Why is my Skype voice quality better than Google Voice? by Westley Julio
Answer by Westley Julio:
Skype and Google Voice are both implementations of VoIP. As such, they’re both affected by factors that all VoIP calls are such as Latency and Jitter. These will be the primary reasons why things in a conversation will sound strange.
Latency is how fast the voice data travels from the speaker to listener.
Jitter is a measure of how well the voice data arrives in order. To understand jitter, imagine the words “the cat” are spoken and each word is encapsulated in a packet. If the receiver gets the packet for “cat” first and then “the” you have have a problem. You can choose to drop the word “cat” or the word “the.” Alternatively, you can store and sort the packets and then play them (Jitter buffer). However, store too long or too much and there will be awkward gaps and pauses in the conversation.
You have differences in the audio codec as well. Differences in codecs can have perceptible effects the clarity (fidelity) of the call. Generally speaking, codecs that use more bandwidth (or an adaptable codec choosing to use more bandwidth) will sound more clear (have better fidelity). However, they can also be more susceptible to issues with latency and jitter. Some codecs such as Skype’s SILK can adapt dynamically to deliver the best experience in the totality of the circumstances.
Having said all that. Your Skype calls likely sound more ‘clear’ because your Skype-Skype communication is using a codec and bitrate that provides for higher audio fidelity. As a result, what the listeners hear are closer to real voice of the speakers. The network paths between the speakers and listeners may be better suited to avoid issues with latency and jitter.
Your Google calls may sound like being in a box to the listener because of issues with latency and jitter or because you’re hearing the result of a low fidelity codec at some point in the call path.