One thing I wish for in my quest for perfect Internet phone service the ability is to fix voice quality problems on the fly or at least be able to understand “is it me or the network?”
When I had Vonage service, I usually started the converation with “So how do I sound, can you hear me?” Many times there was such a delay that practical converation was impossible. If I was at my computer, I’d try quitting applications to see if that helped (usually not). After hanging up in frustration, I’d try messing with the dreaded ”Bandwidth Saver” feature. But in my opinion, AFTER the call is way too late.
Is it possible to build intelligent applications that KNOW when they’re not performing optimally and can tell you what the problem is, or better yet advise how to fix it?
No sooner had I written this when Peter Csathy, CEO of SightSpeed, let me in on a little secret (okay well it’s not actually a secret…), SightSpeed detects when your video or voice call isn’t going so well and automatically makes adjustments to improve the quality.
For example, a video call that appears jumpy or out of sync with the audio could be caused by network congestion. SightSpeed can downsize the bandwidth usage for video so that at least the voice aspect of the call is preserved or improved. SightSpeed lets you know it’s doing this by popping up a dialog box that says it’s making these adjustments. I don’t know if you can you make adjustments yourself DURING a video call, but you can easily see your upload and download speeds while talking to someone.
To see SightSpeed statistics:
With your mouse hovering over the SightSpeed title bar, press CTRL + S (or right mouse-click followed by CTRL + S). A statistics dialog box appears showing your current, peak and average bandwidth usage.
Gizmo Project has a Call Quality Assistant (click the bar graph in the bottom left of the Gizmo Window) that gives you an idea of your network conditions. While it shows you at a glance the quality of your connection, it doesn’t say what you should do about it and at this point in my life, that’s what I need.