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Traveling, it often happens that you find a very slow and/or unstable internet connection but you still want to communicate with people outside your room. I am interested in a computer-computer or computer-android or android-android system. I don't want to broadcast classical music but just voice, so even if the quality is low as an old coin telephone, that would be good enough!

Googling around, Skype was the most suggested option. But, I don't know if it is just placebo, but recently Skype seems to become rather heavy on bandwidth. In any case, I find only results from 5 to 10 years ago... a geological era from voip perspective. Nowadays even a web-browser (e.g Firefox with Hello) has a built in voip functionality (to me, it seems heavy as well). Somewhere I read that I need different codecs, but, frankly, I didn't understand it.

Desired features

  • Low Bandwidth flux
  • 1 to 1 VoIP would be enough
  • If the connection fall, then it reconnects quickly
  • No need of webcam (if not super-light)
  • (opt.) Linux friendly

I could even install my own server, if necessary

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I cannot tell how well it would meet all your requirements – but Linphone might be a good match. It supports the SIP protocol, and thus can be used with many providers and even self-hosted solutions. I basically use it when abroad for calls home using my VoIP provider. It worked well even in hotel rooms with barely 2 bars WiFi – which might come close to your conditions.

Trying to match your requirements:

  • Low Bandwidth flux: Seems to work pretty well in "not optimal conditions"
  • 1 to 1 VoIP would be enough: That's definitely possible.
  • If the connection fall, then it reconnects quickly: I must skip this part; can't remember having experienced that.
  • No need of webcam (if not super-light): Well, Linphone is said to have very good video quality – and can be used for video calls. I'd not exactly call it super light, but it's not heavy either.
  • (opt.) Linux friendly: it's available cross-platform: Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, Mac OS, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone – see Wikipedia

Also see other answers recommending Linphone.

Besides: The company behind Linphone also offers a free SIP service which you can use.

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