SkypeOut quality problems
November 28, 2004 7:14 AM   Subscribe

SkypeOut. Just took a credit for 10 $, but the sound quality is markedly worse than the skype-to-skype calls, and also worse than the normal phone. Also, there seems to be a delay in the conversation, which makes it useless for, say, business calls. Any ideas how to remedy this? Or will we have to wait for Skype 0.2?

And, while we're on it, can I record Skype conversations to my hard disk?
posted by NekulturnY to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
I have the exact same problem. SkypeOut seems problematic--I'm not sure if this because the SkypeOut calls I am trying to make are international or because the system is just flawed.
posted by jabberwock at 8:37 AM on November 28, 2004

We have the same problem making Skype-to-landline calls within New Zealand. I was actually thinking of posting this same question. The delay is really annoying.
posted by tracicle at 11:07 AM on November 28, 2004

Good to know, my finger was hovering over the 'purchase' button just before surfing on over here...
posted by Space Coyote at 11:50 AM on November 28, 2004

I'm on the other side of the pond, but have worked with VoIP for the last 5-6 years [FWIW]

As your voice enters the mic it is analog, your computer uses a codec to digitally compress and encode the sound into bits (which are travelling UDP over the TCP/IP network from your computer). These bits are decoded back to analog voice when they reach Skyper or a Skyper user's PC, and the call is relatively clear (barring any User/Skyper server or internet connection issues)..

However, when leaving Skyper's network some quality issues (rebound, glare, echo) can arise. The gremlins seem to enter in during the transition(s) from the IP network to the traditional networks and then (possibly) to wireless networks. Problems arise because the 2-way voice has to undergo repeated analog to digital to analog to digital to analog codec cycles. There's even a strong likelyhood that each portion of your call is using different codecs along it's path (especially if international). There is also a growing chance that the phone on the other end is part of a business using it's own internal VoIP PBX (another codec cycle). There are many proprietary codecs as well which fly against IEEE standards. Most major players in this area have adopted IEEE standards, but there are still legacy systems out there.

I've also had issues with USB mic/headsets because of the additional codec cycle. (also tuning of the microphone's transmit/receive settings is crucial).

All of this means there is a chance that any delay in an inter-networked VoIP call can be magnified beyond the (generally acceptable) 110-130 ms threshold. Increased standards compliance will hopefully help lower this.

Skyper's free service is great, but I wouldn't invest too much in SkypeOut or expect it to get any better.
posted by HyperBlue at 2:15 PM on November 28, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks, Hyper, great answers. I guess I should have known: always AskMe first, only then proceed to checkout!
posted by NekulturnY at 1:35 AM on November 29, 2004

always AskMe first, only then proceed to checkout!

*envisions many many threads asking if movie / book x is any good*
posted by Space Coyote at 2:55 AM on November 29, 2004

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