Ina Fried

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Skype Details Problems, Says May Take Hours to Fix

Amid a widespread outage on Wednesday, Skype said that it has identified the issue but cautioned it may take several more hours to resolve.

The issue, Skype said, is that its service, unlike a regular phone or even instant messaging service, relies on millions of individual connections, including many especially important computers known as “supernodes.”

“Under normal circumstances, there are a large number of supernodes available,” Skype said in an explanatory blog post on its Web site. “Unfortunately, today, many of them were taken offline by a problem affecting some versions of Skype. As Skype relies on being able to maintain contact with supernodes, it may appear offline for some of you.”

The company says the solution is the creation of–wait for it–“mega-supernodes.”

“Our engineers are creating new ‘mega-supernodes’ as fast as they can, which should gradually return things to normal,” Skype said. “This may take a few hours, and we sincerely apologise for the disruption to your conversations. Some features, like group video calling, may take longer to return to normal.”

The company thanked everyone for their patience and said to continue following @skype on Twitter for further updates.

Update, 1:10 p.m.: Skype said in an update posted to Twitter that things are slowly getting back up and running.

“Skype is now gradually returning to normal–we expect it may take several hours for everyone to be able to sign in again, however,” it said.