May 11, 2005

Almost official: Skype has infrastructure

There have been (idle?) speculations on Skype’s PSTN interconnect architecture. It was first started by DG Lewis and then by me that prompted Lewis to post an update. Now James Enck joins the table with a possible insider information. I will say that it is pretty explosive!

No Virginia. Skype is not free of network infrastructure. They have built and deployed their own media gateways. Normally I would have rejected it outright. But Enck is saying this and that too he is quoting company sources. So I am really puzzled. First of all, if they have deployed their own gateways, then why use G.729 codec for SkypeOut calls; why not use the usual codec which is the rave of the industry? Secondly how does it work? Is the handoff traffic to their carier partners in TDM format, which they then convert it back to VoIP? This is some thing to ponder.

Enck also says that he had assumed for a long time that Skype has deployed their own supernodes. I am glad to hear that. But he is not forthcoming about relay nodes. But there will be an occasion to state that as well. For a long time Vonage and its apologists were claiming that they do not have any network infrastructure and are still able to offer voice service. It has stopped as the network failures became well known. Slowly it is becoming Skype’s turn. Pulver used to talk about Heteromorphic Communications. I wonder whether there is a term for a mammal turning into a dinosaur. If Mr. Powell is reading this, I would like to ask him whether he still thinks that “the game is over”.

Posted by aswath at May 11, 2005 08:17 AM
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