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Chat / facetime / skype all poor connection for talking from US to spain?!

Other than doing it in the house to a machine / phone also in the house, never used facetime / skype or anything else with audio and video.  We hear how skype charges you for phone calls, etc.  

But our daughter is in spain now.  called using wifi in the hotel to us on facetime and skype.  Both conversations were intolerable.  we'd miss 2/3 of everything she said and we likely sounded just as bad to her.  In skype, we turned off video, but saw no change in performance.  Facetime would drop video once in a while because it said connection wasn't that good.

are there any better apps for poor quality connections?  When going around the world, are these just not  as good as you would expect?  I don't need video.  Can I turn that off in facetime?

any other tips?
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BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelp
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BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelp
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BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
she has a windows netbook running win xp and an iphone 5
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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
Yes, Google Voice is the best application that doesn't use much bandwidth and give u a great result in terms of voice clarity. the quality is n't perfect but it does a good job.

If you both have Gmail accounts you can simply goto Gmail and add eachother and call from Internet explorer/Google Chrome/Safari..etc

That would work perfectly unless one of you both have a really bad connection that can't handle VoIP bandwidth.
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BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
does a headset vs. the speaker / mike built into a cell phone or netbook make a difference?
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BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
add each other - do you mean 'call each other's phone number'?  Is there a cost?  Have to turn off forwarding to a real phone?
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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
No Sorry for not explaining in detail. What I meant here is that you take your daughter's gmail account then goto your own mail account on gmail.com and add her to your chat list there which must be in the right or left corner in gmail window.

in the Chat corner you will see a space where it says "Search, Chat or Sms" type her e-mail account there and then click on "Start Hang out" next to it. note that in order for this to work, you both need to be online in Gmail at the same time so you can call freely at no cost.

If you don't want to use this method or you can't both meet on the internet at the same time then you can tell your daughter "If she has an iPhone or any smartphone " to download an application called Vonage which will allow her to call you for free anytime she's connected to the internet.

hope this helps
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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
and regarding the speaker/Mic which are built into the notebook making difference? Yes they do make a big difference as sometimes their quality is not good and mic sensor is not good as well.

however in most of the cases they are functioning properly without any issues. I have dell laptop and i've been always using the built in mic and speaker without any problem. you need to check the volume settings if the Mic volume is low.

If that didn't work. try to change to Headset but you need to make sure that you hang up the call before changing from built in speaker/mic into headset. as the program which you're using on your PC need to detect the current used device before moving into the other one while during you're making a call.
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BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
we heard of viber, installed that and now my daughter is in another area and calls with that are 1000%.  Haven't had the chance to have her call with facetime or Skype to compare, but I bet the place she was at just had pitiful wifi.  thanks for the help!
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