An Experimental Study of the Skype Peer-to-Peer VoIP System
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Guha, Saikat; Daswani, Neil
Despite its popularity, relatively little is known about the traf- fic characteristics of the Skype VoIP system and how they differ from other P2P systems. We describe an experimental study of Skype VoIP traffic conducted over a one month period, where over 30 million datapoints were collected regarding the population of online clients, the number of supernodes, and their traffic characteristics. The results indicate that although the structure of the Skype system appears to be similar to other P2P systems, particularly KaZaA, there are several significant differences in traffic. The number of active clients shows diurnal and work-week behavior, correlating with normal working hours regardless of geography. The population of supernodes in the system tends to be relatively stable; thus node churn, a significant concern in other systems, seems less problematic in Skype. The typical bandwidth load on a supernode is relatively low, even if the supernode is relaying VoIP traffic. The paper aims to aid further understanding of a signifi- cant, successful P2P VoIP system, as well as provide experimental data that may be useful for design and modeling of such systems. These results also imply that the nature of a VoIP P2P system like Skype differs fundamentally from earlier P2P systems that are oriented toward file-sharing, and music and video download applications, and deserves more attention from the research community.
computer science; technical report
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