Ekiga Softphone Review

Free Open Source SIP App

Business people working in teleconference
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Ekiga is an open-source VoIP softphone app that includes the functionalities of a voice softphone, video conferencing tool and instant messaging tool. It is available for Windows and Linux, is completely free and is simple to use. Though it does not come with a ton of features, it offers user-friendliness and seamless SIP communication.

Ekiga offers free voice and video communication over the Internet.

To use it, you need a SIP address and buddies who also have SIP addresses. To complete the package, the team behind Ekiga also offers free SIP addresses that you can use with your free softphone or with any other softphone that supports SIP. Ekiga was formerly known as GnomeMeeting.

Pros

  • Free software, open source
  • Easy and clean interface
  • Voice and video
  • Supports SIP and and a number of codecs
  • Works on Windows and Linux

Cons

  • Limited set of features
  • No version for Mac OS

 

Review

When you select to download the Ekiga app (download link), you get to choose between the different versions available, including the source code, which allows you to even modify the program to your own taste, provided you are skilled enough for that. As a programmer, I felt it particularly enriching to run through some of the lines of code and they really help in understanding how to build a VoIP and communication application.

Installation is very simple, and what’s more interesting is the configuration wizard it offers to get you all set with the SIP settings and get started with communication. Don’t freak out at the technical information you are presented with (this is necessary for all SIP tools), just choose the recommended settings.

Ekiga makes things easy. Just use the forward button until the end of the installation if you don’t feel like delving into the plumbing. The software requires 43.5 MB on your hard disk and another 12 MB for the SDK (software development kit). This is acceptable space consumption compared to other apps of the like on the market. It lets you make a call test to check your settings and hardware. During configuration, you can use the SIP address offered by Ekiga or another one from any other SIP provider.

The features in Ekiga, while being comprehensive, are not abundant as in, for example X-Lite, but any user can very comfortably communicate with this nice tool as it contains everything necessary for a rich VoIP communication. It contains an interesting number of VoIP codecs, with possibility of selecting which to use.

Although simple, the interface is very user-friendly, with contacts and call information clear. Presence status is notified by colored dots. During video calls, the image frame appears inside the window itself with basic information surrounding it.

With Ekiga, each new user gets the following:

  • A SIP address
  • CallerID
  • Free PC-to-PC Phone Calls
  • Call Forwarding
  • Call Transfer
  • Toll Free (800) Access to many countries
  • Access to Conference Rooms
  • Access to any SIP service

The software, just like the service, is free. What is the service? Ekiga gives you a free SIP address and lets you make voice and video calls to any other person around the world who also has a SIP address. That person does not need to be using Ekiga as well. But the guys behind Ekiga need funds to support the free project. So, you can contribute with donations, a link for which you can find on their site, and/or use the paid phone service, offered by diamond card. This service allows you to make calls to other non-SIP contacts, like mobile and landline phones.

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