Home Skype Apologizes, Explains Today’s Downtime

Skype Apologizes, Explains Today’s Downtime

Although Skype has not been fully restored for everyone, the company has updated its blog with an indication of what’s happening to cause such a widespread and lengthy outage in the VOIP service.

According to spokesperson Peter Parkes, problems with the Skype network’s “supernodes” are responsible – something it may take several more hours to fix.

As Parkes notes, “Skype isn’t a network like a conventional phone or IM network – instead, it relies on millions of individual connections between computers and phones to keep things up and running.” In other words, Skype uses a peer-to-peer, rather than a client-server model in order to connect callers. Some of these connections, says Parkes, operate as “supernodes” – “the phone directories for Skype.” And apparently a number of these supernodes failed this morning.

This explanation certainly supports the cascading failures we reported earlier today, with Skype connections dropping from 21 million to around 1 million (by our accounts here at ReadWriteWeb as, like many remote workers, we scrambled for another communication tool).

Parkes says that it may take hours for new supernodes to be readied, and even longer for other Skype features such as group video calling to be restored.

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