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Data Usage By Skype


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I'm sure this will have been covered somewhere before, but I can't find a specific answer to my question. I apologise if I didn't look hard enough.

 

I have a 3G dongle on a contract and I get 1024 MB of data per month, which, I suspect, is 1GB. I don't use anywhere near this but have never tried Skype using the dongle whilst away from home.

 

Does anyone know roughly how many megabytes a Skype video call (say 15 minutes) would use? Or indeed, does anyone make Skype video calls with their dongle and can they tell me how fast they get through their data allowance.

 

I did try and find an answer out there on the wider interweb and there were lots of words like bandwidth, and bits and bytes being bandied about which left me confused.

 

If anyone can give me a simple answer, I would be extremely grateful.

The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see (GK Chesterton)

 

There's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong equipment (Alfred Wainwright)

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Skype say

 

When making or receiving calls, or sending or receiving instant messages, Skype will use more data than when you simply sign in and leave the application idle. If your phone can make video calls, remember that they use more data than regular voice calls. To prevent Skype from using any of your data allowance, simply set your status to Offline.

Here are examples of some typical Skype data usage:

  • Skype-to-Skype calls: 50kbps or around 3MB for one minute of calling
  • Calls to mobile numbers or landlines: 6-20 kbps or around 1MB for one minute of calling
  • Video calls between two mobile phone devices: 500kbps
  • Video calls between a mobile phone and a computer: 600kbps

Having a large number of contacts on your Skype account also increases the data usage, as the application has to update more contact information, such as statuses, profiles and mood messages. If you would like to prevent this, you can create a new mobile account and only add your favorite contacts.

So it looks as though if you used your dongle on the PC for Skype calls only, staying offline when not using it, you would have about 330 minutes of call time.

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Thanks for doing the maths for me although I think that may be for ordinary Skype calls as opposed to video calls.

 

I read that article and as it regularly refers to kbps rather than MB it was rather unhelpful.

 

The "video calls between a mobile phone and a computer" at 600kbps is probably nearest the mark as I imagine a 3G dongle is much akin to a mobile. Would 600kbps be 12 times 50kbps thus 36MB or doesn't it work like that? That would be 28 minutes.

The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see (GK Chesterton)

 

There's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong equipment (Alfred Wainwright)

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bits and bytes are not the same thing, there are 8 bits in a byte (look, don't shoot the messenger!!). Also remember that a transmission speed (let say in mega bits per second - Mbps) is not the same as a file size (in mega bytes - MB) - note the capitalisation between bits ( b ) and bytes ( B ).

 

600Kbps / 8 bits = 75KBps / 1024* = 0. 073MBps (mega bytes per second)

1024MB allowance / 0. 073MBps = 13,981 seconds or 233 minutes or nearly 4 hours.

 

To confuse matters a bit, it's not clear whether that 600kbps includes transmission overhead, so you might want to shave a bit off that estimate to be safe - say 15%.

 

It does surprise me that video can be transmitted at such a low transmission rate but if that is straight from Skype then, I suppose, it must be true. They obviously utilise some clever compression technology.

 

 

*there are 1024 bits in a kilo-bit, not 1000 as you would intuitively think, though I believe there are plans to change this to become 1000.

 

Edit: avoided smilies using ( b )!

Edited by tictag
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Messenger duly given a stay of execution!!

 

Thanks for that, I knew that bytes and bits were different things, and it doesn't help Mrs Average that Skype seem be rather inconsistent in their explanation of what uses what in terms of bits and bytes.

 

The ultimate conclusion is that I will be able to make a 15 minute Skype video call on my 1GB 3G dongle and still have plenty of MB left during that month's billing period for checking my e-mails and downloading geocaching co-ordinates to my GPS.

 

Thank you.

The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see (GK Chesterton)

 

There's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong equipment (Alfred Wainwright)

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