Practical Technology

for practical people.

How Skype does, and doesn’t, work

Skype, the voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and video program, is very popular. It’s also pretty bad software. Really, what were you thinking Ballmer when you wrote a check for $8.5-billion for Skype? You do know that not even two years ago Skype was valued at $2.75-billion right?

Here’s the simple truth. Skype has historically had many software problems and late last year the entire Skype network crashed for several days, we can pretty count on these kind of problems showing up on a regular basis.

You see, Skype is a modified peer-to-peer (P2P) network application. Skype started as a variation of the now outdated Kazaa P2P file-sharing program. When you make a Skype call your voice and video is encoded with a 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption key and then passed from one Skype PC to another between you and whomever you’re calling.

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