MSN Messenger sore throat cure

Posted on 2004-09-27
Last Modified: 2010-07-27
I am using MSN Messenger 6.2 on a cable broadband connection in Budapest, trying to have audio conversations with various users in the UK.  It has worked satisfactorily for over a year but for the last 10 days the people at the UK end have not been able to hear me properly.  They hear my speech broken into a series of rapid pulses, and I get comments like "you have a sore throat", or "you sound like the robot on Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy".  
I have heard the same effect when trying to use MSN over a 9600 baud mobile phone link, however, I know it is not a bandwidth issue in this case because I can transfer zipped files to and from the users at least 10 KBytes per second in both directions.
OS is Windows 2000.  I have tried uninstalling Messenger, downloading and instaling a fresh copy but that hasn't helped.
Any ideas?
Julian Edmonds
Question by:JulianEdmonds
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LVL 15

Accepted Solution

scampgb earned 500 total points
ID: 12161101
Hi JulianEdmonds,
There could be a few things causing it, but it's probably network related.
The fact that you can transfer large files doesn't mean that you're not having problems with packet loss or latency.

Go to and run the test from there.
Let us know what is says as the score and the reason for it.

Also, it might be worth trying a different type of softphone to see whether it's Messenger that's causing the problem.  I suggest that you try X-Lite ( and see what difference that makes.

Could you also let us know if you've got any firewall software on the machine or a hardware firewall?

Sorry that there's no simple answer - but hopefully that'll give you a few things to test.

Author Comment

ID: 12168661
Thanks for that.

I have gone to testmyvoip and it gives a score of 2.5 which is marginally worse than "tin can and string".  Taking out the hardware firewall makes about 0.1 to 0.2 points difference.  The detailed report shows most of the quality loss is due to latency with a round trip time of about 2.5 seconds.  

However, I also have a hardware VoIP system for calling people without a PC at their end, consisting of an Addpac AP200 Voicefinder, which has to be connected between the cable modem and the firewall.  Taking this out shortens the round trip time to 138ms, and gives a score better than a "good cellphone call".  

I have had the hardware VoiP system for about three months without it previously causing any problems, but the service provider does quite often upload changes to their firmware.  I guess they are my next port of call.


LVL 15

Assisted Solution

scampgb earned 500 total points
ID: 12168698
Hi - it could well be a firmware change that's causing the problem.
Speak to the service provider and find out when they last updated the firmware.
138ms round trip should be find for VoIP.  2.5 seconds clearly isn't :-)
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 12542005
Venabili: Well, it would have been nice to know if my comments had helped, but I heard nothing back :-(

Author Comment

ID: 12617047
The service provider did sort it out with another firmware upgrade - eventually!


LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 12623013
Glad I could help and that it works now :-)


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