Skype details outage, 'supernode' issue

Summary:Skype suffered an outage on Wednesday after a version of the company's software interfered with "supernodes" in its peer-to-peer network. Service appears to be slowly returning to normal.

Skype suffered an outage on Wednesday after a version of the company's software interfered with "supernodes" in its peer-to-peer network. Service appears to be slowly returning to normal.

Skype service has been spotty at best most of the day. If you've come to rely on Skype for work your day has seriously been disrupted. Skype's explanation of the outage was interesting given the company's network is unique.

Here's the explanation:

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. Some of these computers are what we call ‘supernodes’ – they act a bit like phone directories for Skype. If you want to talk to someone, and your Skype app can’t find them immediately (for example, because they’re connecting from a different location or from a different device) your computer or phone will first try to find a supernode to figure out how to reach them.

Under normal circumstances, there are a large number of supernodes available. Unfortunately, today, many of them were taken offline by a problem affecting some versions of Skype. As Skype relies on being able to maintain contact with supernodes, it may appear offline for some of you.

Engineers are no working on "mega-supernodes" that should remedy the problem. Some features will take longer to get back to normal. Skype is posting more updates to its Twitter account.

Topics: Mobility, Collaboration, CXO, Outage, Social Enterprise, Telcos

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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