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back to article Skype hangs up on users

Skype's peer-to-peer technology appears to be to blame for a large-scale network outage, with users around the world experiencing connection problems. The scale of the SNAFU isn't known, but users are reporting problems connecting to the Skype network, or being disconnected within moments of connecting. A statement on the firm …

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More than 'some of you'

From what I've seen today, this is very widespread. I've twice managed to log in to the service. On a normal day the Skype Client will report 6-8 million users online. Earlier today there were only 3m, and a bit closer to lunch time, only 500k!

Software?

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That reminds me...

There was talk some time ago about the Skype p2p model struggling as more and more people are behind firewalls. What became of that? Personally, I've always been nervous about monopolies using proprietary software and so I use a SIP-based service.

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Did anyone *not* see this coming?

The stuff we've seen from Skype has always been a little dodgey -- more for WoW'er and low end home use than anything else.

On the other hand, maybe now we know what all these e-cards are about. Could the big Bells have started to see them as a threat and hired themselves some hackers? :)

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I remember...

...what my fiancée sounds like, which is a good thing since I can't talk to her today. I've yet to hold a connection for more than about 20 seconds and to top it all, it's not just login - call forwarding (which would normally get the calls when things get all snafu'd) isn't working either. I can't ascertain whether my SkypeIn number is functioning or not.

I've never known an outage on this scale but there has been a creeping increase in problems with Skype over the past 12 months or so. Call forwarding (silently) failing, SkypeIn (silently) failing, call quality issues and so on are almost a weekly occurrence for me.

Perhaps it's time to consider a new solution...

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Anonymous Coward

Maintenance last night

There was a report on their site, beofre it went down, saying that maintenance was carried out suceesfully last night.....or not as the case maybe

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RE: I remember...

"Perhaps it's time to consider a new solution..."

What about a telephone Jeremy?

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You get what you pay for

Whinewhine, but how many skype users are paying customers?

Gotta love the slogan though:

"Skype. Take a deep breath" (and hope?)

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Anonymous Coward

Conspiracy?

Perhaps the network operators are getting around to throttling Skype as they are usually VOIP sellers themselves....

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I hope it never comes back....

I can't deny Skype's utility as a piece of communications software, but from a corporate security viewpoint, Skype is a nightmare ... the protocol's desire to be un-categorisable (random ports, encrypted payload, constantly changing peer IP addresses) is the cause of many security headaches. Session analysis takes forever because of this, and more often than not the suspect traffic turns out to be Skype....

Please Skype - use a standard VoIP protocol, or make yours consistent and distinctive. If not for security reasons, do it so that we can categorise it as real-time traffic and prioritise it accordingly!

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Anonymous Coward

So...

The skype P2P network fails the Thursday after Microsoft Patch Tuesday.

Allowing two days for a critical number of users to fit a microsoft "fix". Which (perhaps) breaks the ability for each machine to be a skype node.

Thus by Thursday too few machines that can act as nodes are available to relay packets, meaning all users on all platforms can only connect sporadically.

This is going to be a pig to fix.

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Anonymous Coward

I am a paying SkypeOut user

I have no service here in Seattle.

The VOIP market is going to continue with multiple players for a little while yet, until one of them gets it nailed. Remember the early days of search engines.

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Not surprised either.

I agree with many of the comments above -- Skype was bound to have problems at some point -- either through ISPs cracking down, firewalls, hacking or plane old scaling problems.

If you pay for the service, I suppose you have a a right to be angry for them at not addressing the problems if you don't, like me, you'll probably want to look at another solution. Think I may install Gizmo when I get home tonight -- should have gone open source in the first place, really.

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Anonymous Coward

The Reg - The Fixer...

Just started reading this article and it reconnected, only 350k users. Now I spoke too soon, it's just booted me off again.

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Re: I remember...

> What about a telephone Jeremy?

I never thought of that :P

Seriously though, I meant long-term; it would be an international call and I'm not made of money. Skype's been going downhill ever since it changed from a handy and (relatively) lightweight app to a heavy piece of bloatware and a CPU usage hog.

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SIP SIP SIP SIP...

"SIP, the session intitation protocol, is the IETF protocol for VOIP and other text and multimedia sessions, like instant messaging, video, online games and other services."

"SIP offers all potentialities of the common Internet Telephony features like: * call or media transfer * call conference * call hold"

Basically, VOIP with SIP is a non-proprietary Skype alternative, with a multitude of outbound (and inbound) voice providers to choose from. Combined with a 3rd party service called Voxalot, I use multiple outbound providers (sipphone.com, voipbuster/smsdiscount, & voxalot itself for some free and Internet-based calls) to call at the cheapest rate possible depending on the destination. Using a SIP supporting ATA, I make all my calls (except emergency calls) through the Internet using my standard handset - I don't have to pay any more than I must to the incumbent Telco!! I could also purchase a WiFi-enabled SIP phone and make cheap phone calls from other lightly-firewalled WiFi enabled locations. Or I could just use a computer and a headset, like millions of people do.

