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The phenomenal growth of Skype in recent years has surpassed all expectations. Much of the application's success is attributed to its FEC mechanism, which adds redundancy to voice streams to sustain audio quality under network impairments. Adopting the quality of experience approach (i.e., measuring the mean opinion scores), we examine how much redundancy Skype adds to its voice streams and systematically explore the optimal level of redundancy for different network and codec settings. This study reveals that Skype's FEC mechanism, not so surprisingly, falls in the ballpark, but there is surprisingly a significant margin for improvement to ensure consistent user satisfaction.
Date of Publication: March-April 2010