Practical Technology

for practical people.

A Game of Clue: What Killed Skype


Days after Skype, the popular Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP), crashed we finally know why Skype died for several days. Perhaps launching into what blasted Skype though you need to know how Skype works.

You need to keep in mind that Skype is a true peer-to-peer (P2P) network application. Indeed, if you trace back Skype’s ancestry you’ll find that its developers first cut their teeth on the Kazaa P2P file-sharing program. What’s important about that is that Skype, unlike client-server programs, relies on its client PCs to help carry voice communications.

If you’re a Skype user your PC may not just be an ordinary client, but it may be working as a Super Node (SN) as well. When you login to Skype, the odds are you’re not logging directly into the Skype login-servers but into a SN instead. The SN in turn, stores your Skype name, your e-mail address, and an encrypted version of your password.

Skype automatically and constantly modifies its network as users go off and on the service. With Skype installed, your PC may be used as a SN and you’ll never know it. As a SN, your PC will store the addresses of up to several hundred Skype users. If your PC isn’t behind a firewall and/or NAT (Network Address Translation), it may also be used to route calls.

More >

Leave a Reply