Can I call Skype? No. Can they call me? No. Do I care? No, because I get 300 unbilled minutes per week to dozens of countries (landline) and much cheaper rates than Skype provides. I just call my family and friends in Australia, the Netherlands, and Germany on their landlines for free* or mobiles at reduced rates. There are some really great offers out there for VOIP calls.

(*) Using smsdiscount.com, so long as I have a positive account balance

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Skype's expensive

I agree that Skype's expensive - I phone the ball and chain in the Far East on her mobile for 1.5p/min. Skype was 6p & connection charge. Luckily this service is based in the US and is billed in US$, so I'd like to thank the US nation for their spiralling debt. You are paying for an extra wank a week. God bless you.

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Anonymous Coward

Title

Yes,

I love sipphone and the fact that i can use it from my N95 over WiFi like a normal GSM call, no need for a PC and headset, or a phone adapter:

http://www.nokia.com/A4403822

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Anonymous Coward

Free services

> how many skype users are paying customers?

You could say the same thing about email.

Few users will sign up for Skype and immediately start using paid-for services. But if they become loyal long-term users (think 2, 5 or 10 years) it's very likely that they will generate some revenue for Skype at some point during this period.

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You're kidding, right?

So Bell invents this telephone thing. Huge companies are formed to provide telephone service. They're regulated by the government because the telephone comes to be considered a basic necessity. Some of the top engineers in the world labor to make it work better, including the inventing the transistor. Vast amounts of money are spent on infrastructure.

Then a bunch of yahoos come along and claim they can replace it with some software that runs on a new-fangled invention. By the way, the Internet was invented by those same engineers who built the phone and they never designed it for carrying voice because we had a perfectly capable network designed just for that.

Let's get a clue here, folks. This was a long time coming. It's the revenge of the "close our eyes and hope" business model from the dot.com boom.

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Tim

Well, if people will use a Mickey Mouse service...

... what do they expect.

What's the point of a proprietary service which requires their own software and bypassing all the lovely SIP stuff built into standard hardware these days.

The SIP integration in my N80 is great. Add a SIP phone number/email to a contact in the phone and just hit call. Pick a regular number and it just pops up an option to call it via voice or internet. No need to launch a damn Skype app (experience of which is sure to be painful on a Symbian phone).

At home, SIP in my router and I just plug in any old analogue or DECT phone. Get an Internet call and both my home phone and N80 ring and I pick up either! Fantastic.

Now the real problem is I have no one to call via VoIP services so it's all a waste anyway (and being on ADSL I can't ditch BT phone to make it worthwhile using for landline/mobile calls).

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“Some of you’

I'm connected with 10,941 others at this point, but it dropped to 3,500 20 minutes ago

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RE: Skype's expensive

@Chris Collins

I agree that Skype's expensive - ... Luckily this service is based in the US ...I'd like to thank the US ... You are paying for an extra wank a week...

Glad to hear it; makes the pension collapse much more bearable... Toss one for me!

;)

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BTW, try accessing the forums...

Guess this is another result of the $billion or so you "invested" adding Skype to the eBay fold...gee, thanks...I think we all need a nice soft pillow to sit on until we heal...

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Anonymous Coward

@A.Merkin

Sorry us yanks just use the bloody service. If you're going to place blame in this fubar, I refer you to the whois for skype.com:

Administrative Contact: Amsterdam, Netherlands; Technical Contact: Tallinn, Estonia. And the name of the tech contact is listed, I'll resist posting it.

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Anonymous Coward

"The skype P2P network fails the Thursday after Microsoft Patch Tuesday."

Whoever said:

"The skype P2P network fails the Thursday after Microsoft Patch Tuesday."

Sounds on the money to me. If a Microsoft patch is causing the problem I don't see this being "fixed" for a week while they slowly roll out new clients, trying to get to the critical mass of new clients to the right level. Plenty of time for people to try out alternatives.

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Anonymous Coward

I found a solution!!!

http://www.packet8.net

I've been with them since 2004 and have had very few problems. No way would I switch to another VoIP provider given Skype issues, SunRocket recently going under, and the current position of Vonage.

I have yet to find anything priced any better with the same level of service/quality as Packet8.

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Why is everyone so sour?

Skype will be back in business in a day. I actually like the little bugger, it saves me a ton on phone bills and I use it extensivly instead of MSN (which is bloated with inbuilt money generators beyond belief) as a chat client. In fact, a lot of people do.

As for the algorithms/codecs - they are, as they should be, invisible to the end user. I understand that businesses might struggle with skype eating all their bandwidth, but they do what they gotta do - besides, if people want to chat instead of working, the business has more problems than just vanilla bandwidth consuption.

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What were you doing?

Breck Lundin wrote:

Guess this is another result of the $billion or so you "invested" adding Skype to the eBay fold...gee, thanks...I think we all need a nice soft pillow to sit on until we heal...

---------------------------

Mate... What were you doing when Skype went out?

