You might think that running Skype is running Skype, meaning that using the pioneering audio-video Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) service is the same whether you run it on a computer, smartphone, tablet or other device, or whether you run it on a Microsoft, Apple or other operating system. That’s not case, at least according to Mu Dynamics and their third Application Quadrant report.

To produce its latest report, entitled, “Understanding the Impact to Consumers and Network Operators of Different Mobile Devices Using Skype,” Mu Dynamics staff tested a variety of platforms and devices, including the iPad, iPhone 4 (running iOS 4), Android (Sprint Nexus S 4G), MacBook (Mac OS X 10.6) and PC (Windows 7).

Testing and validation revealed the following regarding the different effects placing Skype voice calls and using instant messaging on these various platforms had on users and carrier networks:

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  • Skype for voice calls on a Mac (OS X) will consume at least 28% more bandwidth and network resources than an iPhone, iPad, Android phone or PC.
  • Skype for instant messaging on a Mac (OS X) will consume at least 30% more network resources than an iPhone, iPad, Android phone or PC.
  • Skype for instant messaging on an iPad will consume at least 39% more bandwidth than an iPhone, Android phone, MacBook or PC.

Skype’s user base continues to grow at a rapid rate, Mu Dyanmics points out. Skype’s more than 170 million connected users placed voice and video conversations totaling more than 207 billion minutes in 2010. That would rank Skype fourth in North America by peak period fixed access upstream application traffic, according to Sandvine’s “Global Internet Phenomena Report, Fall 2011.”

Mu Dynamics believes the results can better inform and encourage collaboration among application developers, device manufacturers and service providers to make applications more “network-friendly, and to minimize the network impact while ensuring the best end-user experience.”

“As the number of bandwidth-intensive mobile applications continues to expand at record pace, operators are faced with the challenge of balancing that bandwidth and the associated network resources that devices use to support them,” noted Dave Kresse, Mu Dynamics chief executive officer, in a news release.

“Over 30 million Skype users today are online at peak times and with so many people using the service simultaneously, bandwidth and resources can be strained to cripple other applications and services. By using Mu Studio Performance to rapidly test real application performance, operators can better understand how services such as Skype impact the network based on the various devices.”

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