Questions about Skype

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13 years 9 months ago #23534 by jeannielea
We got skype at the beginning of May. Early this month we had a long conversation with Daughter in Aus. A few days later Xnet told us we had used up our plan's allowance and while they would not charge extra, they have slowed down our internet. Does Skype really take up a huge amount? Any tips how to use it so we don't get a spike in the allowance? Does using the camera make a difference? Do we use a lot if we click the skype on when we go onto the internet even if we aren't actually using it?Or do we need a better plan? Please keep it simple!! as technology is definitely a phobia for me!

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13 years 9 months ago #335121 by Phaedrus
Replied by Phaedrus on topic Questions about Skype
Ok, without going too much into it the short answer is that yes, it will use a reasonable amount of data and certainly the camera will increase that usage quite a bit.

Whether you need a 'better' plan or not depends perhaps on what you're on now, what you typically do on the Interweb thing and what you intend to do. There's probably a number of things one could do to minimise data use. FYI I have a 3Gb plan at home, don't recall ever exceeding that, and I use it quite a bit. But I don't download movies, pictures, or advertising, don't have an anti-virus app (which can use quite a bit of data) and don't do updates on the machine (which can also use quite a bit). I'd not suggest you do without anti-virus but perhaps you could consider some of the other things you do and if you could modify their use a little? If not then you should probably look at a bigger plan - or perhaps trial skype without the camera to see if that helped your situation.

Cheers, P.

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13 years 9 months ago #335138 by Organix
Replied by Organix on topic Questions about Skype
What Phaedrus said. Skype won't use anywhere near as much bandwidth as music or movie downloads, or gaming but it is significant.
Another tip is to run Adblock (on Firefox) if you're not already as you then aren't wasting BW loading adverts :)

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13 years 9 months ago #335175 by GrantK
Replied by GrantK on topic Questions about Skype
Adding a little bit more to what the others have already said:

jeannielea;322416 wrote: Does using the camera make a difference?

I did some testing on this and found that the usage went up by a factor of about 6x when using the camera :eek:

So if you talked for an hour without the camera, you would use about 40MB, whereas if you did use the camera, the usage would increase to about 240MB or roughly 0.25GB.

Taking that to its logical conclusion, if during the course of a month you talked for 10 hours to your daughter with the camera switched on, you could use up most of your monthly allowance just like that!

Personally, I only use the camera very sparingly, for some special occasion, and otherwise stick to voice only, or sometimes keyboard chat.

jeannielea;322416 wrote: Do we use a lot if we click the skype on when we go onto the internet even if we aren't actually using it?

Very, very little. I leave Skype enabled 24/7 on my computer, and it doesn't use any significant amount of data. However, I have seen reports of greatly increased usage if Skype makes your computer a "Super Node" which relays other people's conversations.

That has never happened to me, and I've been using Skype for about 5 years now, so maybe it only happens in certain countries with high-bandwidth internet connections, I'm not too sure.

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13 years 9 months ago #335186 by donnacha
Replied by donnacha on topic Questions about Skype
We use skype all the time with cameras and have long video conversations daily with family in Ireland and the UK and leave it running in the background. We don't have a huge data cap.What we found though was that when we upgraded to the most recent version (4.2 I think) ,it seemed to hog all the bandwidth so we just reinstalled the old 3.8 version and it all dropped back to normal.

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13 years 9 months ago #335188 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Questions about Skype
My Daugher's Godfathers use skype telephone to call us frequently and really we don't need to see them nor us.... :D they can use the phone via skype whilst the other might be on a local call and wander about the house with the skype headset talking to us. I think its a great thing and esp. if you set up your computer with an external headset to make the calls.

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13 years 9 months ago #335227 by beedee
Replied by beedee on topic Questions about Skype
I went over my amount for last month, and did have a chat with a friend who has a camera, I dont.. does my watching her talk... soak up the waves , or only if I was sending on skype??

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13 years 9 months ago #335230 by optrex
Replied by optrex on topic Questions about Skype
Lets get some clarity on this for you. Do you leave skype running when you are not in a call? The answer is probably yes and this is where your problem lies.

