Skype is a type of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) that works as application software, created by Niklas Zennstrom. It facilitates communication through voice, video, and instant messaging. Applications of VoIP use Session Initiation Protocols (SIP) to create data packets that can be sent on the same network, unlike the use of the Public Switched Telephone network (PSTN). In order to transfer voice on slow connections, it is received and transcoded into the digital format from the analogue format. Later, the voice is passed through the compressor to minimise the size of the audio stream. This audio stream is then fitted in packets that have destination address and sent through the network. At the receiving end, the packets are reconstructed for usage (Barreau, 2006). Skype usage requires specialised hardware devices that can send and receive data packets via the IPv4 network, such as Skype-phones, computers and other mobile phones compatible with the software application.
Pros and Cons
The availability of Skype has significantly influenced the manner in which we conduct our communication. Through this VoIP service, people have been able to connect with their peers, friends, or relatives. At times, Skype can be used for business communication rather than just for personal communication. However, this application has its pros and cons.
The advantages of using Skype are numerous and portray the convenience that users derive from it. Skype offers a chance for its users to communicate with one another or make phone calls. Communication between Skype users is free of charge (Sheppard, 2006). Concerning making computer to phone calls, users are charged significantly lower, unlike when executing such an operation using the public switch telephone network.
The usage of Skype application is very convenient for all users regardless of their literacy level. This application is relatively easy to install and use without having to embark on cumbersome configurations, as is often the case in most of the applications. This, therefore, implies that anybody can contentedly use Skype even with little or no technically literacy (Abdulezer, 2007).
Skype application is compatible with a majority of network security devices like firewalls. This implies that users can work with the application without risking exposing their computers to hackers or crackers (Fro%u0308ßler, 2008). Additionally, Skype’s ability to function in any network gives the users an added advantage in case they are working in varied networking environments.
The high quality of Skype calls make it superior compared to any other VoIP software clients. In this regard, it has gain popularity and is being used by a significantly large number of people for communication services. This means that the satisfaction derived from its usage, creates an attractive force to new users, facilitating widespread connection (Gough, 2006).
In contrast to the numerous pros, Skype has also multiple cons. The security and protocols used by Skype are unknown, since the proprietary software is closed. This concern elicits fears among users, as the application software becomes the target for multiple hacking activities. In this regard, the users are exposed to various risks in the event that crackers compromise the security systems. Additionally, since it is a closed community, security threats or malicious code could be spread among the users (Max, 2006).
The fact that Skype requires an Internet connection to function limits its usage compared to telephony. In fact, Skype’s efficiency is only attainable if there is understanding between the Internet providers and users. This, therefore, implies that the end-to-end service quality is not guaranteed in case transverse over wide geographical regions (Heijkoop, 2006). Additionally, in the event of breakdown in Internet connections, Skype usage becomes significantly handicapped, since its operability depends on the access the Internet.
Thus, the advantages accrued due to Skype’s convenience and reasonable cost of usage outweighs the limits associated with it, such as latency and shutter pitfalls (Porter, 2007).