Skype Outage Leaves Millions Searching For Landlines

No, it’s not just you. A Skype “supernode” outage has left millions of users without access to the popular Internet phone service. According to company engineers, the problem may last a few more hours, and video calling may not be available until even later.

So, what’s a supernode? Glad you asked. According to The Wall Street Journal:

So what went wrong? The company says the problem has to do with its “supernodes” — a crucial part of its peer-to-peer networking system. Almost any computer in the network can be a Skype supernode, and these act like directories for the service, telling Skype things like who is online. Skype says a problem with some versions of Skype took a bunch of supernodes down, meaning that people weren’t able to log on as normal.

Skype’s last major outage, according to The Journal, was in 2007.

Skype Down for Millions of Users [WSJ.com]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. obits3 says:

    I can’t help but think that Bank of America had something to do with this…

  2. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Related, but not really: Just a heads up…
    Magic Jack has been having problems, too, but its ongoing, and as I understand it is Magic Jack’s fault… The have been refusing to pay local teleco’s interconnect fees, and certain exchanges are inaccessible. (busy and “unable to be reached as dialed” messages)

  3. jaya9581 says:

    This is ironic considering today I was planning on purchasing a Skype calling plan.

  4. jason in boston says:

    Talk about uptime. 2 outages in 3 years? Is this even better than gmail?

    • daemonaquila says:

      Not really. Part of Skype’s problems that they don’t talk about is that call quality isn’t always stellar, and some people who use it heavily have reported lots of dropped or failed calls. So, I don’t consider their record that good even though technically they’ve only had a complete outage a couple times. It’s that daily reliability that counts more. I don’t avoid Skype because of the threat of those rare outages that occur about as frequently as Ma Bell’s (fires that melt wires to a whole neighborhood, storm damage, construction crew cutting a trunk line…), but because of the more mundane problems people have relying on it as a primary means to call people.

      • jason in boston says:

        Could that be due to QOS on your router? Before I installed dd-wrt, skype was “okay”, and torrenting killed my connection. After setting up QOS correctly, skype stopped with the “robot voice” and torrents didn’t kill my connection.

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        My corporate employer switched to Skype for all our field based employees last year. Its hated, but apparently saved a TON of money. Field employees who call me often have to try to call more than once, have the call disconnected, or have such horrible audio quality that we hang up and try again.

  5. mbgrabbe says:

    I wish they would elaborate on what “a problem with some versions of Skype” means. That’s about as vague as it gets.

  6. c!tizen says:

    What is this “landline” that you speak of and how does it tie into Facebook?

  7. Dragon Tiger says:

    Didn’t expect the FCC’s internet judgement to have such an immediate effect. :P

  8. daemonaquila says:

    I’m really not surprised. Skype is nice for people who don’t have to RELY on it, as are other non-telco types of phone systems. This is the same reason I wouldn’t buy VOIP for the company I ran – if the provider can’t keep my company’s Internet up with total reliability, why am I going to assume they’ll keep the VOIP working 24/7? For a while, they were obnoxiously trying to push me to go VOIP to “save money” (I luuuuuuve sales quotas). They gave up after I pointed out to them that with the equipment charges it’ll cost me more than the land lines (our PBX equipment was all paid off), and I didn’t trust their reliability. Their final response to the latter? “Oh, but you should keep enough backup land lines in case of failure/down time.” Uh, that would mean I’m paying for both the VOIP *and* a good number of my land lines. What a joke. I’m afraid Ma Bell is still queen, with standard cel from the larger providers not too far behind.

    • Rachacha says:

      VoIP is nice in some situations, especially in situations where you have 1 & 2 person offices in remote locations or people working from their home, or international offices, with the right equipment, they can plug in a SIP phone to just about any internet connection and be connected just as if they were in the office. I used to work in an office that moved to VoIP after their PBX died, and it was nice because we were able to offer seamless 24hr coverage to our clients with our offices around the world, and we were able to communicate with our coworkers in Asia simply by dialing a 4 digit extension number. I am sure similar solutions exist in traditional PBX systems, but they may be complex to set up.

      You also need to look at the uptime for your ISPs and compare that with your local telco. My wife’s office is looking to replace their PBX that is dying a slow death, and considering a move to VoIP because of some of the additional features that it offers that are not available on current landlines. While their ISP is fairly reliable, I suggested that they get a second ISP into their office to run a second connection to the public internet (even a slow connection) so that if their primary ISP went down, they could continue to operate at least a few phone lines, and alert their remote receptionist to start taking all incoming calls and route people to cell phones.

  9. Wolfbird says:

    Well, considering how much we pay per month I expected worse. Mr Wolfbird was tired of getting price gouged by Bell Canada’s unescapable contract so he bought an iPod Touch and put Skype on it. Basically, for $2 a month every wireless hotspot is a phone booth.

  10. Benanov says:

    I use Ekiga…and their account registration has been failing for months now–however Ekiga makes a nice SIP client for calling my friends. It’s unfortunate that Skype got their stuff together before the more open SIP people did.

  11. MercuryPDX says:

    I had and successfully completed two conference calls on Skype. I guess I got lucky!

    I’m staring at the icon in the desktop tray and it’s just spinning…

  12. Razor512 says:

    The latest version of skype crashes a lot. The skype client is also the same client for the supernodes

    If enough supernodes crash, you get a domino effect which brings nearly the entire network down since skype relies on a P2P method. (random parts also fail, eg with the latest skype, video chatting and screen sharing randomly fail.skype also gets memory leaks and some weird problem where it will just max out 1 CPU core for no reason until you restart it.

    A few days ago they pushed a new update out and ever since, the number of users have been dropping.

  13. debones says:

    This would make sense as to why I can’t log on to skype from my smartphone. I thought it was because I just got a new phone and it was taking awhile but I like this reasoning a lot better than “your new phone sucks.”

    And for anyone curious why I want skype on my cell, my brother lives in Fiji and uses Skype on his itouch to keep in touch with me for free.

  14. stevied says:

    ah shucks, too bad.

    Just another reason why I have a land line.

  15. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I have a landline for Internet and a cell. I didn’t know about this. BF and I were going to Skype last night and open presents, but his package didn’t arrive. So we would have missed it anyway.

    The quality hasn’t been the greatest, but at least we can see each other most of the time when we call. That helps the long distance thing. And it’s saved me long distance calling on the landline.

  16. Captain Walker says:

    Please explain this to my mother in law. She couldn’t Skype with her granddaughter last night and was going crazy.

  17. blanddragon says:

    Bueller….Bueller?