Low-Bandwidth Alternatives to Skype Chat

By Kevin Lee

Free chat programs can help you hold video meetings with others.
i Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

When you need to speak to someone hundreds of miles away, you don't have to use Skype to do it. Alternative applications exist that provide video chat capabilities and many of the other features Skype has. If you have unlimited bandwidth, you might not care which application you use. On the other hand, if you want to minimize bandwidth usage, install an application that helps you do that.

Bandwidth Facts

Bandwidth can be important if your Internet service provider charges you for excess bandwidth usage. Tech-FAQ reports that Skype can use about 2.5MB of bandwidth every 20 minutes at a transfer rate of 30kbps. You will experience lower video quality video if you use an application that allows you to lower your bandwidth settings. Bandwidth may also vary if your computer is on a network and other people who share the network increase their bandwidth usage. If you're downloading files or streaming videos from another source, that activity can reduce the quality of your video chat sessions as well.

Use OoVoo to Communicate

OoVoo gives you the ability to lower your resolution settings if you have a slow Internet connection or have trouble chatting. OoVoo also has ConnectionLock video technology that reduces the number of dropped calls that may occur. After you install ooVoo, you can make free voice calls to other ooVoo members, send instant text messages and video chat with up to 12 people in high-definition. You can make calls from any device. OoVoo is free and you have the option to subscribe to a premium plan that has additional features.

Chat Using Sqwiggle

Sqwiggle adds file sharing to the list of things you can do while communicating with others via voice or video. If you need to send a file to others, you can upload it over a secure connection. The application's developers designed it to use minimum bandwidth and you could video chat with up to four people at the same time as of December 2013. Sqwiggle offers a two-week trial and charges a monthly fee after the trial period ends.

Share Ideas Via vSee

Install the free VSee application and you can enjoy low-bandwidth video and phone calls. The company reports that VSee uses 50 percent less bandwidth than Skype. When you're in a video chat session, you can drag files from your computer onto the video window of other people to send them the files. You can also click "Share" to share one of your computer's applications with people in your chat session. VSee has a free plan along with paid plans that provide additional features.