Skype says ’supernodes’ went offline in worldwide crash

December 23rd, 2010 - 12:23 pm ICT by BNO News  

LOS ANGELES (BNO NEWS) — Internet communication service Skype crashed for hours on Wednesday as technical problems prevented users from connecting to its application.

While people trying to login were unable to do so, those who were already online experienced the service go down. Skype said it began investigating the situation after noticing that the number of people online on Skype was quickly falling.

Skype continued to explain through its blog that its network is not 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,” the company said in its blog post. “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.”

Skype went on to describe the situation as “unfortunate,” explaining that under normal circumstances, a large number of supernodes are available, but problems caused many of them to go offline.

“Our engineers are creating new ‘mega-supernodes’ as fast as they can, which should gradually return things to normal. This may take a few hours, and we sincerely apologise for the disruption to your conversations. Some features, like group video calling, may take longer to return to normal,” Skype added.

Through its Twitter account, Skype later said its services were “gradually returning to normal - we expect it may take several hours for everyone to be able to sign in again, however.”

As of Thursday morning, however, many users were still unable to use the service and some who did manage to log in were repeatedly thrown offline.

As of June 30, Skype has 124 million active users on a monthly basis. Of the 124 million, only 8.1 million pay anything.

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