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Beware: Skype May Kill Your Network

The free VoIP client Skype sounds like a great deal -- but it could be carrying the VoIP calls of strangers, and could suck up so much bandwidth that it may bring down your network. So says a report in Computerworld.
The problem occurs when a Skype client becomes a "supernode," and its bandwidth is then used by other Skype users to make their calls. This is bad enough if it happens to one computer on your network. But if it happens to several, you can kiss your bandwidth -- and your network -- good-bye.

How can Skype get away with doing this? Hidden in its End-User Licence Agreement (EULA) is this: "You hereby grant permission for the Skype Software to utilise the processor and bandwidth of your computer for the limited purpose of facilitating the communication between Skype Software users."

In other words, Skype can own your PC's bandwidth and processor.

There are some potential workarounds. Firewalling incoming Skype connections tends to solve the problem. And according to Computerworld, some users have reported that unchecking "use port 80 and 443" options in the Skype Tools menu will make sure the PC doesn't become a supernode.

Still, if you run a network, be aware that Skype could be a network-killer.