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'Super nodes' crash, crippling the cheap-calls service

Skype offline for millions

Voice over IP service Skype was down for millions of users as software flaw causes ‘super nodes’ to crash.

The Skype service was down much of the 22nd of December with millions of users being disconnected and unable to make cheap calls via the software. Readwriteweb noted that the number of online users dropped from around 21 million to 12.8 million, indicating that around 8 million Skype users has been disconnected.

The problem related to the peer-to-peer nature of the Skype service with so-called ‘supernodes’ crashing so that users were unable to route calls. Eventually Skype responded to mounting complaints, saying that it was investigating the issue.

“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,” Skype said.

“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.”

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