Skype steals bandwidth — even when you are not using it

February 24, 2009

Skype steals bandwidth — even when you are not using it Skype can seriously damage your business. This week we had our connection cut to a crawl. There are three of us wired into the network and when the telephone supplier applied the cap we simply could not work. At all. The lines were too slow.

What had happened is that my duaghter had been down from Thailand and insisted we all install Skype. She  did not know (no one told her and it is not on the site) that if your computer is on, Skype is happily trolling the waves and using up you bandwidth. Skype did not tell us this. There was no warning.

As far as we are concerned in computers, sudden death. We though the fault lay with us, with our wiring. We checked everything. Then I went on to:

http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showtopic=16251

It happens to everyone. If you put Skype on your machine all the time your computer is on it will troll the air waves. And use of 1.3GB a month has been reported. Try it with three machines and see where it gets you.

There is an FAQ on the Skype site and the question was asked: “How much bandwith does Skype use where we are not using it?”

It would not give any answer.  But from the Technical FAQ we go this:

From the Technical FAQ

QUOTE
How much bandwidth does Skype use when there are no active calls?

On average Skype uses 0-0.5 kilobytes/sec while idle. This is used mainly for contact presence updates. The exact bandwidth depends on many factors.

Using simplistic maths, a Fermi equation, we get:

0.5*3600*24:43200.000 kByte per day (43 MB)
#*30:1296000.000 kByte per month (1.3 GB)
*3 computers=3.9 gigs a month.

Yes, there is an option you can to stop this. Not easy to find. I will give you a clue. It is in the bottom right hand corner of one of the screens and you actively have to tick it to stop. Better still is another method: remove Skype from every machine. Which is what we did.

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