For those of you who have access to high-end videoconferencing hardware (e.g. Polycom HDX) and are looking for a quick and easy way to connect with users who don’t have access to such expensive equipment, you might want to consider using Ekiga Softphone.
Ekiga is a free and open source VoIP application, which, among other things, makes it relatively straightforward to connect to video calls over the H.323 protocol with videoconferencing hardware, using only a computer with speakers, a microphone, and a webcam. All the benefits of HD video calls for the low, low price of zero!
Yes, I know there are other products in the market with similar features, most notably Polycom’s own PVX.
Now don’t get me wrong, PVX is a pretty good product, and I have used it for several months in the past, but I have to say, Ekiga is every bit as good. And while a license of PVX will run you about $150, Ekiga will cost you nothing!
But there is a catch… you will get the best performance only if you are running Ekiga on a Linux operating system (e.g. Ubuntu).
I tried to run Ekiga on Windows 7 Pro, and it would give me all kinds of weird errors, and it would not even work with my laptop’s integrated webcam.
I then booted into my Ubuntu 11.04 partition on the exact same laptop, and it worked perfectly fine!
It’s weird for Windows users to hear that things work better on Linux than on Windows, but Linux users know all too well that free and open source software usually tend to work best on free and open source operating systems.
Sorry, Windows users! Hopefully, by the time Ekiga for Windows is out of beta, such issues will be resolved!