Skype Back Online: Users Warned of Sluggish Service

More Skype users are back online after a significant service outage Wednesday, but the company warns you may still see slower service times for status updates, instant messaging and initiating group video chat. Skype estimates more than 10 million users were back online as of 9 a.m. Eastern Thursday. The number comes just hours after Skype said just 5 million active users were back up--about one-third the normal traffic levels for Skype service during the early morning. At peak periods on a typical day there are usually 23 million Skype users signed into the service.

A check of Skype's status page around 9:30 a.m. indicated that most services are working normally including Skype's dial out service, online phone numbers, voicemail and the company's enterprise service, Skype Connect. Skype's SMS service was experiencing problems as of 9:15 a.m. Eastern, and you may also experience problems signing in to the service.

Skype's problems started Wednesday after the company noticed a significant drop in its traffic levels. The problem was traced to what Skype calls supernode computers that were knocked out due to a software problem in some versions of Skype.

Supernodes act as a directory of phone numbers and accounts for Skype users. Despite the fact that Skype relies on peer-to-peer networking--where computers signed in to Skype distribute the traffic load and make it harder for the system to crash similar to Bit Torrent file sharing--the network relies on these critical supernode computers to function properly. Skype said it is now working on creating "mega-supernodes" to restore service to normal levels.

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