Using skype on one computer slows the other
Enthusiast - Level 3

We have the 15/5 plan.  Currently we have two laptops connected to the network by wireless.  We also have other things connected to the network wireless (such as a Wii and a wireless printer).  However, when ever my wife uses Skype on her laptop and makes a video call, I notice that the internet speeds on my laptop decrease that it takes a long time for me to load websites. 

Is this common especially with Skype?  Is there anything that I can do on the router to better regulate resources so one computer doesn't slow down the other?

Re: Using skype on one computer slows the other
Specialist - Level 2

Several points.

First of all the issue is unlikely to be Skype per se. The issue is far more likely to be related to the type of wireless connection you have, or the type of encryption you are using on your wireless network.

The fastest connections are always going to be hardwired, so if you can, connect either or both computers via Ethernet cable instead of wireless. There is much less overhead in the router in supporting hardwired connections, especially if you wireless network runs with encryption.

Is either computer by chance running 802.11b? That will seriously limit the performance of your wireless network.

Are you using encryption on your wireless network? On low end routers like the ones most ISP's supply, some or all of the encryption is done in software. The result is high volumes wireless data (like Video chat can create) can in fact saturate the processor in the router, and that in turn limits the throughput on the router to something considerably lower than your connection speed.

If you want to run strong encryption such as WPA2 with high volumes of data, you probably want to get a better wireless access point that than the one built into Verizon's routers.

MAC filtering would probably keep 99.9% of the 'tourists' out of your wireless network, and avoids the software overheads in encrypted protocols.

Re: Using skype on one computer slows the other
Community Leader
Community Leader

WPA2-PSK AES Encryption on the Verizon routers doesn't even put a dent in CPU usage. I started up some transfers on my ActionTec MI424WR Rev. D router (running DD-WRT) and here's the current statistics of the CPU Usage. Wireless is transferring data at 30Mbps.

CPU Model
Intel XScale-IXP42x Family rev 2 (v5b) 
CPU Clock
532 MHz
Load Average (Linux load values)
0.02, 0.01, 0.00 
CPU Load
CPU Temperature
Not available 

The load went up slightly simply because the router was counting the amount of connections currently in the NAT Table for the GUI interface. Otherwise, load sits at 0.00 since WPA2-PSK AES is driven by the Atheros wireless chipset in the ActionTec. I don't know if the Verizon firmware drives the chipset the same way, though DD-WRT for sure is driving it in the ideal manner 🙂