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Troubleshooting Skype performance on a Mac (updated)

Any ace Skype troubleshooters out there?I've been using the venerable VOIP client on my MacBook Pro almost since it came out without many issues – until recently.
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Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributing Editor on
Troubleshooting Skype performance on a Mac
Any ace Skype troubleshooters out there?

I've been using the venerable VOIP client on my MacBook Pro almost since it came out without many issues – until recently. I've used Skype almost weekly to record 70 episodes of the PowerPage Podcast with good results but in the past few months I haven't been able to make it work with my Verizon DSL connection at home.

My Skype connection usually works fine for the first three to five minutes then voice quality drops off dramatically. The people on the other end of the call complain that I get staticy, echoy, and borg-sounding. Ironically, I can hear them just fine (and a couple of them are on ADSL connections).

Westell 2600 ADSL modem
Nothing has really changed with my setup. I'm using a modern MBP with plenty of RAM running 10.5.2 and the latest version of Skype (2.7.0.257). My Internet connection is garden-variety Verizon ADSL, I always reboot all hardware before starting and connect directly to the Westell 2600 ADSL modem via Ethernet (no WiFi).

If you're a Skype ninja that's had good luck with conference calls over on your Mac I'd love to hear about your best practices. I really enjoy recording podcasts but I just don't have the (personal) bandwidth to fight with Skype much more.

Update: Some suggested Skype performance tweaks after the jump.

According to Skype direct connections are preferable. But doesn't this only applies to two-person calls? What about conference calls? Direct connections are accomplished by:

  1. Running Skype on a specific port.
  2. If you are behind a standard (NAT) firewall, configure it to forward traffic on this port directly to your machine.

Running Skype on a specific port

This step ensures that the UDP packets that Skype uses to transmit voice data travels over the port you specify:

  • Go into Skype Preferences > Advanced > Incoming Connection Port
  • Type in a specific port number. Choose a "high port" (any number between 1024 and 65536.)
  • Un-select the option to connect on ports 80 & 443

 

Configuring your router

You'll need to know your current IP address for this step.

  • Log on to your router
  • Locate the Port Mapping or Port Forwarding configuration page
  • Add a rule to forward traffic on the port you selected above to you IP Address
    • RULE = FORWARD <PORT YOU PUT INTO SKYPE> <PROTOCOL UDP> (to) <YOUR IP ADDRESS>
    • Apply

 

Troubleshooting

I guess that my next step is to configure the Port Mapping or Port Forwarding on the Westell 6200. If you have experience configuring the Westell 6200, post something in the TalkBack or send me an email.

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