I am quite excited because I think I might have discovered a Supernode. A Skype Supernode that is.
Skype doesn’t have it’s own network infrastructure. Instead as a peer to peer technology it takes data from Skype clients around the world and identifies which users have plenty of bandwidth and processing power available. This user then becomes a Supernode which handles some of the Skype network signalling functions.
Being a broadband Supernode is not at all super as what you are effectively doing is letting other Skype users use the broadband bandwidth that you are paying for yourself.
This customer was complaining that his quad bonded ADSL was underperforming. He was right. He was getting 1Mbps instead of his normal 9Mbps. We sent an engineer onsite and found that the customer had taken it upon himself to do some internal rewiring and had laid the ADSL cables on top of his ring main power cable. The interference from the main was causing the poor performance.
We moved the cables away from the main and hey presto the original high speed returned.
As part of the debug process we did some traffic sniffing on his network and found serious levels of peer to peer packets which turned out to be Skype.
I’m not saying that Skype in this case caused his broadband connectivity to slow down but business users should be aware of the problem. It should also be noted that Skype traffic is encrypted, at least the IM part. This means that virus scanners can’t pick up potential problem packets coming into the corporate network. Look out sensitive competitive information! Don’t keep your bank details on the network!