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Improving Skype Audio in Windows
Author: Scott Nesbitt
Manufacturer: Skype
Source: Geeks.com Tech Tips
Purchase: Geeks.com
Comment or Question: Post Here
Page: 2 of 3 [ 1 2 3 ]
Improving Skype Audio in Windows
January 25, 2007

Internet and Wireless:

Skype requires a high-speed Internet connection. However, not all high-speed connections are created equally. Some Internet Service Providers offer so-called "lite" and "extreme" high speed services. The lite services are somewhat slower and while sufficient for Skype, they're not always the best. If you can, upgrade to a faster high-speed service.

I've also noticed that Skype often works better with a cable Internet connection than with a standard DSL or ADSL connection, which uses your phone line. Phone lines can be quite flaky, and if there's a short in your internal wiring (like the one that forced me to switch to cable), then your Internet connection and Skype calls will be unreliable.

If you're using Skype with a wireless Internet connection, ensure that the signal from the wireless router is strong and reliable. I came to understand the importance of this while my wife was studying in China last summer. She called me using Skype via a wireless node in a Starbucks in Beijing. The wireless signal was poor, which caused sound drop outs and echoes. After a few minutes, the call was dropped entirely. With other wireless connections, including the one in my home, this has not been a problem as long as the computers were within 10 meters (about 33 feet) of the wireless router.

On top of that, you should make sure that your router has the latest drivers and firmware (the software installed on the router that controls it). You'll need to visit the Web site of your router's manufacturer to download the drivers. And check the documentation for information about how to upgrade the firmware.

Firewalls:

A firewall running on your PC or wireless network can prevent or hinder Skype from connecting to the Internet. To enable Skype and your firewall to play nicely with each other, you'll need to open all of your computer's ports to allow outgoing TCP connections. An open port is simply a small opening in your firewall that allows data to pass to and from your PC. When opening an outgoing TCP port, you're only allowing data to leave your PC. It will not leave your computer or network more vulnerable to attack.

If that doesn't work, many people suggest opening only port 80 and/or port 443. These ports are commonly used to connect to the Internet using the HTTP protocol (which enables you to browse the Web).

Other Things That You Can Do:

Fiddling with your system and Skype client settings isn't the only way to improve the quality of the audio in your Skype calls. There are a number of other things you can try, the first of which is to use a proper Web telephony headset.


Some people try to use a microphone and their PC speakers, or the microphone and speakers built into their laptops, when making calls with Skype. That's not the best thing to so. The sound from the speakers can generate feedback in the form of a painful high-pitched squeal. At the very least, you'll get some echo. You can get a decent headset for under $20 (USD).

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