You are hereSkype - P2P VoIP

Skype - P2P VoIP

By smithdm3 - Posted on 03 September 2003

So the producers of Kazaa unveiled Skype this past weekend. It's a peer-to-peer VoIP system. It will be interesting to see how quickly this takes off. I can imagine that it'll spread quickly what with a huge number of Kazaa users out there who have the Kazaa marketing channel right in front of them.

I haven't used it yet, though I have registered under the username 'smithdm3'. The two things that I find most interesting that they've stated about their product/service. One, is that it's secure - they use AES encryption. Two, is that they claim that you get better quality then through your telephone handset today. Boris will likely be upset that they only support M$ operating systems today, but it's only beta software.

They've got a store on their website offering headsets and a telephony style handset that work with their client, but the rest of the service is currently free. Eventually I'm sure it will interoperate with the PSTN and they will charge money somewhere. I'm surprised that their current client doesn't push ads at the user as I thought I'd read somewhere it would.

Anyway, I'll have to find someone I know that has it too so I can try it and see how it works.

Oh, one last thing - interestingly enough, they've been experiencing some troubles due to "unanticipated growth" - odd, I thought Peer-to-peer was supposed to avoid these kinds of problems. ;)

I'm a associate of Borris' and my Skype username is ajones. Give me a buzz.

For the record, my username is borismann (stupid six-letter requirement). I don't have it on very much, since I'm not usually sitting at the PC where it's installed...

Ummm.. RB, I don't think I'm picking on Skype. In fact, I think it's pretty interesting, I was probably one of the first 10,000 to download it. One of these days I'll get myself a good headset and mic and really try it out. It's an interesting system, using a third party to run traffic through is a bit worrisome, though they have used strong encryption.

You'll find that I'm suspicious of VoIP as a whole. Really, other than telcos being inefficient and overcharging, there isn't a single good reason for VoIP in my opinion. The PSTN works quite well and doesn't really need to be replaced.

Sure, it's free today, if you have a broadband connection that is.

I work for Nortel Networks you see, so I know a wee bit (and I'm not by any stretch of the imagination saying that I'm an expert) about VoIP. A typical voice conversation on the PSTN uses a "DS-0" (64kbps) worth of bandwidth. Now, VoIP can exploit compression techniques to get under that, but more commonly due to other overhead involved in the packet stream (we've got to route all this info afterall!) it uses more than 64kbps.

Skype describes their bandwidth use below:
Skype automatically selects the best codec depending on the connection between yourself and the person you are calling. On average, Skype uses between 3-16 Kilobytes/sec - depending on bandwidth available for other party, network conditions in between, callers CPUs, etc.

That's 3-16kB x 8 bits or 24kbps to 128kbps.

So, while it's free, it's definitely not optimal, plus, you've got to use that other thing called a broadband connection you're paying for. The thing that's different? Zero cost for long distance - and really, there should be no cost for long distance today.

Now.... all this being said, there are reasons that VoIP will (in the future - in my opinion) be better than the PSTN... chief among them, portability. The ability for me to run my voice line on my laptop (or one day my PDA) and use it at home or at work is killer. Not to mention the free long distance ;)

Today i oick up skype, but all i can get it's a persistent COULD NOT CONNET.
Anybody know why

Are you running a webserver? Skype won't work if you are, since it has to accept incoming calls to port 80, it seems.

Everytime I have Yahoo messenger voice on atleast once and try using Skype, it doesnt connect.

May be its the same issue you have.

Well I did download it and tried it twice now. I didnt have any problem either time. Just imagine what advantage this gives me, as I am living in another country than my parents and sisters, so we save a huge amount in phonebills... They all have broadband, so there is really no problem. ICQ is ancient history for me now. ;-)

Hello, I have just downloaded Skype and it gives me the "files are corrupt" error when I try to open it. Has anyone else had this problem ?
Thanks for any help anyone can offer.

Thanks, but I got it the second time after disabling my Virus scan.

Doesn't anyone ever read the EULA?

6. Payment.

You acknowledge that certain functions in the Skype Software are only available to paid subscribers after a free trial period of the Skype Software and Services (the "Free Trial Period") ends. After the Free Trial Period ends, you will be presented with the option to subscribe to the Subscription Services. If you do not wish to subscribe, you acknowledge that you can not access functions and services only available to paid subscribers. To subscribe to the Subscription Services you must agree to the terms and conditions of the Subscription Services.

Nothing is free.


You're right, Skype is free today, and will offer paid services in the future. Likely however, they'll keep peer-to-peer internet calls free. What they'll charge for in the future will likely be things like "internet-voicemail", Web-to-PSTN calls, and the like.

