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Skype

Skype Outage Article

August 21, 2007

Jon Arnold and I were both quoted recently in a San Francisco Chronicle article titled Skype reveals outage source, tells customers it won't happen again. The article is extremely well-written, gets perspective from a number of people and weaves each viewpoint into a cohesive whole.   My quote follows below:  
The technology relies on user computers to route phone calls and handle some of the call authentication. There are thousands of computers and servers that are tapped to act as these supernodes in the Skype network.   That reliance has allowed Skype, owned by San Jose's eBay, to keep phone calls free between members and extremely cheap for calls to nonsubscribers. But an outage like last week's reveals the inherent vulnerability in the system when a large number of computers are affected within a short span of time, said Rich Tehrani, chairman of the Internet Telephony Conference and Expo and president of TMC, a communications and technology media company.   "The fate of the users is not in the control of one company, and that's the problem," Tehrani said.

Parlano

August 21, 2007

Bob Serr, Parlano CTO, took some time to give me this exclusive interview. In it, he gave some fascinating insight on the impact of industry giants like Google and Microsoft on the telecom world, and also let me know why Parlano’s presentation at ITEXPO is something worth looking forward to. One of the leaders in the burgeoning space of persistent group chat, Parlano gives some of the world's most dynamic organizations competitive advantage through more effective cross-functional group communication. You can read more about them in this recent TMCnet article.

How is IP communications changing your company’s strategy? We see our customers moving in this direction and they are demanding integrated voice and text communications, which we are delivering to them via our SIP/SIMPLE based product.   How has SIP changed communications? It’s made possible integration at the application level for text and voice communications—as opposed to gateways that connect systems but do not offer an integrated experience for the user that matches the way they do their jobs.   What is the biggest request coming from your customer base? Seemless integration of persistent group chat with Microsoft’s unified communications platform.   How are you answering their demands?

Arlinx

August 20, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask Patrick Young of Arlinx about the company’s customer base, its IP communications strategy and the direction his company is taking.   The Arlinx IP Elite Security and Media Processing Platforms provide opportunities for developers, integrators, and resellers to offer an alternative to mainstream x86 appliances.   To learn more about the company, read this article published on TMCnet from earlier this year.   RT: Please outline your new corporate initiatives. PY: Our initiative is to produce an open IP communications application and specific hardware platform with strong authentication, encryption acceleration, a voice optimized media processor and very high energy efficiency.

What We Learned From the Skype Outage

August 20, 2007

As organizations move to VoIP and other forms of IP communications it is imperative they realize the world of IP is far different from the PSTN and circuit-switched networks of yesterday. While Internet Protocol is the protocol of the Internet which was designed to be resilient enough to withstand a nuclear attack, IP networks need proper management to be able to continue operating under a variety of circumstances.   The concept of the always up IP communications network was certainly in the spotlight recently as TMCnet’s Tom Keating broke the story of Skype, the world’s most popular IP communications software company having a major network outage. He surmised that a recent Microsoft upgrade to its operating systems was responsible for the outage.   A few days later, Skype explained that indeed, Microsoft’s operating system update coupled with a bug in the eBay division’s software was responsible for leaving millions without IP communications.   While some journalists have come to the conclusion that VoIP is no longer reliable because of this outage the reality is that a software bug stopped the network from functioning properly and this had nothing to do with the inherent reliability of VoIP.   Still, when you leverage the benefits of IP communications you must also be aware of the responsibilities that come with the technology. Yes, you now have some responsibilities you may not have been aware of.

IP Communications Education

August 20, 2007

Listen, I don’t want to overdo discussion of ITEXPO in my blog but the fact of the matter is this recent e-mail sent by my marketing team is a great document discussing what is important at the show. It is a good guide for you. What to see, where to go, where to be, etc.   You can see below the various aspects of Internet Telephony Conference & Expo which make it unique and the most imitated event in IP communications.

Skype P2P Problems

August 20, 2007

By now it seems the whole world is aware Skype had major problems last week. For most people, Skype was down. Tom Keating speculated the cause was a Microsoft patch which rebooted massive numbers of machines. He has a point as my machine coincidentally rebooted just before the Skype problem hit.   Many people thought Tom was incorrect but it turns out Tom nailed the problem.   Phil Wolf has an excellent recap of the problem with his thoughts and questions interlaced within.   For example, when commenting on the following from Skype:  
Normally Skype’s peer-to-peer network has an inbuilt ability to self-heal, however, this event revealed a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly.
  Wolf wonders:  
If the bug was within the algorithm, in the Skype client, was the bug ever repaired?

Skype Working

August 19, 2007

It seems Skype is indeed up and running once again. As you may recall, TMCnet’s Tom Keating broke the news of the outage last week when he heard many of the TMC team members were not able to communicate with one another.   I recently wrote about Skype stabilizing two days ago. It seems now the software/service has gone from stabilizing to working correctly.   This is an e-mail I received yesterday from Skype’s PR agency:  
Good Morning,   I'm pleased to share the most recent information on the Skype outage with you:   "Take a deep breath. Skype is back to normal."   "On Monday, we’ll provide a more detailed explanation of what happened.

Voxbone

August 17, 2007

As you may recall, Voxbone had announced a developer contest a while back and in my blog post about the contest I mentioned the three winners will get:  
  • Recognition as a Voxbone certified developer. Recommendation to customers and partners in need of a third-party developer for integrating the Voxbone API.
  • Marketing and promotion of winning projects to the specialized press and to Voxbone contacts
  • Listing and description of winning projects on the Voxbone website
  Now, I am told the winners have been named. I am sure you are on the edge of your seat, waiting for the winners.

TMC Gets Some Press

August 17, 2007

Having your cake and eating it too is how it think about this article in the San Francisco Chronicle with a quote from TMC’s Tom Keating and TMC friend Om Malik. Here is an excerpt:  
Tom Keating, chief technology officer for Internet Telephony Magazine, said he's heard from a number of businesses that rely on Skype to keep workers in touch with each other as well as clients. He said the instant-messaging feature is particularly popular with users because it works around many company firewalls.   Keating said the outage may be related to some maintenance work Skype completed Wednesday night. He said it's unlikely the problem was caused by an outside attack from hackers.   "It's very possible that the change they did with maintenance could have had some unanticipated cascade affect," said Keating.

Skype Update

August 17, 2007

You may recall yesterday that I wrote about Skype having problems. It seems most of the service is back to normal according to Skype’s Heartbeat Blog. Here is the latest blog post:  
As Europe has woken up to a new day and Asia is entering the evening hours, here’s the latest on the sign-on problem.

We’re on the road to recovery.

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