Modeling and analysis of skype video calls: Rate control and video quality

Xinggong Zhang, Yang Xu, Hao Hu, Yong Liu, Zongming Guo, Yao Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6466387
Pages (from-to)1446-1457
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Multimedia
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013


  • Rate control
  • Skype
  • user QoE aware
  • video conferencing
  • video quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Media Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling and analysis of skype video calls: Rate control and video quality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this