Skype abandons peer to peer technology (update: abandons *some* P2P tech)

Skype has been using peer to peer technology to route voice and video calls over the internet for nearly a decade. The P2P network helped keep the company’s bandwidth bills down while allowing millions of people to make free or cheap calls to friends, family, and colleagues across the world.

But after Microsoft acquired Skype it looks like the company put an end to the reliance on P2P.

Update: Skype says it’s not quite as simple as that… see below.

Skype

Ars Technica reports that a security researcher has found that Microsoft is using about 10,000 in-house servers running Linux software instead.

The move makes sense from a security standpoint — while Skype has generally been pretty reliable, there’s something a little icky about realizing that your calls are being routed through the computers and internet connections of other users. That could have slowed adoption of the Skype service in corporate settings.

Microsoft hasn’t yet confirmed the move away from P2P.

Update: Skype reached out to let us know that:

As part of our ongoing commitment to continually improve the Skype user experience, we developed supernodes which can be located on dedicated servers within secure datacentres.  This has not changed the underlying nature of Skype’s peer-to-peer (P2P) architecture, in which supernodes simply allow users to find one another (calls do not pass through supernodes). 

The idea is to use in-house servers to improve performance without replacing the underlying P2P technology.

via Hacker News

  • Anonymous

    Microsoft is probably providing a backdoor for government/law enforcement types to listen in real time to your phone calls.  That’s probably one motivation for them doing this because it certainly isn’t for technical reasons.

    • Peter D’Hoye

      Indeed, this must be for logging/tracking purposes….

      • teri maa bc

        shit man! ur like the smartest person alive or something…

    • http://twitter.com/PNWTom PNW Tom

      Really? What leads you to believe that? P2P is still a lot cheaper and can be more fault tolerant than using their own network. But, yeah, conspiracy theories > technical accuracy.

    • matts1


      while Skype has generally been pretty reliable, there’s something a little icky about realizing that your calls are being routed through the computers and internet connections of other users.”

      This makes perfect sense on why MS would do it, on a privacy standpoint alone.

    • http://www.commonsensejournal.com/tag/barack-obama/ dreen murray

      In light of the 2013 NSA scandal, this doesn’t seem that far off.

      There’s nothing wrong with encrypting the call and routing it via P2P, instead of MS servers. It’s not like we ever connection directly to anything. We always have to pass our connections through other people’s servers.

      • HDONUTS

        what has p2p to do with encrypted ?
        do you think P2P is dragging a line to the other side of the ocean ?

  • Vm

    That or MS wanted another opportunity to use Linux…

  • http://www.technfuture.com/ Ammara Wasim

    Hi
    Peer to peer technology is useful. skype is really reliable because i am also using it. Thanks. 

    • teri maa bc

      dude u must be batman or something!!

  • euwatch

    my euwatch comment:
     remember that MS must make popular its cloud platform Azure so welcome SkyeAzure

  • Yo Mero

    will Microsoft sue itself because “Linux” use its patents.?