Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Skype and ENUM

Skype and ENUM

Richard Stastny proposes extending ENUM to support Skype. He suggests a NAPTR of the following form:
IN NAPTR 100 100 "u" "E2U+x-skype:callto" "!^.*$!callto://detlev!" .
This solution would at least allow all ENUM clients running on the end-users device to use this feature.
Well, I'm sure Richard knows this, but it's not clear to the average reader that the "end-user device" noted above must in this case be something running Skype's software, and in particular, I believe for the moment it means a Windows PC running Skype (not sure if the callto hack works from a Mac). This is because Skype is a closed protocol and only the actual Skype software can make Skype calls. So your average brand-X VoIP phone cannot make use of the proposed skype callto address.
I've got nothing against the proposed ENUM hack, but it's important to understand that it is not a cure for seamless Skype and SIP interoperability and integration, in contrast to the views of a few posts I've seen floating around referencing Richard's post.
One particular question I have on this idea is that if I have to be running Skype on Windows to make use of the ENUM data in the first place, why wouldn't I just call them directly via Skype? What's the value of ENUM in this case? I guess the theory is that I'm more likely to know their phone number, or prefer to use their phone number, rather than their skype handle.

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