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Internet phones

by James Denison / November 13, 2010 9:54 PM PST

Anyone used stuff like Skype, Vonage, Magicjack or other internet phone systems? Reason I ask is daughter will be in Japan in a month or so. Supposedly using such devices and service allows military personnel overseas to call home for less, or even free, long as they can find broadband service or wifi spot on or near base.

What I'm wondering is the quality of voice and lag time between users.

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I've a brother who used Skype while serving
by Steven Haninger / November 13, 2010 10:10 PM PST
In reply to: Internet phones

in a medical missionary capacity in the Republic of the Congo...or whatever its name is. He only called me a time or two. There was some definite lag which made real time conversation awkward due to the pauses. Much might depend on the quality of the service at the far end. My wife has used it stateside for video conferencing and says the voice delay is just something one has to get accustomed to.

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Lag time
by James Denison / November 14, 2010 3:08 AM PST

That's what I was expecting to hear. I've tried older Phone over internet type of stuff and noticed a lag, especially when I was on dialup, even though I was using a very low frequency rate, something like 8 bit mono.

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I use Skype every day
by grimgraphix / November 14, 2010 4:10 AM PST
In reply to: Internet phones

I video talk with my Uncle (2 years older than me) every day. He live is Austria.

We use the free option since we both have it installed on our computers.

There is no lag time and no other annoyances because of the service itself.

I have noticed that lags and interruptions can be caused by older web cams or microphones that cut in and out. I sent my sister at Fort Mitchell a new web cam and much of the problems she experienced went away.

I can imagine places like the Congo would have problems, but I figure it might be the ISPs (or lack thereof) which create the problems. There are some countries that have less national bandwidth for the whole nation, than an American high school does.

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that's encouraging
by James Denison / November 14, 2010 4:27 AM PST
In reply to: I use Skype every day

But this would be to the Far East. I can download things fairly quick from European countries, but any downloads from Far East for files is slower, sometimes much slower.

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But Japan should be much better
by MDFlax / November 14, 2010 8:24 PM PST
In reply to: that's encouraging

As I understand it, Japan is much better 'wired' for internet use than most other countries in the world, (perhaps with the exception of S. Korea), so I suspect the connection and speed should be good.

Good luck to your daughter. Sounds like a nice posting.


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US East Coast
by James Denison / November 14, 2010 11:30 PM PST

I think all Japanese internet comes to the US through the West Coast. I've measured download speeds and many times I can download faster from England to Maryland than from California to Maryland. I think that's because it goes up to satellite and directly back down to someplace near here. Consequently, if there's some file or program I want (usually in my evening hours) and one of the mirrors is in England, and the next nearest mirror is West Coast area of US, I often take from English mirror instead. Today however West Coast area and England download speeds seem about the same at this midday hour for England and early morning (before workday, about 7-7:30am) for California. Also I've included the speedtest reports from my house to Baltimore, Los Angeles Area, Sacremento, London England, and Tokyo Japan. Best speed between London or California area seems more related to workday hours, so whichever is not in those hours is usually the fastest for me here on East Coast.


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(NT) Point taken.
by MDFlax / November 15, 2010 1:50 AM PST
In reply to: US East Coast
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seeing your d'load speed from Baltimore
by jonah jones / November 15, 2010 2:10 AM PST
In reply to: US East Coast

almost brought tears to my eyes

the best i get from here is Jerusalem with
a ping of 14ms and 5M up and down

chula vista 6:09PM GMT
ping 915ms
0.49M down
0.16 up



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Your connection is that sl................... ow ?
by grimgraphix / November 15, 2010 2:18 AM PST
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Download speed is only part of it
by Josh K / December 15, 2010 1:30 AM PST

Network bandwidth plays a big role. I use IP phone software with a headset on my laptop, and if I'm connected wirelessly I get a lot of dropouts and people going "Josh, are you there???" If I use a wired connection to the same home network that never happens.

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settings on my router
by James Denison / December 15, 2010 2:01 AM PST

I have wireless speed throttled on my router and my desktop connected by wire. Maybe your router gives priority to wired connection while also limiting the max speed allowed for wireless? I had to do that when both the older girls were still living at home and with their two laptops going at the same time and discovering that wireless had been set to highest priority, (hmm, did they do that?) I changed it.

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That's interesting Josh. I too, use a wifi network...
by grimgraphix / December 15, 2010 2:09 AM PST

... but I don't experience the same problem. At least not as much as I used to since I upgraded my wifi router 2 years ago. I had to do this when I switched my internet service provider and the old router just wouldn't work with the new ISP.

Do you think an equipment upgrade might fix the issue?

My old wifi router was a G standard belkin... and the new one is a lincsys extended range G standard.

I tell you that switching my old iBook with airport-G to a new macbook with airport-N made a world of difference in performance too. Enough that I might upgrade the wifi router to an N standard soon (since prices have dropped drastically on them).

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My router is only a few months old
by Josh K / December 15, 2010 2:38 AM PST

It's an Apple Airport Extreme. Has wireless-N and allows you to set up a separate 5 GHz connection, which is what I'm using. My work and home computers share this connection but my other wireless device (my TV) is on a separate 2.4 GHz connection.

I'll poke around the router settings to see if there's something I can do there. I've already set the laptop's wireless adapter to the highest power/output settings, and updated the driver. That did help a little but not enough.

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reposted for James and Grim
by jonah jones / December 15, 2010 3:05 AM PST
In reply to: Internet phones

how do you deal with the computer always on issue?

by grimgraphix - December 15, 2010 10:11 AM PST

In Reply to: complicated by James Denison

Don't you have to leave the computer on for the Magicjack to work? Do you just set the computer not to sleep?

yes - New!

by James Denison - December 15, 2010 10:25 AM PST

In Reply to: how do you deal with the computer always on issue? by grimgraphix

I could probably set to Wake On Lan in the BIOS, but for now I just leave it on all the time and set to not sleep or hibernate, but do have hard drives set to spin down after awhile.

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by James Denison / January 28, 2011 1:53 PM PST
In reply to: Internet phones

we've had a few phone contacts since this question. I can say that the phone call quality was about as good as if it had been from a cellphone here in the US. Lag time was barely noticeable, but we both were on a broadband connection. There must be fairly good satellite connections between here and Japan. So far she seems to enjoy her assignment there.

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