Skype: It's alive! Alive!

VoIP service back from the dead after two-day outage due to 'algorithm deficiency'

Skype announced late Friday that all users could now again log on to the voice-over-IP service, marking the end of an outage that affected millions and lasted more than 48 hours.

Villu Arak, the Skype spokesman who has been posting blackout updates, said: "The sign-on problems have been resolved."

According to user statistics gathered via an RSS feed provided by Skype, the number of users connected to the service climbed throughout Friday afternoon, from about 3 million at noon to more than 5.6 million shortly after 6:00 p.m. EDT, a sign that Skype was coming back to life.

Individual users, meanwhile, reported that they were able to reconnect to the service -- in some cases for the first time in almost two days -- and that their connections remained stable, even if the Skype client was often slow to respond.

Although Skype first confirmed the outage Thursday around 9 a.m. EDT, users writing on the company's own message forums began reporting problems connecting to the service as early as Wednesday afternoon. The company, a division of online auctioneer eBay Inc., has not provided details of the blackout's cause, saying only that it was due to a "deficiency in an algorithm within Skype networking software."

Speculation that the outage was caused by a distributed denial-of-service attack or by some previously planned maintenance that Skype conducted late Tuesday have been regularly quashed by the company. "No... attack was related to the current sign-on issues in any way," Arak wrote early Friday.

Users, while relieved that the VoIP and instant messaging service was again alive, continued to blast the Luxembourg-based company for disrupting their business and personal communications.

A user tagged as "free skypeout minutes," who claimed to work for a Swedish company already heavily reliant on Skype's for-a-fee services, got to the point. "All plans to incorporate Skype into more of our procedures are now on hold indefinitely."

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld

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