Skype client may steal your bandwidth

I was surprised to know that Skype steals my bandwidth for other Skype users without my notice. Skype architecture is not truly (traditional) peer to peer network, but an overlay P2P network and may steal your cpu/bandwidth[3]. I am not sure whether this is ever conveyed to the end user in terms and conditions or in license. Anyway, it was very interesting to learn the underlying architecture of the one of the most used applications of the day. And, I don't mind sharing my cpu/bandwidth for other skype users. Skype is such an wonderful application, that I don't want to abandon for this reason.

I searched for articles on Skype Architecture on google. Here are some of the links that explain the Skype architecture. I found the links to the first two articles at Brad Neuberg's blog - Coding in Paradise

  1. An Analysis of the Skype Peer-to-Peer Internet Telephony Protocol by Salman A. Baset and Henning Schulzrinne

  2. An Analysis of the Skype Peer-to-Peer Internet Telephony Protocol

  3. Challenges And Opportunities in Deploying IPV6 Applications There is fair amount of discussion over Skype architecture in this presentation

Some important points to note about Skype from the above three references:
"Skype is the first VoIP client based on peer-to-peer technology. We think that three factors are responsible for its increasing popularity. First, it provides better voice quality than MSN and Yahoo IM clients; second, it can work almost seamlessly behind NATs and firewalls; and third, it is extremely easy to install anduse."[1]
"Skype architecture is based on stealing someone else bandwidth, without their consent, for other parties to use."[3]


[...] Em poucas palavras, você dá direito ao Skype de utilizar parte dos seus ciclos de CPU e de sua banda. As pessoas esquecem que a Skype está montando uma rede peer-to-peer e que todos os usuários Skype estão dentro dela. Isto pode não parecer importante, mas suponha, por exemplo, uma empresa com uns 4.000 funcionários. Digamos que (não seria uma exagero) que 10% desses usuários utilizem o Skype regularmente. Isto dá um total de 400 computadores. Se a empresa tiver uma conexão de 100 Mbps (nada incomum para grandes empresas), isto poderá torna-la um super-nó da rede Skype. Agora, eu pergunto… Será mesmo razoável a Skype utilizar a rede de uma empresa e os recursos dos seus computadores, simplesmente, porque seus usuários não escolheram uma outra solução para VoIP? Isto já tirou o sono de vários administradores de rede [1,2]. [...]

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