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Top Five Skype Tips

Need to get more out of Skype? Here are the five most important things you can do. Being the webmaster of www.SkypeTips.com and the author of 'Skype Me!' by Syngress Press I am often asked for help. In this article I will be discussing my top five Skype tips.

#1 – Get Stats About Your Calls

Turn on 'Display Technical Call Info'. From the 'Tools' Menu, select 'Options' and then select 'Advanced'. There you will see the last option 'Display Technical Call Info'. This will allow you to see several important statistics about your Skype call. Why is this important? If you are experiencing a poor call, the information provided could help you to determine why your call quality may be bad or why your file transfers are slow.

In the following two screenshots, the first is what you would expect in a good Skype call, and the second is what you could expect from a call to or from a corporate network or a poor home configuration. You see this information when you drag you mouse over your contacts image in the main Skype window once you are on a call.

There are two important settings. The first is the 'Roundtrip', the second is the 'SessionOut' and 'SessionIn' readings. The first thing to watch out for is how many milliseconds the Roundtrip is. If you are over 100ms, then your call will degrade and have delays, like an old fashioned long-distance telephone call. The second thing to watch out for is if the call is being relayed. If your call shows 'Relay_UDP' or Relay_TCP then you do not have a direct peer-to-peer connection. The larger the Roundtrip number the longer the delay, and anything over 125ms will start to be obvious. Relayed calls always have a higher Roundtrip and the combination means your call will probably be poor. If the call is between two home users and you are getting a relayed call, this means your home DSL/cable router is most likely old and not able to handle peer-to-peer connections so an upgrade is in order. If you are not using a DSL/Cable router than you have a configuration issue that needs to be corrected.