Brad C
Professional Teacher
Problems with Skype Connections to China?

It seems that every time I use Skype to teach a student in China, the internet connection is so bad that we often have to abandon the lesson or hang up/re-connect a half-dozen times.  In the last lesson I had, I could hear her just fine, but she couldn't hear me clearly, and so I needed to type all my questions & answers!  This is much better when we connect during the business day (i.e., before 17:00 China time Mondays - Fridays) because everyone hasn't come home and jumped on the internet at the same time.  This means, however, that I would need to wake up and teach much earlier than usual, due to the 10-hour time difference with Europe.

 

Is anyone else experiencing this problem?  I don't want to start refusing lessons from China, but I may have to if we can't communicate.  I have a student in Vietnam, and we never have any connection problems, so maybe this is a Great Firewall problem, or VPN issues, or... ?

 

Feb 5, 2016 3:16 PM
Comments · 14

I agree with Nan, Andy and Michael, but I would suggest one more confounding factor:

 

Microsoft bought Skype... need I say more?

 

... this from a PC/Windows user

February 5, 2016
@ Leigh Mumford - VPN stands for virtual private network, aka a proxy server.  I guess you don't need one because the government in your country does not block google, youtube, facebook, and sometimes even ebay and amazon.  But in China it is necessary to connect to the internet via proxy server to bypass the censorship - it establishes a remote connection somehow (and I don't know the details of how it works), but it makes you appear as though you are connecting to the internet from another country. 
February 5, 2016

Hi Brad.  I've also been having bad connections during my lessons with Chinese students.  It is so frustrating for both of us.  Pardon my ignorance, I am old and a bit of a technophobe, but what is a VPN?

February 5, 2016

Brad, you can try to communicate via your browser. There is no additional soft needed. Please check this place out:

https://appear.in/

 

 

February 5, 2016
So I have a suggestion.  Of course you could ask your Chinese students if they use VPNs, and if not suggest that they install one.  But I think VPNs are technically illegal in China, and in theory the internet restrictions are designed to protect Chinese people from western lies and propaganda.  So my suggestion is that you could experiment with installing a Chinese VPN yourself, and connect through a mainland China server.  This would make you appear as if you are connecting from within China, and like I say China to China calls are usually much better than those where one party is overseas. The one I use is downloadable at 173js.cn, and it has lots of mainland China portals.  It costs about $15 a year.  There are others available of course, maybe some better and cheaper.  
February 5, 2016
Show more