The questions I want answered about the proposed Skype ban at SJSU

San Jose State University is throwing around the idea of banning Skype from its network, due to concerns over Skype’s grid computing model. In Internet layman’s terms, that means Skype uses everybody’s bandwidth to ship packets around instead of some big central server of epic proportions.

The folks behind Skype are the same people who built Kazaa, a pretty successful, and in the end, legally-challenged, peer-to-peer file sharing (read: music) network. So just imagine the technology behind P2P file sharing working to put through your phone calls.

Well, the story moved from Steve Sloan’s blog (more) to the Spartan Daily to the Mercury News, with quite a few stops at some notable VoIP blogs, but no one has yet mentioned the fact that SJSU’s 8-month-old wireless network was built out by Comcast, a company that happens to provide quite a bit of VoIP service of its own.

I’d love to know if there’s a connection there.

Second question: Is the proposed ban based on any actual data, or is it just something the UCAT admins think is a smart move?

If there’s data, feel free to share, guys. I’m sure there’s a few hundred computer science and computer engineering majors who use VoIP applications to talk to their families back home that would be really interested in helping you crunch those numbers.

“Powering Silicon Valley,” indeed…

2 Replies to “The questions I want answered about the proposed Skype ban at SJSU”

  1. Hmmm, I hadn’t heard that any universities (San Jose State or others) were thinking about banning Skype because of the grid model. I think that would be a mistake, and in SJSU’s case, you’re probably right that there’s a connection between the Skype backlash and Comcast’s presence. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how all this plays out.

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