Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Why is Skype uploading and downloading data when I'm not even using it? It stays between .25 KB/s - 1.5 KB/s up and .30 KB/s - 1.2 KB/s down. (I'm streaming music with Chrome.)


share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Skype will have to periodically receive updates from its servers to see if your friends have come online/gone offline, if anyone has sent you a message etc etc. This mean that it will have to constantly receive data from the network. How else would it know when something changes?

That is the nice side, the not so nice side is that skype uses your internet connection to do its own thing (the following is paragraph 5.2 of the skype EULA):

Use of Your Equipment: The Internet Communications Software may use the processing capabilities, memory and bandwidth of the computer (or other applicable device) you are using, for the limited purpose of facilitating the communication and establishing the connection between Internet Communications Software users. If your use of the Internet Communications Software is dependent upon the use of a processor and bandwidth owned or controlled by a third party, you acknowledge and agree that your licence to use the Internet Communications Software is subject to you obtaining consent from the relevant third party for such use. You represent and warrant that by accepting these Terms, you have obtained such consent.

What this means is that your computer may be used as a node to facilitate communication between other skype users.

share|improve this answer
When something changes, clients are informed by the server sending the updated data. I don't think any Internet IM client ever has needed to actively poll for things like that. – grawity Mar 19 '13 at 0:17
@grawity never said it had to poll, if the server is sending data, then skype is receiving it, therefore using up your bandwidth. Granted "constantly scanning" is not clear, I just meant that some data will have to be received by skype when something changes. – terdon Mar 19 '13 at 0:19
Also keep in mind that the connection has to be kept alive. You wouldn't want your NAT or firewall to throw away the IM's connection everytime you go for a coffee break. – Karma Fusebox Mar 19 '13 at 0:34
True, but a 17.51KBps download is one hell of a keep alive signal! – terdon Mar 19 '13 at 0:37
@terdon: In the image, Chrome is downloading at 17.51 KBps. Chloe's question is asking why Skype is uploading (0.63 KBps) and downloading (0.44 KBps) when it's not being used. – Bavi_H Mar 19 '13 at 0:58

skype DOES use your connection sometimes as a node regardless of what you or anyone else says - it remains in its coding (hence you will get 1-2kb data up and down)

ALSO: skype streams advertising to your client whether you selected it or not (the option only stops skype SHOWING the advert to you, not streaming it). This means that skype can tell advertising companies that they have a 'high' consumer base that regularly gets advertising, therefore get more business (keeping skype free for the non-payers).

Anything 'free' still has to pay for servers, which means it has a business model to get revenue. Generally: advertising, perks, extra options.

share|improve this answer

Skype is a P2P network. That implies it may use your connection to help other members of the network to communicate with or without your participation in that communication.

share|improve this answer
no it's not, Microsoft removed the P2P element of it… – HackToHell Mar 19 '13 at 2:19
I stand corrected. – Ярослав Рахматуллин Mar 19 '13 at 2:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .