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.
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