Skype has confirmed that its network is currently experiencing an outage, resulting in a loss of connectivity for millions of Skype users. It appears to have to do with the fact that users are unable to authenticate to Skype due to a software issue.
As a result, voice, chat, and voicemail services are effectively offline. Users who were already authenticated before the problem reared its head appear to be unaffected.
According to the following blog post at the official Skype Heartbeat Blog:
Apologies for the delay, but we can now update you on the Skype sign-on issue. As we continue to work hard at resolving the problem, we wanted to dispel some of the concerns that you may have. The Skype system has not crashed or been victim of a cyber attack. We love our customers too much to let that happen. This problem occurred because of a deficiency in an algorithm within Skype networking software. This controls the interaction between the user's own Skype client and the rest of the Skype network.
Rest assured that everyone at Skype is working around the clock — from Tallinn to Luxembourg to San Jose — to resume normal service as quickly as possible.
It would be interesting to see if a naysayer points the finger as a glaring example on the shortcomings of VoIP, except that this has nothing to do with VoIP per se. Still, this can rightly be alluded to as the exponential difficulty in achieving anything remotely approaching 100% uptime, as well as the astronomical impact on potentially millions of users of any downtime at all.
Proponents of Skype will argue that this is the most significant outage in years of relatively solid uptime. The focus should be on the outage, but the fact that it "just doesn't happen" despite the sheer size of Skype's network - until yesterday - should give confidence in Skype. Additionally, it is not as if the entire network has collapsed, it's just the authentication mechanism that is currently broken.
As of 0400 GMT on the 17th August, clients are able to login with increasing success. Hopefully the issue will be completely resolved shortly after.
If you Skype, do share with us how the outage affected you.
Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.