I’ve been testing out Ekiga recently, and so far the experience has been a bit hit and miss.
- Firewall traversal has been unreliable. Some numbers (like the SIPPhone echo test) work great. In some cases, no traffic has gotten through (where both parties were behind Linux firewalls). In other cases, voice gets through in one direction but not the other. Robert Collins has some instructions on setting up siproxd which might solve all this though, so I’ll have to try that.
- The default display for the main window is a URI entry box and a dial pad. It would make much more sense to display the user’s list of contacts here instead (which are currently in a separate window). I rarely enter phone numbers on my mobile phone, instead using the address book. I expect that most VoIP users would be the same, provided that using the address book is convenient.
- Related to the previous point: the Ekiga.net registration service seems to know who is online and who is not. It would be nice if this information could be displayed next to the contacts.
- Ekiga supports multiple sound cards. It was a simple matter of selecting “Logitech USB Headset” as the input and output device on the audio devices page of the preferences to get it to use my headset. Now I hear the ring on my desktop’s speakers, but can use the headset for calls.
- It is cool that Ekiga supports video calls, but I have no video camera on my computer. Even though I disabled video support in the preferences, there is still a lot of knobs and whistles in the UI related to video.
Even though there are still a few warts, Ekiga shows a lot of promise. As more organisations provide SIP gateways become available (such as the UWA gateway), this software will become more important as a way of avoiding expensive phone charges as well as a way of talking to friends/colleagues.