Bufferbloat: Dark Buffers in the Internet

A great read on the issue of bufferbloat, which affects a large swath of home routers. If you’re a heavy torrent user, NAT table sizes will also be of interest. Some torrent clients also allow you to adjust the peer congestion protocol.

Once adequate buffers became routine, another problem could occur: the buffers were now part of the pipe that TCP is so good at filling. Filling these buffers would cause delay to increase, and persistently full buffers lack the space to absorb the routine burstiness of a packet network. John Nagle’s seminal work in 19858 first drew attention to the consequences of large buffering. While working on TCP congestion-avoidance algorithms, Van Jacobson recognized the “persistently full buffer” issue in 1989, culminating in the development of RED (Random Early Detection) with Sally Floyd in 1993.5

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