Skype protocol

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The Skype protocol is a proprietary Internet telephony network based on peer-to-peer architecture, used by Skype. The protocol's specifications have not been made publicly available by Skype and official applications using the protocol are closed-source.

The Skype network is not interoperable with most other VoIP networks without proper licensing from Skype. Digium, the main sponsor of Asterisk PBX released a driver licensed by Skype dubbed 'Skype for Asterisk' to interface as a client to the Skype network, however this still remains closed source. Numerous attempts to study and/or reverse engineer the protocol have been undertaken to reveal the protocol, investigate security or to allow unofficial clients.

Peer-to-peer architecture

Skype was the first peer-to-peer IP telephony network, requiring minimal centralized infrastructure. The Skype user directory is decentralized and distributed among the clients, or nodes, in the network.

The network contains three types of entities: supernodes, ordinary nodes, and the login server. Each client maintains a host cache with the IP address and port numbers of reachable supernodes.

Any client with good bandwidth, no firewall, and adequate processing power can become a supernode. Supernodes relay communications for clients behind firewalls and Symmetric NAT. This puts an extra burden on those who connect to the Internet...
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