How to properly set up your computer for a Skype call

The communication field had evolved over the years. Back in the days, people communicated to each other by letters and layer using phone calls. You have to pay by the minute when communicating using phone calls. With the advancement of technology, now you are able to make video calls all over the world for free. One of these ways is by using Skype. All you need is an internet access and a Skype supported device.

What Is Skype?

Skype is a computer program that allows you to make free voice and video calls between two computers, tablets, or smartphones that have Internet connections. It is a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) software program and basically converts audio and video during a call into data and sends it over the Internet for free. This is a direct opposite to calls over the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) that are timed and for which there is a charge.

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What Do You Need to Use Skype?

A computer, tablet or smart phone as the primary device of communication.
A microphone and webcam if you want to make video calls from your computer. These can be external or you can use the integrated webcam that comes in most of the modern laptops/desktop computers. Smart phones have integrated cameras and microphones.
You will also need the Skype software application which is free.

To install Skype on your computer, follow the steps given below:

Download Skype here. It is available at a free cost.

Run the installer file. And click I agree-next.

There may be some third-party offers. Select these features only if you want to install them or carry on with your installation, otherwise, uncheck these options.

Wait until the package files are installed. This process usually takes around 5 minutes.

Skype has now been successfully installed on your system.

How to use Skype:

Most importantly, you must have a Skype account. If you haven’t got one, you can sign up here. It is free of charge.

Launch the application and log in using your Skype account.

After you have successfully logged into your account, you will see an interface where you can find options for Chat, Instant Messaging, Video Call, File transfer among others.

You can then add contacts by searching for a person by his or her email address or Skype name.

Once you have added contacts, you can use all the features of the application.

Clicking on the Video Call button will allow you to make video calls.

Related Article: 5 Apps for making video calls from your laptop computer

Other Features

The application can be configured so that when you ring someone on their cellphone or landline, a chosen number appears on the receiver’s caller ID unit or phone. You could for instance pick your cell phone number. This lets the receiver know who is calling.

Another feature is “Skype to Go”. This allows you to call a number from your landline or cell phone. This is useful if you want to call someone in another country, or even make non local calls in the same country that might normally incur high call charges because of the distance. To set this up, you submit the cell phone number/numbers of the person you are calling to Skype on your account page. A local number is then generated that you call from your phone. A self service menu allows you to pick the number you wish to contact. Since the number is local, it is charged at local rates. You don’t need to call from a device running Skype such as a computer or smartphone to use this feature, but you must have a Skype account.
An “Online Number” makes it possible for people to call you on your computer or smartphone running Skype, from their landline or cell phone.
To pay for calls to land lines and cell phones, you can choose a “pay as you go” prepaid option or pay a monthly subscription charge. The latter works out cheaper per call if you are a heavy user.

Another feature which can be useful is share screen. If someone is helping you sort out a problem on your computer, this facility allows them to watch everything that is happening on the screen of your computer.

The major disadvantage is that it often suffers from anomalies. For instance the connection can drop or there can be short periods during a call when either party cannot hear each other. It sometimes happens that you get a “stuttering” effect where the last word that a person says is rapidly repeated. However, in most cases, the sound quality can be excellent and much better than that achieved on a standard telephone handset, set to speaker/hands free mode. This is because of the higher quality of microphones and loudspeakers in a computer as compared to some cell phones.

Do you use Skype? Share with us your experience in the comments section below.