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optional services ---

www.gizmo.com

www.tivi.com

www.teltel.com

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Anonymous Coward

If Skype's expensive maybe its cos some of us never pay

I'm in Spain, the office is the UK, family are in the UK. Skype is free and easy - like grandma can use it to see her grandkids. Wouldn't use it to make a phone call though - too unreliable - regularly cuts out. For free, with video calls it's a no-brainer - well at least until today when it goes wrong - mind you my guess is also probably an M$ update Tuesday has screwed them.

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Anonymous Coward

The skype P2P network fails the Thursday after Microsoft Patch Tuesday.

"If a Microsoft patch is causing the problem I don't see this being "fixed" for a week while they slowly roll out new clients, trying to get to the critical mass of new clients to the right level."

they have indeed cut the download link from their site. looks more and more that this could be a reasonable hypothesis...

hmm - don't MS and eBay talk? hmm - maybe not...

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Anonymous Coward

Sniveling SIP'ers

All you SIP'ers take your shots while you can! This is one of the few times you can have fun. Vonage is in death spiral; most of you SIP VoIP'ers will be next. When eBay's deep pockets fix this and create a failsafe Skype (which won't really take much money) you're fate will be sealed. eBay bought Skype for eCommerce. You don't think this is going to hardened the product? VoIP is going to be a free service, paid for by ecommerce, social networking, media, etc. SIP VoIP has no future.

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Not Patch Tuesday...

Doesn't seem that patch Tuesday was at fault. It's slowly coming back up without any software update. Over 900,000 users and climbing...

The site status said something about planned maintenance last night and that there was "a deficiency in an algorithm within Skype networking software." So someone dropped a bollock last night code-wise, perhaps?

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re :I found a solution!!!

as packet 8 employee nothing could make me smile more. GOes back hiding under a rock

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Anonymous Coward

Looks more like a global outage to me

Normal traffic is (say) 7m users. Last night (after four hours trying to connect) there were (according to the client) about 200k users.

The problem exists across Europe at least. The system is not up yet...

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Anonymous Coward

Desastrous

Seems that the Skype architecture has single points of failure. Is their stock price tumbling?

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Silver badge

No sympathy

Most people using Skype are using a *free service* (isn't this an oxymoron?) so if it drops there is no redress.

VoIP is terribly inefficient on IPv4 and while it's nice in some situations that Skype will tunnel it's way through any infrastructure it does so at a price both for itself but also for other traffic but at least it does encrypt the calls. SIP may be a standard but as there is no standard encryption then virtually all SIP calls are extremely easy to intercept. No need for anyone to do any wiretapping.

Most telephone networks here are standardising on using some form of VoIP for normal calls. Yes, it's cheaper but all of a sudden the avalability according the contract is no longer 100% but 98%, ie. be prepared to do without it for 8 days a year! (I have a Europe and North American flatrate for €5 per month). But anyone in the IT world knows that high availability is what drives up costs. Hopefully things will improve with an increased uptake in IPv6 by carriers eager to show that they can provide more than parasites like Skype.

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Fault in Protocol

Actually I think its something to do with the skype protocol, someone has managed to hack into how the protocol works...........a few days my nortons informed me that Skype was trying to attack the PC....werid. Its the first time I've seen this and on reading other web sites someone has posted a proof of concept.

Yeah blame the coding because I'm waiting for Skype to post a fix which fixes the loop hole, in order to limit the damage of this loop whole Sykpe has shutdown the sign in service.....

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Anonymous Coward

Coincidence?

Blizzard had a problem with their sign on servers for WoW yesterday - a day after their regular maintenance.

Took them 4 hours to resolve.

Two in the same day? hmmmm....

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Anonymous Coward

Why Skype is Dead including source code

http://www.widgetlogic.com/play.php?vid=101

I video blogged here about it but in essence a simple overrun caused multiple peer nodes to crash resulting in a cascade failure of the network.

The issue won't be in fixing the client (it will be a simple change within the Skype appliaction to fix it) btu how to distribute it, as it is almost chicken and egg,

Without the software update the network can't heal itself and without the network the update can't propogate!

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Tim

Re: SIP VoIP has no future

"VoIP is going to be a free service, paid for by ecommerce, social networking, media, etc. SIP VoIP has no future"

Err, SIP is free if you're calling other SIP numbers. Same as a Skype user calling another Skype user, except you aren't limited to just subscribers of the same provider. Landline and mobile calls are as cheap as any "cheap" call provider (so long as you don't use the likes of Vonage). It's also a *standard*, supported by hundreds of manufacturers, hardware devices, phones, mobiles, networks, routers, ISPs, and requires no P2P network and proprietary client applications.

SIP providers can easily have a business model paid for by "ecommerce, social networking, media, etc." if they wished. Most are paid for by landline/mobile calls though which is likely to continue to be the standard for voice calls for a long time yet.

I use SIP via sipgate to get a 2nd phone line for incoming business calls with a local '01' prefix number for absolutely nothing and can receive calls via a DECT phone plugged into my router or on my N80 mobile via WiFi and I don't need to have a PC powered on all the time. Try that with Skype!

Skype is also limited to regions where it's popular. No use doing VoIP with Skype to a country where no one uses it but is big on SIP which is available in just about every country in the world.

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