Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Skype Problems Confirmed

Skype is a revolutionary voice-over-IP technology that keeps bringing attention to its many unique and impressive capabilities. The tools is in beta and it is free to use (PC users only).

As I have been reporting before, Skype ability to provide a reliable quality audio connection over the Internet, may still be reserved only for those on a particular good Internet connection on even then not all the times.

Michael Term of the Associated Press reports similar problems to the ones I have been writing myself about.

Skype is really an exceptionally capable tool, but not so much because of its technological abilities, but rather for its truly powerful viral marketing approach and for the vast sudden awareness it has created for normal users in the potential of VoIP in supplanting traditional telephone systems.

Other times, it's considerably less fun.

Slower Internet connections or ones that keep slipping offline cause the sound to deteriorate or conk out completely. An inferior link can produce delays of several seconds -- giving users a sense that they're speaking with someone on the moon.

So unless you can use Skype on faster lines, don't bother at all. Even with better connections, quality can occasionally be erratic -- with the volume fading in and out or with the sound taking on a tin-can quality.

Skype is also subject to that variable so often at the root of life's failings -- other human beings.

Headphone sets not plugged in or turned up properly by technically challenged users can foil attempts to talk to your party -- even when Skype signals you've reached them successfully.

My key point remains that while thanks to Skype millions of users are finally discovering voice-over-IP, there are indeed much better and more reliable tools to carry out voice conversation online.

I am particularly concerned with those users not in highly developed countries and frequently using slow dial-up connection lines. Even for them voice-over IP is a reality today, and the fact that Skype doesn't cut it for all Internet users, shouldn't discourage them from testing out the cost-effective already available out there.

See full story at: Skype Tops Frustrations

See also: Please Skype Me: Disruptive P2P VoIP Technology Allows You To Call And Talk Free To Any Windows PC

//">Skype Problems And Limitations

//">Many to Many Gripes on Skype

//">What Will You Pay for Skype?

//">Skype and Glance

//">Phones and Skype

//">Flashtalk or Skype?

//">Skype Indicators

//">Skype Stories

//">Good Skype Review



Readers' Comments    
2009-10-30 04:46:35

Ian Flaherty

Whenever i use skype my pc cpmpletely freezes, it can work for a while but then freezes and I have to restart my pc. I have used messenger and googlemail video with no apparent problems but the quality is not as good as skype.
Can anyone help

2008-04-06 23:20:09

John Cosgrove

I am using someone else´s PC which has a few Skype users on it, I cannot, after several hours, find away to get back into Skype which I have not used for awhile and cannot remember my name or passsword. Seems as if you don´t have your Skype name, you can´t reach their support staff. Also, can´t seem to start a new account Part of the problem might be that I may have originally signed up from another email address that has since been changed but my main email has always been
Please help me get back into Skype.
John C.

Thank you.

John C.

2008-01-20 05:38:45

Chris Turner

Hey Echo, you were asking about alternatives. I have been working with a company called ooVoo and they offer free video conferencing and it works for up to six people. It is a very different experience from a phone call and it works with a low bandwidth. The other thing I like about ooVoo is sending and receiving free video messages, it’s strange at first but you get used to it. They also just released the Mac version so no one gets left out.

2008-01-06 16:29:22

Ann Murray

If I try to use Skype my whole PC freezes. I then have to switch off at the mains as that is all I can do.......then scan disc for errors and its driving me mad. Skype support is of no help at all. If anyone out there could help I would be grateful. Thanks

2008-01-05 23:53:07

J Swart

If I open Skype, Internet Explorer freezes. Does anyone else have this problem?

2007-09-08 17:59:33


Skype is a terrible program, the way it works with other programs in ones computer is erratic and does not give the user the possibility of having it fixed with skype tools which are scarce.

2007-03-14 17:10:26

Jerome Franklin-Ryan

I have EXACTLY the same problem as Mauricio Dalfarno ... we can hear each other I can see them but they cant see me.... the Logitech camera software seems to be working fine.

any help appreciated

2006-10-12 21:42:56

Mauricio Dulfano

I can connect,be heard and see the face of my contact with my skype. However, while I am able to see myself using Logitech-cam,do video and snapshots, my contact tells me they can not see my face. Any idea why? Thanks for any comment.

