Apr 13 2009

Skype Considering SIP

Category: Software,StandardsTeknovis @ 13:11

I just read that Skype is considering the use of SIP in Skype Opens Up To SIP, Finally Eyes Enterprise Customers The Way It Should. (For an explanation of SIP see Session Initiation Protocol.) The main motivation of this would be to bring Skype to the business community. (Although in my experience Skype is already used extensively by both small and large businesses.)

Skype currently uses a propitiatory protocol to exchange VoIP data, and this protocol masquerades as HTTPS. SIP is a mature open standard for VoIP, and therefore there are already many compliant hardware and software solutions.

In general, I am a big fan of open standards. However, in this case I think that the biggest advantage of SIP is also its biggest disadvantage. In particular, because SIP is an open standard is is very easy to identify it on the network, and treat it differently. The advantage of this is that VoIP traffic can be given higher priority. The disadvantage is that VoIP traffic can easily be blocked :( I have experienced Internet connections in many hotels that block all outgoing traffic except HTTP and HTTPS. In these situations Skype still works perfectly :)

If Skype can successfully incorporate SIP functionality without compromising on the existing propitiatory protocol over HTTPS then I think that would be a great solution!

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