VoIP and instant messaging problem looming: Skype doesn't support IPv6

VoIP and instant messaging problem looming: Skype doesn't support IPv6

Summary: Microsoft may be closing down Windows Live Messenger in favor of Skype, but Skype has a connectivity problem: It doesn't support the Internet's next generation protocol: IPv6.


Skype may be available on Windows 8, but it's not available on the IPv6 Internet.

Skype, despite built-in advertising and no privacy guarantees  is still a very popular Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and instant messaging (IM) client. Indeed, Microsoft is replacing Windows Live Messaging with Skype. Skype has another problem that's becoming increasingly troublesome: It doesn't support Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

This is rather odd. Windows 8, and earlier versions of Windows, support IPv6.  With the last IPv4 addresses vanishing, more and more businesses and groups are moving to IPv6 and most MIcrosoft applications have long supported the next generation Internet protocol. By staying stuck in the IPv4 lane, Skype will not only become unusable for smoe users, it's also becoming an obstacle to IPv6 adoption.

Cameron Byrne, Technical Staff Architect at T-Mobile, observed on the IPv6 Internet operators list that "Yet another year goes by, and Skype still remains one of the most popular apps, and thus its IPv4 dependence blocks meaningful IPv6-only adoption. Skype is the poster child of IPv4 dependence."

True, problems and all, Skype remains very popular. Skype may account for as much as a third of international long distance call minutes and it's well lovedr on Android as a way of dodging carrier voice minutes restrictions.

That's all well and good but as Dan York, Senior Content Strategist for the Internet Society points out Skype's IPv4 requirements is a real problem for moving the Internet to its next protocol. "Skype's failure to support IPv6 *is* a major hurdle for many organizations and *is* the reason I've had multiple people tell me they can't move to an IPv6-only network (or even is just a blocker for them to even think about IPv6, i.e. 'Skype doesn't work with IPv6 so why should we bother.' In truth, it is the primary reason why *I* can't move to using only IPv6 within my home network."

Since we will run out of IPv4 addresses soon, North America's last IPv4 address is expected to be assigned out next June, Microsoft needs to do something sooner than later. When I asked Microsoft about this their only response was "Skype does not support IPv6 at this time." Microsoft, now's the time to pick a time.

We know Microsoft can do it. Lync 2013, Microsoft's enterprise collaboration server, which also supports VoIP and IM, and includes Skype interoperability, already supports IPv6.

Related Stories: 

Topics: Networking, Android, Collaboration, Microsoft, Telcos, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • VoIP and instant messaging problem looming: Skype doesn't support IPv6

    No big deal, just got to give it time. Skype is still a fairly new member to the Microsoft family so they haven't been able to integrate everything into it yet. There is no doubt that Skype will support IPV6 but as it stands right now they are in no hurry. Most people are not moving to IPV6 networks and that is especially true for consumers where a lot of the Skype usage is. When IPV6 picks up then Skype will get it.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Must be running out of FUD

      ... to pick on sth this trivial.
    • slow day at the office SJVN ?

      Maybe you should head down to your local computer store and actually try Windows 8.

    • Chicken and egg problem

      "Most people are not moving to IPV6 networks and that is especially true for consumers where a lot of the Skype usage is. When IPV6 picks up then Skype will get it."

      People don't upgrade because apps are not there, apps don't update because people is not there... someone's got to break the circle or we're never going to upgrade!

      The thing is will someone on IPv4 network be able to call someone on IPv6 on Skype? The article mentions Microsoft's Lync 2013, is that one able to join people of both versions of the IP in the same conversation?
  • yet

  • When my cable ISP's start supporting IPv6....

    that's when I'll care.

    Any corporation that is looking to IPv6 connectivity should be using Lync anyway, not the consumer product, Skype. Only corporations need to concern themselves with IPv6 support at this time.
  • You're Missing The Real Question...

    Can Skype be upgraded before IPV6 gets really deployed and used globally?
    If yes, there's no real issue, just click-bait.
  • Sounds like a scare tactic.

    IP address are going to run out ! Just like we heard in the 80's That the world oil supply will be dry in 20 years. (and the US will use the metric system). Why print such garbage trying to put fear in people's mind. The internet will n ot stop working and IPV6 is years away .
  • another fud from mr linux

    Obtw Comcast is not supporting ipv6 90% of home routers not supporting ipv6. Some businesses running vpn guess what not supporting ipv6
  • Spellcheck?

    Seriously... did a 2 year old write this? MIcrosoft, smoe and lovedr all in one article.
  • Why does it matter?

    See this is where I don't see a problem. I have my home router and some of my client routers running on IPv6 on their WAN side of things, and internal computers run on IPv4 behind the router. Unless a single corporation has over 4,294,967,296 devices, then IPv6 shouldn't even be needed on an internal network. I run Skype on my home PC all the time which is behind an IPv6 router which is DEFINITELY running IPv6 for its WAN.
  • Let me translate

    "Skype, despite built-in advertising and no privacy guarantees is still a very popular Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and instant messaging (IM) client."

    Skype, despite being owned by Microsoft, is the most popular VOIP and IM client.

    You should make your FUD more direct SJVN ;-)
    • do not forget

      that Skype/Microsoft, like any other communication company, are obligated by law to provide access to the communications they transmit to law enforcement agencies.
      Using SJVN logic, I can write hundreds of blogs starting from "YOUR FAVORITE COMPANY NAME HERE", despite no privacy guarantees, is still the most popular/largest provider of "***" services.

      And, BTW, I do not see any ads in my Skype for Mac.
    • Tony McSherry heard a lot of noise

      In your translation, I did get Skype doesn't support IPv6.
  • LOL...

    And when the Internet can natively route V6 traffic this problem will have been solved.

    Note that this may never happen in my, or SJVNN's lifetimes.

    Also note that all of MS' products and OS' support V6 (or dual stack) natively and have for some time. since Skype is a recent acquisition, I'm sure that will happen as well, but job #1 is finding out how to be monetize the purchase.

    As usual from this clown, nothing to see here....
  • Skype Is A Dead-End

    Yet another reason to avoid this proprietary, dead-end product and embrace alternatives based on SIP and other open standards.
  • no problem

    It will certainly be over a decade from now to ever become a problem. No company or home user runs ipv6 exclusively, if they did, 99% of websites and services would be unreachable. Instead they are fully dual stack or use tunneling.

    Seems to me, you don't really know what you are writing about. Clueless..
  • I didn't know we were supposed to worry about IPv6

    Most consumers don't know or even care what it is.

    But more importantly, this is a very Y2K-like fear-harnessing warning.

    Every 5 years or so we go through a "v6 is happening now!" period, and it just doesn't.
    It will hit the mainstream migration status someday, but not anytime soon.

    It's kind of like that "This is the year of Linux" argument, except that it will eventually happen.
  • Yawn -

    I find Steven's baseless rants interesting only to locate inaccuracies and stupidities. Example, "With the last IPv4 addresses vanishing,"

    While he comments on the remaining unassigned blocks of IPv4, he then switches tense to cover the already assigned blocks of IPv4 by talking about businesses switching to IPv6.

    While new blocks will be unavailable shortly, the existing blocks of IPv4 will be around for a very long time.

    Also, for most of us using someone like ComCast or another provider, ComCast will probably continue to assign IPv4 style addresses to home users for a very long time. Businesses will probably continue to issue "10." addressing internally to their own networks for decades. As such, the IPv6 problems will be largely masked from SKYPE.

    One must ask the question, where does he get this stupid tripe he's constantly bellowing about?