02 March 2006

Skype 2; Olympia USB Cordless DualPhone

Somebody reads this blog !! A chap with problems with a DualPhone contacted me because his calls are being dropped almost every time.

Yesterday I upgraded my work pc to Skype and it carried on working OK (phew) with the Olympia USB Cordless DualPhone I have connected.

Skype 2 is the one that allows video conferencing as well. I use it at home and the beta version has been pretty good.

The UK telephone number for DualPhone support is 0800 092 3745. I am currently running the v1.107 software which works OK.

A reason Skype calls can be patchy (and other VOIP offerings e.g. Vonage etc) is that the ISP/telcos are starting to actively degrade the service by using 'traffic assistance' . See http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/02/23/isps_set_skype_limits/ for more details especially of the phenomenal statement:

"After (say) 100 sessions are started, "we can disconnect, or block new ones, or even slow down the rate they are transmitted," said Sandvine. "With customers who use this technology, we've got the traffic from 70 per cent to 20 per cent," he boasted.
One reason ISPs like doing this, is to encourage their customers to use the company's own VoIP system, rather than a rival's. If the packet is void, and is detected as from the cable company's own product, it is optimised - sent through faster than normal. Other packets are allowed to take their place in what's left of the queue.
He said: "A year ago, 90 per cent of VoIP was Skype; today is more like 50 per cent as the service provider favours their own service. So they prioritise their own branded VoIP services when the network is congested. "They don't manage Skype or Vonage down. They just do 'best efforts' for them, but generate superior quality for their own."