Essay by seanlvnCollege, UndergraduateA, May 2007

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Case Study: SkypeOn October 14, 2005, eBay acquired for €(euro)1.9 billion in cash and stock a Peer-to-Peer telephone network program called Skype. What differentiates Skype from standard telephone communication is that it operates on a Peer-to-Peer model rather than the more traditional server-client model. The Skype user directory is entirely decentralised and distributed among the nodes in the network, so calls are routed through other Skype peers on the network, making it easier and much less costly compared to the telephone system which operates on a more complex and costly centralised infrastructure.

Skype is of course not free, with the official website posting rates starting at 2.1¢ per minute with a connection fee of 3.9 cents, and a plan of $29.95 a year with unlimited calls and no connection fee within the US and Canada. Skype also offers other services besides p2p phone calls. There's Skype Voicemail, which as the title suggests is voicemail on Skype.

Then there's Skype Chat, which supports group text chats for up to 100 people. Another feature is Skype Video Calling, which allows users to see one another other while talking, through the use of webcams. You have other interesting features, like importing your Outlook contact's telephone numbers in Skype, and the Firefox or Explorer plugins that let you call with one click to PSTN phone numbers (Public Switched Telephone Network). As of January 29th of 2007, nine million people were using Skype. [See chart on last page]*Some of the other benefits of Skype include call routing encryption for security, so calls are more difficult to tap. You can call from anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection for a fair price. You can send an SMS-(text)message in an easy way. But honestly, I think the main reason people use...