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Skype, 3-way video call including someone in the USA, 3.9Mbps speed: advice?

snozboz
Rising Star
Posts: 402
Thanks: 13
Fixes: 1
Registered: 27-07-2007

Skype, 3-way video call including someone in the USA, 3.9Mbps speed: advice?

Hello there.
Any advice going, will be gratefully received  Smiley
I want to have a 3-way video call using Skype, which includes one person in the USA (Washington State) plus one person 10 miles away from me (with BT broadband I think), plus me (in Leicester, UK, with Plusnet's Extra package on 21CN ADSL).
Using http://www.mybroadbandspeed.co.uk/ I get these results (which is about average over several weeks, and I've already been through the speed fault process and this is the best I can get).
Down: 3893 kbps (487kB/s) Up: 354 kbps (44.3kB/s)
I'm running Skype for Mac version 2.8.0.866 because the newer version doesn't work with Macam drivers for a Playstation Eye webcam, which is a better camera for my purposes than the in-built webcam in my MacBook, because I can move it around independently from the MacBook.
My Apple MacBook is a mid-2007 Intel-based model running OS X 10.5.8 (upgraded to 2GB RAM at purchase).
Given my broadband speed, I'm worried that such a 3-way video call will be of unusably poor quality; even a 2-way video call with someone in the UK has drop-outs and scrambled sound & video occasionally in every call.
What do you think about my broadband speed?  Would a 3-way Skype video call (including someone in the USA) work?
Is there anything I could change about my setup/software/hardware to improve matters?  e.g. not use the Playstation Eye (use my in-built webcam instead) and use the newest version of Skype, have a second computer so there's one computer per person at my end, use different video calling software...
In case you were wondering, I'm doing this to continue a game of D&D with someone who's gone back to the States and someone else who struggles to travel to my flat where the rest of my group meets.  I hope I don't get teased for this geek-confession!  Wink
Thanks.
ADDED: Ooops, I've just spotted that I'd have to pay for Skype Premium and use the newest version of Skype to have a video call between more than 2 people at once.  So I guess my question then becomes, is there a way to have a 3-way video call without using Skype (and having to pay)?
5 REPLIES
stephenw10
Grafter
Posts: 102
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Registered: 14-04-2011

Re: Skype, 3-way video call including someone in the USA, 3.9Mbps speed: advice?

Skype, even with video, uses a surprisingly small bandwidth. I see about 128kbps up/down for a single call. However that's with good connection, Skype will auto adjust to fit available bandwidth and can go a lot lower.
Skype have a useful page with information: https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA1417/How-much-bandwidth-does-Skype-need
Minimum bandwidth for a 3 way video call is 512kbps down 128kbps up. The good news is that Skype redistributes your video feed so you only have to send it out once now matter how many people you're sending it to.
Steve
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,828
Thanks: 250
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Skype, 3-way video call including someone in the USA, 3.9Mbps speed: advice?

Video with wireless at one end is very poor.  Cheesy
Audio only is O.K. though.

snozboz
Rising Star
Posts: 402
Thanks: 13
Fixes: 1
Registered: 27-07-2007

Re: Skype, 3-way video call including someone in the USA, 3.9Mbps speed: advice?

Thanks for the advice so far - knowing not to use WiFi is a new tip for me, so thanks for this.  I take it that it's something to do with WiFi being more flaky than a wired network?
I've just been looking at iChat (my version is 4.0.9) which allows free 3-way video chats, and uses user accounts from Jabber, Google Talk, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), and MobileMe and .mac.  It isn't clear from the help pages or the Google Talk support site or forums whether iChat will allow a 3-way video chat with users on Google Talk accounts - does anyone have any experience with this?  The participants are more likely to have Google accounts than any of the other options, and the other two don't have Macs.
So, what's the best way to have a 3-way video call without using Skype (and without having to pay)?
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,828
Thanks: 250
Fixes: 10
Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Skype, 3-way video call including someone in the USA, 3.9Mbps speed: advice?

Each person could have two computers with two microphones and two webcams and they could set up a TWO way skype session...

stephenw10
Grafter
Posts: 102
Thanks: 2
Registered: 14-04-2011

Re: Skype, 3-way video call including someone in the USA, 3.9Mbps speed: advice?

Quote from: snozboz
So, what's the best way to have a 3-way video call without using Skype (and without having to pay)?

2 people use the same computer?  Tongue
I don't know I've never had to do it. 3 way audio only though works great on the standard skype client.
Steve