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Modeling and Analysis of Skype Video Calls: Rate Control and Video Quality

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6 Author(s)
Xinggong Zhang ; Inst. of Comput. Sci. & Technol., Peking Univ., Beijing, China ; Yang Xu ; Hao Hu ; Yong Liu
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Video-conferencing has recently gained its momentum and is widely adopted by end-consumers. But there have been very few studies on the network impacts of video calls and the user Quality-of-Experience (QoE) under different network conditions. In this paper, we study the rate control and video quality of Skype video call, and analyze the network impacts in large-scale networks. We first measure the behaviors of Skype video call on a controlled network testbed. By varying packet loss rate, propagation delay and available network bandwidth, we observe how Skype adjusts its sending rate, FEC redundancy, video rate and frame rate. It is found that Skype is robust against mild packet losses and propagation delays, and can efficiently utilize the available network bandwidth. We also find that it employs an overly aggressive FEC protection strategy. Based on the measurement results, we develop rate control model, FEC model, and video quality model for Skype video calls. Extrapolating from the models, we conduct numerical analysis to study the network impacts. We demonstrate that user back-offs upon quality degradation serve as an effective user-level rate control scheme. We also show that Skype video calls are indeed TCP-friendly and respond to congestion quickly when the network is overloaded. Through a case study of a 4G wireless network, we demonstrate that the proposed models can be used in user-QoE-aware network provisioning.

Published in:

Multimedia, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 6 )

Date of Publication:

Oct. 2013

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