Skype + Mobile phones

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by oc7, Jun 17, 2006.

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  1. oc7

    oc7 Junior Member

    Apr 30, 2006
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    Hey guys,

    I have just downloaded Skype on my computer and it is amazing !

    I plan to be doing alot of travelling o/s soon and i have been looking into communication costs, mobile phone calls cost Heaps whilst using roaming on like telstra/optus.

    I noticed in my research that there are mobile phones/PDA's that are very epxensive ($1500+) but they are skype capable. They have many office programmes, so there like a little computer. If i were to get one of these machines and call home on skype-skpe (free) would it be expensive ??

    The only cost would be connecting to the internet.
    Is it expensive to connect to the internent on my current AUS mobile whilst overseas ?? Would it be far cheaper than just making the calls from my phone??

    If anyone could help it would be great beacuse i am kind off lost on this whole issue...

    Thanks..
     

  2. rpmsol

    rpmsol Intern

    Jun 11, 2006
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    If your device will support wireless internet, like the Telstra Hot Spots that are available at QCs then it should work fine (unless Telstra figures out a way to block it!), but that sort of access tends to be quite costly, e.g. up to $12 per hour! Some hotels have free wireless access, and some places (e.g. central park in NY) are rolling out free wireless access, but most places that I go I can't find free access and have to pay for internet access.
    Regards,
    Paul.
     
  3. NM

    NM
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    I don't use Skype, but do use an IP Softphone all the time when travelling (and regularly when in my home office). You have to get the QoS right for best call quality and reliability. Its great to just have to find a WiFi ISP service and then have an Australian phone available.

    Skype client can run on most PocketPC and PalmOS devices, so all you need is a reliable internet service and you should be ok with Skype.

    Note that Skype have recently removed call costs for US domestic off-net calls.
     
  4. Yada Yada

    Yada Yada Established Member

    Dec 6, 2004
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    I'm now using an i-mate JAMin which is a pocket PC with wireless and is Skype capable, although I've never used it for this yet.

    I've seen lots of people using wireless internet access inside Starbucks outlets in places like KL and Singapore - I assume it is free but I'm not sure. If it is free, maybe a device such as the JAMin would be a solution for you. The JAMin costs approx $900 outright to buy.

    With regards to accessing the 'net from your mobile, GPRS can be expensive both domestically and overseas so beware. I have also found that not all carriers overseas support GPRS so you may find data access does not always work.
     
  5. Commuter

    Commuter Active Member

    Jun 14, 2006
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    Use of data (GPRS etc) overseas on roaming can be very expensive. You would probably be better off getting some kind of a data capability overseas than using roaming on an Australian wireless data connection, or just getting a sim card for your mobile overseas.
     
  6. oc7

    oc7 Junior Member

    Apr 30, 2006
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    Thanks a lot guys.. so in summing up the best thing for me would be ..



    1... Get a pocket PC (like mentioned aboved) that is skype compatible.
    2..... Use Skype on the Pocket PC
    3.... this is best acessed in hot-spots (free)
    4.... If not using a hot spot, GPRS connection can be expensive.
    5.... Consider buying a sim card overseas ??


    I would just like to know if someone could put u figure on GPRS usage for skype both in OZ and overseas on an OZ mobile.
     
  7. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    I'm not sure GPRS can handle Skype. To get good quality on Skype, I presume you would need Wireless type speeds, not GPRS.

    Any Comms Techo's want to comment?

    BTW, GPRS aint cheap. At one company I'm aware of, they buy it by the bucketload and it is cheap, but not for the casual user.
     
  8. Commuter

    Commuter Active Member

    Jun 14, 2006
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    #8 Commuter, Jun 19, 2006
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2006
    Optus international data roaming (GPRS) is $0.02 per kilobyte according to their website, billed in 10kb increment. That's $20 per megabyte - in other words, a pretty expensive. I think Telstra one is about the same, although I can't remember exactly.

    I find that Skype isn't too hugely data heavy, but considering that it usually needs a broadband speed to work properly, I think I can safely say that it would consume quite a bit of bandwidth (I tried to use Skype on CDMA wireless Internet and it didn't work properly). I haven't tried it on GPRS, but I doubt it would work too well on GPRS either, since it didn't work well on CDMA 1x.

    Remember though many hotels offer you wireless or wired broadband too. I think almost all of Accor hotels are now WiFi equipped, and most Hiltons are too (and maybe InterContinental group as well).

