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Mobile Skype: Quality Issues?

VOIP peer-to-peer pioneer Skype on Tuesday made a big move by porting its popular desktop VOIP client to certain wireless handhelds. Sounds neat, but now that the news has digested, the big question appears to be: Will it really be worth it?

Skype's introduced a PDA version that will work with 802.11b-enabled Pocket PC handhelds with more than 40 Mbytes of memory onboard (see Skype Me? Skype You! on the regular Skype client).

In theory, this is an application that enables users to -- at least partially -- bypass wireless carriers: If users live in an area with plentiful WiFi hotspot access and all their friends and family use Skype.

That's a big if, if you consider the nature of hotspot coverage when compared with traditional mobile networks: It's spotty, at best...

How spotty? Get all the details on Unstrung.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 2:05:40 AM
re: Mobile Skype: Quality Issues? This is just the start of the big wireline bypass. As Clayton Christensen says, disruptive technologies always look pathetic and spotty at first, used by fringe groups. Your arguements against this one are typical, and irrelevant.

The fact is that Skype has the economic model to grow. And grow it will. Be patient. Look back in a year, and you will be startled.
technonerd 12/5/2012 | 2:05:38 AM
re: Mobile Skype: Quality Issues? Voice over WiFi is a difficult problem and one that can not be solved at an application level. The basic problem is that the typical WiFi beacon rate is 20msec. So your best case is a 20 msec packet jitter

The only way Wi-Fi voice could ever develop a user base other than a few propellerhead hobbyists would be if cellular systems became too crowded or expensive. And that's not likely to happen; in fact, all signs are pointing in the opposite direction.
optoslob 12/5/2012 | 2:05:38 AM
re: Mobile Skype: Quality Issues? Voice over WiFi is a difficult problem and one that can not be solved at an application level. The basic problem is that the typical WiFi beacon rate is 20msec. So your best case is a 20 msec packet jitter, this is almost tolerable but the jitter problem gets worse as the node gets loaded. Most people that are doing VoWiFi are modifying the algorithms in the access point to give preferential treatment to the voice applications. Even if this is done you still have a hand off problem and other problems with microwave ovens and BT interference. Most of these problems will be solved with a/b/g systems and useable systems will be possible with n/e.

optoslob

Betelgeuse 12/5/2012 | 2:05:37 AM
re: Mobile Skype: Quality Issues? IGÇÖm just starting to look into QoS enabled 802.11 for my company. Does any one currently offer a Wi-Fi switch that is QoS enabled? From what IGÇÖve read of 802.11e it seems to leverage CSMA/CD with some modifications. I donGÇÖt see how a CSMA/CD system will ever be able to support latency and jitter sensitive IP applications. Are there any other plans in the works?
truelight 12/5/2012 | 2:05:33 AM
re: Mobile Skype: Quality Issues? CISCO does
technonerd 12/5/2012 | 2:05:28 AM
re: Mobile Skype: Quality Issues? Wifi voice would be killer of cellular industry in 5-10yrs time frame. Watch out. With all the popularity of devices like RIM & TREO, u will be seeing free voice calling using the portable wireless devices.

Future bodes a very murky picture for cellular providers with Wifi unless they adapt to a hybrid model with wifi used when in static locations and cellular when one is on the move.


There will be no "free" calls over WiFi other than a few from propellerheads who are playing around. In any case, even they will have to pay a subscription fee for Wi-Fi service, and their Wi-Fi provider will have to pay access charges on any calls routed through the PSTN. Want to call home on Wi-Fi? Ka-ching!

By the way, RIMM and Treo are gearhead toys. Very few people use them. Cellular service costs $20-$30 a month and includes free LD. Wi-Fi cannot and will not compete against this; it's absurd to imagine otherwise. But hey, there's always some stupid VC in California who you might convince. Give it a shot!
jcbogle 12/5/2012 | 2:05:28 AM
re: Mobile Skype: Quality Issues? Wifi voice would be killer of cellular industry in 5-10yrs time frame. Watch out. With all the popularity of devices like RIM & TREO, u will be seeing free voice calling using the portable wireless devices.

Future bodes a very murky picture for cellular providers with Wifi unless they adapt to a hybrid model with wifi used when in static locations and cellular when one is on the move.

---
The only way Wi-Fi voice could ever develop a user base other than a few propellerhead hobbyists would be if cellular systems became too crowded or expensive. And that's not likely to happen; in fact, all signs are pointing in the opposite direction
dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 2:05:27 AM
re: Mobile Skype: Quality Issues?
...
Cellular service costs $20-$30 a month and includes free LD. Wi-Fi cannot and will not compete against this
...


However WiFi can accomplish much more than voice and much more than the cellular network is capable of.

To my mind, the failure of the 3G network is not purely technological but is instead more of a reflection of the inability of telecom-type networks to supply services fitted to the needs of particular users. 3G does what it does but it is too little compared to what can be done with other technology.
PO 12/5/2012 | 2:05:25 AM
re: Mobile Skype: Quality Issues? However WiFi can accomplish much more than voice and much more than the cellular network is capable of.

I see WiFi and cellular developing as complementary technologies. Lazaridis and friends at Research in Motion were quick to add telephony to their device. I don't doubt they're also working to add 802.11 capabilities.

The problem with WiFi (IMHO) remains in the business model: to date, nobody has figured out how to be successful deploying a commercial WiFi network of any breadth. Sure, they've been able to offer it as a sweetener to other sales, but until someone can make money deploying it, service levels will remain random at best.
sgan201 12/5/2012 | 2:05:25 AM
re: Mobile Skype: Quality Issues? Hi,
1) Skype use Voice codec from Global IP sound that supposed to be able to tolerate 30% packet loss with no loss in voice quality. I do nto know whether it is true. But, the approach is correct.. Given that Wifi, DSL, Cable Modem has a lot more bandwidths than it is required for voice. Waste bandwidth so it can works in a low quality transport situation looks more reasonable that required QOS in all networks. Bandwidth is cheap in those scenerio

2) USA is not a growth market for telecom. So, who cares whether VoWiFi applies in USA or not. All major advances in application in wireless happen outside of USA anyhow..

Dreamer
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