Skype is designed to act as a node when not being used. Effectively your connection routes other peoples calls. This is how the network works. In the US, europe and on work connections its not a problem. In NZ where broadband is limited you run into the issue you have found.

The only way to prevent this behaviour is to ensure skype is turned off when you are not using it and make sure it doesn't log you in when you start up your PC.

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13 years 9 months ago #335243 by Phaedrus
Replied by Phaedrus on topic Questions about Skype

beedee;322531 wrote: I went over my amount for last month, and did have a chat with a friend who has a camera, I dont.. does my watching her talk... soak up the waves , or only if I was sending on skype??

Yes, viewing video of any sort will use a reasonable amount of data. You either accept that and pay the price (bigger plan) or turn it off. As others have commented that (the capped plan), unfortunately, is the model the NZ ISP's are using...

P.

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13 years 9 months ago #335256 by kayjay
Replied by kayjay on topic Questions about Skype
This site worth a look at re Skype Node use - www.ghacks.net/2008/06/26/find-out-if-yo...-a-skype-super-node/

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13 years 9 months ago #335286 by jeannielea
Replied by jeannielea on topic Questions about Skype
Thanks for all the answers and will check that site thanks KJ. We don't download music or videos and since I'm the only one here during most weeks the computer is not used heavily anyway. I think the plan we have is about 2GB so Grant you have probably solved the problem but we may look at using the older version as Donna does. We are back up to speed today too thank goodness. I find watching people while talking a very strange experience and will not regret not using the camera! Except for seeing the grandaughter sometimes and especially when her new brother/sister arrives - he's already overdue!

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13 years 9 months ago #335340 by GrantK
Replied by GrantK on topic Questions about Skype

optrex;322535 wrote: Lets get some clarity on this for you. Do you leave skype running when you are not in a call? The answer is probably yes and this is where your problem lies.

As mentioned earlier, I have left Skype running 24/7 for the past 5 years and it never caused me any problems at all.

optrex;322535 wrote: The only way to prevent this behaviour is to ensure skype is turned off when you are not using it and make sure it doesn't log you in when you start up your PC.

If you do that, then other people cannot call you :p

Kind of defeats the purpose of having Skype if you ask me!

optrex;322535 wrote: Skype is designed to act as a node when not being used. Effectively your connection routes other peoples calls. This is how the network works. In the US, europe and on work connections its not a problem. In NZ where broadband is limited you run into the issue you have found.

As it says on that page linked to by KJ:

Bandwidth usage can be extremely different for Skype users which can be attributed whether computers are being used as Skype Super-Nodes. A Super-Node is basically a computer that is running Skype and not preventing the software access to the ports 80 and 443 which are used to route traffic from other Skype users who are behind a protected system.
...
The incoming and outgoing Skype bandwidth [for the day in question]... is less than 500 Kilobyte. Super-Nodes can use hundreds of Megabytes.

Therefore, it would be immediately obvious to anyone in NZ if their computer was acting as a Super Node because they would typically exhaust their bandwidth quota in less than a week.

As the above mentioned site also says:

The easiest way to prevent Skype from being a Super-Node is to block access to the ports 80 and 443 in Skype. You can do that under Tools > Options > Connections. Just uncheck the option “Use port 80 and 443 as alternatives for incoming connections”.

I changed my Skype settings just now as a precaution. But this explains why most users never have any issue with Skype acting as a Super Node:

- Because anyone who uses a Broadband Router will generally find that Ports 80 and 443 are blocked by default.

- Broadband Routers typically default to blocking all ports unless you explicitly open them.

- Anyone who uses a single-port ADSL modem with USB connection (as opposed to routers which use an Ethernet connection) may theoretically be vulnerable to being used as a Skype Super Node, as in theory may dialup users. However, there probably aren't too many dialup users on Skype [xx(]

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13 years 9 months ago #335341 by beedee
Replied by beedee on topic Questions about Skype
Umm I un-ticked the turn skype on when starting.. and now I've lost it.. where do I go??????
I knew I shouldnt read these things that I dont understand
being a super node sounds sortta rude

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