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Reintroducing SIP: Free Calling for All

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SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, and is one of many ways to do Voice over the Internet Protocol, but its applications reach far beyond mere Voice. SIP is to real-time communications what e-mail is to message delivery, and is slated to power the next major revolution in ways we humans communicate … in real-time. on the Internet. For free. Or Cheap. Want to start playing? Start here.

Skype, while very powerful, remains a closed ecosystem that relies on everybody using the same software which complies to a closed protocol, within a system owned and operated by one entity who calls all the shots.

SIP is an open protocol, and Voice over IP through SIP relies on a set of other open protocols and standards, all of which work hand in hand to make real-time communications work. Anybody today can become an e-mail provider, write their own e-mail server software, or e-mail user program. The same holds true for real-time communications through SIP.

What are real-time communications? Voice. Text. Video Conferencing. iChat uses SIP for Voice and Video. While text still goes through AOL’s closed protocol.

It’s been around for a good 10 years, but hasn’t had a chance to make it onto the mainstream until a few technical challenges could be overcome, some of the more prominent ones being Network Address Translation and higher bandwidth. The STUN protocol which came out in 2003, provides developers with a standard way to circumvent Network Address Translation issues.

Our ducks are now in a row. We’re ready. How does it work?

Your “SIP program” registers its online presence with a “SIP Proxy”: “Hey, i’m on my home network right now, and I can be reached at this IP address”. When you arrive at work, your SIP program will now say “Yoohoo, i’ve moved, i’m now here!”.

If someone wants to call you, they’ll type your SIP address in their SIP program. The SIP provider will help this person’s SIP software get in touch with your computer‘s SIP software, partly thanks to some STUN magic thrown in the middle. A SIP address looks exactly like an e-mail address, and, with some providers such as EarthLink, can very-well be one and the same. In my case, you can send me an e-mail at [email protected] or plug [email protected] ( or sip:[email protected] ) in your SIP program to call me up. If i’m not online or available, you’ll hear my voicemail, which will then be delivered as a .wav attachment to my e-mail address … which plays inline just fine!

You don’t even need a “SIP Provider” to do SIP. If you know your party’s IP address or host name, if their SIP software is properly configured, you can plug their IP address into your SIP program to give them a ring.

Having a SIP address just gives you a more universal way for people to get in touch with you.

What’s your SIP address?.

24 Responses to “Reintroducing SIP: Free Calling for All”

  1. TJ Leeland

    Interesting stuff. I’m looking for a good SIP solution that includes my being able to use my home phone over the internet.

    However, it’s a shame Damaka is spamming the comments like it is. I won’t support companies who do this garbage, so instead of it being any kind of advertising, it’s just killed Damaka as an option.

    The sad thing is, it was very obvious that the first Damaka post was spam; the second was even more blatant. Instead of deleting these, you just responded to it and called it “good stuff.” Well, you were rewarded with a huge piece of spam (the third one) from the company.

  2. I have read this post. This is very much true. Even I own a blog account on video conferencing. Video conferencing is indeed a great innovation in technology and communications. One day video conferencing will be like an ordinary house-hold item in the next 5-10 years.I will mention your post in my blog.

  3. Kobaljov

    #5: the Gizmo (Project) are SIP based too, and can be used for audio conference (max 10 people recommended, “Using this system of putting everyone on mute, we have had successfull conference calls with as many as 28 people in 11 countries.”)

    another convinient possibility: your IM account name can be the same too (SIP, e-mail, IM). It’s makes more easy to implementing the ENUM project.

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  5. Dennis


    Press Release Source: damaka

    damaka Launches Operator and Service Provider Version of Its Peer-to-Peer Personal Softswitch(TM)
    Monday June 12, 9:00 am ET

    RICHARDSON, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–June 12, 2006–damaka, a leading provider of real time peer-to-peer multimedia collaboration and communication software solutions, announced the release of “damaka powered” Partner Operator version of it’s Personal Softswitch(TM) that enables Operators and Service providers to offer unique high value, easy to use voice, video and data services to their customers with the highest flexibility and lowest cost of ownership compared to any solution available today.

