Choppy Skype conversations?

Ever since we upgraded our broadband connection from the office, I’ve had massive issues with Skype call quality.  Audio has been choppy, conversations have been lagged and calls have been dropped.  Not good, especially when trying to record podcasts and plan Lotusphere sessions with folks on the other side of the Atlantic, amongst many other requirements!  This despite decent bandwidth (6Mbps download – this is rural Wiltshire after all) and good performance for all other network activities.

I’ve been through the usual resolution steps:

  • Use cabled Ethernet rather than Wifi
  • Pass through specific Skype port from the router to my laptop
  • Try other machines
  • Close all other apps
  • Check for port conflicts
  • Upgrade router firmware, check for mis-configurations

Nothing helped, until finally I found a forum post that gave away the cause.

The new NetGear ADSL2+ router (a DG834) I’d installed defaults to an disabled option of ‘Disable Port Scan and DOS Protection’, which is described as ‘The Firewall protects your LAN against Port Scans and Denial of Service (DOS) attacks. This should be disabled only in special circumstances.’.  This is hidden way down in the WAN options and as you can tell from the description, the features are highly recommended to be left active.

So, tick the checkbox (thereby disabling port scanning and DOS potection), restart the router, and hey-ho Skype conversations are as clear as day!

NETGEAR Router

So if you have issues with Skype and a NetGear router, check out your settings.  Hope this helps someone!

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!