Clothing may be optional but bufferbloat isn’t

This is my promised update on bufferbloat, the problem I write about occasionally involving networks and applications that try to improve the flow of streaming data, especially video data, over the Internet but actually do the opposite, defeating TCP/IP’s own flow control code that would do the job much better if only it were allowed to. I first mentioned bufferbloat in January 2011 and it is still with us but the prognosis is improving, though it will probably take years to be fully resolved.

If you read my last column on LagBuster, you know it’s a hardware-based workaround for some aspects of bufferbloat aimed especially at gamers. LagBuster is a coping strategy for one […]

By |October 1st, 2012|2012, Internet, Technology|Comments Off on Clothing may be optional but bufferbloat isn’t

Beginning of the end for bufferbloat

As the go-to source for all news relating to bufferbloat, I’m glad to announce that the first of several possible solutions to the problem will shortly be available, just in time to save the Internet from self-destruction.

What, you didn’t know the Internet was self-destructing? Well it is.

Bufferbloat, my #1 prediction from 2011, is an artifact of cheap memory and bad planning in the Internet Age. In order to keep our porn streaming without interruption we add large memory buffers in applications, network cards or chipsets, routers, more routers, and even more routers until the basic flow control techniques of the TCP protocol are completely overwhelmed. Data glugs through the system like a gas can with […]

Linux 3.3: Finally a little good news for bufferbloat

While I was out chasing computer history last week, the Linux 3.3 kernel was released. And a very interesting release it is, though not for its vaunted re-inclusion of certain Android kernel hacks. I think that modest move is being overblown in the press.  No, Linux 3.3 appears to be the first OS to really take a shot at reducing the problem of bufferbloat. It’s not the answer to this scourge, but it will help some, especially since Linux is so popular for high volume servers.

Bufferbloat, as you’ll recall from my 2011 predictions column, is the result of our misguided attempt to protect streaming applications (now 80 percent of Internet packets) by putting […]

Bufferbloat 2: The Need for Speed

Almost eight months ago in my annual predictions column I made a big deal about Bufferbloat, which was the name Bell Labs researcher Jim Gettys had given to the insidious corruption of Internet service by too many intelligent network devices. Well I’ve been testing one of the first products designed to treat bufferbloat and am here to report that it might work. But like many other public health problems, if we don’t all pay attention and do the right thing, ultimately we’ll all be screwed.

At the risk of pissing-off the pickier network mavens who read this column, Bufferbloat is a conflict between the Internet’s Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and various buffering schemes designed […]

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    2011 prediction #4: Bufferbloat may be terrible, but your cable ISP won't fix it

2011 prediction #4: Bufferbloat may be terrible, but your cable ISP won't fix it

As explained ad nauseam in prediction #1, bufferbloat is going to be a growing problem this year as Windows XP machines are replaced and more people are downloading Internet video. But terrible latency, jitter, and dropouts may not be all bad if you are a cable ISP. That’s because cable ISPs are first and foremost cable television providers and the main victims of bufferbloat are video services like Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube that have become the natural enemies of cable TV. Cable video-on-demand services, while also digital, use separately-provisioned bandwidth and sometimes even different signaling technology, so the ISP’s competitor to Netflix isn’t bothered by bufferbloat at all.

Bufferbloat also affects BitTorrent, which ISPs hate, though they’d hate it a lot less if they’d eliminate […]