Tag Archives: VOIP

‘Skype: BitTorrent Protocol Change Might Kill Service (EBAY)’

Silicon Alley Insider has an article on what a potential BitTorrent protocol change would mean for Skype.  Apparently, by rerouting their traffic to time a sensitive Internet channel BitTorrent might disrupt Skype’s traffic.  Let’s hope not.

But Skype insisted the BitTorrent change wasn’t really a problem, because it’s technically easy to distinguish VoiP traffic from P2P filesharing, even though it’s all on the same channel.

But didn’t the FCC recently rule ISPs weren’t allowed to make distinctions between types of Internet traffic? Nope, Skype says. “If you look at what the FCC said, they said you couldn’t disrupt P2P traffic, not that you couldn’t selectively identify it.”

Read on…

Tokbox – For those times when governments decide to shut down sites like Skype and Google Talk.

A good friend wrote to tell me about Tokbox.  He lives in the States but the government in his home country has implemented draconian measures and shut down site like Skype and Google Talk.  Here’ what he says:

I used to use skype and google talk to communicate with my brother. But recently the [edited] government started blocking VOIP sites. As a result, I can’t use google talk and skype now. Hopefully, they will not block tokbox anytime soon. The other cool think about tokbox is you don’t have to download any program, you just open the site, create an account and you are ready to go. One of the features I liked about it is that you can leave a message WITH VIDEO for your contacts even if they are not signed in. They will listen/view it when they sign in. It also sends you a reminder to your email address when you have a missed call or a message.

By the way, the company is headquartered in San Francisco!

If you are a heavy user you might want to use their desktop client which runs on the Adobe Air platform.  You can download it here.  It is a slick interface and could possibly be a Skype killer.  However, I have to look into the encryption issue which I know is added comfort for many of you.

Ode to Skype

Skype Logo

Of all the applications I have had the pleasure of using over the years one stands out above all the rest. Skype has been the aid worker’s friend for quite some time and has saved organizations countless dollars and perhaps even a few lives. The call quality is nearly perfect and you can’t beat the $0 price tag. A few highlights…

1) Sitting in my office in LA speaking with an associate in Chad who was sitting on a bed, at night, in the courtyard of her compound and connected to a VSAT via WiFi. I could hear the wind whistling through the tree branches above her.

2) We rolled out Skype at my previous organization’s HQ and found that for a 1hr conference call between two US cities, two European cities and one African city we were saving approximately $300/hr. We estimated a savings of $1500-2000/day with greatly increased communications.

3) After the Nias Island, Indonesia earthquake in April of ’05 the mobile towers were jammed for about 1hr in Medan, North Sumatra. However, Skype was running just fine when we returned to our desks and within minutes I had found an associate in Portland, OR who was up early and I passed on all the specifics. He immediately threw together an email notification and sent it off to a number of organizations. About 30 minutes later the story slowly began to appear on the international news sites.

Skype is an invaluable tool and while it may have recently taken a big hit in valuation it sure has my vote as one of the best humanitarian tools out there.