Need Tech help for Two Beers with Steve Skype Forum

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kemosavvy's picture
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 13 2008
Posts: 254
Need Tech help for Two Beers with Steve Skype Forum

Last week we had to cut our forum short by a few minutes simply because the 'lag' increased to about 3-4 seconds. What I mean by lag is that my response would not be received by anyone else until 3-4 seconds after I had spoken. Obviously, this made it impossible for a roundtable discussions. Please help me with a solution to this problem

Here is some info to help you with coming up with a solution for me.

-i was using a wireless laptop, but i was only a few feet from the router

-another computer in my house was also accessing the internet

-we had 7-8 members calling in from all over the country

-wireless router pumps out 54MB per second

-i;m using the latest version of skype




JL Lord's picture
JL Lord
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 17 2009
Posts: 30
Re: Need Tech help for Two Beers with Steve Skype Forum



 I have used skype quite a bit over the past few years for conf calls and have experienced the same thing that you mentioned.  As I recall, the most callers I had was give/take 8.  Some days it would work fine - other days it would have annoying (and beyond annoying) delays.  There were a couple of very very heavy tech-heads in the group - they both dug into it separately and both came to the same conclusion to categorize the problem as a "skype issue".  We chalked it up to the price we had to pay for not having to pay a price for skype. 

 The only alternative we ever came up with was to end the current call - then the host would reinitiate the call after a 5 minute "break".  Most of the time this would work - occasionally it would not. All the participants agreed to not run other applications (web access and non web access) so as to minimize any possible effects on both network utilization as well as cpu utilization.

 It's not much but hope it helps



Peter G's picture
Peter G
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Joined: Sep 17 2008
Posts: 11
Re: Need Tech help for Two Beers with Steve Skype Forum


 Yes JL is correct for that last version. That latest version of Skype has "a 25 participant session requires a minimum 500 kbps upload speed at the host's connection". I have not tried the latest version with that many callers. This should be the case for most people but it has been known that many providers priorities how traffic gets transferred across the internet to prevent the user from sucking up bandwidth. Examples of this are setting up a server, file downloading and Skype.

What you may also consider is if you have a speacial guest stream it for free using Stickam.

I can't recall if there is another option to Skype. A good place for additional info is TWIT.TV. This guy who runs this site it a Tech guru. I've followed his travels from mainstream media to his present self startup internet station. If there is another option he'll know it. On the site there is a forum. Post on the forum this problem and I am sure you will get many responses. 

If I run across any info I'll let you know. Good luck. 



Mr. Fri's picture
Mr. Fri
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 21 2009
Posts: 220
Re: Need Tech help for Two Beers with Steve Skype Forum


My son says we might try TeamSpeak2.  It's the program he used with his friends when doing internet games.  When playing the games they use a lot of internet bandwidth yet he says there's not a lag.  He says they can have a lot of people on at once.  It only does audio but that's OK since that's what "2 beers w/Steve" does. 

fortytwo's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 24 2009
Posts: 35
Re: Need Tech help for Two Beers with Steve Skype Forum

Hey all-  sorry I missed Sunday's chat (I was attending a benefit)

I did a lot of research on this 6 months ago as I was using a combination of Skype and recording software to record interviews for a podcast.  Here's what I learned from professional sound and network engineers:

1. The Host needs a great connection, but all participants need good connections.  One bad connection hurts the group- because of processing noise and syncing-  more on that below.  

2. All participants should turn off all other programs that access the web.  Email in particular is a problem as it will periodicly check the accounts for new mail, possibly downloading attachments and soak up all the bandwidth, causing the 'pauses'.  It turns out ITunes does this a lot more than you would think.  I just turn off everything I don't need to be safe.

3. Video uses a lot of bandwidth.  Turn it off for larger groups.

4. USB Headsets with digital noise filtering microphones are a big help both on quality and bandwidth.  USB is much better than plug ins because it is pure digital-  no converting.  Also one of the higher processing demands occurs when using the open air microphone when it picks up sound from the speakers.  It takes a lot of processing to filter out that noise.  The digital microphones also give a very good quality tone-  better than most talk radio shows because the signal is pure digital all the way through. 

5. I'm not an engineer, but it was explained to me that Skype uses some sort of timing rhythm to sync the callers.  When it gets interrupted it needs to re-establish it.  I think this is when the pauses get real long or you need to reset the call and start over.  That is why all participants need to keep their connection as clean as possible-  one bad one can bring down the quality of everyone.

6.  I used to use Vonage for business as well.  It was a little more reliable than skype, but far less features.  I had problems with my vonage account if my email downloaded something big as well.

7.  I had trouble with my internet connection getting really slow this winter on really cold days.  My second floor office has a cable line that runs outside and has some connection points outside as well.  I moved the router and wifi to the first floor on a cable that was more directly connected to the main line.... and the speed increased enormously.  I called the cable company and they said that all conectors degrade over time and they can tell when certain neighborhood had cable installed because the failure rates all cluster together.  She said either DIY by replacing the cable connectors, or pay the cable company to rewire.  You might get better internet connectivity (if you are on a cable connection) by moving the router closer to the main cable that comes into your house. 

I'd suggest as pre-req's for the next call:

-try to plug in to a router 

-participants turn off email-  use the sms on skype for chatting.

-allow a web browser- but stay away from high bandwidth or automatically refreshing sites. 

-try to use headsets (USB preferred) but if you need to use the open air microphone- try to mute your line when you aren't talking.  You can see on the sound meters if someone's microphone is picking up background noise-  moderator can remind them to mute or quiet things down. 

 -have moderator 'call on people' in regular order so everyone gets a chance to talk.  Steve already does a great job of this, but its a good habit for us to learn in case others moderate in the future. 

capesurvivor's picture
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 12 2008
Posts: 963
Re: Need Tech help for Two Beers with Steve Skype Forum

Thanks for those tips; my wife is bugging me to get Skype to talk with our son and I thought I'd try to get on your broadcast, if that is correct word. Am checking out hardware, will look at USB mike.



fortytwo's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 24 2009
Posts: 35
Re: Need Tech help for Two Beers with Steve Skype Forum

I bought a 2 USB headsets over the last 6 months and both were under $35.  Get a full headset (earphones and a microphone).  

jerrydon10's picture
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 2 2009
Posts: 442
Re: Need Tech help for Two Beers with Steve Skype Forum

I would highly recommend the virtual world called Second Life:

You can have voice conferences in there, there are meeting rooms to rent, you can rent a cruise ship for your meeting if you like, whatever. It works.

I once met an interesting guy named Alex Jones in there and had a cool one on one chat with him. Wink

Get you a set of headphones and it is just like talking in real life if your computer is up to snuff.

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