Admin Perspective: Skype vs. Hangouts

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by Planiwa, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    I'm talking especially video calls, including group video.

    Skype traffic can be unpleasant to manage.
    It can be difficult to classify Skype traffic, Skype can consume huge (upstream) bandwidth, and BW limiter does not seem to work -- resulting in 3 or 4 times the limit being consumed.

    Google+ Hangouts has been mentioned as an alternative. It appears to be much better behaved on the network, it has bandwidth control settings: full video, reduced definition video, "caricature", and no video.
    Hangouts do free group video calls.

    Both are adaptable to available upstream bandwidth, but 1 to 1.5 Mb/s is recommended, 2 Mb/s for group video calls.

    The purpose of this thread is to share actual experience data from managing networks that use Skype or Hangouts, so that others can learn what to expect, and what works, and whether Hangouts are a realistic alternative to Skype that might be considered by users.

    (I have heard some very impressive claims by Vsee, but have not been able to find any user experience, let alone Tomato admin experience.)

    1.28.0000 MIPSR2-104 K26 USB AIO-64K, Asus RT-N66U
  2. Malitiacurt

    Malitiacurt Networkin' Nut Member

    Don't know about Google hangouts, but I do know Skype video will use as much upload bandwidth as possible, up to 1.8Mbps for mine.

    I tested on my laptop, and when I manually set upload by IP to only 400kbps, skype video still works and quality is decent (bad artifacts during high movement, but that's expected with low bitrate). However if you let it have as much upload as it wants, it tries to consume way more.

    And this is on skype video with a web camera that is max 640x480, not even HD quality. All that wasted upload....
  3. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    Google suggests these upstream bandwidth requirements:
    Audio only: 35 kb/s.
    Ultra low: 150 kb/s.
    Low: 500 kb/s.
    Auto-detect: >= 1000 b/s.
    Group video: <= 2000 b/s.

    And I've seen Skype use 2.5 Mb/s with a BW limit of 1.5 Mb/s.

    I wonder if others have seen such high Upstream data rates (UDP!), despite BW-Limits.
  4. Elfew

    Elfew Network Guru Member

    You should try new Victek builds with enchanted BW limiter. Now it is woring great
  5. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    There comes a point in every admin's life, when enchanted software seems like a viable option. But I might have expected RMerlin rather than Victek to lean that way. :)

    Perhaps we can turn our attention to BW limiting for a moment, and focus on data:

    1. Is it a fact that (Shibby) BW limit fails to work in this case? (Skype, using a single UDP (NAT) "connection".) Victek's Release Notes say:

    2. Is it known why and how this fails? Victek's Notes don't say what was broken, when it failed, and how it failed, and why it failed.

    3. Has it been demonstrated with proper procedures and measurements, that Victek's "enchanted" method works where Shibby's "mundane" method fails?

    (For this, it might be helpful to have a minimalist test, using standard commands such as netcat, that could simply be run at the command line of a client.)

  6. Elfew

    Elfew Network Guru Member

    Hey man,
    I test every version of beta build from Victek... BW limiter is completely new, just try...

    I had been testing BW limiter for 2 weeks on my 2units RT-16n - one with "old" BW limiter and the second with "new" BW limiter. The new BW limiter is really very accurate and I like new GUI.

    And remember, there are more changes in the code, not just the changes listed in changelog ;)

    Try new BW limiter and after that find a solution! I think it will solve your issue
  7. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

  8. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    Here I share some measured field data about one Skype call:

    NB: QOS is off. BW-limit restricts this user to 1Mb/s Up, as well as 100 TCP connections.
    This call lasted from about 1635-1735.
    The data rates were about 900kb/s up and 1100kb/s down.
    Total transfer was about 300MB up, 400 MB down.

    At 1735 the following was the connection that was the actual call:

    sport=53356 packets=447425 bytes=332541332
    dport=57983 packets=510658 bytes=413689176

    No surprises thus far.
    Let's look more closely:

    At 1630, before the call, this user had 31 TCP connections (80,443,993), and 7 UDP (DNS).
    At 1635, this user had 206 TCP connections and 12 UDP, none DNS.
    This is interesting given the BW-Limiter's limit of 100 TCP connections.
    This seems consistent with Skype having commandeered the network as a Supernode.
  9. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    THis has recently started happening here on even relatively low-bandwidth 1mbs/16mbs ADSL lines.
  10. thomasking

    thomasking Reformed Router Member

    Bandwidth is not an issue with me as I use Skype for personal meetings. However, for business meetings, I need guaranteed attendance, better bandwidth and more security; hence I use RHUB web conferencing appliances. It works from behind my company’s firewall.
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