|This article was originally posted in June 2009, before Gizmo5 was purchased by Google.
Last week I suggested Skype as an easy way to get started with wideband VoIP. Michael Robertson’s Gizmo5 is a great alternative to Skype.
Whereas Skype is a relatively closed network using proprietary protocols and codecs, Gizmo5 is based on SIP, a global open standard. A Gizmo5 account can be used from the Gizmo5 soft phone client or any SIP compliant device. That means that the myriad of SIP phones (hardware & software varieties) can be used with Gizmo5.
Let’s presume that you’re just starting out so you elect to use the Gizmo5 soft phone (shown below, full size) It’s actually a nice piece of software. With it you will be able to dial other Gizmo5 users, SIP URIs and PSTN numbers (that is, normal phones numbers.)
Calling other Gizmo5 users might result in wideband calls. That is, if both you and the other person are using the Gizmo5 soft client. In building their client Gizmo5 licensed a codec library from GIPS, which includes some wideband capabilities.
Where soft phones like the Gizmo5 client are concerned all my prior advice about using a good headset or USB speakerphone still applies. If you want it to sound really good you need some decent hardware. It’s not expensive, and definitely worth the investment.