    Even when hotspots charge you a bit, it's nowhere near as expensive as it is to use the data roaming. So I would suggest you get a WiFi compatible gadget. Nokia 9300i is what I'm after at the moment - it's WiFi and Blackberry compatible and its keyboard and screen are a tad bigger than most PDA phone.

    A cheap alternative is to use the Skype divert system. Basically, get yourself a mobile phone sim card at the destination, set up a divert on Skype to that number, and get people to call you on Skype (but NOT have the Skype turned on). It can divert your Skype call to your mobile at 0.16 euro per minute - in other words, you can receive Skype calls on your mobile number at the destination. Substantially cheaper than roaming and even the normal mobile sim.
     
  9. NM

    NM
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    I have little experience with the bandwidth requirements of Skype, but for most H.323 or SIP IP phone configurations that have been bandwidth optimised and using the G.729 CODEC, the RTP stream requires around 64kbps of available bandwidth for reasonable quality. Many corp IPT systems are not bandwidth optimised and use G.711 CODEC for all services including remote access soft-phones, and as such require a minimum connection of 128kbps. I assume Skype is neither H.323 or SIP for call signalling, and would not be surprised to learn they use non-standard CODEC.

    The G.729 CODEC configured for 30ms samples theoretically requires around 16kbps for the raw data. But by the time you take the data information and wrap it inside an RTP, UDP and IP packet, you have added around 50% overhead taking you to around 32kbps of streaming data which is going to need a minimum of 64kbps of available bandwidth to make it work, especially if any other apps are fighting for the bandwidth.

    Also note that jitter is more significant when the bandwidth is low, and jitter is going to be worse on a shared service such as wifi internet connection.

    I don't know what options Skype has for priority queuing outbound packets, but in my experience it is essential that you control the queuing of packets on the outbound interface for any real-time application such as IP Telephony. And on bandwidth constrained services, its also best to drop the MTU to help reduce jitter and voice buffer depletion. And of course, with anything on the internet you have no control at all over the packet prioritisation of the return channel unless you control the router that delivers the packets to you, and for Skype on a public wifi hotspot that is not going to be possible for most people.
     
  10. rpmsol

    rpmsol Intern

    Jun 11, 2006
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    Further to the bandwidth issues, a more severe issue can be network latency of internet connections via CDMA / GPRS. Latency over such connections is often 300mS or higher, which would make the conversation very difficult, even if there was plenty of bandwidth, all packets arrived in order.......
     
  11. NM

    NM
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    Depends of you define 300ms latency. Most people quote "ping" round-trip times, while latency is really one-way. 300ms one-way will have the affect of the parties talking over the top of each other, similar to what we used to get with IDD services when in years past. But the audio quality will be preserved.

    300ms round-trip is not a problem for IP Telephony. I regularly (read every work day) use an IP phone with a round-trip delay of 430ms (via an IPsec tunnel from Australia to USA and then back to an IP-PBX/Gateway in Australia.

    In lab testing, I have also shown that with sufficient bandwidth (at least 512 kbps), a one-way latency of 250ms and as much jitter as the test equipment could inject (i.e. 250ms of jitter), the voice conversation remains clear when using G.711 CODEC. Drop the bandwidth down to 256 kbps and the conversation breaks with that much jitter, which is mostly due to the affects of serialisation delay in packet transmission caused by the lower bandwidth link and the phone buffers not being able to cope. This was tested with Cisco (Call Manager) and Nortel (both CS1000 and MCS) IPT systems. I have no idea how well Skype compensates for jitter with its buffering.

    Of course out of sequence packet arrival is a problem and the result is the same as packet loss. But even over the internet, this is not a problem in my experience. One way to reduce the probability of out of sequence packets over a public network is to encapsulate in some form of tunnel (GRE, IPSec etc), but its no guarantee and has its own overhead (IPSec will add 53 bytes of packet overhead as well as around 10ms latency). Again not an option for Skype, but good for corporate IPT implementations.
     
  12. oc7

    oc7 Junior Member

    Apr 30, 2006
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    Thanks so much guys,

    your information has been much appreciated. I will let you know if i have any more problems or if i have any questions about the PDA/Mobile skype connections..


    thanks a lot

    oc7
     
  13. Skyring

    Skyring Established Member

    Oct 18, 2005
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    My two cents:

    I have Skype installed on my laptop and all the computers at home. With Skype you can see when a contact is online, so when I'm several time zones away and find a hotspot, if my wife and I are both available at the same time one can call the other.

