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[ih] Arpanet raw messages, voice, and TCP

    > From: =?ISO-8859-1?Q?Matthias_B=E4rwolff?= <mbaer at cs.tu-berlin.de>

    >> a maximum packet size of ~120 bytes would obviously not have been
    >> that much use for TCP/IP in general.

    > I don't understand this. Even the 1974 Cerf/Kahn specification of
    > TCP knew of "breaking up messages into segments"
    > ...
    > While hosts were eventually expected to accept IP packets of at
    > least 576 bytes, they sure can cope with smaller packets ...
    > Why then would 126 bytes foreclose experimenting with TCP/IP?

Do note that I didn't say 'would not work', I said "not .. that much use"!

The reason is that fragmentation turned out to just not work very well,
because packets which were fragmented were much less 'reliable' (in the
sense of eventually being delivered complete, to the application). Any
time packets were being fragmented, things seemed to just not work very
well. It is for that reason that we eventually added Path MTU Discovery,
so that fragmentation could be avoided. (Note that IPv6 left out end-end
fragmentation altogether, for the same reason.)

Why exactly fragmentation didn't work so well I don't recollect very well
(if we ever knew for sure exactly why). I suspect that the network back
then was 'lossier' (partly due to poor congestion control causing
congestion drops, partly due to flakier transmission systems). Since
end-end retransmission schemes don't work so well when loss rates go up
(typically there's a 'knee' where performance goes over a cliff), with
that many more packets involved for a given amount of data, we may have
gone over the 'knee'.

(Some hosts/routers didn't actually implement fragmention and/or re-assemblyl,
particularly the latter, as it was a PITA to code, so that was a problem too.)

Of course, with the typical data packet being relatively large (I don't
know the average packet size for FTP or email, but surely it was at least
576), with the ~120 byte (991 bits, to be accurate) Uncontrolled packets,
of which 20 at least would be the IP header, you're looking at 6 fragments
for each 576 byte data packet -> very poor performance.

    > unlike ordinary single-packet messages they would not be subject to
    > the source-destination-IMP ack/retransmit facility.

I'm not sure there was such a thing (see previous message).

Whether the frames of Uncontrolled messages were subject to the normal
IMP-IMP retransmission I don't know, and 1822 doesn't say, but my _guess_
is that they would have been (more work to treat them differently, than
just handle them like any other IMP-IMP frame).

    > surely it must have been more fun playing around with higher level
    > end-to-end reliability in a network that actually does drop a packet
    > sometimes.

ROTFLMAO! As Vint indicated, not having lost packets was _not_ a problem
we had! :-)