What Are the Computer Connections Needed for Skype?

Skype allows you to make a range of types of calls over the Internet, including both audio and video calls. Video calling potential includes group calls with seven or more individual users participating at a time. The computer requirements for using Skype depend on a number of factors, including the types of calls being made.

  1. Basics

    • To make a Skype call, you need a computer (either PC or Mac), an Internet connection, speakers and a microphone. If you're making video calls, a webcam is necessary. For the highest quality experience, Skype recommends that you use a headset or handset instead of built-in microphones and speakers because they provide better audio quality.

    Bandwidth

    • A broadband connection is the ideal type of Internet connection for Skype, producing the best results for calls. According to Skype, most Internet connections are sufficient for audio-only calls. However, video calls require broadband to work well. As the connection grows more complex, the bandwidth requirements increase. Skype allows you to test your bandwidth capability before a call to gauge whether it is sufficient for the call you plan to make.

    Minimum and Recommended Speeds

    • Skype provides guidelines for the minimum and recommended download and upload speeds for calls depending on the type of call. Basic audio calls require the least bandwidth, needing a minimum of 30 kbps for downloading and uploading and a recommended 100 kbps. For basic video calls with screen sharing, Skype cites a minimum of 128 kbps download and upload and a recommended 300 kbps. HD video calling jumps to a minimum of 1.2 Mbps download and upload and a recommended 1.5 Mbps. The highest bandwidth requirement is for video calling of seven people or more, which needs 4 Mbps download and 128 kbps upload and recommends 8 Mbps download and 512 kbps upload.

    System Requirements

    • Skype can run on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. For Windows, Skype works on Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows Vista. For Mac, Skype works on the Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion versions of the operating system. For Linux, Skype is supported on Ubuntu 8.10+ 32-bit, Ubuntu 8.10+ 64-bit, Debian Lenny, Fedora 10+, OpenSUSE 11+ and Dynamic Static. Each operating system has individual requirements for processor and RAM capabilities, as well as additional software necessary.

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