    That way we know that the other isn't asleep or absent or something. Using the headsets is no great hassle.

    I generally get a T:Mobile account for a month and can use the WiFi in Admirals Club and Starbucks and a tonne of other places.
     
  14. browski

    browski Established Member

    Sep 8, 2004
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    There was a thread some months ago that discussed the best business equipment configuration.

    My recollection was that the laptop-mobile accessories was still the preferred option that gave most flexibilty and power.

    PDAs still not have the fully functionality of a laptop - depends on your requirements I guess.

    Not that I'm as technically adept as other contributers here, but IIRC Skype can occasionally knock out other applications that compete with Port 80 resources.

    Skype has been a fantastic application, and thank god not many countries have taken China's lead and banned it outright. I'm sure Telstra have been lobbying the govt to do just that.

    Has anyone experience with the SkypeIn product?
     
  15. NM

    NM
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    I have a Dell Axim X50v which has the 624MHz CPU and 640x480 pixel display. There is no way I can use that as a laptop replacement even for short trips. It is a useful tool for PIM applications, games, travel planner, ad-hoc access to flight timetables etc, but its not functional as a work processor, spreadsheet, presentation application, graphics/diagram editing tool etc.

    Its pretty good for playing Sodoku on long flights, and I have even used it as a portable movie viewing device (but the screen is a little small). Its a good MP3 player so long as you have external power or you will run it dry in about 3-4 hours.

    One benefit of using a PocketPC for a Skype phone is the speed of starting it up when you want to make a call. Its going to start up and get connected much faster than most laptops from a cold boot. But the browser that comes with the OS, as well as third party options are not really very functional for web surfing beyond the basic requirements.
     
  16. Commuter

    Commuter Active Member

    Jun 14, 2006
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    I have used both SkypeIn and SkypeOut, mainly for overseas communication (i.e. SkypeIn number in the countries where some of my relatives are located, so that they don't have to call me in Autralia, and SkypeOut for me to call them - they're not all techno savvy and don't even own a computer!). They have not disappointed me, although sound quality can sometimes be a little suspect.
     
  17. Skyring

    Skyring Established Member

    Oct 18, 2005
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    The way things are going, there are a couple of niches emerging. One is for devices without keyboards, using buttons and maybe touchscreen and handwriting recognition. They are increasingly doing more things, and it is really no hassle to have camera, phone, MP3 player, movie viewer, organiser in one pocket sized beastie. The second is for devices with keyboards, and there seems to be a minimum size for this. I've seen the add-on keyboards for small devices and the small laptops with small keyboards, and they just don't work either way.

    Well, they work, but not to the extent of being entirely satisfactory.

    Of course, you've also got the specialised devices which are rigidly focused (and I use the word advisedly) on their function, and if my Canon S2 IS added on a phone, MP3 player and so on, I think the package would suffer. I really want it to be just a camera. Likewise the original iPod was aimed at one thing - playing music, which it did superbly well.

    My Dell Latitude X1 is about as small a laptop as I want. It's still big enough for easy typing, viewing spreadsheets and so on, and it's got normal computer operating system, ports, programs and so on. I can buy programs off the shelf at OfficeWorks and they run. I can't so that with anything much smaller, like a mobile phone or an MP3 player or a camera.

    But even in its smallness, it is still too big and unwieldy for me to whip out on a bus or a shopping centre or (heaven forbid) in the car and make a phone call. For that, I want something I can fit in my pocket.
     
  18. graemeb

    graemeb Newbie

    Apr 27, 2007
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  19. rogerroger

    rogerroger Newbie

    Oct 4, 2009
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    There's quite a few Skype-type applications for smartphones now - just off the top of my head Jajah and Fring come to mind but there are many others. The non-Skype ones generally have a bit more open systems (they are SIP-based) and will generally connect to Skype users (whereas Skype generally won't connect to non-Skype users without gong via the phone system).

    All of these use around 50kB/s to make (AND receive) calls, some are better at handling lost packets, getting through firewall settings etc (Skype seems to be particularly good). So don't use them on global roaming data (Optus is 2c/kB, Telstra is 1.5c/kB) as you'll pay more than roaming voice calls.

    If you go this way, your choice will be mostly driven by which handset you have (each app works on only a subset of handsets in the market), and the call quality/cost of calls/ease of use. I'd be interested to hear comparisons by people who have used more than one...
     
  20. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
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    I have used Skype on my home wireless connection from my iPhone and it is great. I have yet to use it over the 3G network though due to concerns over data volumes being used...
     
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