Applies to openSUSE Leap 15.0

16 Ekiga: Using Voice over IP

Abstract

Ekiga is an application you can use for making phone calls via Voice over IP (VoIP), for video conferencing and for instant messaging.

Note
Note: Ekiga May Not Be Installed

Before proceeding, make sure that the package ekiga is installed.

Before starting, make sure that the following requirements are met:

  • Your sound card is properly configured.

  • A headset or a microphone and speakers are connected to your computer.

  • For dialing in to regular phone networks, a SIP account is required. SIP (Signaling protocol for Internet Telephony) is the protocol used to establish sessions for audio and video conferencing or call forwarding.

    There are many VoIP providers all over the world. One provider is the Ekiga project itself, go to https://ekiga.im to learn more.

  • For video conferencing: A Web cam is connected to your computer.

16.1 Starting Ekiga

To start Ekiga, open the Activities Overview by pressing Meta and search for ekiga.

16.2 Configuring Ekiga

On first start, Ekiga opens a configuration assistant that requests all data needed to configure Ekiga. Proceed as follows:

  1. Click Forward.

  2. Enter your full name (name and surname). Click Forward.

  3. Enter your ekiga.net account data or choose not to register with http://www.ekiga.net. Click Forward.

  4. Enter your Ekiga Call Out Account data or choose not to register with http://www.ekiga.net. Click Forward.

  5. Set your connection type and speed. Click Forward.

  6. Configure the audio devices to use by choosing the audio ringing, output and input device driver. In general, you can keep the Default setting. Click Forward.

  7. Choose a video input device, if available. Click Forward.

  8. Check the summary of your settings and apply them.

  9. If registration fails after making changes to your configuration, restart Ekiga.

Ekiga allows you to maintain multiple accounts. To configure an additional account, proceed as follows:

  1. Open Edit › Accounts.

  2. Choose Accounts › Add <account type>. If you are unsure, select Add a SIP Account.

  3. Enter the Registrar to which you have registered. This is usually an IP address or a host name that will be given to you by your Internet Telephony Service Provider. Enter User, and Password according to the data provided by your provider.

  4. Make sure Enable account is activated and leave the configuration dialog with OK. The account is displayed in the Ekiga main window, including its Status, which should change to Registered.

16.3 The Ekiga User Interface

The user interface has different modes. To switch between views, use the toolbar. The first mode is Contacts, the second is Dialpad and the last one is Call History. Click the camera icon to open the Call Window. It displays images from your local Web cam (or from a remote Web cam during a call).

Ekiga User Interface
Figure 16.1: Ekiga User Interface

By default, Ekiga opens in the Contacts mode. This view shows you a local address book which lets you quickly open connections to often-used numbers.

Many of the functions of Ekiga are available with key combinations. Table 16.1, “Key Combinations for Ekiga” summarizes the most important ones.

Table 16.1: Key Combinations for Ekiga

Key Combination

Description

CtrlO

Initiate a call with the current number.

Esc

Hang up.

CtrlN

Add a contact to your address book.

CtrlB

Open the Address Book dialog.

H

Hold the current call.

T

Transfer the current call to another party.

M

Suspend the audio stream of the current call.

P

Suspend the video stream of the current call.

CtrlW

Close the Ekiga user interface.

CtrlQ

Quit Ekiga.

CtrlE

Start the account manager.

CtrlJ

Activate Call Panel on the main user interface.

Ctrl+

Zoom in to the picture from the Web cam.

Ctrl-

Zoom out on the picture from the Web cam.

Ctrl0

Return to the normal size of the Web cam display.

F11

Use full screen for the Web cam.

16.4 Making a Call

After Ekiga is properly configured, making a call is easy.

  1. Switch to the Dialpad mode.

  2. Enter the SIP address of the party to call at the bottom of the window. The address should look like:

    • for direct local calls: sip:username@domainname or username@hostname

    • sip:username@domainname or userid@sipserver

  3. Click Call or press CtrlO and wait for the other party to pick up the phone.

  4. To end the call, click Hang up or press Esc.

If you need to tweak the sound parameters, click Edit › Preferences.

16.5 Answering a Call

Ekiga can receive calls in two different ways. First, it can be called directly with sip:user@host, or via SIP provider. Most SIP providers enable you to receive calls from a normal land-line to your VoIP account. Depending on the mode in which you use Ekiga, there are several ways in which you are alerted to an incoming call:

Normal Application

Incoming calls can only be received and answered if Ekiga is already started. You can hear the ring sound on your headset or your speakers. If Ekiga is not started, the call cannot be received.

Panel Applet

Normally, the Ekiga panel applet runs silently without giving any notice of its existence. This changes when a call comes in. The main window of Ekiga opens and you hear a ringing sound on your headset or speakers.

Once you have noticed an incoming call, click Accept to answer the call then start talking. If you do not want to accept this call, click Reject. It is also possible to transfer the call to another SIP address.

16.6 Using the Address Book

Ekiga can manage your SIP contacts. All of the contacts are displayed in the Contacts tab, shown in the main window after start-up. To add a contact or a new contact group, select Chat › Add Contact.

If you want to add a new group, enter the group name into the bottom text box and click Add. The new group is then added to the group list and preselected.

The following entries are required for a valid contact:

Name

Enter the name of your contact. This may be a full name, but you can also use a nickname here.

Address

Enter a valid SIP address for your contact.

Groups

If you have many contacts, add your own groups.

To call a contact from the address book, double-click the contact. The call is initiated immediately.

16.7 For More Information

The official home page of Ekiga is http://www.ekiga.org/. This site offers answers to frequently asked questions and more detailed documentation.

For information about the support of the H323 teleconferencing protocol in Linux, see http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/view/H.323. This is also a good starting point when searching for projects supporting VoIP.

To set up a private telephone network, you might be interested in the PBX software Asterisk http://www.asterisk.org/. Find information about it at http://www.voip-info.org/wiki-Asterisk.

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