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The Top Five Skype "Gotchas"

Skype can be a big time and money saver --- unless you do things incorrectly. Here are the five top things you need to watch out for when using Skype.

#1 Expecting Skype will act just like a PSTN call

Making voice calls over the Internet with a VoIP service like Skype is not MaBell, or your Public Switched Telephone Service (PSTN) or Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). These services have had decades to refine their services and improve call routing and quality. VoIP works, and it is good most of the time, but there can be occasional quality issues depending on who you are trying to talk to and where they may be in the world.

#2 Relying on Skype as your primary telephone provider

If you are thinking to use Skype as your primary telephone in your home or small office, don't! Skype is cool and can do a lot, but it was never designed to be a primary telephone service for anyone for any reason (sounds like a Fear Factor disclaimer). Skype should only be considered a supplement and a way lower local and long distance telephone costs, never as a replacement for your PSTN line. It can almost replace Ma Bell and in my case I have rid my home of Ma Bell, but I replaced my PSTN service with the $14.95 per month Vonage and use Skype and Vonage together and lowered my telephone bill by over 60%. If you are trying to call someone with Skype and experience quality issues, you will still have your primary telephone provider (MaBell or VoIP) and probably a cell phone as a backup if Skype is unable to provide you a good experience.

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