For a long time, Skype was the biggest star in VoIP. After all, it is the app that got us talking to each other without paying a dime. It remains just as popular today even with the prevalence of Skype alternatives like WhatsApp and Viber.
The support for high-definition video calls is one of the big features in Skype’s arsenal. But in today’s world of mobile data caps, this raises two important questions:
- Is Skype bandwidth friendly?
- How much bandwidth is needed for a Skype call?
The answers to both will help you select one voice chat app over the other. The bandwidth information page on Skype’s support page neatly shows us what we need to know.
The above data is an important consideration when you are on a mobile data plan and want to limit your consumption. Skype adjusts its quality according to the bandwidth available.
But let’s say you want to find out the bandwidth requirement for a one-to-one HD video call via Skype. According to the chart, you need a minimum of 1 Mbps, but you will get the best quality with 1.5 Mbps. For group calls, add 1 Mbps per extra member for comfortable video conferencing.
Of course, the specification of the webcams and computers for all participants also decides the quality of the conversation.
Check the Amount of Bandwidth Used by a Call
Skype displays the bandwidth used for upload and download during a call. Click Call in the menu bar and then select Call Technical Info.
The Display window appears with the average bandwidth consumed for the call. Check the numbers in the Basic section. Do note that the figure is in kBps where B = Byte. Multiple the number with 8 to get the equivalent in kbps.
You can also run a diagnostic check on the quality of the bandwidth in real-time. A real-time call will tell you if your ISP has provided enough bandwidth for Skype calls.
- Select a contact you want to call.
- In the conversation window, click on Check Settings.
- The series of small green indicator bars are a visual cue on the strength of the bandwidth.
Video compression has improved but a high-definition video at 30 frames per second still eats a lot of bandwidth. If you are a regular Skype user, it is handy to remember the benchmark for a quality call and adjust your connection accordingly.
Do you have problems with the quality of Skype calls? Do you prefer a Skype alternative?
Image Credit: Castleski via Shutterstock