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November 13, 2005

Skype: the real reason for controlling Skype VoIP within the enterprise

A call has been made to enterprises to ban Skype - or at least take steps to ensure it is secured. Five reasons for an enterprise to ban Skype in a corporate environment have been outlined. However, Butler Group believes the real reason for controlling Skype within the enterprise, which has been missed, is 'super nodes'.

By CBR Staff Writer

Butler Group has stated that super nodes are the real reason to control enterprise use of Skype.

Although Skype is not the perfect enterprise VoIP solution, it is certainly a boon to small groups and to the private individual.

Skype was never after the enterprise market, just as MSN, Yahoo, and Google weren’t either. Unfortunately however, enterprises are made up of private individuals and consumers, and if IT can’t provide us with the tools we need, then we go out and get them from elsewhere.

In giving reasons for an enterprise to ban Skype in a corporate environment, the analyst from Info-Tech Research Group missed the real reason for controlling Skype within the enterprise, namely ‘super nodes’. Skype (the company) has very few physical assets, and that’s because its products leverage the power of the devices connected to a network.

The reason why Skype works as well as it does is because of computers called super nodes – think of them as you would a local exchange, routing your call etc. Any computer running Skype with a clear-line-of-site to the Internet, plenty of bandwidth, and plenty of resources (memory, CPU) can become a super node, and this could result in this machine and its network segment becoming overwhelmed by Skype traffic.

Skype is not the perfect enterprise VoIP solution, but it’s certainly useful to both small groups and private individuals. According to the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry, at the start of 2004 there were around 4.3 million businesses in the UK, and only 0.1% of these (around 6,000) had more than 250 employees; 0.6% have 50-249 employees. So, for 99.3% of small firms with less than 50 employees Skype is great.

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