Breakthrough Skype Conferencing Solution

February 16, 2004

in Skype Journal

The promised Skype conferencing capability is nearing launch. The preview version is available for additional testing today. To confirm I just connect a conference with Bay Area (2), France and India. Great call quality. I then connected another with China and Bay Area. All off my IBM t-40 laptop. Sound quality was pretty good. There appeared to be no lag. I had excellent voice and sound quality although not all participants could claim this 100% of the connection time.

Skype Launches Free Conference Calling
LUXEMBOURG – Up to 5 People Can Talk Together From Anywhere in the World –
Skype Technologies S.A., the Global P2P Telephony Company that offers consumers the ability to make free voice calls using their broadband connections, today announced the world’s first peer-to-peer (P2P) Internet telephony conference calling feature, allowing up to five friends to talk with each other simultaneously, regardless of geography. The new version also includes a multiple call hold feature that allows for 16 callers to be simultaneously put on hold by a single user.
Scoop: Skype Launches Free Conference Calling

An early release on 0.97 is on the Skype forums. (UPDATE: Note this file downloads as beta-preview and still registers as when installed. However lots more functionality) Where Skype’s small team needs help is with “getting the numbers” for testing. I’d find it pretty hard to immediate conference six people in and start a conference and see if the system breaks.

We have been working hard on our next release and we are pleased to make this available to our forum readers before the general public. You can get the latest version of Skype here:

Note that we have identified a bug which may be specifically related to IBM Thinkpads (T40) whereby when they try to add a 6th conference participant they get Blue Screen of Death error. Please let us know here if you see this error (or any other feedback) as soon as possible along with which setup you are using. As with any beta release, we encourage you to download and use Skype at your own risk. Thanks for helping us to test and improve Skype! Skype – free conferencing version – Feedback pls.

It looks easy. I got the head’s up on it from Bill Cambell when I logged on this morning.

How to conference:
If you want to dial several people all at once and start a conference call with them, you first need to select participants from your Contact List by holding “ctrl” and clicking them. Once they have been selected, click the conference toolbar button. This will show you the conference tab and you will see the names of the participants you have called. If and when these participants answer your call, they will be added to the conference.

Or, if you are already in an active call and would like to add an additional participant to a conference, you can select the person you want to add to the conference from your contact list and click the conferencing toolbar button OR you can simply right-click a new contact from your Contact List and choose “Invite to conference”

Keep in mind that the host of the conference (the person who started the conference) is the only person that can add new participants. In addition, because Skype conferences are done Peer-to-Peer, it’s important that the conference host (the person who starts the conference) has a good Internet connection and computer. If you are planning to conference with many participants you should choose the person with the best internet connection to be the initiator (host) of the conference.

Summary: Breakthough conference calling application, will work globally with quality broadband connections and recent PC’s. Text messaging is maintained with individuals although there is no aggregated conference call text system from what I can see.

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