Skype Troubleshooting: Behind the Scenes
Skype for Business has a lot of awesome features, but that also means there's a lot of places we, the Help Desk, need to look at if something goes wrong. You, the user, might find the steps we take to identify and resolve Skype issues time-consuming or complex - totally understandable.
The purpose of this article: To give you a sneak peek behind the curtain and explain how you can best help us help you troubleshoot any Skype issues you may encounter.
My call got disconnected!
Let's say you're in the middle of a call when you get disconnected.
- What do you do next?
- How do you prevent this from happening again?
The most common issue encountered with Skype, as with cell phones, landlines, and any other type of phone, is dropped calls, so we’ll use that as our example problem.
To begin, a couple of important facts about Skype for Business:
- Skype for Business is the most network-dependent application that Cross the Divide supports. What this means for you is that the quality of your internet connection will be most noticeable on your Skype calls. You may notice connectivity problems with Skype that you don’t really notice while browsing the web or using email.
- 90% of all Skype for Business dropped calls or disconnections are due to poor network connectivity, not a problem with Skype itself.
First: Check Network Connectivity
- Connect via Ethernet rather than WiFi. Wiring your computer directly to the network will always be more reliable than connecting via WiFi, and it offers more bandwidth, too.
- Verify the quality of your connection. We make sure all offices have top-quality internet service, but when making calls from your home or from other off site networks, such as at cafes or hotels, do your best to make sure the connection is not overloaded or unreliable.
If you have any questions about the quality or stability of your network connection, either in or out of the office, the Help Desk is happy to assist you in testing it thoroughly.
Second: Identify the Type of Call
Did what you could, but still having issues? The next step is to reach out to the Help Desk for assistance. We have several tools at our disposal to identify the causes of dropped calls, but in order to do so, we need to know a few very specific details.
The First Detail: Call Type
- Peer-to-peer. Any time you call one person within your organization, Skype to Skype, it's a peer-to-peer call type. From a technical perspective, your computer is talking directly to their computer.
- External. Any time you call someone not on Skype, whether you’re calling a landline or a cell phone or any other type of recipient, the call becomes ‘External’. External calls go out through your phone provider, a middle-person company that provides connectivity to the outside world.
- Conference. Any time you host or join a Skype-based conference call, aka you’re speaking to more than one person via audio or video, you and the other participants are connecting to our servers rather than directly to each other.
Why does this matter? To troubleshoot, we need to identify where the faulty ‘link in the chain’ is. The type of call determines what systems are involved (your computer, your phone provider, or our servers), and so it’s a key piece of info for our troubleshooting efforts.
The Second Detail: Identifying the Problem Call
Other vital pieces of information we need:
- Who you’re connecting to
- If you’re calling someone outside the organization, we need the phone number.
- If you’re calling internally, we need the person’s name.
- If you’re doing a conference call, we need to know who hosted the conference.
A couple important notes:
- When we speak to your phone provider about external calls, their technical logs only go back a very short time, generally only three days.
- If you need assistance with an external call, be sure to contact us as quickly as possible so we can get info from the provider.
- When we search our own logs looking for call issues, we’re sorting through thousands and thousands of calls, so the more specific you can provide about a call, the more quickly we can narrow the search.
- For instance, ‘I called the North West office on Friday morning’ is much broader than ‘I called Jenny at the Northwest Office at 10:15 Friday morning”. The latter is much more informative and helps us quickly identify the right call.
Now you know a couple of good practices for keeping your Skype calls reliable, and how to help us help you more efficiently resolve any issues you may encounter.