Skype recovering, but Xmas calls could still suffer

Skype says it has restored service to around 10 million customers, leaving up to 15 million more still unable to sign in.

The company notes that even those who do get back online may find that it takes time after signing to show up as “online”, and instant messaging might not be quite so instant.

Ominously the company also notes that “Group video calling will take longer to return to normal.” Given that we’re just two days away from what must surely be the point of the year that has the most demand for that service, it’s safe to say Skype bosses won’t be having a very merry Christmas this year.

It’s not possible to get a precise figure of how many users can and can’t access the service as Skype doesn’t run central servers — instead it’s a torrent-like peer-to-peer service which uses the processing power of computers that are signed in. (And if you’ve ever thought your computer runs slower while signed in, you probably aren’t imagining things.)

It’s this system that appears to be the cause of the problems. By default, any computer signed in to Skype is configured as a “supernode” in the network. Though this doesn’t mean users’ computers route call data, they do act as a key point in making sure one Skype user’s computer is able to find and connect with another’s. But this system has failed yesterday and is only gradually coming back online. The outage is already the longest in Skype’s history.

Engineers are now working on manually setting up what Skype beautifully names “mega-supernodes.”

The company’s commercial business service, Skype Enterprise, has not been affected by the problems.

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4 Responses to Skype recovering, but Xmas calls could still suffer

  1. Considering the week and a half MSN Messenger went down back in the early 2000s, this is nothing and actually shows how awesome Skype is!

    I've never had a huge problem with Skype and assumed my computer going slower was just because of the size of the code itself that runs the program – and since I'm often on Photoshop or iMovie, I can't exactly be outraged and expect something different from a videocalling app.

    • Oh geez I remember that week, I was in highschool at the time and had just gotten back from a long camping trip, arriving home to find MSN down was, at the time, the most horrifying thing ever.

  2. For the blessing that Skype has been to those of us living overseas all these years, we can put up with a little inconvenience now and then!! Thank you, SKYPE!!

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