Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Internet Requirement for Skype Connection

Skype can work with a fast dial-up Internet connection over a telephone line in a pinch, but don’t expect much in the way of quality. For practical day-to-day use, you have to have a broadband connection to the Internet, such as that provided through cable or DSL. To get the most out of Skype, there are two characteristics of your broadband Internet connection that you must pay attention to:
  • Bandwidth, measured in bits per second, is a measure of the rate at which data can be transmitted over the connection. The higher the bandwidth, the better your Skype experience will be, as your voice will be clearer during a call.
  • Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay between when
you start speaking during a call and when the person at the other end hears your words. If this delay is too long, say, more than half a second, the other person might start talking back to you before you are done talking. A long latency means that conversations will be stuttering and awkward, as each person runs the risk of talking over the other. The shorter your latency, the better will be your Skype experience.
Most cable and DSL Internet connections are asymmetric in the sense that the rate at which you can send data is different from the rate at which you can receive data. That is, the bandwidth in each direction is asymmetric. Normally the rate at which you can send data is substantially less than the rate at which you can receive data. From Skype’s point of view, the overall quality of a voice call over the Internet will be limited by the minimum of the two bandwidths in either direction: send or receive.
To find out the bandwidth and latency for your Internet connection visit www.numion.com and click on the YourSpeed link, then click on the Quickstart link. This will run a test that will tell you your bandwidth for both send and receive, and tell you the latency for your Internet connection. For a good experience with Skype, you will need a bandwidth of at least 128 Kbps for both send and receive, and a latency less than 500 milliseconds (that is, a latency less than half a second).

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