The Skype VOIP service which allows millions of users to call one another over the internet, usually for free, has been down for almost 36 hours.
Falling call volumes led the company to investigate and they found that “supernodes” which allow the Skype service to locate users were no longer working.
Engineers have been working to replace the function of the supernodes with “meganodes”, but they are unlikely to be fully functional straight away.
Skype issued this statement:
Earlier today, we noticed that the number of people online on Skype was falling, which wasn’t typical or expected, so we began to investigate.
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.
What are we doing to help? 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.
Customers using the enterprise version of Skype for Windows may still experience delays signing in.
To receive updates, users can follow the Skype Twitter account at @skype