Germany-based iPoque has recently published an internet traffic study covering everything from file sharing networks to streaming video and voice. According to iPoque, any discussion of VoIP protocols is probably moot. While VoIP itself accounts for just 1% of internet traffic, the vast majority of that traffic (a 30:1 ratio in Germany) is Skype. Standards based systems are simply too hard to configure.
Voice over IP and Skype
Internet telephony – or Voice over IP (VoIP) – has become a commodity application, not least based on the enormous success of Skype with its ease of use and resilience to restrictive network environments due to widespread firewalling and network address translation (NAT). While standards-based VoIP systems using SIP, H.323 and IAX require manual configuration to get around the resulting limitations, Skype has many built-in mechanisms to automatically deal with such network conditions and to offer an as seamless as possible operation in most environments.
The success of this strategy is reflected in the analysis results. They show that 30% of all monitored Internet users in Germany use Skype. In the Middle East, the number is with only 7% much lower. SIP follows far behind with only 1% users in Germany and in the Middle East. The user numbers for H.323 and IAX are negligible.