PSTN - Old

ISDN - is much better than pstn or voip. Sound and services are great.

The only adwantage WoIP has is the cost.

ISDN? Are you nuts?

Very cool piece of software. The one thing that I wish it had and I can see it being one of those "paid services" is three way or more conference calling. That would be a HUGE plus.

Seems to work great so far.

I tried skype a few days ago. Voip has been available in msn im and yahoo im client for a few years. whats different with skype.

This is half duplex. As in CB talk style. Freeworld dialup is FULL duplex, sounds awesome and alows free incoming calls from PSTN via Libretel or direct to pc through IPKall. Free outbound to any US or UK toll free (yes most calling cards work)
Oh yeah and there already IS FREE VOICEMAIL!
Now ro see who wins the geek allstar thumb war...useablility versus hype
fly. (free extension inbound) (free direct inbound) (client) (setup)
and yes Ipkall is actually free.

Setup is painless if youread the instructions.

Skype is pretty cool... My Skype name is BuckledWinter

Hi, does anybody know if there's a voicemail for Skype already? For Free? Maybe it's possible to connect another programm to skype?
Greetz Mastah

About Skype bandwidth, unlike PSTN, it only uses bandwidth when people are talking. Correct me if I'm wrong. But isn't that the advantage of VOIP that bandwidth is used only when there is packets to be sent. Unlike PSTN where the connection is dedicated. So even if Skype were to use more bandwidth temporarily, in the end it would use less than PSTN.

great program

A few things about PSTN and Skype.
It is not true that PSTN uses 64 Kbit. 99% of long distance calls are compressed through MUXes and similar hardware devices. It is only if you try to open a datachannel (e.g. for Videoconferance) you get a 64 kbit all the way. And even then, it may fail because the recipient does not support 64 kbit.
Now, Skype is a voip tech, but a new one. They have licensed their technology from a Norwegian/Swedish company called Global IP sound. (Gips)
They have developet a new VoIP technology which is superior to anything in use today (e.g. MSN IM etc.) This accounts for the fantastic sound quality over low bandwith which Skype offers. (I have run conversations with russia with a 28.8K modem and webcam running without problems, and I have personally experienced that the sound quality is much better than the usually compressed sound you get from normal long distance)
With the current growth of Skype, and the quality it offers, I believe that current long distance providers and calling card makers are in for some though competition.

Ole Martin:
Okay... first of all, a PSTN call does take up 64kbps - one DS0. Now it is possible to do compression, but this is typically only done on long distance packet trunks.

Second, GIPs defintely has licensed codecs for voice compression and encoding to Skype, but they do this for a number of customers - they happen to be market leaders in this space. You'll note that Nortel Networks also uses them for our VoIP products. Skype's technology is the signalling, directory and call connection... and in the future conferencing, voicemail, etc..

Skype is the best!

The number of people using Skype seem to be increasing in number geometrically when i first used this software 2 weeks ago 5-10-2003 there where about 50,000 users online but today 24-10-2003 I found out there where over 102,000 people online with 1.8 million downloads of the software.
I am really amazed by this piece of software

You know back when Napster was hanging out on efnet in / (the guy who wrote the napster thing) years ago, we used to talk about creating a serverless p2p network for voice communications using a network connection, a full duplex sound card, and a full duplex voice modem. Basicly the network node you were running would link to another node and wait for requests to dial a number your configured local calling area. When a request was received it would link using a bi-directional UDP audio compression stream and the voice modem would dial the local #.

It was decided it wasn't feasable at the time because of the number of people using dialup for their connection, the potential for abuse (dialing emergency numbers, LD numbers, prank calls, etc... there was a larger phreak scene back in the day), and the fact that many of the LEC's had filed lawsuits against companies that were reselling local calling areas using forwareds, transfer functions on switches, etc.

The p2p network would be a true free voip (we didnt have a name for it then) network with voluntary gateways to the PSTN over POTS lines.

Todays telephony climate and VoIP communities seem ripe for someone to create a p2p client such as this, as most of the political issues that prevented us then are no longer present today.

Anyone want to take up the mantle?

J-Man Th' Shaman [DiS]

Anybody had this problem with Skype: the experience of one party in the call is full duplex but the experience of the other party in the same call is half duplex only?

Ie when I talk, I can not hear the other party, but when I stop talking after a short delay I start hearing the other party again.

Both parties are using full duplex sound cards and have used netmeeting successfully in full duplex mode with each other.

Check out IPmental's solution

Where can I follow up for more information

Very good post, thanks a lot.


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