Skype details outage, 'supernode' issue

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.

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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, CXO, Collaboration, Outage, Telcos, Social Enterprise

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12 comments
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  • Skype alternative

    If you want a Skype alternative (at least for video calls and chat), use http://www.FaceFlow.com, very easy and free even for group video calls... It's in Beta still but it works well right now and very promising. You can also learn more there : http://www.faceflow.com/skype-alternative
    chicohuman
    • RE: Skype details outage, 'supernode' issue

      @chicohuman It can be a great alternative if only it was not blocked in China...
      elementx
    • RE: Skype details outage, 'supernode' issue

      @chicohuman

      As an alternative for a system having reliability problems, you are proposing a beta product? One that has never yet been scaled up to the scale of Skype's worldwide coverage?

      Get real.
      mejohnsn
  • RE: Skype details outage, 'supernode' issue

    s/no/now/ in the very last paragraph.
    ltjackal@...
    • RE: Skype details outage, 'supernode' issue

      @ltjackal@... correct, it should be "workee," not "working."
      catseverywhere@...
  • RE: Skype details outage, 'supernode' issue

    "Unfortunately, today, many of them were taken offline."

    Question: how the heck do you manage to nuke "many" supernodes all at once? The whole point of distributing the directories across many resources is to increase resiliency, right? Perhaps a DOS attack, a virus or a major fu** up in the upgrade process makes more sense. The supernode explanation seems a bit weak... :-/
    titusmagnus
    • RE: Skype details outage, 'supernode' issue

      @titusmagnus There was also a big failure some years ago caused by a windows update that rebooted lots of PCs, brought the skype network down 1-2 days. This was probably a broken update to the skype software.
      gheorghe3000
    • RE: Skype details outage, 'supernode' issue

      @titusmagnus

      Especially since none of the articles on this (not even on Skype's own website) explain what a 'supernode' is. They make it sound like the Skype network is a cross between DNS and P2P, but with no details, they leave us with a very fuzzy picture indeed.
      mejohnsn
  • RE: Skype details outage, 'supernode' issue

    It took me a long time to sign on today, but I did get connected to Skype. The first thing I saw was a comment from one of my Skype contacts, "Skype is flaky[sic] period".

    To which I replied, "I could agree with that; but the difference is that this time it made the news".
    mejohnsn
  • SUPER-NODES

    "Our super-nodes are not working"
    "..."
    "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
    "Hell yeah."
    "MEGASUPERNODE."

    How can something fail when it's megasuper?
    Naryan
  • RE: Skype details outage, 'supernode' issue

    As a business model...IF it appears off line to the customer "It is off line"!
    rdhalsteatzd
  • Reflap, a new awesome video chat website

    Thanks for the super long list. That was very detailed. Here is a new video chat website I found out that could be a great skype alternative, tinychat alternative or even a chatroulette. It’s called Reflap and it allows you to receive calls and make easy video calls to friends and family. try it out http://www.reflap.com
    thenabster