There's a discussion going on here about issues with using Skype when yours is the sole computer behind a cheap firewall/router on broadband. It seems relatively common that you copy of Skype ends up being a supernode helping to switch traffic for people who are behind NAT. In some circumstances the sheer volume of TCP connections can then overwhelm the router. So even though the bandwidth needed is quite small, the effect is that internet access grinds to a halt with DNS and web timeouts. There's a further problem here that people with bandwidth capped broadband are likely to have exactly this sort of connection and may not have any router at all. In which case, first they are very likely to become a supernode, and secondly, even the small bandwidth taken is eating into their cap.

Skype really need to do something to rate limit this or even allow people to reject being a supernode. The problem is that if they do that their whole switching mechanism and NAT busting approach fails if not enough people are supernodes. But in the past couple of days I've had two people say they've had to reject Skype for exactly this reason, so if they don't do something they will be shooting themselves in the foot. In my case, I've now had three instance of this happening in the last 2 days. Fixing it involves killing Skype for 3-4 minutes and then restarting it.

One suggestion has been to go into tools | options | connections and uncheck "Use port 80 and 443 for incoming connections" as this is supposed to bar being a supernode. But it's had no effect for me.

On another note, my son is going to Brunel Uni in Sept. I was scanning the computer network terms of use. In the middle is a statement that goes "P2P file sharing pograms (such as kazaa, grokster, bittorrent, Skype) are expressly forbidden". I'm not exactly surprised, and the issue is likely to be bandwidth as much as copyright issues. Still irritating though to see Skype lumped in with these.

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[ 19-Jul-05 5:17pm ] [ ]