Why did my Skype go down?

Posted on Thu 23 Dec 2010 23:54

Because Skype uses supernodes, which...

Wait, superwhat now?
Supernodes. When you connect to Skype, you're actually connecting to a supernode. Any Skype data passes through supernodes to get to the right place

So it's peer to peer then?
Exactly. It works in a similar way to Bittorrent

So what happened?
A ton of supernodes were taken offline. This meant that there were fewer 'servers' for you to connect to, so in effect Skype was down

Why did they go offline?
We don't know - Skype have been keeping very quiet about that. All we know is that it's a problem in the Skype software

What, you mean these supernodes are running Skype?
Yes - any and all computers running Skype (assuming they're not behind a firewall) are a supernode

Does that mean people are using Skype over my Internet connection? In a sense, yes

Won't this cost me and slow my connection down?
We don't know - we can't know for certain how much traffic goes through supernodes, all we know is that they exist and are important

I don't like this! Do you guys do the same thing?
No! All of our VoIP users connect directly to our servers. We don't use supernodes or anything similar like that

Does that mean your VoIP won't ever go down like this?
We provide Carrier level quality aimed at small and growing businesses and as you connect directly to our own servers, there's less that can go wrong. If anything does go wrong (which is highly unlikely) it can only either be something on our end or something on your end. Lots of Taxi Companies and Call Centres rely on our service for the success of their business.

What if it's something on your end?
One of our plucky engineers take home our "emergency mobile" every night - which doesn't go through our VoIP systems (it's a normal mobile phone connected to a regular mobile phone provider). If anything goes wrong the plucky volunteer will get a notification, or you can call them yourself from your mobile phone (and you get to wake them up, which is always fun. The ringtone is really loud, I set it myself in a fit of evilness).
As we own our own servers and we use our own systems built on industry standard open source software (Asterisk, SER and Freeswitch), we can fix it in a matter of minutes, before the kettle has even boiled to make a cup of coffee

And what if it's something my end?
Then it's probably something to do with your Internet connection. But give us a call anyway and we'll help you to get it sorted out. We want our customers to be as happy as possible.

Wow, I can actually call you for support?
Provided you're one of our customers, yes! We love receiving phonecalls, it makes us feel loved

Can I do anything to minimise problems at my end?
Just make sure you use a really good router - we recommend (and supply) Vigor 2820 routers. Also make sure you have a high quality ADSL connection that isn't shared with loads of other people doing pesky things like watching iPlayer or playing games - we can supply that too.
We're so confident with the connection we provide, we use it for our local radio station - we actually send the broadcast from the studio to the transmitter!

So I should use you rather than use Skype?
We would love you to! If communications is important to you, Skype only skims the service when it comes to VoIP technology. We can provide you with interactive voice menus (you know, the type that asks you to press 1 for...), voicemail, queues (with music), call forwarding to your mobile, proper iPhone integration and so much more. Oh, and our services won't break because of a software update that went wrong

Fantastic! Now, I have this problem with my laptop...?
Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Who exactly are these Skype dudes anyway?
They do Internet Telephony. Their full company name is Skype Limited, and you can find their website at http://www.skype.com/

Carl Taylor

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Carl Taylor
Phone: 0161 710 3001
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