don’t remember now). I can’t find a single device that hasn’t got a significant number of complaints like yours, and you’ve already tried some of the best.

I’m no Skype guru, though; I get my VOIP from Comcast.

One thing to consider is that you have to leave the computer on 24/7, if you want to use it as a dedicated Skype box. That is 8,760 hours a year or 876KwH if the computer pulls 100watts. That can be over $100 a year, depending on local electric rates.

I tested my Acer Aspire One with a KillAWatt and it pulled 13w with the screen on. As I recall, with the screen off and drive spun down and the WiFi off it was around 7w. that is only 61KwH a year. You can probably buy a used Netbook for around $150 and new ones cost $230.

You should also plug it directly into the router. The signal is more reliable for streaming than the WiFi.

You can also get a Netbook with XP also.

This may hopefully be useful to someone else working on this type of project, but as I plugged away on this project the other day I discovered something that may help with people on similar projects.

If you are using Microsoft’s built in Remote Admin to control a remote computer (like you might be if you were trying to run, say a headless Skype Server running on a Windows XP Pro OS), be aware that every time you connect with Remote Admin the software replaces whatever audio drivers may be installed on the controlled machine with a “Microsoft RDP Audio Driver” to route all audio to the controlling machine.

Which will immediately bugger Skype. :eek:

So, moral of the story here - Use VNC instead for any applications like this!

(and as an aside, I feel like a chump for messing with this for almost 3 months and not figuring this out :mad::mad::mad:)

JoelUpchruch, this is definitely good information, and something to consider in the total cost. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to use a laptop, and I do keep the screen off and the drives spun down when not in use.