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Skype vs WebRTC: Are They the Same Thing?
December 26th, 2016

Skype vs WebRTC: Are They the Same Thing?

Hailee Franco

People often ask if Skype and WebRTC are the same. The easy answer to this questions is no, but the question is bigger than a simple yes or no answer. So let’s discuss how they compare to each other a...

People often ask if Skype and WebRTC are the same. The easy answer to this questions is no, but the question is bigger than a simple yes or no answer. So let’s discuss how they compare to each other and where their differences lie.

Skype vs WebRTC

What is Skype?

Skype is a web and mobile application that allows users to place audio and video calls over the Internet. The business itself is an IP telephony provider and apart from calling services also enables file transfers, chat services, video conferencing, and texting. The stand-alone application can be used on mobile, desktop, and via the web.

What is WebRTC?

Whereas Skype is an application, WebRTC is a technology. WebRTC enables real-time communication through the use of a web browser. This allows for users to communicate through audio, video and text, without ever needing to install a plugin or download and application.

Not only that but it allows companies to incorporate the service into their website, helping to enhance the user experience. It also ensures that all media sent via WebRTC is encrypted, making it one of the most secure options for web-based communications.

Essentially, the two platforms provide the same services in different ways. Skype is an application, while WebRTC is a technology. Skype is often the solution for companies that don’t have the technical expertise to implement WebRTC technology or simply don’t want to. While WebRTC is used by companies that want to integrate a communication service into their website or other Internet-based platforms that they can customize.

Difference in video quality

Skype has worked very hard over the last few years to make advancements in their video and audio quality. They have done this by focusing on the engineering of their protocols for communications and working to make real-time adjustments to video quality. When a call is made through Skype and something changes affecting the quality they adjust. Adjustments are made to the bitrate, frame rate, and video resolution to compensate for the change.

That being said, WebRTC video is also relatively good in terms of quality. The difference is WebRTC doesn’t have as much ability to manage video and audio quality. Users can set various resolutions and bandwidth constraints to help with quality, however not all browsers automatically modify SDPs.

Integrations with WebRTC and Skype

In March of 2016, Skype announced it was giving businesses the ability to integrate the application into their own applications, both on the web and in mobile devices. This means both tools can be integrated into businesses through the use of APIs and HTML code.

Where they differ is that WebRTC is an open source technology. WebRTC can be altered to meet the needs of each company as a whole, without them needing to build something from the ground up. This means the technology can be configured on an individual basis, whereas Skype cannot. It is a proprietary application owned by Microsoft. Integrators who choose to use Skype are subject to their Terms of Service and capabilities.

Skype and WebRTC provide the same service but in two different ways. Skype is a closed-source proprietary application, while WebRTC is an open-source technology. Both have benefits for companies, as well as cons, leaving businesses to decide which is right for them on an individual basis. So no, Skype and WebRTC are not the same, just like apples and oranges, while both fruits they are not the same.

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