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Skype at MC

Skype is a Voice-Over-IP (VOIP) service that provides telephone-like service over the internet. Use of Skype on the Marietta College network is not prohibited. However, an improperly configured Skype client may be in violation of the Network Use Policy.

Disclaimer

Skype is not supported by the Department of Information Technology. This page is provided to assist users that wish to use it. Please do not call the helpdesk for assistance with Skype.

Network Use Policy Violation

The Skype user agreement requires users to grant the use of processor and bandwidth of the user᾿s computer. When Skype is run on a computer that has a public IP address and is not behind a firewall, the computer can become a "super-node". This means that Skype can consume computing resources for Skype users not associated with Marietta College. This functionality is a direct violation of the network use policy.

Bandwidth Usage

A standard "PC-to-PC" Skype call uses anywhere between 24kbps (Kilobits per second) and 256kbps. For reference, the average YouTube video streams at about 300kbps. A computer acting as a "super-node" can use over 6000kbps.

Reccomended Use

To use Skype on the campus network:

  • Make sure you are using version 3.8 or higher.
  • Download and run the following file: Skype Settings (only needed once)
  • Only launch the Skype application when you need to use it. Coordinate calls through E-Mail or Instant Messaging.
  • Turn off the Skype application when finished. Closing the Skype window is not enough. To do this, Right-Click the green Skype icon in the task bar and select "Quit".
  • Disable video if you need better audio quality.

Off Campus Help

The following are general guidelines that off campus Skype users should follow:

  • Both Cable Modem and DSL connections may not have enough upload bandwidth to stream video. Residential connections typically only have 256k upload limits. This is usually shared with your download limit. So, a user utilizing all 256k of upload bandwidth would get virtually no download bandwidth.
  • Make sure to turn off any other bandwidth intensive applications (FTP, P2P apps like BitTorrent).
  • Use headphones to avoid echo from speakers.
  • Make sure that if you are behind a router that you have forwarded Skype ports. Help can be found at the following site: PortForward.com (Warning: Advertisments)

Other VOIP Applications

The Department of Information Technology does not specifically support any VOIP application, including Skype. Skype is the only VOIP application known to violate the Network Use Policy in its default configuration. The follwing is a list of alternatives.