    “damaka now empowers Operators, VoIP Providers and ISPs with branded solution to leapfrog their competition by providing next generation services with secure, high quality Video and Voice (PC-to-PSTN/Mobile and PC-to-PC) communication,” said Siva Ravikumar, Founder and CEO of damaka. “damaka’s cutting-edge peer-to-peer technology based on SIP standards allows our customers to take advantage of its service enabling and highly scalable solution to increase revenue and reduce cost significantly.”

    damaka has announced their Operator launch with Mortel Telecom (, a next generation Turkey based VoIP Provider focusing on Turkey and International markets. Mortel has implemented the complete “damaka powered” solution to deliver creative peer-to-peer services. damaka is currently working with numerous other operators and VoIP providers to enable them to launch their own peer-to-peer networks and be in the forefront of offering tailored communication and collaboration solutions to their customers.

    “We require our partners’ solutions to seamlessly integrate into our infrastructure so that we can maximize our capabilities, quickly deliver superior quality, and offer advanced services that touch people’s lives every day. damaka’s technology is changing the way we deliver services,” said Vahit Aykut, CEO of Mortel. “The secure peer-to-peer model helps Mortel to scale with the most cost effective infrastructure possible today and this is a key element to our overall growth plan.”

    damaka has also recently developed and released the best-in-class peer-to-peer video (H.263/H.264) as the cornerstone of its video offering.

    For information on how to have your own peer-to-peer “damaka powered” network contact: [email protected]

    About damaka, Inc.

    damaka ( is a technology pioneer in distributed softswitching for multimedia communication and collaboration services. damaka offers its state-of-the-art software solutions to Operators, Enterprises and Consumers. damaka platform is based on industry standards and uses patent pending technology, which provides a very secure peer-to-peer environment for Internet users worldwide.


    damaka, Richardson
    Sylvia, 972-979-6464
    [email protected]

  6. sound quality does surpass that of traditional telephony. really impressive. Speakerphone endpoints need to support the bandwidth as well – recommending the Duet usb speakerphone from experience.

    peace, JD

  7. Chris,

    You are right about damaka coming a long way. They have a lot of pretty cool features lacking in other similar products. I called my friends in Austria and Germany. The call quality was excellent. I recording our conversations and sent the gossip over to other friends ;-) Another very useful feature is the ability to search text conversations… I am always searching my personal email and Outlook at work… know way you can remember everything!!!

    Video was cool but I wish I could make the window size bigger… damaka gives free voicemail and that’s great… but hey why limit it to 1 minute??? Don’t they know girls need more than 1 minute for a voicemail… c’mon now!!!

    I love the little audibles (dum-dums). Specially SHUT-UP
    I use it all the time with my boy friend… only wish they had it in a female voice…. also would be nice to record my own dum-dums and use them in conversations.

    Definitely recommend damaka to you’ll… download damaka from

    peace… jackie

  8. eh sounds very cool. Actually you can conferencing with SJPhone. But SJPhone wasn’t built for the non-tech savvy. It does work extremely well though :) Thanks for the tip Dennis. I thought i’d plugged Damaka in another post already, but it looks like they’ve come a long way. Good stuff.

  9. Check out this coool SIP based collobaration product from Damaka ( They recently released SIP based Peer to Peer Video and Custom Picture last week.

    Damaka ( does Audio calls, Audio CONFERENCE (nobody in the industry does conference), Instant Message, SMS, Video Calls, Voice Mail, Custom Pictures, and Encrypted Signaling and Media and they do all this truly Peer to Peer (P2P) without any need of any servers in the middle to store your voice mails or pictures.

    Check it out.

  10. Copprhead

    Nice intro! SIP is also very useful for peer-to-peer (or client-server) applications in a mobile setting, making it possible to easily establish connections between two devices. The Siemens IMS/SIP Developer Programs offers free tools for multiple platforms for SIP application development.

  11. Have you heard of a company called Damaka (

    The are in the SIP P2P space and they have an application that lets you do instant message, chat, voice calls, audio conference up to four users, personalized voice mail, send SMS all from a laptop.

    Have you guys heard of this company and does anyone know about their product.

    I went to their site because a friend of mine recommended it but I don’t know much about the company.

    Has anyone heard about Damaka or their product?

  12. eh you’re welcome, also one thing i prolly should mention in the main article is that sound quality will in most cases far surpass that of what you hear on the phone. It often depends on the SIP software you’re using and which codecs you’ve configured, but yeah it’ really nice. You’ll never want to go back to phones. I’m starting to tell people: don’t *ever* phone me again. SIP me! heh.

  13. Chris – this is awesome. Thanks for pointing this out to us. A new fun toy to play with. But lets get everyone using it so it’s more than a toy, and actually becomes useful!! For free, why the heck not??

    nice write up.