Skype

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Bai Shen
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Skype

Postby Bai Shen » Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:24 pm

Just curious what the network issues you were having with Skype were? When we were doing Bootercalls, we've had more than a dozen people online at once.

Also, remember that everyone is going through another node. So your individual connection/computer doesn't really matter so much. You can make yourself a supernode for Skype, but that's not going to happen by accident to a typical home setup.

I have found that hanging up and reconnecting can help as you usually end up getting routed through a different supernode and therefore avoid the previous network issue.
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Wayne
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Re: Skype

Postby Wayne » Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:02 pm

I was wondering about more details as well. I was running late because of work and they had switched to vent by the time I connected.
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John
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Re: Skype

Postby John » Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:47 pm

I'm not sure about anything technically but we were all experiencing extremely poor sound quality and occasional moments of dropped audio on Skype.

Ventrilo was much more clear. Push to talk has challenges of its own but our one hack at Skype that night was awful.

There may be a better other way though.

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clintmemo
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Re: Skype

Postby clintmemo » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:06 am

We use Skype for our weekly game. (I am trying to nudge everyone over to google+). The problems we run into with Skype is bandwidth and processing power- especially for whoever is hosting the call. Five or six people, with just audio, pegs out my laptop if I host the call, which is admittedly quite a few years old. Some of our players are on slower DSL lines - 1m or so - and drop off fairly often.
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VaMinion
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Re: Skype

Postby VaMinion » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:13 am

I've heard good things about Mumble. Only used it a little bit, but the sound quality is better.
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Dan
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Re: Skype

Postby Dan » Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:20 pm

Skype is horribly optimized. It's a processing and bandwidth hog.

The exact problem we were having was a bit odd. There were five people on the conference. Some of us could understand all parties involved perfectly. But for two people in particular (John and Pat), everything kept cutting in and out. So they'd only get syllables here and there. Yet Chris and I heard everyone perfectly.

We switched to Vent since it has an outside host and push-to-talk. But we could try another always-on client and see if it works better. I agree with some other folks that there would be value in having voice chat running constantly.
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clintmemo
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Re: Skype

Postby clintmemo » Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:22 pm

Dan wrote:The exact problem we were having was a bit odd. There were five people on the conference. Some of us could understand all parties involved perfectly. But for two people in particular (John and Pat), everything kept cutting in and out. So they'd only get syllables here and there. Yet Chris and I heard everyone perfectly.


We have had this type of thing happen from time to time as well.
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Bai Shen
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Re: Skype

Postby Bai Shen » Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:09 am

Dan wrote:Skype is horribly optimized. It's a processing and bandwidth hog.

The exact problem we were having was a bit odd. There were five people on the conference. Some of us could understand all parties involved perfectly. But for two people in particular (John and Pat), everything kept cutting in and out. So they'd only get syllables here and there. Yet Chris and I heard everyone perfectly.

We switched to Vent since it has an outside host and push-to-talk. But we could try another always-on client and see if it works better. I agree with some other folks that there would be value in having voice chat running constantly.


Next time you have issues, have the players leave the call and reconnect. That usually fixes the issues from what I've seen.

And like I said, AFAIK, the processing power doesn't change depending on who's hosting the call. Everyone gets run through supernodes. The host is just the first person who called and who designated that the call ends when they leave.

Next time I have a game/bootercall, I'll pay more attention to how much resources skype is using on my machine and let you know.
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Bai Shen
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Re: Skype

Postby Bai Shen » Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:11 am

This explains supernodes a bit more.

Image
UPDATE: Shortly after I published this post, several friends suggested that I was making this perhaps too basic with regard to Skype. In fact, several deep and long posts could easily be written about Skype's supernode architecture as it is quite fascinating.

The point I was trying to make was that for nodes behind NAT/firewalls to communicate with other nodes behind NAT/firewalls, there needs to be some node outside of firewalls - on the public Internet - that can broker the communication between the endpoints.

In the case of Skype, we typically refer generically to those public nodes as "supernodes". In fact, the nodes known as "supernodes" perform the somewhat limited functions of connecting nodes together, providing a distributed database and choosing appropriate nodes to act as "relay nodes" when necessary.

These "relay nodes" are, in turn, the ones that perform the actual relaying of calls, messages, packets when direct connection is not possible. It is possible that these relay nodes could be located behind a NAT/firewall as the supernodes are connected to them and using them essentially to offload processing. Skype provides more info (including how to specify that your systems not be used as supernodes) in the IT Administrator's Guide I link to in the resources below.

In the IETF world of SIP, this external connection function is performed by either STUN or TURN servers (and that, too, could take up several blog posts).


http://www.disruptivetelephony.com/2010 ... works.html
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Wayne
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Re: Skype

Postby Wayne » Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:17 am

I have personally seen the person hosting a call make a difference in the call quality. I don't know exactly why that is, but have done some testing and it does have an impact.
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