2004-12-02 02:37:02

Nathan Smith

True, Skype is a terrific application!

However....... Try purchasing credit for "Skype-Out" (their highly touted feature which enables calls to conventional telephones) and you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Here are a couple of examples.....

here and here

With regards to using Skype on "low-bandwidth" connections, it does work. I live in a place where the fastest connection available (dial-up) gets me connected at a blisteringly speedy 26.4 kpbs (not very quick...). That said, I use Skype daily to speak to friends across the globe. It will work on a low bandwidth connection however be prepared for frequent drop-outs and voices going in and out of sync. Oh, and every now and then your friends will sound as if they're talking at half speed.

OK, somebody asked about alternatives to Skype? There are many. I built a small website featuring a directory of PC-Phone providers:

I've personally purchased time on a few of those sites (net2phone, iconnecthere, & callserve). I've found that of those three, Callserve works the best on my low-bandwidth connection. My best wishes to the folks at Skype. I'd like to plug them on my directory however will refrain until they start paying attention to their customers.

2004-08-12 09:26:50


The Scottish Chartered IT Professional should get a therapist, and a hobby. He has wayyyyy too much time on his hands to draft (what he thinks are) crafty emails, and he clearly has a chip on his shoulder about Americans. You know you just want to move to the States, Scotty, to find a real life in IT...just do it.

2004-07-27 19:06:30


my qestion: is there any way I can know ip person I'm talking to on skype ? If there is tell me about it on mail - thx!

2004-05-15 06:57:25


Since uninstalling Skype my connections and downloads have regained their previous speeds. Put it back on...BAM! Turtle speeds. Skype will not be back on my PC.

2004-05-01 03:05:21

John Huett

Nicely written, and nicely avioded most of the points I raised against your article. Certainly no need for person abuse.
How about writing an article ABOUT the software...
oh - and i'm not running a spell check for a forum entry - i'm sure you're IQ is high enough to work out what the words mean...

2004-04-30 11:10:29


you mention there are other alternatives to skype? Do you have specific sites in mind?

2004-04-25 12:20:18

A Scottish Chartered IT Professional

Looks to me like Mr. Huett is the 'amature' [sic] here...
From his tone and phraseology (and poor spelling), I'd assume Mr. Huett to be a resident of North America, where 'everyone' (?) has broadband connections and is, of course, tech-obsessive; but my apologies to him in advance if that guess is wrong.
Either way, I can vouch for the fact that here in the UK, only 4% of the connected populace have NON-dial-up connections. In many other countries around the world, broadband isn't even a possibility. Under dial-up conditions, the WWW is still usable (just much slower, and not for video streaming etc.); e-mail is definitely usable; IM is usable; but Skype is distinctly flaky.
This means that Skype will create yet another set of technological 'haves and have-nots,' with the former full of people like Mr. Huett who fulminate and rail against the very IDEA of commenting on Skype's usefulness on a dial-up connection, while patently blinkered to what is the comms. reality on the ground in MANY parts of the world; if indeed he has even heard of those 'other' countries. Presumably he certainly wouldn't know how to spell them! ;-)
In all seriousness, when commenting on an obviously world-wide application like Skype, I think it's entirely legitimate--indeed, proper!--to consider its use in genuinely global terms, with all that that implies, and not to vent one's bile unnecessarily on people who may have genuine reasons for 'not being able to get it working.'
Presumably Mr. Huett has also known from birth how to use a PC and never had to pass through that tiresome 'beginner' phase like all the rest of us did? What a fortunate fellow he is!

2004-01-17 11:29:30

Cecil Thomas

How can I get Skype, My ISP has blocked the site!!

2003-12-31 02:44:03


I am having trouble with drop-out, reverb, and incoming voice which cuts out. Can you help?

posted by Robin Good on Sunday, November 23 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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